View out over the water to some of the tall hotels lining the shores of Lake Carolyn in Irving, Texas
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The Best Weekend in Irving, Texas: Top Things to Do

Irving Texas is a suburb of the greater metroplex of DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) in the northern part of Texas. With sprawling suburbs and so much to do in both the Dallas and Fort Worth areas, sometimes amazing towns like Irving get overlooked. 

There are so many things to do in Texas but I was so surprised by how many fun things to do were located in Irving, TX. Irving makes a great destination for a long weekend trip or local adventures if you live in the DFW metroplex area. Let’s review all the fun things to do during a weekend in Irving, Texas!

If you don’t have time to read the full article here’s a brief recap: Irving, Texas is located in North Texas between Dallas and Forth Worth. The famous community of Las Colinas is located here. Top things to do for a weekend include: visiting the Mustangs of Las Colinas, taking a gondola ride in the canals and Lake Carolyn, dining at one of the many amazing restaurants in Irving, and staying at the trendy Texican Court or upscale Omni Las Colinas. For more details, read the full post!  

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Where is Irving?

Irving is located between the two major cities of the northern Texas metroplex of Dallas and Fort Worth. The city was originally founded in 1903, looking for a rail stop to connect the two towns. 

To this day, rail transportation is still prevalent in Irving, Texas with the Trinity Rail Express in South Irving connecting Dallas and Fort Worth. DART runs from Dallas TX to Irving TX and back. THE DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) Orange Line runs from the DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) International Airport to the northern parts of Irving and ends in Dallas Texas. 

Irving, Texas History

Although Irving, TX is a suburb of its larger neighbors Dallas and Fort Worth in the Northern Texas metroplex there is a lot of history. In the 70’s Irving was put on the map as an internationally recognized destination due to a few things. In 1971 Texas Stadium was developed and opened. The following year in 1972, Las Colinas became a well-known master-planned community within the DFW metroplex. Shortly after, in the year 1974, DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) International Airport opened. 

Lee Harvey Oswald spent the evening before the assassination of JFK in Irving, Texas. He was living between Dallas and Irving during this period. To commemorate and understand the events that took place in this home, it’s a museum that is named after the homeowner. Visit the Ruth Payne Museum in Irving Texas to learn a little bit more about Irving Texas’ history. 

Las Colinas located in Irving, TX

Originally this community was named El Ranchito de Las Colinas which in Spanish means “The Little Ranch of the Hills”. This community was developed in 1972 by a cattle ranching millionaire. He took his family’s ranch and created one of the first planned communities in the United States. 

He saw the development of the DFW airport as a way to develop a futuristic ideal of urban life. His goal was to accommodate life and work within the same community. At one time, Las Colinas was the largest mixed use development in the South of the United States comprising of land area of more than 12,000 acres. 

Much of the development of the community was inspired by Ben Carpenter’s travels abroad. For example, the flower clock was inspired by old-world European flower clocks. He created canals that were reminiscent of the canals seen in Venice, Italy.

The inspiration for the Mustangs of Las Colinas was wild mustangs as seen in a sculpture in Spain. Along with the heritage of Texas depicting wild mustangs from nearby Mexico. These stunning sculptures were presented in 1984 and took seven years to complete.

Close up of a metal star on the love lock bridge in Irving Texas in Las Clinas and Lake Carolyn

Things to do in Irving, Texas

Visit The Mustangs of Las Colinas

The Mustangs of Las Colinas is a monumental sculpture depicting a herd of wild mustangs galloping across a river. It is the largest equestrian sculpture in the world. This iconic artwork is a symbol of the city’s spirit and a testament to the rich history and culture of the region. It is one of the top attractions in Irving.

The Mustangs of Las Colinas was commissioned by Ben H. Carpenter, a visionary developer and founder of Las Colinas. Carpenter was inspired by the wild mustangs of the American West. He wanted a sculpture that would capture their untamed spirit while also celebrate the heritage of Texas.

The Mustangs of Las Colinas was created by African wildlife artist Robert Glen, a renowned artist known for his large-scale, kinetic sculptures. Glen spent seven years working on the Mustangs of Las Colinas. Meticulously crafting each horse to convey a sense of freedom and movement.

Each sculpture is made of bronze. The installation depicts a herd of nine mustangs, each standing approximately 18 feet tall and stretching up to 26 feet in length. 

The Mustangs of Las Colinas is not only a striking visual masterpiece but also a symbol of the American frontier and the indomitable spirit of the wild horses that once roamed the vast plains in the area.

The sculpture has become an iconic landmark of Irving and a must-see attraction for visitors from around the world. Its impressive size, intricate craftsmanship, and captivating depiction of the mustangs make it a unique and awe-inspiring work of art.

The statue is situated in the heart of Las Colinas, a vibrant urban center in Irving, Texas. It is easily accessible to visitors and can be viewed from various vantage points, including along the Mandalay Canal Walk.

A striking statue of nine bronze mustang horses galloping across a water feature located in downtown Irving, Texas the Mustangs of Las Colinas

Water Sports: Mandalay Canals and Lake Carolyn

The Mandalay Canal and Lake Carolyn are two interconnected waterways located in the Las Colinas neighborhood of Irving, Texas. 

The canal is a 1.5-mile long, man-made waterway that winds its way through Las Colinas. The canal provides a scenic backdrop for the many businesses and restaurants that line its banks. While Lake Carolyn is a 125-acre lake! The area located at the southern end of the canal offers a variety of recreational activities for visitors.

Mandalay Canal Walk

The Mandalay Canal Walk is a paved trail that runs along the banks of the canal. This area is a popular spot for walking, running, and biking. As it offers stunning views of the canal and the surrounding area of Irving. While taking a stroll along the trail, visitors can see a variety of public art installations (including the Mustangs of Las Colinas).

Lake Carolyn Las Colinas

Lake Carolyn is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and kayaking. The lake is also home to a variety of wildlife, including ducks, geese, and turtles. There are several parks located around the lake, offering a variety of amenities for visitors. Campion Trails Park has a playground, picnic areas, and a boat ramp. Jaycee Park offers a playground, a swimming pool, and a soccer field.

Activities

In addition to the activities mentioned above, there are several other things to do in the Lake Carolyn area. Visitors can enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants located along the canal. Take a gondola ride along the canal emulating an experience you could have in Venice, Italy. There are also several shops and galleries located in the area.

The Mandalay Canal and Lake Carolyn are a beautiful and vibrant part of Irving, Texas. The area offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages, and it is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

View out over the water to some of the tall hotels lining the shores of Lake Carolyn in Irving, Texas

Water Street

Water Street in Irving, Texas is a vibrant and thriving area known for its scenic beauty and diverse range of activities. With walkways connecting it to the serene Lake Carolyn, Water Street offers a unique blend of urban charm and natural landscapes. 

Lined with an array of restaurants, Water Street invites visitors to savor culinary delights from various cuisines while enjoying stunning waterfront views. In addition to its culinary scene, Water Street is home to elegant residential buildings, creating a harmonious balance between modern living and recreational spaces. 

Whether you’re seeking a delicious meal, a peaceful stroll along the waterfront, or a place to call home, Water Street in Irving, Texas, is a must-visit destination.

Campion Trails

Campion Trail is a beautiful greenbelt trail located in Irving, Texas along the Trinity River. The extensive 22 mile trail offers beautiful river views. 

This multi-use trail is great for walking, biking, and just relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. The trail is paved, but some areas can get wet or have standing water when recent rain has been in the forecast.

Visit Ruth Paine House Museum

The Ruth Paine House Museum in Irving, Texas is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of the Kennedy assassination. The house was the temporary residence of Marina Oswald, Lee Harvey Oswald’s wife, and their two children at the time of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 

Visitors can tour the house to learn about the events leading up to the assassination, as well as events in the aftermath. This museum features a collection of artifacts from the Oswald family, including letters, photographs, and personal belongings.

Irving Heritage House

The Irving Heritage House is one of Irving Heritage Society’s locations to preserve and educate about the origin of Irving as a railroad and ranching town. If you’re interested in history and learning more about Irving, Texas visiting the Heritage House should be added to your Irving itinerary.

Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center

The Bear Creek Heritage Center in Irving, Texas, offers a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the region. Situated on the banks of Bear Creek, the center features a collection of historic structures, including an 1880s schoolhouse and a blacksmith shop, that have been meticulously restored and preserved. 

Visitors can explore the center’s exhibits to learn about the lives of early settlers, the development of the city, and the contributions of the diverse communities that have shaped Irving’s heritage. Guided tours provide an insightful look into the stories behind the artifacts and offer a deeper understanding of Irving’s past. 

Whether you’re a resident or a curious traveler, a visit to the Bear Creek Heritage Center is a delightful journey through time. It will uncover the captivating history of Irving, Texas.

