The Dallas Design District is an artsy, trendy pocket neighborhood that developed slowly over the years. Trammell Crow, a local businessman, built the postwar warehouses we see today. He also brought the shopping center idea to Dallas in 1953 when he built the Decorative Center. Those one-story former factories now house art galleries, high-end furniture stores, and luxury antique shops. The Dallas Design District is the place to go to admire luxurious European design, linger over a cup of coffee, or enjoy a pint or three of craft beer.
This guide to the Dallas Design District will help you navigate this trendy area, which is constantly evolving.
Is the Dallas Design District pedestrian friendly?
In my opinion, pedestrians can walk along Oak Lawn and Hi Line Drive and window-shop with no problem. The thing is, the art galleries, antique stores, and the like are spread out, so if you’re going to visit a few, then driving is advisable.
The Decorative Center Dallas (1617 Hi Line Drive) offers gorgeous landscaping and artwork to walk around. The arcade that connects the storefronts offers shelter from the sun too.
Visit local art galleries.
Dallas Contemporary is located in a spacious former warehouse at 161 Glass St. Its cool, ample rooms exhibit works from contemporary artists. It feels like a museum but it’s not one in the traditional sense. It’s one of my favorites.
Across the street from Dallas Contemporary is the PDNB (Photographs Do Not Bend) Gallery, at 154 Glass St. I adore the name! The Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery exhibits images from the early twentieth century to the present day. Regional, national, and worldwide photographers are among the artists.
The Haas Moto Museum, the private collection of a local businessman, is not conventional art unless you consider motorbikes as works of art. Let me tell you, some of these beauties belong in an art museum!
SITE131 is a modern art venue that combines new art from the United States and overseas with new works by Texas artists. The gallery focuses on emerging artists and contributes to Dallas’ art community with its encyclopedic art museum and artist residence programs.
The Cidercade is a vintage arcade coupled with a cider taproom, so you can play Pac-Man while sipping a pint of the delectable Crackberry. There are over 80 classic games to try, as well as a recently constructed addition with space for skeeball and hoops.
Texas Ale Project (1001 N. Riverfront Blvd) offers free tours every Saturday. Their T.A.P. room is open from Thursday s to Sundays. Texas Ale Project first appeared on the Dallas brewery scene in 2014, and they’ve been producing locally grown beers ever since. Try the Fire Ant Funeral or Good to Go, two local favorites.
Community Beer (1530 Inspiration Drive, next to the Dallas Mavericks offices) also offers tours every Saturday. Their taproom opened from Wednesdays to Sundays. Look out for the events they organize or participate in. From the year-round Mosaic IPA to the seasonal Snickerdoodle Ale, this award-winning brewery has the best brews in town. Every Saturday, they have a brewery tour and open house, replete with beer tastings and live music.
Peticolas Brewing Company (1301 Pace St) also offers tours. According to their website, “the cost is $10, which includes the tour, a branded glass, and 3 beer tokens redeemable to beer.” They also have a taproom. Peticolas voted the greatest brewery in Texas, is a must-see on any trip to Dallas. Visit the Taproom to taste one of the 16 beers on tap, play some foosball, or watch the current sporting event on one of the numerous flat screens.
Noble Rey Brewing Co. (2636 Farrington St) offers tours and a taproom where to enjoy their brews.
With so many antique shops, it would be almost impossible to list them. You’ll find anything you can imagine, from classic European art to mid-century modern American furniture. Lula B’s is, perhaps, the best-known antique mall in Dallas.
This colorful shop has a vast selection of antique furniture, vintage apparel, paintings, records, and other items. With each visit, you’ll discover something fresh and interesting, making it a great Saturday afternoon activity.
Look no further than White Elephant Antiques, a big antique warehouse, for all of your vintage finds. There’s a lot of stuff here, from wonderful collectibles to classic antiques to home and furnishings things.
Chantilly Dallas has a plethora of excellent boutique shopping opportunities. Chantilly offers a blend of couture and modern women’s apparel, as well as custom jewelry and accessories.
Where to eat and drink?
The Dallas Design District has everything from fine dining to trendy coffee shops. Here’s a selection of the bars and restaurants I like:
The Meddlesome Moth (1621 Oak Lawn) is in the heart of the Design District. It’s a well-established beer bar with great food. I love to eat on the patio in mild weather.
Oak was the first fine dining establishment to set foot in this neighborhood. They serve contemporary dishes.
Ascension Coffee is my favorite coffee shop in the city. Great coffee and drinks in a cool, relaxed atmosphere.
Slow Bone makes the most mouth-watering, melt-in-your-mouth brisket I’ve ever eaten. Make sure to go early, they close at 3 pm!
El Bolero (1201 Oak Lawn) prepares authentic regional Mexican fare.
Would you like to walk off all that wonderful food and drink?
Head to the Trinity Strand Trail. The first 2.5 miles of this hike and bike trail already opened. The total length will be 8 miles. The trail follows the original watercourse of the Trinity River. For now, the trail starts at the end of Hi Line Drive.