Arlington, Texas is nestled right between Fort Worth and Dallas. Known for prominent attractions like the AT&T Stadium and River Legacy Park, Arlington also boasts an abundance of hidden gems. Look forward to exploring lesser-known points of interest like the planetarium and Crystal Canyon Natural Area. After settling into your Arlington vacation rental, venture out to explore the greatest secret spots in the city.

1. Dyno Rock

On those days when it gets too hot outside to do anything very active, stop at Dyno Rock, an indoor climbing center located in central Arlington. With over 16,000 square feet, the facility offers climbing for all ages and skill levels so that the entire family can have fun without braving the crowds at nearby Six Flags. Afterwards stop at Shipley Do-Nuts or Fuzzy’s Taco Shop for some well-earned eats.

2. Sugar Bee Sweets

Sugar Bee Sweets bills itself foremost as a wedding cake bakery, so most people don’t bother going inside. This is a mistake because other than cakes, the bakery creates a number of sweets to indulge in from cupcakes and cookies to cake balls and pies. There’s even a breakfast menu that offers muffins, croissants, and scones (both sweet and savory). As an added bonus, Sweet Bee Sweets is located just a few blocks from Dyno Rocks; you can discover both these hidden gems at once.

3. UTA Planetarium

The University of Texas Arlington’s Planetarium is a little slice of heaven hidden in the downtown area in the college district. This experience isn’t just for college students though; the public are free to visit and enjoy the shows such as the Consolation of Apollo, TimeSpace, and We Are Astronomers. You’re also free to ask the resident astronomers all your burning questions. Plus, the kids can get a short lesson on intro to astronomy to spark their interest in space.

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4. Crystal Canyon Natural Area

Between Fort Worth and Dallas, there are enough parks and preserves to delight any nature lover from Cedar Hill State Park and Lewisville Lake to Lake Worth and Pecan Valley Park, but Arlington has its own natural oases, and they’re definitely off the beaten path. The Crystal Canyon Natural Area in north Arlington is a 38-acre natural area with walking paths, woods, and jutting rocks. Tucked among residential neighborhoods, it’s the perfect place to visit for some solitude, especially if you get a vacation rental nearby. It’s also kitty-corner from the Chester Ditto Golf Course if you want to follow up your explorations with a game.

5. Iceland Ice Cream

If you’ve never had rolled ice cream, then Iceland Ice Cream is your best friend; if you have, you still need to try it. Located in south Arlington, this ice cream joint features unique ice cream topped with everything from kiwi to marshmallows to cookies. It’s a great way to treat the kids (and yourself) after a day of fun at the nearby Flight Deck Trampoline Park or after catching a movie at the AMC the Parks theater across the street. Afterwards, burn off any extra calories at Vandergriff Park.

6. Jamaica Gates

Caribbean cuisine might not be the type of dining you think of when you visit Texas, but trying out Jamaica Gates will make you a believer. First off, it’s not far from Iceland Ice Cream, so you can precede (or follow) dessert with dinner. Second of all, it offers live reggae and jazz music to enhance your dining experience. Third of all, it offers delectable dishes from appetizers of fried plantains and jerk shrimp to lunch items of jerk chicken nachos and deep-fried catfish to slow-cooked oxtails and curry chicken entrees. Don’t forget desserts such as the pineapple upside down cake and Jamaican rum cake.

7. Gloria’s Latin Cuisine

If you’re looking for exotic foods, then put Gloria’s Latin Cuisine on the list as well. The menu is inspired by El Salvadorian food that ranges for orange roughy ceviche and marinated tilapia to handmade tamales and meat-stuffed tortillas. There’s also ribeye, quail, and Tex-Mex, a little something for everybody in the family. Best of all, when night descends, salsa begins. You can dance or learn the salsa, enjoy cocktails, and party. However, a dress code is enforced. Gloria’s Latin Cuisine is located south of downtown Arlington to the north of I-20.

8. International Food Land

International Food Land is a market where you can get all sorts of Mediterranean and Asian food items, which is handy if you want to do some exotic cooking while staying in your vacation rental. Or you can just head right to the prepared dishes, the hidden gems within this hidden gem. There are meat and spinach pies, gyros, naan bread, curry, and other homemade food, possibly the best in the city. International Food Land is located just south of the downtown area and right next to several kid-friendly fast food joints so the entire family’s happy.

9. Bombay Chop Stix

Speaking of Oriental cuisine, Bombay Chop Stix is another restaurant to add to the must-eat list. Located in northeast Arlington, its an Asian Indian fusion eatery featuring classic rice and noodle dishes with an Indian kick. The Mongolian beef and American chop suey are popular dishes. There’s a kid’s menu complete with fried rice and chicken tenders. Don’t leave without getting dessert For instance, there are lychees (a type of fruit) topped with ice cream, chocolate springs rolls, and darsaan (honey noodles) with cream.

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