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Doing the District: Your primer on the Dallas Design District and its very unusual offerings

The Dallas Design District neighborhood serves renters almost exclusively, but unique residential properties come on the market every now and again. Because of its central location near downtown, residents of surrounding neighborhoods including downtown Dallas itself, Victory Park, Oak Cliff, Oak Lawn and Uptown come to the Design District for its vibrant social scene. Read on for tips, gathered from the expert agents of Briggs Freeman Sothebys International Realty, for the best places to spend time in the Dallas Design District. 

Restaurants

Restaurants of nearly every cuisine type and price point can be found within the Dallas Design District borders these days, so no matter what type of food youre craving, it can easily be found here sometimes even without a reservation. Among the trendiest new arrivals, the Commons Club, inside the Virgin Hotels Dallas, brings a youthful, eclectic spin to the hotels finer-dining menu, plus special-occasion events, such as burlesque dinners staged in the hotel ballroom. Additional first-class offerings in the district include Wits Steakhouse, The Charles and Town Hearth, a spectacular restaurant with dozens of chandeliers that add extra drama to the proceedings.

Lots of casual options can be found in the district, too. For true Texas BBQ, turn to Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ (complete with a working Ferris wheel) or the award-winning Slow Bone BBQ; for elevated Tex-Mex, check out El Bolero; get some tasty Asian favorites at Pakpao Thai; grab burgers at Rodeo Goat; enjoy fried and grilled seafood at Flying Fish; have breakfast and down-home comfort food at Mamas Daughters Diner (one of the oldest eateries in the neighborhood); try out Italian fare at Pie Tap Pizza Workshop + Bar; and sample creative American cuisine with perfect beer pairings at Meddlesome Moth.

Bars, breweries and other spots

Two of the best spots in the Dallas Design District for early morning caffeination and business meetings are Ascension Coffee (which also has beer and wine later in the day) and Funny Coffee Shop, inside the Virgin Hotel. (You can also add booze directly to your java drinks there, too.) Also inside the Virgin Hotels Dallas, the Pool Club offers views of downtown and excellent drinks, as does the bar at the Commons Club. Bar Charles also offers an elevated champagne lounge experience.

If beer is your thing, youre in luck, with several breweries and taprooms, including Pegasus City Brewery, Texas Ale Project, Peticolas Brewing Company and Community Beer Company.

Shopping

Even though the shopping opportunities in the Dallas Design District still lean in the direction of wholesale furnishings and decor direct to interior designers and those in the industry, many spots also serve the public, too  making this a great area to scour for incredible finds that you wont see elsewhere. Just a few? Arteriors, Scott + Cooner, Peacock Alley and Uncommon Market, unique showrooms that supply a variety of goods for every room in your home. If antiques and vintage furniture are passions, youre well-covered in the district, too, with places such as Again & Again, Michelle Nussbaumer and Lula Bs. Collector-worthy midcentury modern furniture is a focus in the district, too: For some of the best, try Circa20c, 20cdesign, Sputnik Modern and Collage Classics. A handful of apparel and skincare stores BuddyLove, Lady Primrose and Billy Jealousy are here to help you be well-designed, too. Of course, every Dallasite needs a great pair of boots, and Lucchese has a bootmaker showroom, on eclectic Dragon Street, where you can create your own custom pair.

Entertainment and art

Some of the citys most popular venues for spending an evening of laughter and great conversation with friends can be found in the heart of the Dallas Design District. Among them, Bowlounge (a retro-inspired bowling-restaurant-bar hybrid), Stomping Ground Comedy Theater and nearby Cidercade Dallas (a cidery with arcade games) are sure bets for hours of memory-making. Art lovers who wish to admire great works or procure new pieces for their own collections can find a variety of fine-art galleries in the district, including Cris Worley Fine Arts, the Holly Johnson Gallery, Samuel Lynne Galleries and Christopher Martin Gallery. The Dallas Contemporary is a must-see: Its a center of rotating exhibits of cutting-edge works by artists known around the world and regionally. 

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