Mesquite is in the suburbs of Dallas, and is also the 12th most-populated city in the entire state. Since Mesquite is at the crossroads of four major highways, the chances are pretty likely that you’ll end up here at some point, if you’re doing any traveling in Texas. But what’s there to do on this little spot in the map, and what are the draws you may find here, that Dallas just doesn’t have? Here are 25 things you’ll want to be sure you’re adding to your itinerary when you’re planning your Texas vacation.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Mesquite:
1. Mesquite Rodeo
They don’t call Mesquite the Rodeo Capital of Texas for nothing! This pro rodeo operates during traditional rodeo season, spring through fall, and is the second-most televised rodeo in the world.
The rodeo has changed hands numerous times since its initial creation, but it now belongs to the Camelot Sports & Entertainment company, which bought the rodeo from the owner of the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Stars, in 2009. Since, they’ve put a lot of money into cleaning up the place, adding high-def video boards and ramping up the luxury in the suites.
They also added a private restaurant for members-only.
Famous faces that have graced the rodeo’s doors? Former presidents Reagan and W. Bush, as well as Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
2. Devil’s Bowl Speedway
Another adrenaline-focused sport that you’ll find in Mesquite is racing, but this is no NASCAR track.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway offers a half-mile, outdoor dirt track for all types of vehicle racing and competitions.
The racing season runs much like that of the rodeo, from the spring through the mid-fall, with races on Saturday nights only.
They host several big events, like the Annual Winter Nationals and the Annual Lonestar 600, but they also have special nights throughout the season for attractions like fireworks.
3. Dallas Marshals
Dallas football isn’t only about the Dallas Cowboys. (Well, it is, but here’s another option if you’re not quite feeling the blue and silver). The Dallas Marshals are the city’s own arena football team, and they play at Mesquite Arena in Mesquite.
The Marshals play as part of the 11-team Champions Indoor Football League, and they even have their own dance and cheerleading squad, led by a former Dallas Mavericks Dancer, that performs during the halftime shows.
The Marshals have seven home games a year, and the season starts in February.
4. Mesquite Arts Center
If you’re not really into sports and you’d rather enjoy some local culture, head on over to the Mesquite Arts Center, where you can enjoy a variety of different performances and exhibits all year round.
Check the calendar before you go to see what’ll be on while you’re in town.
5. Public Art in Mesquite
If the weather is nice and there’s nothing on at the Mesquite Arts Center that catches your fancy, maybe you’d like to roam around the city and catch some of the public art displays.
The Mesquite Arts Council and the Mesquite City Council have both banded together to promote public art pieces scattered throughout town.
There’s also the Art Around Town program, which provides temporary sculpture exhibits at select locations.
You can look up either online to find out where you can expect to spot these public art displays.
6. Mesquite Golf Club
Not keen on watching others play your sports, and would rather get out there and get your hands dirty yourself? Well, you may not quite get your hands dirty with this sport, but you will get in a good workout and enjoy the beautiful scenery at the Mesquite Golf Club.
Enjoy 154 acres and 18 holes, perfect for both golf pros and newbs.
You can book your tee time as much as six days in advance, and then head on over to the par 71 course with beautiful tree-lined fairways.
The on-site Pro Shop has everything you need if you’re an out-of-town guest — balls, tees, gloves and more.
The bar and grill serves up refreshments, snacks, sandwiches, hot dogs and hamburgers during your golf game, and a beverage cart stays on the course while you play, so you can always grab a cool drink when you need it.
7. Florence Ranch Homestead
This Texas historic landmark was first built in part by the Florence family, in 1871. The house was then expanded in the 1890s, at a time when the Florence family owned as much as 730 acres.
Now, the area is known as Meadow View Farm.
The second generations of Florences were very active in the community, with the son Emet becoming known as a leading breeder of both Percheron horses and Hampshire sheep.
His wife, Perle, was the very first woman to have a spot on the Mesquite Parks Board, and she also organized a library in town and was very active in not only the community of Mesquite, but also of Dallas.
It would be their child and grandchild who would donate the homestead to the City of Mesquite in the late 80s.
