bridge over a canal with a building in the back

6 Best Things to do in Irving, TX for a day

I had no idea that Irving TX is its own city. It was the host city for Southern Travelers Explore, and since it was fairly easy to get to from Dallas, I thought why not? It is a city on its own, with fairly new structures, and is still growing. The convention center in itself is beautiful (and huge), with new and unique hotels popping up all over the place. Here’s a list of things to do in Irving, TX for a day, so you can put the city on your watch list of what to do when you are in the area. 

Thank you to Visit Irving for hosting Southern Travelers Explore 2023! Need more Texas content? Here are a few we have written:

Where is Irving TX? 

Between Dallas and Fort Worth, there is a city called Irving. If you landed in Dallas-Fort Worth airport if you flew, then part of the airport’s boundaries are located in Irving, TX.  An up-and-coming city, it is being developed more and more as time passes. Irving is also home to the master-planned community of Las Colinas, a residential and commercial complex that surrounds a man-made lake. 

It is easy to think that Irving might just be a suburb of Dallas, but it is slowly making a name for itself as a destination. With a huge convention center and plenty of businesses starting to move into the area, the city is conducive to work, living, and visiting.  

an old train station that has Irving written on the top
an exhibit from the Irving Museum and Archives in Texas

Where can I learn more about the history of Irving TX? 

Irving Archives and Museum is the place to be if you want to learn more about the city of Irving, TX. Their displays are highly engaging and there are plenty of photo spots available in the museum. These photo spots are a great way to remember your trip without the need to buy souvenirs! 

The Irving Archives and Museum is the home to the only Smithsonian SparkLab outside of Washington DC. The Sparklab is a hands-on place for children to create and enjoy their time at the museum. The entire museum is a very kid-friendly environment where the touching of exhibits is encouraged. 

Irving Archives and Museum Details

Open hours:  9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sundays and Mondays

Address of Irving Archives and Museum: 801 W Irving Blvd, Irving, TX 75060

The place where Lee Harvey Oswald spent the night before he shot JFK? Ruth Paine House Museum

The Ruth Paine House Museum is the place where you can learn about the events leading up to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 

The museum is in a very residential area, and parking is a pain. The museum offers a shuttle for those who booked the tour in advance and provides a guide. 

The house museum is a step back in time-based on the furnishings and the appliances. The museum curators tried to make the house look as it was based on photos from the previous owners. The rooms and house itself are tiny. Two families lived in the house: Oswald’s wife, Maryna, and their two children and Ruth Paine, who took Maryna in. 

There are plenty of informational panels that tell the story of Ruth Paine’s family, Maryna’s family, and the events leading up to the assassination. 

Details: The museum is open from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm, Wednesday through Saturday. 

The house museum is only available if booking a tour in advance with the Irving Archives and Museum. 

This is a great opportunity to learn about the history of the assassination and the role that Irving played in it.

Sculpture of horses on water with a building in the back
Mustangs of Las Colinas sculptures in Irving TX

The Mustangs of Las Colinas and the vibrant downtown Irving vibe

For lunch, you could take a short drive to explore the charming downtown Irving area, which is full of unique shops and restaurants. Alternatively, you can head over to Las Colinas, a master-planned community that also has local restaurants and shops. 

If you choose to go to Las Colinas for lunch, head to the Mustangs of Las Colinas after. This outdoor sculpture exhibit features nine larger-than-life bronze mustangs running through a granite stream. It’s a great spot for photos, and you can learn about the history of the area and its importance to the ranching industry.

The Mustangs of Las Colinas museum has plenty of history and additional information about the sculptures. The only problem with that is the museum is mostly open from Wednesdays to Fridays from 11 am to 4 pm, and Saturdays between 11 am to 2 pm. If you are following a strict schedule, it is a bit hard to find time to get inside the museum because of the odd hours. 

Address of Mustangs of Las Colinas: 5221 N O’Connor Blvd #110E, Irving, TX

Hudson House, the best Shrimp Dynamite ever 

If you don’t want to go to Las Colinas for lunch, head on over to Hudson House. I’ve been a big fan of spicy shrimp, and this restaurant has an appetizer called Shrimp Dynamite. You can order the appetizer as an entree since the portion is pretty big. 

Hudson House offers American fare, which is perfect for sharing with a group. The restaurant is pretty small, so it can get pretty busy and full. Reservations are highly recommended, especially if dining on a weekend. The booths are pretty amazing to sit in, and if dining with a big group, they offer a private room for dining. 