Jaycee Park Center for the Arts

The Jaycee Park Center for the Arts in Irving, Texas, serves as a vibrant hub for creativity and artistic expression. Located in the heart of the city, this multi-faceted center offers a diverse range of programs and facilities. The Jaycee Park Center for the Arts caters to both aspiring and established artists. 

From visual arts exhibitions to live performances and educational workshops, the Jaycee Park Center for the Arts provides a platform for local talent to showcase their work and engage with the community. Its state-of-the-art facilities include a 500-seat theater, art galleries, studios, and classrooms, fostering an environment that encourages artistic growth and collaboration. 

By nurturing the local arts scene, the Jaycee Park Center for the Arts plays a vital role in enriching the cultural fabric of Irving and inspiring future generations of artists.

Irving Arts Center

The Irving Arts Center is a vibrant hub for artistic expression and creativity in Irving, Texas. From captivating visual arts exhibitions to live performances and educational workshops, the Irving Arts Center provides a platform for local talent to showcase their work and engage with the community. Its state-of-the-art facilities, including a 500-seat theater, art galleries, studios, and classrooms, foster an environment that encourages artistic growth and collaboration. 

By nurturing the local arts scene, the Irving Arts Center plays a vital role in enriching the cultural fabric of Irving and inspiring future generations of artists.

Five Marble Cows

The Five Marble Cows are a public art installation located in Irving, Texas. The sculptures were created by artist Harold Clayton. Each one of them has a name: Lucy, Margaret, Ruth, Elsa, and Annette. The artist lovingly named has named them as though they were his pets. 

They are situated at the top of Bluebonnet Hill just northeast of Highway 114. The cows have become a popular tourist attraction and are often photographed by visitors. These marble cows are an ode to Irving’s past depicting what this area used to embody Ben Carpenter’s Ranch.

Toyota Music Factory

Enjoy an unforgettable evening at the Toyota Music Factory, a vibrant entertainment district in Irving, Texas. Immerse yourself in a world of music, art, and culinary delights. Toyota Music factory is at the top of the list of things to do in Irving, Texas at night. 

From live music concerts and festivals to art exhibitions and interactive experiences, there’s something for everyone at this bustling hub. Savor delicious cuisine from a variety of restaurants, ranging from casual eateries to upscale dining. 

Don’t miss the chance to create lasting memories with friends and family at the Toyota Music Factory.

Historic Downtown Irving (Heritage District)

The Historic Downtown Irving District is also known as the Heritage District. This district is a charming and vibrant area located in Irving, Texas. It offers a unique blend of history, culture, and entertainment. 

This district is home to a variety of historic buildings, including the historic train depot, which now houses the Irving Heritage Society and Museum. Visitors can explore the area’s rich history by taking a stroll down Main Street, lined with beautifully restored buildings that showcase the city’s past. 

The district also boasts a variety of local shops, galleries, and restaurants, providing residents and visitors with a diverse range of experiences. From antique shopping to savoring delicious cuisine, there’s something for everyone in the Historic Downtown Irving District.

Where to Eat in Irving: Irving Texas Restaurants

Hudson House 

The Las Colinas location of Hudson House is a second location of the original Dallas location. The martinis and drinks are amazing and their seafood is incredibly fresh! 

The Dallas location goes all out with its Christmas decor. Sadly, the Las Colinas location doesn’t but the food is worth visiting this location not only during the holidays. Happy hour is a great time to have a bite and enjoy a tasty martini at Hudson House in the Las Colinas area of Irving, Texas.

Monaco Restaurant

The Monaco Restaurant is also located in the Las Colinas area of Irving. It is an upscale Italian and French fusion restaurant with a little bit of Southern Texas hospitality. 

Some items they offer include handmade pasta, Italian-style pizza, steak, seafood, and even raclette! Monaco restaurant offers brunch, lunch, and dinner you’re sure to find a tasty bite to satisfy any appetite at any time.

Pacific Table

Located near the mustangs of Las Colinas in Irving, the Pacific Table offers tasty seafood including sushi and oysters. Keep in mind if you’re exploring beyond Irving to Fort Worth there is also another location located there.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub

If you’re looking for a tasty spot that’s a little more casual. It’s located near the Toyota Music Factory on Las Colinas Blvd so it’s a convenient location to grab a tasty bite for happy hour, brunch, lunch, or dinner! Any time of the day you can’t go wrong with the Thirsty Lion Gastropub in Irving. They even have one of my favorite appetizers, scotch eggs!

