Americans are experiencing the longest government shutdown in history. 

For federal employees — many going without pay — some North Texas venues are offering free admission and free fun. Read on to find where federal employees can find free beer, free movies, $1 burgers and more.

Free spaghetti and meatballs from Romano's Macaroni Grill

Until the government shutdown ends, Romano's Macaroni Grill will serve furloughed federal employees a free plate of its Mom's Ricotta Meatballs and Spaghetti. Available 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. only. Interesting fact: Romano's Macaroni Grill was started by Phil Romano, a Dallas restaurateur. Macaroni Grill has restaurants in Fort Worth, Arlington, Cedar Hill, Plano, Frisco and Lewisville. Find one here.

Free arcade games at Free Play Richardson


James Purl helps his daughter Collins Purl, 5, play a racing game at Free Play in Richardson.

James Purl helps his daughter Collins Purl, 5, play a racing game at Free Play in Richardson.

Rose Baca/Staff Photographer
Where to play arcade games in Dallas-Fort Worth

They don't want to discuss politics (and we don't, either). Free Play, an arcade in Richardson, is inviting any federal employee to play games at its store for free. Immediate family members get in free as well. It's one of the better arcades in D-FW. Free Play has several locations, but the one with the freebies is located at 1730 E. Belt Line Road, Richardson.

Free barbecue sandwich or barbecue quesadilla from Hickory Bird

New barbecue joint Hickory Bird — located inside a Walmart in Bedford — is giving away these freebies to federal employees: a barbecue pork sandwich combo, a barbecue chicken sandwich combo or a quesadilla with cheese, barbecue pork or barbecue chicken. The deal is good for the first 100 federal employees. After that, federal employees will get 20 percent off any item. Guests of federal employees can get 20 percent off their meals. "The decision to give away free meals and drinks was easy," said Steve Rich, President of Hickory Bird. "Hickory Bird is new to the area and we understand the challenges federal employees and their families are facing. We hope a great meal will make a small difference this weekend." Hickory Bird is located at 4101 Highway 121, Bedford.

Walmart is launching cool coffee shops in the Dallas suburbs

Free coffee or tea from LiftOff

Walmart's in the gourmet coffee game? Yes, it is. LiftOff shops have popped up across Dallas-Fort Worth, inside Walmart. LiftOff's deal for federal employees is easy: They get any drink for free on Jan. 19 and 20. LiftOff has eight locations in D-FW. Find one here.

Free beers at Noble Rey Brewing Company and Lakewood Brewing Company

We have two deals, both involving free beer:

  • Visit Noble Rey Brewing Company during the government shutdown, show a federal ID, and federal employees will get one beer for free. It's that easy. Noble Rey is located at 2636 Farrington St., Dallas.
  • Visit Lakewood Brewing Company, flash an ID, and get one free beer per day and 20 percent off pizza. Nice! Lakewood Brewing Company is located at 2302 Executive Drive, Garland.

Free meal at Hopdoddy Burger Bar

Hopdoddy is giving away free meals on Jan. 23, 2019.

Hopdoddy is giving away free meals on Jan. 23, 2019.

Matt Lankes/

Hopdoddy Burger Bar is picking one day to celebrate. On Jan. 23, all Hopdoddies will hand out a free meal to government workers with a federal ID.  They'll receive a free burger, fry and non-alcoholic beverage. On any other day during the shutdown, federal employees get 25 percent off their meals. Hopdoddy Burger Bar has six restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth. Find one here.

Free admission to the Perot Museum in Dallas

The Perot Museum in Dallas is full of educational, fun exhibits that are interesting to people of all ages.

The Perot Museum in Dallas is full of educational, fun exhibits that are interesting to people of all ages.

Jeffrey McWhorter/Special Contributor

Through Jan. 31, federal workers are invited to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science for free. The discount is available to anyone with a federal ID badge and includes admission for one more person. The Perot is an all-ages museum with exhibits about human anatomy, 3D animation, weather, dinosaurs and more. It's especially fun for anyone who loves science. The deal does not include free parking or admission to special events or films. Redeemable in person only. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is located at 2201 N. Field St., Dallas. 

Free movies at Alamo Drafthouse

Alamo Drafthouse is probably coming to your neighborhood: 3 new theaters will open in D-FW in the next 4 months

Show a federal ID on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at an Alamo Drafthouse in North Texas, and federal employees will get free entry into any new or current movie. The deal is good through Jan. 31, and federal employees are allowed to use it once a day. For movie buffs, this is quite a deal! Alamo Drafthouses in Dallas-Fort Worth are located in Richardson, Dallas, Irving, Denton, North Richland Hills and Frisco. The free ticket is for the federal employee only.

Free Dallas Symphony Orchestra concerts 

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is offering employees with a federal ID and a guest two free tickets to any of six concerts through Feb. 17. Concerts include The Music of Abba from Jan. 25 to 27; John Adams conducts Adams, Debussy and Respighi from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2; and DSO on the GO concerts in Frisco and Denton. Music of Abba and John Adams concerts take place at the Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St., Dallas. More information is available on the symphony's website.

Free admission to the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance

Federal employees can receive a free pair of tickets to the Holocaust Museum, either by going to the museum or by picking them up from a Dallas Symphony Orchestra performance. (See symphony deal above.) Federal employees will be allowed to see the Holocaust Museum's permanent exhibition or see the special Let Me Be Myself: The Life Story of Anne Frank, which takes museumgoers into her hiding spot with virtual reality. The Dallas Holocaust Museum is located at 211 N. Record St., Dallas.

Are you willing to pay $1? Consider these inexpensive deals:

Federal employees can get a $1 cheeseburger from specific locations of Knife Burger, in Plano and Fort Worth.

Federal employees can get a $1 cheeseburger from specific locations of Knife Burger, in Plano and Fort Worth.

Andy Jacobsohn/Staff Photographer
During government shutdown, Dallas restaurant offers $1 tacos to federal employees

Twisted Trompo, a taco shop in Dallas, is selling $1 tacos to federal employees. Read more about that here.

Another taco shop called Mario Bros. Tacos, located near Lake Highlands in Dallas, is also selling $1 trompo tacos. Mario Bros. Tacos is located at 5942 Abrams Road, Dallas.

And Knife Burger will sell its Ozersky burger for $1 to federal employees during the partial government shutdown. The Ozersky burger is a cheeseburger with red onions. $1 burgers available at two Knife Burger locations: at Shops at Willow Bend, 6121 W. Park Blvd., Plano; and the Food Hall at Crockett Row, 3000 Crockett St., Fort Worth.

The Artisan, a newish restaurant in the Dallas Arts District, is offering federal employees $1 entrees. The menu includes dishes like chicken parmesan, lemon-thyme salmon, miso-marinated grilled tofu and more. The Artisan is located at 2330 Flora St., Dallas.

If you know of other deals for federal employees in Dallas-Fort Worth during the partial government shutdown, email sblaskovich@dallasnews.com.

Click here to read about other help for federal employees, like where to get free diapers, pet food and more.

Story originally published on Jan. 14, 2019 and updated on Jan. 18, 2019 and Jan. 21, 2019.

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