The Dallas Design District is an artsy, trendy pocket neighbourhood 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-storey former factories now house art galleries, high-end furniture stores, 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 offer shelter from the sun too.
Have empty walls to decorate? 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 favourites.
Across the street from Dallas Contemporary is the PDNB (Photographs Do Not Bend) Gallery, at 154 Glass St. I adore the name!
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!
This map shows all the art galleries of the Dallas Design District.
Quench that thirst at these craft breweries
Texas Ale Project (1001 N. Riverfront Blvd) offers free tours every Saturday. Their T.A.P. room is open Thursday s to Sundays.
Community Beer (1530 Inspiration Drive, next to the Dallas Mavericks offices) also offers tours every Saturday. Their taproom opened Wednesdays to Sundays. Look out for the events they organise or participate in.
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.
Noble Rey Brewing Co. (2636 Farrington St) offers tours and a taproom where to enjoy their brews.
Let’s go antiquing!
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.
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 in the patio in mild weather.
Oak was the first fine dining establishment to set foot in this neighbourhood. They serve contemporary dishes.
Ascension Coffee is my favourite 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.