Denton, which once stood as a lone town on the prairie, has become almost an extention of the suburbs of Dallas and Fort Worth now, but there is a whole lot of fun waiting where I-35E and I-35W meet! In an almost annual summer trek, we headed to the home of the Mean Green to spend the day!
With much angst from my children, we started our morning with an early hike, because that’s the ONLY time to hike in July in Texas. The Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center sits on the Eastern side of Denton, just above Lewisville Lake, and the Elm Fork of the Trinity River cuts through it.
We hiked the short Prairie Trail, which offers little shade later in the day, then headed down to see the quarry.
This FREE park offers 7 miles of hiking trails, much of it along the Trinity River. The Park also offers classes on gardening, guided hikes, birds and more! Click HERE to visit their website.
Leashed dogs are allowed on the trails.
Currently, there are not bike trails, although they will allow bikes on the hiking trail.
603 N. Locust St. Denton
Sweaty and STARVING, we headed to one of our favorites, the Loco Cafe! Not only is there food delicious, but they have some amazing drinks, too! I’m not a coffee drinker, but the aroma of their Loco Coffee with roasted pecans hits you as soon as you walk inside! They also have these amazing flavors that they will add to sodas and teas, called Shaken Teas. Click HERE to visit their website. and see their menu! Their 603 Salsa is pretty awesome, too!
We hurried through breakfast and headed to the University of North Texas. My oldest son is a senior this year, and we spent a good portion of our summer touring colleges. I think he knows where he wants to go, but I really enjoy the tours, and I want to be sure he knows all his options!
The University of North Texas campus is amazing! They offer a 2 hr walking and tram tour. Afterwards, we took a guided tour of the Student Union, because food is going to be one of the his major deciding factors of picking a college. We were also able to get a private tour the dorms, and the Environmental Sciences building, as well as a “tour” of the bookstore!
Yes, I had all 3 kids, which is a pain. Tours I have taken with just my son are really more enjoyable, but I think my younger children are getting just as much out of it as he is, and it’s never too early to start preparing them for college! Click HERE to visit their website.
Inside the UNT Environmental Sciences building is the Elm Fork Education Center, open to the public. During our visit it was closed for what looked like work on displays. To learn more, click HERE to visit their website.
The Sky Theater Planetarium is also in the Environmental Sciences building. They offer shows to the public each Saturday at noon, 2pm and 8pm. Click HERE to visit their website.
My daughter got to choose lunch, which ALWAYS means pizza! Pizza Snob is located just a couple of blocks from the Historic Denton County Courthouse Square.
Made with fresh and yummy dough, you watch they pile your pizza with up to 4 toppings. They also offer Maine Root Soda, which isn’t as good as Bishop Arts Soda, but I do like their Prickly Pear. Click HERE to visit their website, which isn’t as good as visiting the real thing.
I had the Goat Cheese and Bacon Tortellini, which was incredible. My kids had the cheese pizza. Sigh.
We needed to walk off that pizza, and we headed down the street to the Denton County Courthouse Square. I love this old courthouse, and all the fun shops that surround it! While we didn’t have time, they also offer tours of the courthouse.
Of course, my kids were heading straight for Beth Marie’s Ice Cream! We love their ice cream, made in house! It’s such a cute little ice cream shop, and I love that they serve it in glass bowls, too! While they now have several locations, and you can buy it at many stores, I still think this one is the best! Click HERE to visit their website for more information.
Mad World Records
If you love vinyl, then this is the place of your dreams! They have tons of records, and will help you pick our a new favorite! Click HERE to visit their facebook page.
Denton has long been known as a great town for live music, and the guys here can also help point you in the right direction.
My youngest loved that a guy was standing on a car in front of the store, singing All Star by Smash Mouth. He only knows it as the opening song from Shrek, so a long dialogue of Shrek quotes ensued.
Discover Denton Welcome Center
111 W. Hickory St.
Right next door is the Discover Denton Welcome Center, where we had to go in to look at all the Denton branded merchandise, such as T-shirts that read, “Oh No You Denton”! Loved it!
