It’s no secret that there are so many places to visit in Texas – this state is absolutely huge. When we moved to Dallas, it was hard to know where to begin our adventures in the state. So, along with exploring the city of Dallas itself, we started with a few day trips to small towns nearby. After reading about some cool things to do in Denton, Texas, in D Magazine, we decided to head off for the day and see what this college town had to offer.
If you’re looking for an easy day trip from Dallas, consider Denton. Here’s what to do when you get there.
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Things to do in Denton, Texas
Forty five minutes northwest of Dallas, Denton has been a college town since 1890. With around 45,000 students attending two universities, the demographic of the town is certainly on the younger side.
What’s not young are the buildings, many of which seem to have been around since the early 1900s. I loved this visual history of the town, and it reminded me of small towns in Australia. Many shops border Denton Square, the cultural and political hub of Denton. It’s easily walkable.
The town also apparently has quite the independent music scene, but we didn’t see much of that during our day visit – you’ll have to come check that out for yourself.
1. Try the best burger in Texas
There are plenty of great restaurants in Denton, but on the recommendation of D Magazine, we stopped by Barley & Board (100 W. Oak Street) for lunch.
As is typical, I ordered the burger and my husband ordered a salad, completely confusing the poor waitress who delivered the food to our table.
My husband immediately had food envy: the burger has to be one of the best that I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve eaten a few burgers in my day). Simple, with just two patties, cheese, pickles and a creamy sauce, it was perfectly cooked and something I’d drive 45 minutes to eat again.
2. Shop for second-hand pieces
The shops around Denton Square have a seemingly higher-than-usual number of second-hand stores, full of all sorts of bric-a-brac. Not to be confused with antique stores, these shops are more like the ones in which you find old toys that bring back childhood memories. Troll dolls, anyone??
Where you will find some really great stuff is at Recycled (200 N. Locust Street), a huge book and record store. I found some gems here – and at great prices.
If you’re looking to purchase something newer, the Norman Roscoe pop-up shop (109 W. Hickory Street) has great t-shirts, candles and cute items for the home.
3. Gobble up some sweet treats
I love old-school sweet shops, and Atomic Candy (105 W. Hickory Street) delivers for children and adults alike. They stock more than 300 kinds of candy including international varieties.
4. Search out street art
We didn’t catch a lot of the wall murals that line the buildings from Fry Street to downtown, but we did see some art creation in action.
5. Grab a beer in an old house
My husband has been following Oak St Drafthouse (308 E. Oak Street) on Instagram from even before we moved to Dallas. He was finally able to visit this cool bar in an old house.
This spot was really relaxed when we visited, but I can imagine that it gets rowdy on a Saturday night as college kids take a break from studying.
Where to stay in Denton
If a day trip from Dallas to Denton isn’t long enough for you, then book a long weekend. There are plenty of hotels in Denton, and you can check availability and book online with Booking.com.
There are also Airbnb properties in Denton if you need a bigger space for a group or want your own kitchen.
Got any more ideas for things to do in Denton, Texas? Share them in the comments below!
This post was published in December 2017, and was updated in June 2020.