Five years ago, you’d have been hard-pressed to find a cocktail-craving thirty-something headed to a haute bar in Dallas’s Design District, a once-industrial enclave centrally located close to the Main Street District, near downtown. But now the Design District is attracting new retailers, deep-pocketed developers and plenty of shoppers, thanks to a slew of buzz-worthy restaurants, chic stores and daring art galleries opening up alongside brand-new apartments and lofts.
While the area’s moment as the city’s “it” district has finally arrived, this historically hard-working part of Dallas has been a destination of sorts since the 1970s. Several decades ago, furniture and antique dealers set up shop in manufacturing warehouses to showcase global goods. “It’s always had a great ethos,” said Michael Ablon, whose real estate development firm, PegasusAblon, purchased 42 of the warehouses, showrooms and galleries in 2007 and in 2009 opened the area’s first main residential complex, where one-bedroom lofts now go for up to $1,500 a month. “We thought, let’s keep that authenticity and supplement it, not replace it,” Ablon said.
To get a sense of the district’s culture, head to the