Deep Ellum might be one of the most eclectic neighborhoods in Dallas — and certainly, a fantastic spot to grab a cocktail, dinner, a concert or a new tattoo. But before it was a hot-spot destination for people from all over the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, it rose to prominence as a commercial district for the city’s African-American and European residents, dating all the way back to 1873. Through the middle of the area runs Elm Street, which so many people pronounced “ellum” that the name Deep Ellum stuck. Restaurants, bars, nightclubs, galleries, loft apartments and other businesses occupy buildings that sometimes date back more than a century, with more than 20 historically recognized buildings in the area.
You’ll often find agents with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty enjoying time in Deep Ellum, whether it’s meeting with clients over a glass of wine — accompanied by views of the downtown Dallas skyline — or taking a break on the weekend to attend one of the district’s many outdoor festivals and events. Here are some of our favorite things about Deep Ellum for anyone new to Dallas or planning a move here*. Even locals might find a few new favorites from this list.
If you’re visiting and wish to immerse yourself in the neighborhood before making a move to Deep Ellum, or simply wish to hang out in this vibrant community for a few days, two hotel options now offer you a comfy place to lay your head. Deep Ellum Hostel appeals more to budget-minded young adults, but the recently opened Pittman Hotel offers luxury accommodations in a boutique setting, all in a building dating back to 1916 and designed by African-American architect William Sidney Pittman.
Deep Ellum and its surrounding neighborhoods feature lofts, apartments and condominiums almost exclusively, though you might occasionally stumble upon a free-standing single-family home. Much of the real estate offerings have an eclectic vibe, including lofts, converted warehouses and converted commercial buildings. Wherever you end up in Deep Ellum, you’ll be able to walk to just about anywhere, including the brand-new Tom Thumb grocery store and pharmacy.
Walking down the streets of Deep Ellum can be a lot like scanning through the stations on your car stereo. You’re bound to hear a little bit of everything, especially now that live music has started to return to venues after a long pandemic-driven hiatus. Some of our favorites include Adairs Saloon, Club Dada, High and Tight (where you can also get a haircut and a craft cocktail) and the historic Sons of Herman Hall ballroom, circa 1917. Need more options? No problem!
Restaurants & Bars
In recent years, Deep Ellum has become a go-to spot for chefs looking to open new concepts, whether they’re intimate dining rooms or expansive, multistory restaurants with rooftop decks and CinemaScope views of the glittery downtown Dallas skyline. Bars have long had a stronghold on the area, so you can easily make a full night of it with pre- and post-dinner drinks (and plenty of dancing, too). All Good Cafe offers American and Tex-Mex eats, Backyard welcomes your dogs while you sip on ice-cold beverages, Braindead Brewing makes its own beer and has a fantastic food menu (and patio), Cane Rosso made Neapolitan-style pizza famous in Dallas, Deep Ellum Distillery makes its own vodka and Ebb and Flow delivers on the promise of a romantic night out in a cozy setting. For more options, check out this full list of Deep Ellum restaurants and bars.
For a retail-therapy experience unlike anything you’ll find in a typical mall, turn to the eclectic boutiques that populate virtually every street in Deep Ellum. Archer Paper Goods features stationery, greeting cards and unique gifts, Crossroads Trading provides upscale consignment fashion and Jack Mason will ensure you’re always looking your best when checking the time displayed on your wrist.
Arts and Culture
Long an oasis for Dallas’ artists and creative types, Deep Ellum remains a staple of the gallery scene. In addition to local masterpieces, you can also grab a drink and live music at Deep Ellum Art Co. The Power Station is a large-scale, non-profit art and event space and the Undermain Theatre produces a variety of plays and other stage productions throughout the year.
Throughout the year, you’ll find the streets of Deep Ellum closed off to vehicular traffic so that people can enjoy the great outdoors at one of many popular street festivals, including the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, which has been showcasing local talent in one form or fashion for 25 years. This year’s event has been rescheduled for September, but if it goes on as planned, it’ll be a great one. For other up-to-the-minute live events in Deep Ellum, peruse the Deep Ellum Event Calendar for good times sure to please.
*Make sure to call ahead or check online in case COVID-19-related restrictions have changed a place’s hours or accessibility.