It sounds like a broken record, but music once again is the flavor of the weekend for events around Dallas-Fort Worth. In addition to three different music festivals, there are two big-name concerts at Gexa Energy Pavilion.
If live music isn't your thing, the weekend also offers major openings at the Perot Museum and Dallas Arboretum, a Broadway show and a celebration of philanthropy.
Below are the best options for your precious free time Thursday through Sunday. Don't like what you see? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Thursday, September 19
2013 North Texas Giving Day
North Texas Giving Day is a mostly-online event to inspire people to donate money to their favorite non-profit companies around Dallas-Fort Worth. But there will be several "donation stations" around Dallas to provide entertainment while you give, including ones at Communities Foundation of Texas, Klyde Warren Park and the DART's Akard Station.
Lexus Broadway Series presents Peter and the Starcatcher
We just had an opportunity to watch Peter Pan in action with Dallas Theater Center's Fly, but now comes Peter and the Starcatcher, the Tony Award-winning play that tells how Peter Pan became the boy who never grows up. The production will play at Winspear Opera House through September 29.
Friday, September 20
2013 Plano Balloon Festival
Sure, the Plano Balloon Festival has all your standard festival trappings like music, food and rides, but people come from miles around for the spectacle of a slew of hot air balloons all lighting up at once before taking off into the morning or evening sky. The festival takes place at Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve in Plano through Sunday. Pro tip: Park at the DART Parker Road Station and hop on the free shuttle.
Depeche Mode in concert with Crystal Castles
Depeche Mode is not the band it was in the ’80s, when the electronic music pioneers put out an album almost every year and rode high on songs like "People are People" and "Personal Jesus." But the group never dropped off the map, putting a new album every 3-4 years, including 2013's Delta Machine. They'll play at Gexa Energy Pavilion with Crystal Castles as opening act.
Saturday, September 21
Dallas Arboretum presents Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden grand opening
As we already wrote in our glowing review, the newest addition to the grounds of the Dallas Arboretum is an 8-acre wonderland that combines learning and entertainment in a unique and fantastic way. Aimed at children middle school age and below, there's so much to do that kids of any age will have a good time exploring everything they have to offer.
2013 Red Bull Flugtag DFW
Flugtag is supposedly a competition to see who can build a contraption that will fly the farthest after being pushed off a ramp over water. But since most of them are built by college students hopped up on Red Bull, it's more of an excuse to see the vehicles — and the people in them — splash spectacularly in the water. You can see the craziness at Lake Carolyn in Irving.
2013 Breakaway Music Festival
The first of three music festivals in Dallas-Fort Worth on Saturday, Breakaway features a variety of national and local music acts, including Empire of the Sun, the Wu-Tang Clan, Matt and Kim, Ra Ra Riot, Oil Boom and YeahDef. The festivities, which also includes food, rides and other attractions, kick off at noon at Toyota Stadium in Frisco.
2013 Clearfork Music Festival
Heading west, you'll find another music festival that takes advantage of a great space right on the Trinity River. Clearfork boasts a local and regional line-up, including bands like Whiskey Folk, Spoonfed Tribe, The Hanna Barbarians, The Effinays, Year of the Bear, Frisky Volcanic and Stew Moss. The show starts at 2 pm at Heart of the Ranch at Clearfork.
OneRepublic in concert with Sara Bareilles, Johnny Rzeznik, Plain White T's, David Cook and Harper Blynn
If you prefer your music festival to have more of a national flare, check out 102.9 NOW's Texas Tango at Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie, which brings together a host of big names like OneRepublic, Sara Bareilles, Goo Goo Dolls lead singer Johnny Rzeznik, Plain White T's, David Cook and Harper Blynn.
Sunday, September 22
Perot Museum of Nature and Science presents Animal Inside Out
Not wanting the Arboretum to steal all the science headlines this weekend, the Perot Museum unveils its first traveling exhibit, Animal Inside Out. On display in the lower level exhibition hall through February 17, 2014, it's a fascinating — and occasionally creepy — look at the inside workings of animals like squid, camels, bulls, ostriches and more from the makers of Body Worlds.
Maroon 5 in concert with Kelly Clarkson and PJ Morton
Despite all the other concerts going on this weekend, you'll have to wait until Sunday for the biggest one of all. Maroon 5, and its chair-spinning lead singer Adam Levine, is technically the headliner for this show at Gexa Energy Pavilion, but anytime Kelly Clarkson — who has a new Christmas album coming out soon — comes back home, you know who'll get the most love. They'll be joined by opening act PJ Morton.