Dallas is a cultural crossroads that prides itself upon its cosmopolitan appeal. The city’s slogan, Live Large, Think Big, encompasses a broad world that embraces this larger than life motto. The ninth largest city in the U.S., Dallas is a virtual Mecca for the arts, with a thriving museum scene, diversity of music, regional theatre scene, and a reputation as a top film production center.
Dallas has more restaurants per capita than New York City, and offers a wide variety of cuisine and cooking styles to fit every taste. Dallas is also a shopper’s paradise, with major malls and shopping centers that bring the best of the world’s markets to the metroplex. It’s also a sports fan’s paradise, with the Dallas Stars, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Cowboys, FC Dallas and Texas Rangers games nearly every night of the week during their respective seasons.
The wide variety of housing and architectural styles also makes Dallas very attractive to newcomers, as well as the DART transit system and the high-rise developments that have emerged near rail stations for convenience.
Located just east of downtown Dallas and south of the railroad, Deep Ellum was originally home to the earliest African- American community in Dallas, dating back to the mid-1800s, when it was settled as a “freedman’s town” after the Civil War.
In the 1920s, Deep Ellum was a thriving retail and entertainment center for Dallas African-Americans – a gathering place for jazz and blues artists. The roster of now-famous musicians who began their careers in Deep Ellum include Blind Lemon Jefferson, Sam “Lightnin’” Hopkins and Leadbelly, among others.
The neighborhood began to decline after World War II, but was revitalized during the 1980s to become one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Dallas, with numerous bars, clubs and galleries. Now considered eclectic and alternative, Deep Ellum is once again considered a thriving entertainment district and home to residents who enjoy living in a thriving cultural area in a vibrant urban setting.
Downtown Dallas is home to big business and big development. Known to Dallasites as the Central Business District, the new interest in urban living has sent downtown bouncing back from being labeled a dead zone after the sun goes down.
Located within the central freeway loop, Downtown is generally thought of as bounded by northern I-45, the southern edge of Central Expressway, I-35E, I-30 and the Woodall Rodgers Freeway, and owes its distinctive look to nationally-known architects who redesigned the skyline during the building boom of the 1970s and 1980s.
Later, the decision to create the West End Historic District in the 1980s and preserve the late turn-of-the-century brick warehouses by turning them into swanky restaurants, retail, office and residential spaces has resonated, leading to even more renovation projects.
Downtown urban living is enjoying a new renaissance of appeal among a number of people, from those who desire a fast-paced lifestyle near all the action to recent retirees and empty nesters who want the fun and freedom that accompanies a high-rise with a concierge, round-the-clock security and a convenient location. Not The Trinity River Project is another big transformation for downtown. This city-funded public works project will be the largest urban park in the United States, with facilities that will include an equestrian center, lakes, trails, sports fields, nature centers and other recreational facilities.
East Dallas, once a separate town, retains an individual character and is home to urban pioneers and young professionals with an appreciation of stained glass windows, arched doorways and frame homes. Architectural styles in East Dallas vary greatly and reflect every taste, much to the relief of those who shy away from “cookie cutter” neighborhoods. Variety is the spice of life and it certainly spices up the area’s architecture, including Prairie, Tudor, Mid-Century modern, French Eclectic, Victorian and Spanish Revival.
Developed by local real estate icon Trammell Crow, Far North Dallas is bordered by I-635, Addison, Carrollton, Plano and Richardson. With its own skyline, retail and commercial businesses, office buildings and shopping centers, many of the “techie” residents here find little reason to venture downtown except for the occasional meeting.
Most homes are considered “recent vintage” and lot sales (when available) are brisk because of the area’s location and proximity to the Richardson Independent School District, one of the state’s highest academically ranked districts.
The lengthy strip of road that comprises the Greenville Avenue neighborhood traverses a broad cross-section of residences, restaurants, nightclubs and retail establishments. Located northeast of downtown, Greenville Avenue begins near Garret Park and stretches all the way past LBJ Freeway to Richardson. Mockingbird Lane is the boundary where Dallasites divide the street into Upper Greenville and Lower Greenville.
Lower Greenville Avenue is home to tiny shops selling antiques, resale clothing and furniture and Mediterranean and health food stores. Needless to say, it appeals to the bohemian, alternative crowd. Upper Greenville is more posh, with swanky restaurants and nightclubs and a more upscale crowd.
Forbes once named Lake Highlands one of the top three best neighborhoods to buy a home – and it’s no wonder. Tree-lined, rolling streets give this mostly residential area a homey feeling, and many residents consider Lake Highlands to be a small town within a big city.
Residents have easy access to Garland to the east, Richardson to the north and North Dallas to the west. Most of Lake Highlands is located within the popular Richardson Independent School District, while a small area located mainly south of Northwest Hwy is served by Dallas Independent School District. Homes in Lake Highlands consist mostly of single-family homes, and is a natural choice for active families because of its proximity to White Rock Lake.
Lakewood is popular with families and young professionals – and that’s not surprising. Bordered on one side by the western shore of White Rock Lake, Lakewood is bounded by Mockingbird on the north and Gaston-Country Club to the south, and the area is only a short distance from downtown Dallas – yet has maintained its small town charm. Many of the homes in this old-fashioned neighborhood were built from the 1900s to the 1950s, and there are many historic and conservation Districts within Lakewood.
