Denton, Texas, known as the home to the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University, has more to offer than simply being a college town. With a rich history, bustling music and art scene, and tons of great eats this city is filled with hidden gems.
Take it from me, I have called Denton home for eight years now, and love it!
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Fun Things To Do In Denton
1. Chairy Orchard
Cost: Free things
Location: 1426 Churchill Dr, Denton, TX 76209
Nestled between two neighborhood homes, this interactive art installation is great for a fun photo shoot, or for kids who like exploring. Filled with an array of chairs of various sizes and types. This lot of land is the brainchild of two neighbors, Judy Smith and Anne Pearson who bought the lot adjoining their two properties, 30 years ago.
The Chairy Orchard sits on a floodway, so visiting during a rainy day, or after heavy rainfall isn’t advised. This quirky spot is a must-stop for those who like unique, funky places.
There is no cost to visit the Chairy Orchard; however, donations are accepted at a retro refrigerator near the fence line.
Visiting the Chairy Orchard is definitely one of the unique things to do in Denton.
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2. Little Chapel in the Woods
Cost: Free to tour
Location: 415 Chapel Dr, Denton, TX 76209
The Little Chapel in the Woods, located on the edge of Texas Woman’s University campus, the chapel is filled with beautiful stained glass windows, and symbolic art carved on the pews and featured in the brass lighting of “Women Ministering to Human Needs.”
The chapel, only 90 feet long and 24 feet wide, is a popular spot for intimate weddings in Denton. The university also provides discounts to alumna looking to get married there, or for military members.
Built during the depression as a project by the National Youth Administration, the chapel is also rich in history.
Not getting married? Don’t worry, you can still add this to your list of things to do in Denton!
The Little Chapel in the Woods is open for self-guided tours from 9 am – 8 pm daily unless an event is planned. If you would like to schedule a guided tour, call 940-898-3516 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find parking information on the university’s website.
3. Old Alton Bridge
Also known as Goat Man’s Bridge, this site is one of the most well-known haunted (supposedly) sites in Denton County.
The site is frequented by those looking to take photos along the bridge, or who are going for a hike along Old Alton Bridge Trail. Its historic architecture and rustic vibes make for a country-chic feel during the day, but at night it is eerie.
Built in the 1880s as a key trade path, the legend of the bridge’s haunts has many variations. However, the most popular story, and most probable is the story of an African American goat farmer, named Oscar Washburn, who lived nearby in the 1930s. He was well known for producing goats with superior cheeses, milk, meat, and hides.
When he, or someone else, decided to hang a sign on Old Alton Bridge directing travelers to the Goatman, a local group of Klu Klux Klansmen became infuriated. They stormed Washburn’s property and lynched him at Old Alton bridge.
However, when the heinous nightriders went down below the bridge to see what they had done, they found an empty noose. Panicked, the villainous men went back to Washburn’s home and burned it with his family inside.
Legend says, Oscar’s vengeful spirit still haunts the bridge, and if you knock on the bridge three times at midnight he will appear — making this spot one of the spookiest things to do in Denton. Paranormal chasers love to visit at night.
4. Quakertown House Museum
Cost: Free things
Location: 317 West Mulberry Street, Denton, TX 76201
Located in Denton County Historical Park, the Quakertown House Museum sits next to some of the county’s oldest homes. Built in 1904, the home is now the location of Denton County’s African American Museum, an honor that has been rightfully earned throughout the years.
Before moving to its current home, the house was originally located in the historic African American community of Quakertown. Quakertown Park’s beginnings stemmed from the 1870s when several “towns within the town” of Denton existed.
In the 1920s, the city of Denton began looking for a place to build fairgrounds, and prominent members of the city council decided Quakertown would be the ideal spot. So, without a say in the matter, the citizens were uprooted from their homes to make way for the park.
Much of this town’s history was erased until rediscovered in the early 2000s by historians. The home that now houses the museum, is one of the few to survive from the original location in Quakertown.
The museum features historical artwork, family photos, and other artifacts that detail the rich history of the community as a whole.
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5. The Bayless Selby House Museum
Cost: Free things
Location: 317 W Mulberry St, Denton, TX 76201
Situated inside Denton County Historical Park, alongside the Quakertown House, the Bayless Selby House Museum lets visitors take a peek into the life of Denton residents at the turn of the century.
During your visit to the historical park, you can learn the history of Denton prior to 1908, and see what daily life was like for residents by taking a peek at this historical Victorian home. The stunning piano in the music room, and the Eastlake style bedroom suite are both highlights of the tour and transport you back in time.
The Bayless Selby House Museum is open from 10 am to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, for self-guided tours. Guided tours of the museum are available on request.
Add the Bayless Selby House Museum to your list of things to do in Denton if you’re a history buff!