Now, the home is a great example of rural Texan architecture in the 1800s.
It partially acts as an educational museum.
8. Opal Lawrence Historical Park
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Opal Lawrence Historical Park is setting to the Lawrence homestead, which was first conceived in 1874. The home is in the Texas prairie vernacular styling and has had very few changes since it was originally built.
You can even still see many of the historic outbuildings, like the smokehouse, root cellar, wash house and two barns.
There are also some chicken coops.
Members of the Lawrence family lived in the home until 1995. This last family member left the home to the City of Mesquite in his will.
But the highlight of this home is the rare painted ceilings, which depict rural life in Texas.
9. The Rows of Texas
If some shopping is on your to-do list for your Mesquite vacation, look no further than The Rows of Texas.
This district is made up of, of course, rows, with more than 100 different restaurants on Restaurant Row, which is four miles long, and literally hundreds of shopping options on Retail Row.
It’s a very convenient spot, too, as the Mesquite Arena is right next door on Rodeo Row.
No matter what you’re craving for dinner, or what you want to buy, you’ll find it here.
10. Celebration Station
Traveling with kids? This is the perfect place to head to make sure they have an awesome time during your visit to Mesquite.
An attraction park, you’ll find an arcade, batting cages, bumper boats, go-karts, eurobungy, laser tag, mini golf, paintball and even carnival-type rides.
They cater to just about every age, so you can take the entire family along.
They have different specials every day of the week, so you’ll want to check out their online specials page before you head over, so you can make sure you’re going on the day that best fits your needs.
Want to ride (and ride and ride) the go-karts? Then you’ll want to go on Monday, when they have unlimited go-kart rides for only $12. Need to grab dinner while you’re there? Maybe go on a Friday, when you can get a large pizza, pitcher of soda, $15 in game play and four all-day ride passes for unlimited go-karts, bumper boats and their train, all for just $99.
11. Butterfly Trail
Considered one of Mesquite’s natural treasures, the Paschall Park Butterfly Trail is a work in progress where you can find native plant fields, wildflower meadows and a large quantity of butterflies.
The trail highlights the relationship between plants and wildlife, and gives guests the opportunity to learn about the local butterfly population and what affects a butterfly habitat.
Make a small gift of as little as $5 to the trail and be listed as a sponsor, and help the park reach its goal of continually increasing the local butterfly population.
12. Town East Mall
Not just for shopping, this mall also provides a little trivia for movie buffs.
The 1971-built mall really helped grow the town, but it received a little touch of fame in 1978, when the mall was used to film portions of the movie, Cotton Candy, directed by Ron Howard.
Now, you can find 164 stores there, including all your favorites.
Anchor stores include Macy’s, JCPenney, Dillard’s and Sears, and some of the larger stores you’ll find are H&M, Victoria’s Secret, Finish Line, f.y.e, Forever 21 and Hollister.
The most popular restaurant attached to the mall is a BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery.
13. Mesquite Heritage Trail
Want to get out and get active? Go to the Mesquite Heritage Trail, which is the city’s largest recreational facility.
There are a little over four miles of paved trails and sidewalks, as well as three trailheads, an exercise station and a pedestrian bridge.
The Heritage Trail is a large part of the hike and bike trail system, which connects residents all over the city to popular spots such as the Mesquite Golf Club, schools, shopping and more.
14. Xcape Adventures
Try to find your way out of one of four escape rooms! Which will you choose? In one, a pirate captain has stolen your identity, and you’re forced to climb aboard a pirate ship to retrieve the precious family heirloom that the pirate stole from you — you have to find it and get out before he comes back.
In the next, a mad scientist is carrying out some human experiments, and you may be next if you don’t rescue the doctor’s sane assistant and escape.
Maybe you’d prefer to solve an impossible mission, as the formula to pure energy has fallen into the wrong hands! Or perhaps you and your group of friends are perfect to help stop a worldwide medical epidemic.
Whatever it is you decide to take on as your challenge, you’ll be up against the masterminds who created Xcape Adventures.
