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.

There are so many beautiful buildings to discover on a day trip from Dallas to Denton, Texas

One of the best things to do in Denton, Texas, is simply wander around the shops around Denton Square

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.

One of the best places to eat in Denton, Texas, is Barley and Board - they serve up what is possibly the best burger in Texas!

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??

One of the best things to do in Denton, Texas, is explore the quirky second hand stores around Denton Square

One of the best things to do in Denton, Texas, is explore the quirky second hand stores around Denton Square

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.

Recycled in Denton Texas is a great store selling books and records - it's a must do in Denton

Recycled in Denton Texas is a great store selling books and records - it's a must do in Denton

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.

Norman Roscoe is a great shop in Denton, Texas, selling apparel and cute homewares

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.

One of the best things to do in Denton, Texas, is purchase some of the more than 300 kinds of candy at Atomic Candy

One of the best things to do in Denton, Texas, is purchase some of the more than 300 kinds of candy at Atomic Candy

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.

Denton, Texas, is known for cool street art and murals

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.

Make sure to grab a beer at Oak St Drafthouse, one of the cool bars in Denton, Texas

Make sure to grab a beer at Oak St Drafthouse, one of the cool bars in Denton, Texas

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.

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