6. Community Market
Cost: Free things
Location: 317 West Mulberry Street, Denton, TX 76201
Heald every Saturday 9 am – 1 pm from April to November at 317 W. Mulberry St. the Denon County Community Market features crafts from local artisans, locally grown produce, colorful flowers/plants, honey, food truck vendors, live music, and more.
The market is within walking distance of Historic Denton County Courthouse and Downtown Denton Square for additional shopping and activities.
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7. Craft Beer
Location: Downtown Denton
Denton is known for many things, but something less known about the city is its craft beer scene. The number of microbreweries in the area has grown in recent years, so there’s no shortage of places to grab a good brewsky.
Denton Brewing Company, Eastside Drafthouse, and The Bearded Monk are a few of the local’s favorite spots.
What’s notable about each of these? Well, Eastside has 99 beers on tap, so if you can’t find something you like, you’re not trying. While The Bearded Monk lets you fill a growler and take it to go. Denton County Brewing Company features a taproom right to the brewhouse.
Checking out the local brew scene needs to be on everyone’s list of things to do in Denton.
8. Pascall’s Bar Speakeasy
Location: 122 N Locust, Denton, Tx 76201
If beer isn’t your thing, you can grab a delicious craft cocktail at Pascall’s.
Located in the Northeast corner of Denton’s Historic Square, Pascall’s Bar is a must-visit for anyone who loves specialty cocktails, speakeasy vibes, or history.
Situated in one of the oldest buildings in Denton, built during 1877, patrons enter the bar via a doorway on the sidewalk and travel up a narrow stairwell before approaching the interior door to the bar.
Pascall’s, named after the original proprietor (or so their website states), does not feature an exterior sign. So, unlike other speakeasies where you need a special password or knock, this one simply requires you to know where you’re going.
Pascall’s is located above Andy’s bar, and features turn-of-the-century décor inside that will transport you back to the 1920s.
If you’re a fan of martinis… we recommend the lavender martini or espresso martini. They are absolutely delish.
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9. North Texas Fair and Rodeo
Location: 2217 N Carroll Blvd, Denton, TX 76201
The North Texas State Fair and Rodeo takes place every August in Denton and should definitely be on your list of things to do in Denton if you are visiting during that time.
Located behind the Kroger, on SH 380, the fairgrounds feature carnival-like rides, rodeo shows, live music, and food galore.
Typical of any carnival or fair, a variety of contests and events also take place throughout the nine-day-long event, in Denton County.
The revenues generated from the event are utilized to maintain the facilities and continue the organization’s scholarship program, according to the NTFR website.
10. Food Trucks at Austin Street Truck Stop
Cost: Varies by item
Location: 208 N Austin St, Denton, TX 76201
If you do end up visiting Eastside, you will want to head out back, where the edge of the bar’s outdoor space meets Austin Street. There you will find Austin Street Truck stop — a plethora of delicious food trucks ready to satiate your hunger.
The Pickled Carrot, a frequent flyer at Austin Street, serves up Vietnamese fusion food. The truck is most popular for their v-fries which feature a boat of french fries, seasoned and topped with garlic aioli, hoisin, sriracha, peanuts, carrots, cilantro, daikon, and your choice of protein (though we recommend the pork).
Other great eats include The Saucy Hibachi (hibachi and teppanyaki street food), El Cucuy Burritos (California-style burritos), and Munchie’s Food Truck (classic snack favorites with a new twist).
Don’t worry about where to sit and grub down, because Austin Street Truck Stop has plenty of outdoor seating provided by Eastside.
Denton’s tourism website has a list of other great food trucks, and spots they frequent throughout the city.
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11. Apogee Stadium
Location: 1251 S. Bonnie Brae, Denton, TX 76205
If you visit Denton on a Saturday in the Fall, then catching a football game at Apogee Stadium should definitely be on your list of things to do in Denton.
Home of The University of North Texas Mean Green Eagles, the stadium can hold 31,000 fans, according to the university’s website.
Eat a hot dog or some good old-fashioned canned cheese nachos to fulfill those ballgame food cravings at the concession stand, or grab a UNT shirt to show your North Texas pride at the apparel store onsite.
12. Shop Local
Location: Downtown Denton
Surrounding the Denton County Courthouse, Denton’s Historic Downtown Square hosts a multitude of shops and local restaurants all within walking distance of each other.
Visit antique shops like the Mini Mall II, clothing boutiques like La Di Da, or traditional clothiers like JT Clothiers.
Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream (yes, they make the ice cream in the house) is sure to curb your sweet tooth. The ice cream maker has more than 150 flavors, with their menu featuring approximately 50 flavor choices at any one time. Our favorite is the Courthouse Pecan.
If ice cream isn’t your jam, Atomic Candy is an old-timey candy store featuring hard-to-find favorites like Candy Cigarettes, Zotz, Warheads, and other nostalgic and imported candies.
Shopping the area, and especially the Courthouse Square, is one of my favorite things to do in Denton!