Cork & Pig Tavern Las Colinas

Another option close to Lake Carolyn, and the Mandalay Canal walk in Irving, is Cork & Pig Tavern. Offering a tasty array of craft cocktails for happy hour as well as brunch, lunch, and dinner options. 

If you’re into great wine and tasty food, this might be your go-to spot during a weekend in Irving. They even offer an array of local Texas craft beers on tap. 

The Ranch

While exploring Irving, if you’re looking for a taste of Texas The Ranch in Las Colinas is your spot! It truly was hard to decide when eating brunch here if I wanted sweet or savory. There were so many delicious options from biscuits and gravy to pecan brown butter pancakes it was a tough decision.

For dinner, The Ranch is more of a tasty steakhouse (with options beyond just steak) but let’s be real, you’re in Texas where BBQ and steakhouses are the sure thing for a tasty meal as these southerners know how to barbeque in a state that was founded on cattle ranching.

Where to Stay in Irving: Hotels Irving, TX

Texican Court

The Texican Court is a boutique funky Texas style retro resort located in Irving. From the fun outdoor courtyard space featuring firepits for relaxing in the evenings while also offering pet-friendly accommodations, this is a beautifully funky property that’s cozy and non-pretentious. 

Click here to Stay at Texican Court in Irving, Texas

Neon sign outside of the Texican Court Hotel depicting a rodeo roper on a horse with a lasso above his head and the words Texican Court below illuminated

Omni Las Colinas

The Omni is located waterfront along Lake Carolyn. Near many of the delicious restaurants and much to do in this area the Omni is situated for a unique stay in Irving Texas for a weekend. 

Click here to Stay at Omni Las Colinas

NYLO Las Colinas Hotel

If you’re a Hilton loyalist, the industrial and urban style hotel NYLO Las Colinas is a great spot to stay with its proximity to DFW (Dallas Fort Worth Airport) and offering a shuttle within a 5 mile proximity to explore the area of Irving. 

Click here to Stay at NYLO Las Colinas Hotel

Westin Irving Convention Center

The Westin Irving Convention Center is a popular place to stay in Irving. This is a local favorite Marriott property. The Westin Irving Convention Center has many amenities. Including multiple onsite bars and restaurants, a fitness center and pool, and many convenient options for events and large company meetings. 

Click here to Stay at Westin Irving Convention Center

FAQs: Things to do in Irving, Texas

What is Irving, Texas known for?

Irving, Texas is known for being centrally situated between the larger two cities of Dallas and Fort Worth. It earned fame as a destination with the Internationally recognized Las Colinas neighborhood and development. Most notable historically for Irving is the location where Lee Harvey Oswald stayed before assassinating the USA President JFK in 1963.

How far is Irving, TX from Dallas, TX?

The distance from Irving, Texas to Dallas, Texas is a little over 9 miles. If you drive on I-30 W it’s a little over 12 miles in drivable distance from Dallas to Irving. Dallas Fort Worth metroplex traffic can be tough to gauge times. It is known to be busy frequently, not just during most cities’ standard commuting rush hours.

How far is Irving, Texas from the airport?

Irving is near both of DFW’s major airports. Situated just under 13 miles from DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) International Airport. Irving is just under 9 miles from DAL (Dallas Love Field). When flying into the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) area to spend time in Irving, either airport is conveniently close. 

How big is Irving, Texas?

Irving, Texas is just under 68 square miles of land mass. Keep in mind that over 23 square miles of this area is a part of the master planned community of Las Colinas. It is the twelfth largest populated city in all of Texas. Irving has a population of over 255,000 people and continues to grow. 

Does Irving, Texas have a downtown?

Yes, Irving has a downtown. The Downtown Irving Texas area is known as the Heritage District. This area of Irving is where the Main Street Plaza is located. In downtown Irving, there are many old institutions including many great antique shops. Many of the restaurants in the historic downtown district offer delicious Southern comfort food.

Looking out over a black bridge with love locks afixed on it to a gondola floating on the water below in Lake Carolyn in Irving, Texas

Conclusion: Things to do in Irving, Texas

There’s no denying the fact that you could spend more than just a weekend in Irving, Texas. Irving is one of the best places to visit near Dallas. With abundant water sports and outdoor activities, fun statues to check out, amazing food, and entertainment options Irving is the perfect weekend getaway or staycation if you live in the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) area!

If you’re wondering what to do in Texas I have plenty of Texas Travel Inspiration, check out my other Texas Travel Posts. Whether you want to explore the panhandle of Texas in Amarillo and Palo Duro Canyon State Park or You’re planning a fun West Texas Road trip, I’ve got you covered!

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