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History by Horse

NorthStar Carriage – West End
1800 N. Market St., Dallas
Walk up hours: 6:30–10pm Tuesday–Thursday; 6:30–11pm Friday; 11:30am–1am Saturday; 1–10pm Sunday. See website for reservations at any other time.
Price: $35 for standard historical tour. Extended tours available for purchase.
Parking: Metered street parking. $8 in the Dallas World Aquarium’s lot nearby.

If you’re looking for an inventive way to inspire your kids’ curiosity about the past, saddle up for an authentic local history lesson from the back seat of a horse-drawn carriage, rather than a classroom. Take a guided tour through the redbrick streets of Dallas’ West End and show your kids the city’s most historic sites in person, from the jail where Bonnie and Clyde were detained to the oldest standing downtown restaurant.

Stop by the loading station across from TGI Friday’s on Market Street to start your ride through the past with NorthStar Carriage, one of two companies to offer the tour. NorthStar’s guides have been educating families since 1990, making them the oldest horse-drawn carriage company around — but still not nearly as old as the sights you’ll see during the ride, some of which may surprise even a Dallas native.

The 15-minute tour begins with fun facts about the West End Marketplace then ventures further downtown, passing the Dallas Holocaust Museum, an old John Deere distribution plant, the Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas’ oldest standing building, Founders Plaza and the JFK memorial, among other memorable stops. As you ride by Dallas’ earliest landmarks, the kids (and you) will learn about the city’s roots in a way that’s definitely more engaging than their textbooks.

When your expedition ends, feel free to take a family photo with the horses. NorthStar Carriage is the only company to house their horses outside the city and promises that the animals live “normal horse lives” at the Denton County ranch where they dwell when off-duty. Each of the nine horses — from Daisy and Duchess to Princess Jasmine and Elsa — has been vocally trained and enjoys interacting with children.