Dallas Museum of Art

With film nights, book readings and live music, it’s easy to forget this museum has a world-class permanent collection, with free entry.

A bright red steel structure is the first thing you will see when you arrive at the Dallas Museum of Art. Ave, by Mark di Suvero, is a stunning welcome and a taste of the exciting exhibits in store among the museum’s more than 20,000 pieces spread across four floors. Wear comfortable shoes if you plan on a thorough, full day of browsing.

Find contemporary art from 1945 on the first floor. Admire works by renowned artists such as Jackson Pollock, Anish Kapoor and Francis Bacon. Step back in time on the second floor, with classic Roman and Greek objects and artifacts, as well as European art and sculpture.

The third floor is dedicated to African art, mostly from the 16th to 20th centuries. Next door to this is the Reves Collection, one of the museum’s jewels. The 16,500-square-foot (1,533-square-meter) room is designed to resemble the French villa of Hungarian writer Emery Reves and his wife Wendy, where this collection once resided. It also features some of the biggest names in European art, such as Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh.

American art is on the fourth floor. The pieces here span three centuries and hail from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Families should not miss the C3 area where you learn about art by interacting with it. Children under 4 can build with blocks, play with dollhouses and puppets, and look at art in books. The Young Learners Gallery is for kids aged 5 to 8, while in the Art Studio all ages are welcome to create a masterpiece.

Other programs include Gallery Talk, a free 45-minute presentation given every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. It starts at the Visitor Services Desk and tours a different gallery every week. Time your Dallas visit to catch Late Nights, when the museum opens until midnight, every third Friday of the month.

The museum is open daily except Mondays and select national holidays. There is an on-site café.