There are also a wide variety of housing options here, from two-bedroom starter homes and quaint cottages to large mansions on sprawling acreage, plus duplexes, fourplexes and apartments. A number of architectural styles are reflected here, too, including Craftsman, Prairie-Four Squares, Tudors, Spanish, Mediterranean Eclectic and Early Ranch.
Considered by many Dallasites to be one of the best areas in the city for quality living, North Dallas extends north of NW Highway and is bordered by I35-E, Central Expressway (I-75) and I-635 (LBJ Freeway).
Five major thoroughfares are just blocks away, providing easy access to downtown, the West End and the northern suburban areas. Dallas Love Field, home of Southwest Airlines and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport are only a short drive away.
Among North Dallas’ most popular residential areas are the communities of Preston Hollow, an affluent and established Dallas neighborhood, and Bent Tree, known for its large, spacious homes. The landscaped neighborhoods are mostly single-family homes of traditional styles, but there’s also a zero lot line and garden homes, duplexes, apartments, condominiums, high-rises and retirement centers.
At more than 150 years old, Oak Cliff is Dallas’ oldest established neighborhood. Located in southwest Dallas and bordered by the Trinity River on the north, Interstate 35E to the east, Clarendon Road on the south, and Hampton Road on the west, Oak Cliff is approximately 200 square miles and houses a diverse population of more than 300,000. Physically separated from the rest of the city by the Trinity River, Oak Cliff is an independent enclave of Dallas, and maintains its own identity and history.
Well-known for its landscaped neighborhoods, exceptional land and housing values, excellent transportation, and award-winning educational facilities, Oak Cliff also has a variety of cultural and recreational activities that allow for a high quality of life. Oak Cliff is also popular with those who work in nearby downtown Dallas because of the short commute.
Oak Cliff is also the birthplace of 7-11 convenience stores, so named because at that time they were open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. In fact, all 7-11 convenience stores can trace their heritage to a tiny circa-1927 icehouse on the corner of Edgefield and Twelfth Street in Dallas.
Organizations such as the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League have helped maintain the beauty of the area, and other neighborhood organizations have won historic district designation for areas like Winnetka Heights.
Oak Lawn is a neighborhood that is a virtual mish-mash of architecture and lifestyles. Nightlife is a vital part of this area of town, which offers plenty of restaurants, clubs and pubs. Oak Lawn is also adjacent to the Dallas Design District, and so much of the area has great appeal for artistic types. Shopping here is as interesting as it gets anywhere in the city, with the Quadrangle, numerous art galleries, boutiques and antique shops.
Oak Lawn is also one of the wealthier neighborhoods in Dallas. Located in the heart of Dallas, Oak Lawn is home to many young, single professionals who inhabit the variety of condominiums, apartments and hardwood-floor duplexes. A wide variety of housing options are available here, from upscale townhouses to condos to apartments and duplexes – as well as established older, single-family homes.
Grand and majestic, Preston Hollow is an established, prestigious North Dallas neighborhood that sits north of the Park Cities area, south of the LBJ/635 Expressway, east of Midway Road and west of Central Expressway. Preston Hollow was originally incorporated as its own town in 1939, and then joined with the city of Dallas in 1945.
Preston Hollow is an extremely desirable location, and the list of famous and influential residents that live here is a virtual “Who’s Who” of Dallas society, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, billionaire Ross Perot, and former Dallas mayor Laura Miller, among others. Homes here have large lots and a mix of homes that range from ranch-style homes to mansions.
The West End Historic District is part and parcel of the original city of Dallas. Downtown Dallas eventually moved east, giving the West End its name. The West End then became an industrial factory and warehouse district, only to be reborn later into a 20-block area of more than 100 specialty shops, restaurants and nightclubs in restored, century-old buildings.
Just southwest of downtown, the West End is bound by Market Street, Pacific Avenue and Woodall Rogers Freeway, and a short walk from Dealey Plaza and the Old Red Courthouse. Urged on by the growing demand for urban living, developers have converted red brick warehouses into beautiful lofts and condominiums. Examples of building projects that have recently been repurposed are the historic six-story Purse Building, the Interurban Building and the upscale urban Market Grocery and eatery.
Uptown is a thriving neighborhood popular amongst the Gen Y and Gen Xers. New developments for urban living and the development of thriving retail stores and a vibrant restaurant and nightlife makes Uptown ideal for those who want to be close to the action.
Uptown is adjacent to Oak Lawn and runs from downtown along Highway 75 up to Highland Park. Hotel ZaZa, the Crescent, the Ritz-Carlton and lots of trendy places “to see and be seen” populate the area.
Uptown is also home to the trendy West Village shopping/retail/residential development and features high-rise living along McKinney with units for sale and for lease. Buildings here feature 1930s-style architecture with modern interiors.
Uptown has three shopping districts, and all are accessible on the free trolley shuttle line. The historic Gallery District has many of the finest art galleries, antique dealers, frame shops and custom retail stores found in Dallas. Another arts venue, the McKinney Avenue Contemporary (also known as The MAC) is home to three live theatres: the Dallas Theatre Center, Theatre Three at the Quadrangle and Kitchen Dog Theater. Residents and local Dallasites also enjoy independent movie premieres, foreign films and movie classics at Magnolia Pictures, located in the West Village.