Wandering through Deep Ellum is worthy of a trip to Dallas in itself. The neighborhood’s unapologetically vibrant atmosphere has attracted artists, musicians, and creatives for over a century.
It goes without saying that the Deep Ellum murals are why this community continues to thrive as the most popular art district in Dallas.
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A Brief History of Deep Ellum
Equally as impressive as the murals themselves is the neighborhood’s history. Deep Ellum was historically home to African Americans and European immigrants in the late 1800s. It became a hub for the working class in the industrial revolution, with several railroads and manufacturing plants based here.
By the 1920s Deep Ellum was the place to be for Jazz music and a night out on the town. The industries slowly began to move out after WWII and the neighborhood took a hit. But luckily by the 1980s and 1990s, Deep Ellum resurfaced as a music mecca once again, hosting music legends such as Nirvana, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, and many others.
Today the neighborhood is primarily millennials of diverse artistic talents and ethnic backgrounds. The authenticity of the area makes it a ripe real-estate location for investors and sadly, gentrification.
But one thing is for sure in that Deep Ellum has always been home to Dallas’ visual arts. Today in an effort to keep this community tradition alive, local businesses partner with urban artists in what is called the 42 murals project. This transforms parking lots and otherwise concrete, bland spaces into public art displays showcasing local artists.
Not all of the murals are part of this project, but many of the ones mentioned below are.
Here are the best Deep Ellum Murals
You can easily find the Deep Ellum murals if you walk around Main and Elm Street, which run parallel to one another. There are also a few other murals on Commerce St and Malcom X Blvd. However, in that Texas summer heat, it’s not a bad idea to know exactly where you are going.
You can simply plug any of these addresses below in on your Google Maps and you should be able to find them!
Please note that I do not know the artists or official names of any of these murals, but if you do, please tell me!
Deep Ellum Sign (The Doors Club parking lot)
In case you’re not sure if you’re in the right place, this colorful sign will point you in the right direction. It’s in the parking lot of the Doors Club, across the street from Braindead Brewing.
Although it’s hard to get the mural without any cars or trees in the shot, I love that you can see the Dallas skyline in the background.
Dinosaur T.V. (near 7/11 on Elm Street)
Deep Ellum is spotted with strange artwork open for interpretation, and this Dinosaur on T.V. is definitely one of them. This was spotted near the 7/11 on Elm Street, not far from the Deep Ellum sign above. Of course, this mural is in good company with many others in the area.
Various spiritual murals (2628 Elm St)
Another street, another Insta-worthy parking lot. These murals are in the parking lot across from Deep Sushi and evoke some level of higher consciousness. They also seem to change pretty frequently, so it’s likely that the murals will change in the near future.
Wits ends murals (2724 Elm st)
Wits End is a popular bar and music venue that adds to the neighborhood’s live music scene. The funky and eclectic vibe mixes urban art with homage to Deep Ellum’s industrial roots.
Colorful check mural (2807 Elm St)
The further down you get on Elm Street, you’ll see the murals transform from moody and dark to bright and vibrant. The “check wall” is a great example of this, right across from Dallas Tattoos. I was here in the afternoon and the parking lot was nearly full.
So, if you’re looking to have your picture taken here, it’s best to be here in the early morning.
“I love you” mural (2913 Elm St)
Looking to send your crush a subtle message? This wall across from Pepe and Mitos should do the trick. It’s now one of the most popular walls in Deep Ellum, and it is popular for many engagements or plain old Instagram photo-shoots.
Deep Ellum bright wall (208 S Malcolm X Blvd)
In case one Deep Ellum mural isn’t enough, you have another one over on Malcom X Blvd. I personally like this one better for the brighter colors, and that it was almost empty and thus easier to get some shots.
Welcome to Dallas mural (2901 Commerce Street)
This “welcome to Dallas” mural is definitely one of the most intricate in Deep Ellum. The artwork expands over 3 walls with impressive detail. It’s only fitting that this mural is in the parking lot of Health Arts Consulting.
Western scenery mural (2703 Commerce Street)
In all of Deep Ellum I have to say that this wall across from Angry Dogs is my favorite. It looks like the album cover to a folk rock band, or an illustration out of the film Dazed and Confused. I love how the wall incorporates cacti and stars, a few things Texas is known for.
Believe in yourself mural (200 S Crowdus Street)
This wall is the self-affirmation that I wish I could walk by every morning. It’s also next to another mural of an American flag on the side of a building.
Fine Pies for Fine Folx mural (2709 Main Street)
I sadly totally missed out on visiting Emporium Pies while visiting Deep Ellum. I suppose this doesn’t technically qualify as an outdoor mural, but the sign is too adorable not to include. Emporium Pies has a few different locations in Dallas, but this location definitely fits into the surrounding vibe of Deep Ellum.
It’s nearly impossible to photograph every mural in Deep Ellum as there are so many. The murals are also constantly changing, but the ones listed above are the most popular. Also, don’t forget to check out live music, grab a beer at a local brewery, and visit some of the local shops in Deep Ellum.
If you’re looking ideas of what else to do in Dallas, check out a variety of tours here.