What’s better than a great night out with your sweetheart or a fun-filled afternoon with the kids? Doing those things without spending a dime. Life can get expensive, but this list of free things to do in Mesquite will help you keep the family entertained while also keeping your budget in check.
Note: All events offer free admission, but some activities (rides, food, etc) may require a fee.
Mesquite Arts Center
The Mesquite Arts Center is a hotbed of cultural activity, and many of the events are completely FREE. Start by introducing your kids to art, courtesy of the Just for Kids: Canvas Creation Series, an ongoing group of classes that teaches kids how to paint. Once they’ve created their own masterpiece, show them the work of other artists at Mesquite Arts Center Art Galleries, including the Main and Chamber Gallery.
The Arts Center isn’t just about visual stimulation. It's also got free concert series like Rockin’ Rhapsody, Courtyard Concert Series,Jazz Breaks, and Music in the Park. Celebrate everything from old jazz standards to soundtrack favorites presented by the Mesquite Community Band.
Finally, don’t forget to honor your ancestors at Mesquite’s Dia de Los Muertos event in October. The Day of the Dead is a chance to remember those who have passed, but the vibe is more celebratory than sad, with live music, face painting, food vendors, craft stations, and art displays all on tap.
Enjoy the great outdoors and some time with the locals at one of Mesquite's community get-togethers. It all starts with the Rodeo Parade in early April. Everyone from civic clubs to sports teams gets in on the action, entertaining onlookers. May brings the Cinco de Mayo Celebration, produced in partnership with the Hispanic Forum of Mesquite to shine a light on authentic Mexican food, dance, music, and more. You can even join a jalapeno-eating contest—if you dare.
Summer Sizzle is like a rite of passage here; once school is out and temperatures rise, everyone gathers at Paschall Park for a day of live music, kid-friendly activities, food trucks, mud volleyball, and a fireworks show complete with its own soundtrack.
Celebrate fall at the annual PumpkinFest. Wander among arts and crafts booths, bounce houses, food vendors, and rows of carnival games; go trick-or-treating in Peddler’s Alley; or take in live jousting or the Birds of Prey show this year.
Finally, get in the holiday spirit during Christmas in the Park; you can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, ride the Candy Land Express, visit the petting zoo, take pony rides, play games, and watch the festive Christmas parade.
Fishing is a popular pastime in Texas, and Mesquite Parks and Recreation uses its annual KidFish to help pass the tradition on to the next generation. Register your little one in the morning, then participate in the three-hour tournament and see how many catfish your children can catch in City Lake Park. Participants can bring their own fishing gear, but the city provides a limited supply of poles and bait.
Movies in the Park is a series of three events, each with pre-show entertainment and a movie shown on the big screen. Attendees can bring their own blanket or chairs for comfortable seating. Picnic baskets are allowed too, but there are also inexpensive concessions available.
Before back-to-school panic hits, embrace summer one more time with a Dive-In Movie at City Lake Aquatic Center. There are games, prizes, and, of course, a movie everyone can watch as they splash around in the pool.
In between movies, check out the other events hosted by Mesquite Parks and Recreation. July is full of free or low-cost activities all around Mesquite, giving everyone a chance to enjoy the park system and indulge in some fresh air.
Photo credit: Mesquite Convention and Visitors Bureau