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A Quick Guide to Deep Ellum: Things to Do and Where to Live

Deep Ellum Mural Frank Campagna

This post is all about Deep Ellum and is part 3 of the “Where Should I Live In Dallas?” series.

Located just East of Downtown Dallas, Deep Ellum is best known for it’s music scene, eclectic roots and rich history. The bars, restaurants and local shops have transformed Deep Ellum into the unique residential community it is today...not to say there weren’t a few bumps and bruises along the way!

Deep Ellum's History 101

Dating back to 1888, “Deep Elm” was originally put on the map by Robert S. Munger. His first business, Continental Gin Company, spanned over several city blocks near the intersection of Elm St. and Trunk Ave and  eventually became the leading manufacturer for cotton processing equipment in the US. Following Munger’s lead, in 1914 Henry Ford developed one of Ford’s first production plants for Ford Model T’s. The buildings that once housed these businesses have since been converted into residential and commercial lofts that are still open today.

historic ford building deep ellum
Ford Model T Production Plant Building (Now Adam Hats Lofts)

Deep Ellum Music Scene

Between 1920 and 1950, the Jazz and Blues scene in Deep Ellum exploded. Some of the more famous names that performed in Deep Ellum include Blind Lemon Jefferson, Texas Bill Day, and Huddie Ledbetter, better known as “Lead Belly”. After WWII, the decline took place, and Deep Ellum was nothing short of a ghost town. In the 1980’s and 1990's the neighborhood resurfaced with bands such as The Toadies, Tripping Daisy, Old 97’s and many more. This lasted well into the 90’s until yet another brick wall was hit. According to a Dallas Morning News article in 2006, “Negative publicity about crime in the area [Deep Ellum] and a rash of club, shop and restaurant closings” took it’s toll on the neighborhood and many of the longtime music venues shut down between 2000 and 2006. Thankfully, Deep Ellum was on the receiving end of a big boost in the mid-2000’s, which sparked a host of new multi-family development. Over the last couple of years, several music venues including Trees and Dada have re-opened and there is a fresh outlook on the music scene.

deep ellum arts festival live music
Trees on Elm Street

Deep Ellum Loft Living

Due to the industrial history of Deep Ellum, it is not an area where you will find many houses with white picket fences. It is one of the only neighborhoods in Dallas that offers true warehouse style loft living. Whether it’s solely Residential, Commercial, or a convenient Live/Work space, you can find it in Deep Ellum! Exposed brick and piping, concrete or hardwood flooring, large industrial windows and a nice view of Downtown is available. There are a few traditional apartments as well, but Lofts tend to be the main attraction.

deep ellum warehouse lofts
Industrial Residential Loft in Deep Ellum

Know Your Neighbors

So - who lives in Deep Ellum? Answer: anyone and everyone! That’s the beauty of Deep Ellum Livin’, there’s definitely no shortage of personality or character! Whether you’re a starving artist, young professional, musician, or just a person wanting to live in a growing and lively area, Deep Ellum is for you.

So I’ve moved to Deep Ellum...what now?? 15 Things to Do in Deep Ellum

Now that we’ve talked up the history of Deep Ellum, let’s examine what exactly goes on throughout the year:


Deep Ellum Brewing Company – Extremely popular among residents living in Deep Ellum and the surrounding areas, the Deep Ellum Brewery gives visitors the opportunity to tour their brewhouse and sip on locally brewed craft beers in their warehouse tasting room.

Deep Ellum Brewing Company

Deep Ellum Arts Festival - This is a free festival that lasts 3 days in April. You can consider it Dallas’s own SXSW in a way....with 100+ bands, tons of artists and 6 blocks shut down for all of the venues to set up shop, it’s a great way to spend those rare “good weather” days in the big D!

deep ellum arts festival live music


Deep Ellum Outdoor Market – Operating the third Saturday of each month during most of the year (the market is closed in January and February), the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market is a busy destination once a month when people from all over the city flock to the market’s food trucks, art booths, live music and product vendors.


State Fair of Texas - The State Fair of Texas is technically located in Fair Park, but the 6 week long event definitely spills over into Deep Ellum. The State Fair is famous for it’s fried foods, overpriced games, car shows, rides and several annual events, most notably the Red River Rivalry (TX vs. OU) game that takes place at the Cotton Bowl.

Red River Rivalry Cotton Bowl

Where to Eat and Drink in Deep Ellum

Revitalization efforts throughout Deep Ellum have ensured that there’s no shortage of dining and entertainment throughout the area. With new, trendy restaurants opening all the time, diners will find a number of options to suit any eater’s palate. Here’s a list of some local favorites:

  • AllGood Cafe - With an atmosphere straight out of Austin, TX, this popular brunch destination in Deep Ellum has a great selection of Omelets, Tacos, and Migas. AllGood hosts an impressive lineup of local music throughout the year.
  • Twisted Root - One of the most popular choices for dining is the Twisted Root Burger Co. which gives guests the opportunity to taste unique hamburgers such as the Wing Style (covered in a hot sauce and bleu cheese) or The Big German which boasts a pretzel bun with sauerkraut. Feel like having buffalo? They can make that happen, too.
  • Cane Rosso - Located on Commerce Street, across the street from the Twisted Root, lies the pizza restaurant Cane Rosso. With a huge selection of authentic Neapolitan pizzas, Cane Rosso is often considered one of the best pizza restaurants in town. In addition to the brick and mortar location, this restaurant also boasts a “mobile oven” which can be found cooking up pies all over Dallas.
  • Uncle Uber's Sammich Shop - The anti-subway. An incredible and unique sandwich shop that will not disappoint. Everything is good, so start at the top of the menu and work your way down. If you need a suggestion, try to shaved ribeye steak sandwich. Oh, and they have beer!
  • Murray St. Coffee - Coffee fiend? You wont find a Starbucks in Deep Ellum.  Murray St. is a locally owned coffee shop with a great atmosphere, wifi, workspace (upstairs) and a mean cup of coffee.

21 and Older Menu:

  • Craft and Growler – Located on Parry Ave, Craft and Growler offers both a bar for customers, and the opportunity to take one of their 30 different draft beers home in a growler to enjoy later. Trying to stay true to the local flavor, the Craft and Growler oftentimes has many locally brewed beers on draft.
  • Trees - Trees originally opened in the 90’s With an eclectic lineup, Trees lends itself more towards rock music. That being said, they host so many artists that there is sure to be something for everyone.
  • Double Wide - Dive-bar in Deep ellum. It’s literally a double-wide trailer in a parking lot transformed into a bar. Great drink specials, fun atmosphere and plenty of regulars.
  • Sandbar Cantina and Grill - Located off of Canton Ave. in Deep Ellum, Sandbar has 8 white-sand volleyball courts that make you feel like you’re at the beach. In the Spring and Summer, this is a great place to kick back and play some pick-up sand volleyball games.
  • Angry Dog - Great atmosphere, amazing hamburgers and a huge selection of local craft beers on tap as well as a fully stocked bar.
  • Calais Winery - Boutique winery on Commerce St. created by French wine maker, Benjamin Calais. Weekly wine tasting available every Friday and Saturday night.
  • Adair's Saloon - A favorite in Deep Ellum with great happy hours, good food and live music 7 nights a week. Casual setting, country music, dance floor and shuffle board.

Of course, this is just a quick-guide and there is much, much more to explore in Deep Ellum. I invite everyone to share their favorite things to do in Deep Ellum in the comments section below.