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13. Denton Historic Campus Theatre
Location: 214 W Hickory St., Denton, TX 76201
You will find the gorgeous Campus Theatre located on Hickory St. Built in 1909 and now cared for by the Greater Denton Arts Council, the theater is home to Theatre Denton (previously Denton Community Theatre), a local group of thespians who host live performances.
The Denton Arts Council supports local Denton artists by showcasing their art at local events and the universities in town.
Catch one of their upcoming shows by visiting theatredenton.com. Ticket prices vary; however, prices range from $15 for students and children to $25 for adult tickets.
This performing arts venue offers more than just live plays. Every year the theatre hosts Denton Black Film Festival, a film, music, art, poetry slam, and workshop event for the community.
Exhibitors from across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex submit their work annually to the festival in an effort to be featured.
DBFF takes place each January and has been known to headline artists like Grammy Award Winner, Kirk Whalum.
Pricing for the film festival varies based on the ticket package purchased. Ticket sales benefit the Denton African-American Scholarship Foundation.
14. Denton Firefighters’ Museum
Cost: Free tings
Location:332 E. Hickory St.Denton, TX 76201
The Denton Firefighters’ Museum is located inside the lobby of the city’s historic Central Fire Station. It features fascinating history and memorabilia dating back to the 1800s the museum takes visitors on a journey through the evolution of firefighting throughout the last 150 years.
See a hose cart from the 1800s, a ladder truck from 1935, and fire extinguishers, helmets and other gear dating back to the 1920s during your visit to the Denton Firefighter’s Museum.
The Denton Firefighters’ Museum is open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday and should definitely be on your list of things to do in Denton, TX.
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15. Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center
Location: 3310 Collins Rd, Denton, TX 76208
The Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center is, located on Lake Lewisville’s upper floodplain, in Denton.
Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center is one of the top attractions in the Denton area for those who love the outdoors. Featuring 10-miles of hiking trails, and scenic beauty all around, this area is perfect for those who want to take in nature.
Wetland’s Trail features man-made wetlands and creatures such as waterfowl, herons, and beavers. Whereas, High Trail features thick forest terrain. The largest loop of the trail system spans 3.2 miles.
When adding this to your list of things to do in Denton, keep in mind that visitors of Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center are asked to stay on the marked trails and not disturb the nature that lives there.
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16. Take the Train
It may seem strange that one of our things to do in Denton is to leave the city. But, Denton County Transit Authority makes it easy to head to nearby cities like Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas, or even Fort Worth for an adventure (and by jumping on a connecting line of course).
Visit the Denton County Transit Authority website to plan your route and trip! Day passes range from $3.00 – $12.00 depending on if you plan to stay local or travel in the North Texas region.
17. South Lakes Park
Location: 556 Hobson Ln., Denton, TX 76208
A visit to South Lakes Park is perfect for those of you that want to spend some time outdoors during your visit to Denton, Texas, especially if you are into outdoor games.
The well kept park is extremely clean and is the perfect place for a picnic date or romantic dinner.
It is also home to sporting fields, a playground, picnic tables, and a nice pond that is perfect for fishing.
18. Big Sandy Boat Ramp
Location: 267 Lakeshore Rd., Shady Shores, TX 76208
Another outdoor activity to add to your list of Denton things to do is the historic lake, Big Sandy Boat Ramp.
Enjoy a picnic with beautiful lakeside scenery or grab a kayak and hit the water, the choice is yours at this historical park.
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19. Parker House
Location: 855 W. University Dr., Denton, TX 76208
Anyone in the mood for a haunted house? Well, if so, then you are in the right place. Denton is home to one of the fun haunted houses in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the Parker House.
The Parker House is a top tourist destination and one of the fun things do do in Denton thanks to the zombie paintball ride! Everyone loves the zombie ride, so don’t miss it.
Please visit their website for current hours and pricing information.
20. Pilot Knoll Park
Location: 267 Lakeshore Rd., Shady Shores, TX 76208
If you want to do some lakeside camping during your visit to Denton, then consider heading to Pilot Knoll Park on the shores of the inbuilt Lewisville Lake.
As one of the top tourist destinations in the city, people love to visit Pilot Knoll to stargaze. That means that you usually have as many photographs as you do families staring up at the night sky.
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21. Quakertown Park
Location: 700 Oakland St., Denton, TX 76208
Located just off of McKinney Street on Oakland St., Quakertown Park is a 32-acre park housing numerous amenities for visitors to enjoy.
This Lone Star State park is home to bridges, a .45-mile walking trail, picnic tables, and an amphitheater and stage. It is the perfect place to enjoy some time outside during your trip to Denton.
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About The Author
Tiffany Ditto is a marketing specialist and content creator in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Ditto holds a Master of Science in Digital Communication Analytics and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism both from the University of North Texas. When not working, she enjoys spending time with my spunky Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Riley, and rambunctious Bengal Cat, Lilura.