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An Ultimate Uptown Dallas Neighborhood Living Guide: Things to Do and Where to Live

Uptown Dallas Guide

This post is all about Uptown Dallas and is part 4 of the “Where Should I Live In Dallas?” series.


Sitting directly north of Downtown Dallas, Uptown is one of the city’s most energetic and thriving neighborhoods. Thanks to a decade of development, the community is now one of the most sought after locations in town to live thanks to its modern residences, extensive shopping and retail options, and its booming dining and nightlife scene.

History of Uptown Dallas

Over the past couple of decades, Uptown has transformed itself from a scarcely visited section of Dallas into one of the most desired neighborhoods in the city. In the early 90’s, Uptown had little to offer apart from a few restaurants scattered along McKinney Ave. Since that time, Uptown has seen a massive revitalization which has included the construction of many new apartment and condo buildings, as well as extensive commercial space. Now, Uptown is one of Dallas’ most thriving and trendy communities.

Uptown: A Pedestrian-Friendly Neighborhood

One of the reasons why Uptown is so popular is some would say it's the most pedestrian-friendly area in a city which is mostly reliant upon cars. Thanks to the urban design of the neighborhood, it is easy for residents to walk to many of the places they need and want to visit on a daily basis. Thanks to so many popular businesses being located along McKinney Ave, Uptown’s hot spots are often in close proximity to the area’s living spaces.

Another benefit of living in Uptown is the quick access to the Katy Trail. The Katy Trail is a 3.5 mile long pedestrian trail which runs through the center of the neighborhood. With accessibility for those on foot, riding bikes and skating, the Katy Trail makes it easy to get around Dallas’ core without the need to drive. Originally an eyesore of abandoned railroad tracks, the trail is now considered one of the city’s premier green spaces in Uptown.

State Thomas in Uptown

 State Thomas has become one of the most popular places to live in the city over the past decade. The brownstone style townhomes, brick streets and access to Griggs Park give State Thomas a small neighborhood vibe.  With a large number of new residential developments, this neighborhood has seen a massive influx of new residents in recent years. Attracted to the urban residential setting, those living in State Thomas enjoy all of the luxuries Uptown has to offer.

State Thomas Neighborhood Uptown
Tree Lined Streets & Townhomes in State Thomas

West Village in Uptown

While also chocked full of apartment and condo buildings, West Village has much more commercial space than State Thomas. Much of Uptown’s shopping is within West Village, and residents enjoy a prime location in the middle of all of the action. West Village’s shopping options and upscale dining makes it one of the trendiest sections of Uptown.

West Village
West Village at Night

Transportation in Uptown

Even through Uptown is very pedestrian-friendly, there are going to be times when you simply don’t want to walk, yet do not want to deal with the hassle of driving. Luckily, the area has a number of high-quality, efficient transportation options.

  • Taxis – Thanks to the popularity of Uptown, cabs can easily and quickly be found throughout the community nearly every evening. Yellow Cab is a very popular choice and they can be reached 24 hours a day.

  • Uber - This service is similar to taxi, only allows you to get chauffeured in style in a black luxury sedan. You can request to be picked up from anywhere at any time in Dallas via iPhone and Android apps.
  • EFROGS – EFROGS is an electric shuttle service which operates in Uptown. These small shuttles are ideal when you’re not quite going far enough for a taxi, but just a little too far to walk.

  • MATA Trolley – The McKinney Avenue Transit Authority operates free trolley rides throughout Uptown every single day. These cars travel primarily along McKinney Ave, and make it simple to traverse along the 4.3 mile track.

MATA Trolley
MATA Trolley

Living in Uptown

Living in Uptown means embracing the community’s urban feel. There aren't many houses in the neighborhood, but there are tons of apartment buildings, high-rise towers, condos and city-style townhouses. One of the things which makes this such a desirable area to live in is the fact that most of the residential properties are quite modern and new. Thanks to the area’s recent revitalization, much of the space has been developed over the past ten years.

Glass House Uptown
The Glass House High Rise Apartments

Who Lives in Uptown?

The great thing about Uptown is that there is no one single demographic that lives here. The area appeals to a number of different people for a multitude of reasons. Thanks to the active lifestyle it represents, many young professionals and recent college graduates flock to this trendy neighborhood. At the same time, many people new to Dallas, as well as empty nesters downsizing from a large home, choose Uptown for its convenient amenities and “all-inclusive” lifestyle. Living in Uptown means that you are part of a thriving neighborhood, one with most necessities found close to home.

Things to Do in Uptown Dallas

Out of all of the ways I have heard Uptown described, never once has anyone called it boring. There are a seemingly a never-ending number of things to do between shopping, dining, and the area’s nightlife. Uptown is a self-contained neighborhood for many residents who rarely find it necessary to venture out of the community.


While there are shopping options throughout Uptown, a majority of the trendy retail stores are situated in West Village.

  • Nicole Kwan – Nicole Kwan offers shoppers clothing and accessories for both men and women. The inventory includes a number of high-end brands, as well as Kwan’s own NKWON line.