It was also fun to watch as they aired their Denton Radio Show in a clear glass sound booth in the front of the store!
If you’re looking to make more a day of your stay, they can help you with lodging and more. Click HERE to visit their website.
My daughter and I LOVE Ghost Tours! Keep an eye out, because I bet I’ll be making the drive back sometime this fall! Click HERE to visit their website.
Just a nod to LSA Burgers, which are amazing! We skipped it this time, but had my son been choosing, this is where we would have eaten! Click HERE to visit their website.
105 W. Hickory Street
This is such as great candy shop, that you almost WANT to give them your money before you even look around!
When I was a kid, a trip to the candy store meant a drive down to Sellers Bros. Convenience Store. This is crazy-good!
Oh, Grumpy Cat!!
They also had a whole display of nothing but bacon-flavored candy….
After we filled up our basket with nostalgic candy, my son came running to me with his new finger appendages!
Click HERE to visit their website.
More Fun Comics and Games
103 W. Hickory Street
An hour later, and we’re still on Hickory Street, and judging by how quickly my son ran inside this cute Comic Book store, I wouldn’t be leaving anytime soon! I lucked out and he was coaxed out with a booster pack of trading cards!
Click HERE to visit their facebook page.
You can tell a lot about a town square by their old bank building. I love this one, which is now divided into offices.
106 N. Locust St.
As I said, I’m not a coffee drinks, but we needed a little break, so we went to Jupiter House! While we just grabbed a couple of bottles of water, my daughter, however, loves coffee, and definitely gave their iced coffee 2 thumbs up!
Downtown MIni Mall
**** The Downtown Mini Mall is currently closed due to a fire. ****
108 N. Locust St.
You can find everything you never knew you were looking for at the HUGE Downtown Mini Mall, which actually takes up almost an entire block!
Each Christmas, my kids give my Mother in Law a flying pig, and we spend the next 11 1/2 months looking for another one! We couldn’t believe our luck when we spotted this one! Well, as I said, they have EVERYTHING!
200 N. Locust
One of my favorite book stores, they are HUGE!
My 9-year-old says that in case of a zombie apocalypse, this is where he wants to go!
I love that they have a display of local authors!
For a great list of local, DFW writers, click HERE.
We really enjoyed looking through all the books, and of course, the travel books!
Afterwards, we had fun taking pictures with this fun mural on the side of the building!
Downtown Denton actually has a ton of murals! I didn’t have time to check them all out, but the Dentonite has a great list! Click HERE to read it!
There are more fun shops, like the Garden Gate and The Palm Tree Boutique, but my kids were done shopping!
Couldna, Woulda, and Shoulda, but didn’t… check out these fun things to do!
My kids were so bummed that Battlefield is only open Fri-Sunday, but believe me when I say, we’ll be back! It’s a fun Nerf Gun gym, where you can bring your own or use theirs! This is absolute genius! Click HERE to visit their website.
My kids reminded me we haven’t been skating once all summer, and Lone Star Indoor Sports in Denton offers fun roller skating, but not on Mondays!
Summit Climbing Gym220 W. Oak St.
What my kids really wanted to do was CLIMB! Summit Climbing Gym in Denton has tons of climbing walls, mostly BOULDERING, which is what my son prefers!
Unlike traditional climbing and repelling, bouldering is usually done on lower walls, and without ropes, harness or a belayer. Soft mats are used for when you fall, and you’ll fall.
We had a blast! Click HERE to visit their facebook page!
Before we left, we had to check out the NEW WAVE POOL at Water Works Park. If you arrive after 4pm on weekdays, they have reduced pricing! We had a great time keeping cool in the heat of the day! Click HERE to read more.
More Fun Things To Do in Denton
If you’re coming in from Dallas, skip the parking and ride the A Train. The station is in Downtown Denton! Click HERE to visit their website.
Campus Theater, built in 1949, is now the home of the Greater Denton Arts Council, and has interesting exhibitions and events. Click HERE to visit their website.
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