Outdoor hockey is coming to Dallas as the Dallas Stars host the Nashville Predators in the 2020 Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl Stadium on Wednesday, and as fans flow into the Dallas area, many sites and attractions await.
The city is the 12th host of the annual event which first started in 2008 when the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres in Orchard Park, N.Y. The 2020 edition of the event is the first to take place in the South and between southern teams. Washington was the last southern-most city to have a Winter Classic game back in 2015 when the Capitals hosted the Chicago Blackhawks. Through 11 games in the series, the home team has an abysmal 3-8 record.
The historic Cotton Bowl has been overlaid with ice and the stores — such as Dallas' own Rally House — have been filled with Winter Classic garb. Whether you're in the Lone Star State for a day, a week or maybe even longer, here are 10 things to do on any budget as the Stars take on the Preds in the Winter Classic.
From fast food to family fun, here are 10 things to do on any budget while in Dallas for the 2020 NHL Winter Classic:
1. Cotton Bowl Plaza
If you're going to the Winter Classic, you automatically have access to the Cotton Bowl Plaza and The State Fair of Texas Midway, with activities presented by Truly Hard Setlzer. Just bring your tickets.
The Pregame will be available from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the Postgame festivities will resume after the game and end at 8 p.m. on Jan. 1.
Activities at the Cotton Bowl Plaza and The State Fair of Texas Midway include interactive games and attractions, live music and an opportunity to take a picture with the Stanley Cup.
The State Fair of Texas is a major event for Dallas residents and travelers every year from late September to mid-October, but some rides, including, but not limited to, the Texas Star Ferris Wheel, Top o' Texas Tower, Texas Skyway (entrance to ride is located in Cotton Bowl Plaza), Pirate Ship and Lone Star Scooters (bumper cars) will be available for Winter Classic goers.
Also, be sure to stay in your seats during the first intermission to see a live performance by Dan + Shay, a country music band from Nashville, Tenn.
2. Galleria Dallas
The Galleria Dallas is more than a mall.
Sure, if you're looking for somewhere to blow some of that Christmas money, there are over 200 stores at the Galleria, but also plenty of dining options as well as a skating rink. Pricing for the skating rink can be found here. From Build-A-bear and Lids to Victoria Secret and Zales, there's a story for all of your shopping needs.
However, if you can't find what you're looking for, adhere to the Texas motto of "Everything's bigger in Texas" as there is an even larger mall in the DFW area at NorthPark Center.
3. Six Flags Over Texas
Who doesn't love the thrill of a high-speed, spinning roller coaster? Okay, maybe some of you, but good thing there's plenty of activities for everyone at Six Flags Over Texas.
Fans can enjoy everything from park food to maybe try winning a prize at the water shoot or three-point contest. Parades and shows, music and characters, funnel cakes and nachos, who wouldn't be excited? Pricing and tickets for Six Flags Over Texas can be found here.
Just minutes away, you could see the new Texas Rangers ballpark, Globe Life Field, which is currently under construction and set to open before the 2020 MLB season. AT&T Stadium, which plays home to the Dallas Cowboys — and is also dubbed "Jerry's World" also shares Arlington, Tex. with the Rangers and Six Flags.
4. Deep Ellum
One of the more exciting areas to walk around in order to get a taste of the city, the Deep Ellum district has a myriad of options for dining, drinking and having fun.
Deep Ellum is filled with street art on the sides of buildings, perfect to take that new profile picture for your social media accounts. There are popular spots such as Emporium Pies and under-the-radar shops like Rocket Fizz. There are also tattoo parlors in the area.
Come for lunch, stay for the nightlife; you'll make an entire day out seeing the Deep Ellum district near Downtown Dallas.
5. Klyde Warren Park
Weather permitting, a nice stroll through the park on a warm, Dallas winter day could be the perfect relaxation on your trip to the Winter Classic. Getting away from the crowds to enjoy the fresh air and all that Klyde Warren Park has to offer.
Activities at Klyde Warren Park include chess, croquet, a dog park, fitness classes, music, ping pong and plenty of open, grassy space.
— Matthew Stroh (@DrMattStroh) December 23, 2019
6. Great Wolf Lodge
Sure, it's winter, but Dallas still plays home to an indoor water park that's perfect for any time of year.
Right near the DFW airport in Grapevine, Tex. is Great Wolf Lodge, a hotel, water-park, restaurant and more. This indoor water park remains warm even in January, and if you didn't bring your swimsuit, there's more fun to be had at the spa or playing at the arcade. MagiQuest is a fan-favorite activity that sends kids around the hotel, finding clues and gathering treasure with a wand and friends.
Be sure to stop by the gift shop on your way out to purchase a souvenir to remember your experience.
Although In-N-Out was founded in Baldwin Park, Calif., Dallas has adopted it as its own with a deep love for the classic double-double and animal fries.
There are plenty of good, quick places to grab a bite, including Whataburger, Five Guys, Chipotle and other favorites, but In-N-Out is consistently near — or at — the top of those lists. Author recommendation: whether you go with a single patty or double, animal fries are always a viable option if you decide to make it a meal. Essentially, animal fries are fries with melted cheese, grilled onions and a sauce mightly similar to Thousand Island dressing — enjoy.
8. Sixth Floor Museum
Historians, listen up.
The Sixth Floor Museum is the place for you. This museum teaches guests about the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, including the events leading up to and following the tragic car ride. Visitors can follow along with a headset for a walk-through tour of the many levels at the museum, or go at their own pace. Tickets and pricing options can be found here.
9. Reunion Tower
Looking at the city skyline, Dallas natives and visitors all point to Reunion Tower as the lit ball and wonder, what is that? Well, it's a 561-foot building with an observation deck and a clear elevator for your viewing pleasure. The price of an elevator ride fluctuates depending on time, group size and age but should you choose to dine at the top of the tower, the fee for the ride is waived, just show your reservation because they are required.
This brings us to a sub-activity within the Reunion Tower. If you're looking for something a little fancier than a greasy patty and a slice of cheese, check out the restaurant at the top of Reunion Tower — Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck. The floor of the restaurant actually rotates 360 degrees in 55 minutes while you dine.
Please make reservations in advance and check the dress code before heading out. A typical evening at Five Sixty should cost around $100-$200 for an appetizer, two entrees and drinks. Pro tip: When making your reservation, try to book during sunset. The view from the spinning ball as the sun finds its home in the Western sky is one to behold.
Texas as seen from Reunion Tower in Dallas. pic.twitter.com/0VbhFSdqpN
— Judy Hansell (@jhansell2003) December 31, 2019
10. Dallas Mavericks game
For sports fans who want a taste of more than hockey, the Dallas Mavericks have a home game against the Brooklyn Nets the day after the Stars battle the Preds. Don't worry, this game will be indoors at the American Airlines Center — which is the home of the Stars and Mavericks.
Last season's rookie of the year, Luka Doncic, and the Mavericks have been rolling in 2019-20, looking for their first playoff birth in four years while Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets (sans Kevin Durant) are currently in a playoff spot despite a mediocre start to the season. Tickets for the event are as low as $40, as per Vivid Seats.