The Offbeat Tourist’s Guide to Dallas

North Texas has been my home for 4 years now. I’ve lived in Dallas about half that time. What amazes me is, despite all the exploring Adrienne and I have done thus far, we’ve only seen a fraction of what Dallas has to offer. It turns out this city is a bit more complex than the travel brochures would have you believe.

Like most major cities, Dallas is cosmopolitan. While many visitors (or critics) may be tempted to judge this city by its oft-lampooned residents, Dallas is much more than just trophy wives and urban cowboys. As Cory Graves wrote in his article That’s My Hood: How Dallas’ Neighborhoods Got Their Names, Dallas’ denizens seem to define their city in terms of geography. Each of Dallas’ 25 main neighborhoods (I say “main” because many claim the actual number is in the hundreds) is unique in their own way.

To keep things fair, I can only talk about the parts of Dallas I’ve visited, so don’t be offended if your hood didn’t make the list. That being said, give me some feedback in the comments section and I’ll be more than happy to feature your neck of the woods in a future post. As for this article, all pictures and descriptions are my own. Enjoy.

Bishop Arts

Without a doubt one of the most unique neighborhoods I’ve ever walked through, The Bishop Arts District is technically a part of Oak Cliff, which is technically a part of Dallas. Besides being super close to downtown, Bishop Arts features many small, eclectic businesses that range from brew pubs, cafes (Wild Detectives pictured below), small-batch chocolate shops, antique dealers, and even a pie emporium.


Deep Ellum

Named after how early Dallasites used to pronounce Deep Elm, Deep Ellum is known for its multiple music venues. Though troubled by violent crime in the past and certainly not a place you want to walk alone at 4 am, Deep Ellum has a special place in my heart due to its authenticity. Arguably, DE is too real for its own good. The unmistakable scent of urine mixes with that of pungent marijuana and fresh pizza/donuts to create a surreal, almost alien, atmosphere. Check out Pecan Lodge as it is the undisputed best BBQ joint in the entire city.


Oak Lawn

Oak Lawn is Dallas’ equivalent to Boy’s Town in Chicago or Castro in San Fran. Home to Dallas’ annual PRIDE parade, the nightlife in Oak Lawn/Cedar Springs is one-of-a-kind. Besides successful (and cheap) bars, Oak Lawn is packed with solid restaurants like Street’s Chicken, Thai Lotus, and local favorite Cafe Brazil (open 24/7).20160918_155628


The most basic of basic… just kidding (mostly). Known for its well-dressed clientele and free trolleys zipping up and down McKinney avenue, Uptown is the much-disputed king of the Dallas club scene. Though not everyone will be a fan of its somewhat-exclusive nightlife, Uptown has an array of award-winning restaurants that should not be missed. Walking distance from American Airlines Center, home of the Mavericks and Stars, Uptown is perfect for pre or postgame drinks. Oh, and this is THE neighborhood in Dallas for brunch connoisseurs. Try Bread Winners.


Well, that’s it for now! I know 4 neighborhoods are not nearly enough to do this great city justice. If I get enough feedback, then I’ll post another blog like this in the future. Please use the comments section below to let me know what neighborhoods, businesses, or restaurants should be featured the next time around!

© Mat Jasieniecki 2017