Denton is a college town in Texas within the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. The city is located about 40 miles from Dallas, 37 miles from Fortworth and 47 miles from Arlington, Texas, making it a main hub for north central Texas. It’s most well-known for its live music scene and two universities, the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University.
Denton is also home to the Northwest Lineman College, where Jordan attended and graduated from last spring. His work was recently contracted for a big job out here, allowing me to spend some time exploring what the area has to offer. To me, the city of Denton doesn’t feel like you’re in Texas, it feels like you’re somewhere in Southern California, in a college town with people from all over the country and even world. Its breweries, food trucks and nightlife seem to be its main draws, along with the Mean Green Football team (but I haven’t been around during fall to see them in action).
From breweries to outdoor adventures to historic landmarks, here are the top places I’ve discovered in and around Denton, Texas so far!
1. Courthouse-on-the-square museum
The Denton County Courthouse is like the giant centerpiece of the historic downtown square. It was built in 1896 and today it serves as a museum filled with exhibits that showcase Denton’s history. Admission is FREE!
2. Old Alton Bridge
A.k.a, Goatman’s Bridge. Legend has it, the bridge is haunted by a half-man, half-goat called Goatman. There once was a farmer with lots of goats named Oscar Washburn who moved to a property right across the bridge. Washburn, become known as “Goatman” by locals. There was even a sign on Alton Bridge that said, “This way to the Goatman”. One day, Klansmen crossed the bridge and kidnapped Washburn and went to hang him from Old Alton Bridge. They threw him over the side of the bridge but when they looked down, Goatman was gone. Locals warn that if you cross the bridge at night without headlights (as the Klansmen are said to have done), you will be met on the other side by the Goatman. Dun, dun dunnn.
3. Gnomes Cones
The cutest all-natural, gnome shaped snow cones! Find this little stop downtown on Elm Street. When you walk inside, you’ll feel like you’ve just walked into a gnomes home, with adorable decor on the walls and a hut to place your orders at.
4. Recycled Books
A three story used bookstore inside an old purple opera house that was built back in 1899! It’s located downtown and has an impressive and constantly changing collection of books, vinyl records, cassette tapes, CD’s and more!
5. Jupiter House
This has been my favorite coffee shop to work remote at. I love grabbing a cold brew and working upstairs. They also have really good bagel sandwiches. Yum! They are located downtown as well.
6. Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center
A beautiful little hidden gem for nature lovers. There are several trails to explore within Clear Creek and tons of wildlife inhabit the area. Four legged friends are also welcome!
7. Greenbelt Corridor Park
Greenbelt Corridor Park is a flat, straight trail that extends 20 miles along the Elm Fork Branch of the Trinity River. It’s part of the Ray Roberts State Park and is a great place to go for a trail run or walk your dogs. It is also accessible by bike and horseback.
8. The Dive
The Dive is a restaurant that offers a great beer selection, live music and a beautiful patio overlooking Unicorn Lake. Yes, I said Unicorn Lake.
9. Ray Roberts Lake State Park
Ray Roberts Lake State Park is located just outside of Denton in Pilot Point. There’s an entrance fee of $7 dollars per vehicle that allows you access to camping, nature trails and of course, the lake. We recommend visiting via the Isle Du Bois unit, which takes you directly to the man made beach. It’s definitely no California beach, but it’s very cute and a popular spot on a hot day.
10. Dan’s Silverleaf
Looking for a live music venue to get your true taste of Texas? Dan’s Silverleaf has everything (please tell me you read that in a Stephan from SNL voice…If you know, you know). Enjoy unique artists and different music styles every weekend and occasionally on weekdays.
11. Pilot Knoll Park
Pilot Knoll Park is a beautiful state park on Lake Lewisville in Highland Village just outside of Denton. It’s $10 per vehicle to get in. You’ll see many boats and jet skis zipping by and families spending their afternoons on the water. I recommend renting a paddle board or a kayak and enjoying the open lake!
12. Wiggly Field Dog Park
Our pups loved it here! There’s a nice dog park with green grass and plenty of shade with a trail in the back that leads to a little body of water. Although, I was warned that water moccasins love to call the area home and now I’m a bit nervous to go back there. EEEK.
13. Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch
Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch is a non-profit refuge center near Lake Ray Roberts in Pilot Point. Their mission is to provide the North Texas community with the opportunity to experience rare and endangered exotic wildlife in a unique and personal setting. Admission is $15 per person and you can purchase food to feed the animals for $3 per bag or 4 bags for $10.
14. Bayless-Selby House Museum
Located on Mulberry Street just south of downtown square, the Bayless-Selby House contains items and artifacts that give a glimpse in to what life was like in Denton County during the 19th century. It’s also believed to be haunted by the ghost of Samuel Bayless, the original owner of the home.
15. Downtown Denton’s Craft Beer District
When it comes to beer, Denton knows what’s up. Find endless breweries to explore throughout the city and if you’re looking to do a little beer crawl, head to Downtown Denton’s Craft Beer District. Here you’ll find Denton Beer Company (our favorite), Bearded Monk, Harvest House, Barley and Board, Howling Mutt Brewing Co. and more!
16. Austin Street Truck Stop
I didn’t get my own pictures of this place because I was too busy stuffing my face so here’s a shot I stole from their Facebook page. Austin Street Truck Stop is exactly what it sounds like, a little square filled with parked food trucks! It also happens to be located adjacent to the best breweries so you can grab a bite to eat and throw back a few cold ones.
I’m extremely thankful I’ve had the opportunity to explore so much of Denton in the last month. It really is such a pretty and fun city filled with so much history. If you ever find yourself in the area, be sure to refer back to this little list for ideas and inspiration.
As always, travel on my friends.