Pros: Most prominent entertainment district in Dallas, lots of tattoo parlors.
Cons: Not much variety, run down, shabby looking, weird people, crime issue.
Deep Ellum is often referred to as the great entertainment and party district in Dallas. We have not visited Deep Ellum many times, but we have been there a few times, and our oldest son (teenager) has also been here. Last Saturday we also visited Deep Ellum but we did not stay. Our intent was to go spend our Saturday evening here but after spending some time looking for a nice restaurant and/or a place to listen to music, we decided to go elsewhere.
Entertainment/Partying in Dallas
Dallas is a nice city to live in and people are mostly very friendly here. However, there are not many interesting tourist attractions in Dallas considering the size of the city. In addition; Dallas, is not a city that offers a lot of late evening/night entertainment. There are 10,000 restaurants in the Dallas Fort Worth metropolitan, which is more than any other city in the U.S., however, there are not many restaurants that stay open past 10PM or 11PM. There are various pubs and nightclubs and other entertainment establishments spread out around the city but it is not a party city. However, middle class and upper class residents of Dallas often organize their own parties and invite bands, entertainers, and caterers.
That does not mean that there aren't night clubs or entertainment districts in Dallas. Well I guess they are not officially entertainment districts, but in practice they are. There are "entertainment districts" south-west of down town around South Lamar Avenue (Gilley's, Palladium, Sambuca on McKinney), Knox-Henderson, and West of down town around the W hotel and American Airlines Center, Mockingbird station, the Northwest Highway / I-35E intersection, and the area around Legacy Dr and the Tollway in Plano. However, the most famous entertainment district in Dallas is Deep Ellum.
About Deep Ellum
Deep Ellum is located near down town Dallas on the East side, east of the I-45/US 75 highway. It extends to Exposition Avenue, and goes from north to south, along the streets Pacific, Elm, Main, Commerce, and Canton. Deep Ellum has a long and interesting history and it reminds a lot of the Flats in Cleveland Ohio. There are a number of nightclubs here, for example, the Purgatory, Trees, Club One, and Coyote Ugly.
Just like the Flats it was once the center of entertainment of the city but it is a "has been", just like the Flats. Unlike the Flats it does not have River flowing through it, or a port, or a nice park. It is just a run down arts/entertainment district that is mostly catering to the very young and the starving artist. People in the 40's (like us) and also people in the 30's feel a little out of place here. In addition I am reluctant to let my kids visit Deep Ellum because it looks shabby, there are weird people and beggars everywhere, and it has a horrid reputation for crime and for being unsafe. However, if you would like to get a tattoo then Deep Ellum is for you. There are a lot of Tattoo parlors here.
If you are young student visiting with a group I think I can recommend Deep Ellum somewhat reluctantly, however, most others should take a serious look at the other entertainment districts in Dallas, especially the West side of down town Dallas. Examples of Night clubs in other areas of down town Dallas are Uropa, the Lizard Lounge (often said to be in Deep Ellum when it is not), Vampire Lounge, House of Blues, AfterLife, Gilley's, Area 51. I predict that Deep Ellum will end being Dallas' prime entertainment district and it will soon be eclipsed by South West Dallas, or some other area.
I hope to add this review to the lean-n-mean VIII write off.