There’s no doubt that the Dallas skyline is something the city treasures, but there are some architectural gems in the city that can’t be seen from the lines of buildings on the horizons. Landscape architecture in Dallas is every bit as unique as the rest of the city’s architecture, and if you haven’t been taking note of it, you’ve been missing out. To help get you started, here are five parks in Dallas that are just too great to miss.

 

Dragon Park

Despite every single park-related piece out there calling this one of Dallas’ hidden gems, it remains a quiet and often unnoticed spot, which is both a blessing and a curse. A curse because more people really should know about this Uptown treasure but a blessing that keeps it from overcrowding and keeps this small, serene space open and accessible. Aside from the lush seasonal foliage that makes this park look and feel bigger than it really is, statues of gargoyles, angels, fairies, and of course dragons dot the landscape, along with a stunning pergola-like structure in the center that’s the perfect spot to sit for a moment, or even steal a romantic minute away from the lights and sounds of the city.

 

Klyde Warren Park

If Dragon Park is the city’s best-kept park secret, Klyde Warren is worst-kept secret, but that’s ok. This arch-lined scape is favorite hangout for much of Dallas, straddling the Downtown and Uptown areas and sitting like a lid directly over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway. It’s an incredible feat of engineering, and for that reason alone it’s worth a visit. Factor in that you can also play chess, catch an outdoor screening of a classic movie, get striking views of downtown, and find some of the city’s best food trucks parked along the park’s edges for a quick bite or an impromptu picnic, and you’ve got yourself a feature too good to miss.

 

White Rock Lake Dog Park

This dog park takes the natural look to heart and gives visitors of both two and four legged varieties plenty of space to play or sit as the mood strikes them. There’s always at least a few other dogs to make friends with roaming around, and with ample seating for owners and water on site, there’s plenty to keep your pooch entertained. Play areas are also divided to make sure the little guys don’t get trampled by an overly-enthusiastic big breed, which is a huge stress-reliever for all owners.

 

Fair Park

Fair Park isn’t quite like the other all-natural parks in Dallas. Site of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition, today it’s home to the Dallas Aquarium, Texas Discovery Garden, a music hall, a planetarium, and eight museums. It’s also where you can catch the Texas State Fair every October. More importantly, it’s the only intact and unaltered pre-1950’s World's Fair site in the US, and it’s stunning Deco features and architecture make it well worth the look.

 

White Rock Lake Park

A little ways out from the city center is a reservoir with some to the best views of the city you’ll find anywhere, and a stunning park alongside it featuring almost ten miles of hiking and biking trails, a cultural center, the Dallas Arboretum, and a preserved wetland area. It’s the sort of park where nature does the talking without too much interference, and for that alone, it’s worth a good long look, maybe even a full day trip. If not a whole day, though, at least don’t skip the view of the city backlit by the setting sun.