  • Cowboy Cool – Specializing in stylish Western apparel, Cowboy Cool has a number of famous patrons including Kid Rock and Josh Beckett.

  • Transit Bicycle Co. – For Uptown residents who enjoy biking around the neighborhood, Transit Bicycle Co. features an expert staff, top-end bikes and all of the parts and accessories you need for your ride.

  • Floyd’s Barbershop – This high-energy location for both men and women to get a haircut claims to be “The Original Rock and Roll Barbershop”. With the popularity of this place, I believe it.

  • Kendra Scott - Trendy, boutique jewelry shop in the heart of West Village with interactive design. Kendra is an Austin, TX based designer with boutiques in Beverly Hills, Austin and Dallas.

Kendra Scott
Kendra Scott West Village


Nightlife & Entertainment in Uptown

People travel from all over Dallas to Uptown’s famous nightlife scene. Residents and visitors can find some of the city’s most popular bars and pubs within walking distance from their front doors. Just a few of the nightly options include:

  • The Nodding Donkey – This popular sports pub shows real Texas style with BBQ and Tex-Mex. Plenty of beer and plenty of TVs to keep up with any game.

  • The Londoner – Relax in this Uptown pub which transports you to the heart of the UK with its dark wood accents and décor.

  • Katy Trail Ice House – Boasting 50 different draft beers, including a number of local brews, Katy Trail Ice House often attracts crowds to its popular beer garden.

  • McKinney Ave Tavern – A laid-back sports bar owned by radio personality Big Al Mack, McKinney Ave Tavern features over 25 TVs and features a number of different foods ranging from chicken wings to burgers.

  • Black Friar Pub – With an impressive whiskey list only to be topped by their beer selection, Black Friar Pub is authentic European public house in every way.

  • Frankie’s Sports Bar and Grill – Great sport’s bar style food with too many TV’s to count. Frankie’s is an ideal location to watch a game with a big group of friends.

  • Two Corks and a Bottle – Not only is this one of Uptown’s most popular wine bars, but it is also a winery that allows you to create and bottle your own wine.

  • The Ginger Man – Beer enthusiasts flock to this popular bar for its unique beer selections. Sample unique beers from all over the world, and munch on some of their food offerings such as the Jalapeno & Cheddar Twisted Pretzel Dog.

  • The Idle Rich Pub – Great service and a dark, pub-like atmosphere makes The Idle Rich Pub a popular destination in Uptown for anyone looking for a casual, exciting night out.

Katy Trail Ice House
Katy Trail Ice House

Dining in Uptown

There is no shortage of quality dining options in Uptown. With everything ranging from popular brunch spots to white tablecloth formal dinner restaurants, many consider Uptown’s culinary delights as some of Dallas’ finest.

  • Belly & Trumpet – The décor inside of Belly & Trumpet is upscale and well designed. With a menu full of plates to be shared among multiple people, you have unique options such ranging from chickpea fries to duck confit.

  • Avanti Ristorante – With an elegant and sleek décor combined with great service, Avanti Ristorante consistently delivers delicious, authentic Italian dishes.

  • Coal Vines – Cole Vines is one of Uptown’s most delicious pizza restaurants. Enjoy a delicious dinner with a view, and don’t miss out on their great wine selection. Also, try the tuna tartar appetizer.

  • Nick and Sam’s Grill – Quite possibly the most popular brunch destination in Uptown, Nick and Sam’s Grill delivers an amazing menu, including their most famous brunch option, the Captain Crunch French Toast. Oh yeah, and $6 mimosa carafes.

  • Manny’s Uptown – With a delicious Tex-Mex menu and a big patio seating area, Manny’s Uptown boasts some of the best beef brisket you will find in Texas.

  • Bread Winners Café – Another one of Uptown’s great brunch spots. Don’t miss the chicken and waffles.

  • S&D Oyster Company – As Uptown’s very own New Orleans-style restaurant, S&D Oyster Company delivers the freshest and most delicious Gulf Coast seafood.

  • Dream Café – With outdoor seating, and a cute, garden décor, Dream Café is always a busy but tasty location for breakfast and brunch.

  • The Common Table – This restaurant and beer house is famous for its Monday night Pour Man’s Beer Dinner which pairs a four course meal with four different beers for $29.

  • Nobu – Opened by famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Nobu is one of Uptown’s best Japanese restaurants. Be prepared to spend a few dollars, but the quality of the food and service is unmatched.

  • Sambuca – Sambuca is a dinner club with intimate and elegant décor, as well as live music and dancing every night. Make reservations on the weekend, because this place gets busy.

  • Village Burger Bar – Located in West Village, Village Burger Bar has some of the best burgers you’ll find in the city. Great spot for a late-night hamburger.

The Common Table
The Common Table

Uptown is such an interesting and diverse neighborhood that it is impossible to cover it all in a single guide. This is just a fraction of what the community has to offer, but luckily Uptown’s pedestrian friendly, urban living makes it easy to get out and explore for yourself.