Exploring off-the-grid

Anjali Venna
News Editor

Activities, locations off campus to discover

UTD is a hub of activity during the week, and the surrounding Dallas metroplex is no exception. When the urge to explore strikes, venture off campus and take part in some of these activities.

UTD-Related Outings:

  • UREC Excursions: University Recreation offers various outdoor excursions throughout the semester. Past events have included hiking at the Oak Cliff Nature Reserve, tubing at Lake Park Lewisville and camping at Daingerfield State Park. These activities occur in small groups, require registration in advance and have a fee that depends on the complexity of the activity. Due to coronavirus procedures, excursions for the fall remain uncertain. Check out the UREC website for more details.
  • Experience Dallas: Throughout the semester, students are given the opportunity to attend specific events by entering into a lottery. Previous programs have included visiting the Dallas Museum of Art and a Dallas Stars game. These activities have transportation provided. While coronavirus procedures prevented in-person activities this past semester, online experiences — such as a virtual tour of the Crow Museum’s Jade collection — were hosted instead. Keep an eye out for an Experience Dallas email this fall for updates!
  • Thomsen Fund Events: The Thomsen Fund provides free tickets to various fine arts performances for students. These events include the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and Texas Ballet Theatre. All you need is your Comet card! Head to the Green Center Atrium on the second Wednesday of each month at 8:15 am. Tickets are distributed on a first come, first serve basis, so line up early. Each student may receive one pair of event tickets.

In Dallas:

  • Museums
    • The Dallas Museum of Art, located in the Dallas Arts District, features more than 25,000 pieces of art, and hosts other special programs throughout the year. Every Tuesday through Sunday, visitors receive free admission 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with DMA Late Nights happening every third Friday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
    • Right next to the DMA is the Nasher Sculpture Center, which has a $5 admission fee for students with an ID. Fun fact: The UTD Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History has an office located at the DMA where research is conducted!
    • The Crow Museum of Asian Art, also located in the Dallas Arts District, features 600 pieces of art from across Asia. Every Tuesday through Sunday, visitors receive free admission from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fun fact: Dubbed the Jewel Box of the Arts District when it opened, this collection was acquired by UTD in 2019.
    • The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, located in Victory Park in downtown Dallas, features 11 permanent exhibits focusing on topics from astronomy to dinosaurs. General admission for the exhibits costs $20, and additional programs cost extra.
  • Galleria Mall: Shop, eat, or go ice-skating at the Galleria mall located at the intersection of Interstate 635 and the Dallas North Tollway in the North Dallas neighborhood. UTD students can get a discounted ticket of $8 to ice skate (which includes skate rental).

Near Campus:

  • Dark Hour Haunted House: Dark Hour is a local haunted house attraction, and is only a 15-minute drive from campus. During the Halloween season, they have a general admission exhibit and an additional specialty attraction. As you wait in line to enter, there are actors dressed up as witches, vampires and other ghouls who interact with guests. Once inside the building, there is a performance to watch as you wait in line to enter the exhibits. Dark Hour general admission takes you through a maze of haunted scenery, and lasts approximately 20 minutes. Take a study break and gather your friends to spend your Halloween in a haunted house!
  • Movie Theatres: There are several movie theaters near UTD, some of which provide discounts for students. Specifically, you can receive discounted tickets for AMC Yellow, Studio Movie Grill, Cinemark and the Angelika Film Center. These discounted tickets can be obtained in advance at the Comet Card Office in the SSA. For dinner and a movie, head to the Alamo Drafthouse, a 15-minute drive from campus and located in the Richardson Heights Shopping Center.
  • Arbor Hills Nature Preserve: This 200-acre park features trails, playgrounds and pavilions for a variety of outdoor activities. Visit to hike on dirt and concrete trails, use the wildlife as a subject for nature photography, or relax amongst the native scenery. It is located on Parker Rd in Plano and is a 20-minute drive from campus.

Shopping Centers:

  • Malls: Stonebriar Centre is located at the intersection of Preston Road and the Sam Rayburn Tollway in Frisco, and is a 25-minute drive from campus. The Shops at Willow Bend is located at the intersection of West Park Boulevard and Dallas North Tollway in West Plano, and is a 20-minute drive from campus.
  • Downtown Plano: Downtown Plano has an assortment of restaurants and other small businesses with a vintage and rustic atmosphere. It is a 15-minute drive from campus and located on 15th Street in Plano.
  • Legacy West: For a more upscale vibe, hit the Legacy West shopping center in Plano, which features a wide range of shops and restaurants. Legacy Hall, in particular, is an indoor rustic marketplace full of stalls with a variety of different cuisines. During the holiday season, Legacy West is beautiful to walk through with twinkling lights strung up on the buildings and trees.