Address of Hudson House Restaurant: 5904 N MacArthur Blvd, Irving, TX 75039

gondola boat over canal waters in Irving TX
Gondola Ride through the canals of Las Colinas

Where can I take a gondola ride aside from going to Venice, Italy? 

Many people don’t know that you can actually take a gondola ride in Irving, TX. Within the planned community of Las Colinas, gondola rides are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, it is better to book your canal rides in advance so you can have the choice of the gondolier. 

There are two types of gondolas to choose from: one powered by a gondolier, and an electric motored one. You can also choose to have a two-seater gondola or a multiple-seater, for those who are traveling with bigger groups of people. 

The gondolas are cast from Venetian gondolas, making them almost the same as their Italian counterparts. A lot of people are impressed at the way the Las Colinas gondoliers try to make it feel like you are in Venice. You can request singing gondoliers, or request a specific gondolier if you read about a highly reviewed one. 

The gondola takes you around the canals of Las Colinas. These canals are all man-made, as part of a master plan for Las Colinas. The most famous canal is the Mandalay Canal, just off the Marriott Hotel, with a waterfall where a lot of marriage proposals happen. 

Around the canal are plenty of apartments and office buildings. The most famous office buildings are those that were built from granite, a nod to the history of Las Colinas. One thing that also differs from Venice is the lack of bridges you glide through. In Venice, it is considered good luck to kiss under a bridge, and there are a lot of them. In Las Colinas, you don’t have many bridges to choose from to kiss underneath. 

Address where gondola rides start/end in Las Colinas: 357 West Fork, Irving, TX

bridge over a canal with a building in the back
6 Things to do in Irving TX – love locks bridge

Show your love by adding a lock in the “Love is Blind” Love Lock Bridge

Love is Blind is a Netflix show made popular because the contestants choose their partners without seeing them. The winners of the show made the bridge famous by locking a padlock in the bridge so other people started doing it too. 

You can also just walk around the bridge to see the engravings and the different locks left behind. Visit Irving was super nice enough to give us each an engraved lock, so we could leave our little mark on the bridge. 

Address: The Love Lock Bridge in Irving, TX is located by Carolyn Promenade Lake near Las Colinas Blvd. We don’t have a specific address per se. 

Dinner at Monaco, an Italian-European cuisine mix

After such a long and fun day, cap off your evening at the Monaco restaurant. This restaurant offers European and Italian fusion cuisine, including fresh seafood, a lot of appetizers to share, and delicious desserts. Its ambiance is breathtaking with mood lighting throughout.

Sit in the booth if you can, it provides more privacy and the seat is comfortable. The restaurant is small, so reservations are highly encouraged. The food is great, but note that the servings are European-sized, not the typical American dinner sizes. The pricing is a bit high, but perfect if you have a special event to celebrate. 

Monaco (The Restaurant) Address: 5238 N O’Connor Blvd #134, Las Colinas, TX

photo of a hastag with TMF letters
Toyota Music Factory After Dark hashtag by the courtyard

Looking for Irving Nightlife? Head on to the Toyota Music Factory 

If you still have energy after your day of sightseeing and eating, head on over to the Toyota Music Factory for #TMFAfterDark. Some nights, there are free live concerts on the main stage. However, the area is dotted with bars and restaurants where you can pick up drinks and food. 

If you want to do a pub crawl, Irving has a program called Irving on the Rocks. When you buy a drink and check in to a bar using the app, you get a point. You then redeem those points from a specialized vending machine for freebies like t-shirts, a hangover kit, and the like. 

Signing up is free, and you get a free gift instantly. If on the bar crawl, a minimum of 3 gives you another free gift to redeem from the vending machine. You get QR codes that you scan at the vending machines and the gift will be dispensed instantly. 

Toyota Music Factory Address: 316 W Las Colinas Blvd., Irving, TX 

Things to do in Irving, TX for a day

Hopefully,  this post has helped you plan your day in Irving, TX. If your time this time is limited, know that there are many other experiences you can do 

Of course, this itinerary is just a suggestion. You can adjust the timing to fit your own schedule and preferences, and there are plenty of other attractions and restaurants to explore in Irving if you have more time. Are you planning to visit Irving soon? Let us know how your trip went! 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.