15. Painting with a Twist
Wine plus painting plus a murder mystery? It doesn’t get better than that! Enjoy an evening of painting, while you share a bottle of wine with your travel companions, all led by professionals who can help you learn a little about painting, so you go home with a fun takeaway that you’re ready to hang on your wall! However, the studio stresses that it’s totally a relaxed environment and it’s all about having a good time, no matter how advanced your painting skills might be.
On select nights, they also offer a murder mystery theme, and each painter gets to play a special character.
16. Dad’s Broadway Skateland
Enjoy a blast from the past, as you and your friends skate around the rink at the top skating rink in Mesquite, since 1961. Enjoy great music, a fun atmosphere and tons of skaters all having a good time.
Not so sure of your skating skills? You can easily book a lesson, and learn all the fundamentals of roller skating (plus even learn how to backwards skate!). The class is only $8, and promises to result in a skill that can help you with your self-confidence, stress management and more.
17. Mesquite Memorial Stadium
High school football is a big deal in Texas.
A BIG DEAL. In some cases, high schools in Texas have nicer football stadiums than many college teams around the country.
Anyone can attend a high school football game, so maybe stop by and see what all the hype is about, and why this sport is so beloved at this level for so many families in the state.
18. Mesquite Community Theatre
Enjoy a night at the theatre, and see some truly talented amateur actors on the stage at the Mesquite Community Theatre.
First formed in 1983, this non-profit is located within the same building as the Mesquite Arts Center.
Check their calendar to see what’s playing during the upcoming season, but you’ll be sure to find a mix of all genres, both old and new.
Past plays have included Little Shop of Horrors, Always a Bridesmaid, Once Upon a Mattress and more.
19. Spellman Museum of Forney History
While you’re in the suburban area of Mesquite, hop on over to the neighboring suburb of Forney to see the Spellman Museum of Forney History.
The museum offers a ton of history on the entire area, from pre-history eras to post-WWII. Topics of the various exhibits include Native American life, wildlife, the early settlers and the Texan agricultural lifestyle.
20. The House of Gyros
Frequently named one of the best ethnic restaurants in Mesquite, this Greek favorite is far from what you’d expect to find in Texas, but it’s a fun discovery.
Often called a hidden gem or a diamond in the rough, everything is made to order, so there’s a little bit of a wait, but it’s well worth it.
The gyros are delicious, and you may just get a little something on the house, as the wait staff is very attentive, generous and hospitable.
21. Posados Cafe
A local Texan chain that’s not to be missed, this is more like what you’d probably expect to eat while in Texas, and you’ll be wonderfully satisfied when you leave.
The full-service Mexican restaurant has been around for 30-something odd years, and the menu reflects many years of perfecting everything right to, well, perfection.
Enjoy Tex Mex plates, tacos, seafood dishes, sopas, queso, all your favorites and everything in between.
22. Mesquite BBQ
Obviously you’ve got to get some barbecue while you’re in Texas, because until you’ve had Texan barbecue…you simply haven’t had good barbecue.
Mesquite BBQ is the longtime favorite, with lots of pulled pork, sausage, brisket and more, all in a very quaint, mom-and-pop style storefront that’s nothing fancy, but they don’t place their emphasis on the aesthetic — it’s all about the food.
23. Westlake Sports Center
Another outdoor adventure spot, you can get in a good game of tennis or even try your hand at archery while you’re at the Westlake Sports Center.
It has lighted and covered courts, so you can enjoy your game even when it’s dark or the weather isn’t optimal, and the archery range has eight lanes.
24. El Fenix Famous Mexican Restaurant
Another highly popular Tex Mex chain is El Fenix Famous Mexican Restaurant.
They serve up heaping platters of Mexican food like you’ve never tasted before — because it’s not Mexican, it’s Tex Mex! Ask any Texan on your trip, and they’ll tell you there’s a stark difference.
Make sure to order a margarita!
25. Bell’s Better Burger
This little side-of-the-road stand is rural dining at its finest.
Pull up, you order directly from the car hop and then they bring it out to you when your order is done.
It’s totally nostalgic and totally old-fashioned Americana.
Beyond their Texas burgers, they’re also serving up southern favorites like catfish platters, huge onion rings and great milkshakes.