Now that winter has finally settled in, it’s not uncommon for our region to experience cold, blustery days, the threat of snow and ice — and a near-immediate swing back to sunshine and mild temperatures. Such unpredictable weather means it can be hard to plan out a January or February weekend in North Texas. However, Downtown Dallas is prepared for just about any climactic eventuality. This winter, discover the many fun activities (both indoor and outdoor) our great city’s urban center has to offer.

If it’s a genuinely cold day, go out and stay in simultaneously with a visit to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. In addition to its permanent exhibit halls — which feature hands-on activities, interactive kiosks and educational games — the Perot is also home to The Hoglund Foundation Theater, a National Geographic Experience. The theater is screening two exploratory films through May 2019. “America’s Musical Journey 3D” takes viewers on a tune-filled tour of the best music cities in the country. Meanwhile, “Oceans 3D, Our Blue Planet” is a global odyssey that gives audiences a close-up view of the mysteries of the deep. Each film is marked appropriate for all ages, and tickets (ranging from $6 – $8) can be purchased ahead of time.

If you’d rather explore a free indoor activity, then consider stopping by the Dallas Museum of Art. There, you can spend a leisurely winter afternoon touring two free exhibits the DMA’s curators unveiled in December of 2018. “Modernity and the City,” which runs until April, explores the second wave of the Industrial Revolution and how new technology influenced European art. “Women Artists in Europe from the Monarchy to Modernism,” which runs until June, gathers work from female artists active in Europe between the late 18th and early 20th Centuries. The collection sheds new light on the challenges and triumphs faced by these accomplished individuals, each of whom built a unique practice and professional career long before women were widely admitted into fine art academies.

We may still be months away from the arrival of safari temperatures, but, if the forecast is looking amenable to outdoor fun, the Dallas Zoo is offering Penguin Days with only $8 admission. True to theme, the family can learn all about African penguins through January 31 thanks to special daily keeper chats and feedings at 10:30 a.m. at the Don Glendenning Penguin Cove. Of course, the zoo features plenty of indoor learning locations as well, from the Bug U! to the Jake L. Hamon Gorilla Conservation Research Station to the Highland Hippo Hut. 

The Dallas Farmers Market is another great destination if you want to mix indoor and outdoor activities. Start by browsing the local artisanal fare for sale at The Shed, the Market’s open-air pavilion. If you start to feel the chill, then duck inside The Market itself. This sprawling indoor food hall features even more vendors as well as multiple restaurants. You can even enjoy a cup of hot cocoa (or coffee) while taking a break from shopping. And foodies take note: The Market will host a Texas Wine and Cheese Tasting on January 19. Admission to this ticketed event is $35 and grants attendees the opportunity to sample vintages from up to 10 wineries, chat with the winemakers, enjoy live music and take in all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Texas. 

Even in winter, Dallas can experience a day defined by clear blue skies, crisp (but not frigid) temperatures and gentle breezes. You can make the most of this perfection by stopping by the Dallas Arboretum. Although the Arboretum is a charming destination any time of year, it’s never more affordable than in January, when all guests can take advantage of the month-long $5 admission fee. Spread out over 66 acres of finely groomed lawns and gardens, the Arboretum is a place you can revisit over after over, each time encountering something new. Do note that the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden will be closed for renovation until February 22 and remember to purchase parking ahead of your visit to save even more money on this fun outdoor activity.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Dallas come wintertime? Share your recommendations with us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter