The Bishop Arts restaurant district is now entrenched as a “go to” spot for Dallasites and tourists looking for a unique dining and shopping experience. The area offers a blend of locally owned restaurants and shops in a charming walkable environment. Additional restaurants and shops are opening every month as industrial and existing retail buildings are re-purposed. The Bishop Arts district now encompasses an almost 30 square block area south of Davis Street between Zang and Tyler.
So to get this out of the way – there is no parking problem in Bishop Arts.
None. Nada. Zero.
Every restaurant can be reached five to ten minutes after parking. If you “can’t find a place to park” you are expecting a suburban Dallas parking experience. But Bishop Arts was designed and built in the 1920’s as a streetcar stop. There will be no ten acre parking lot bumping up against a strip center with valet parking. It is a semi-urban environment. Valet Parking in Bishop Arts is certainly available but the wait times can be long and dropping off /picking up your vehicle can be awkward. 1920’s streets designed for streetcars are not conducive to SUV’s trying to navigate. I support the businesses in Bishop Arts as they strive to serve their customers, and having valet is certainly necessary for these folks. But there is a faster and cheaper way to park.
Parking in Bishop Arts is like a Navy SEAL operation. Insertion and extraction are key. A full frontal attack is not the best way for your mission to succeed. A flanking maneuver is the best option.
If I had written this guide two years ago, the flanking maneuvers would be much different. But the reality of the growth and popularity of Bishop Arts has changed the parking strategy. For my insertion and extraction strategies, I’m taking it for granted you are headed back north across the river, or west toward Tarrant County and out of Oak Cliff.
The Bishop Arts entertainment district has four “Axis of Evil” intersections that should be avoided at all costs. These areas are narrow, crowded and frustratingly full of cars and SUV’s.Bishop & Davis Bishop and 7th 8th street east of Bishop to Madison Madison south of Davis to 7th
Use my insertion and extraction guide below even if you are a valet drop. You can impress your friends by maneuvering like a local!
There are several self-parking lots, but these will fill quickly on weekends. Some restaurants have small lots attached, but these are always full and not worth pursuing except early on weeknights or during the day. The original large Bishop Arts lot is located at 7th and Madison next to Oddfellow’s and is a great option during weekdays. But the lot fills quickly during weekend brunch and every weekend night and should be avoid0ed during those times.
Several restaurants also have their own lots. Ten Bells Tavern has a gravel lot adjacent to their bar and patio. If you are not going to Ten Bells don’t park in their lot. It’s just not nice, and the owner will rightfully get mad. The Local Oak has a big lot, as does El Corazon and Zoli’s Pizza. Pier 247 and 303 Grill have small parking lots. The Café Brazil lot is also large and easy to navigate, but is a prime spot to get towed. There is a small lot on the south side of Lockhart Smokehouse. This tiny lot has only 8-9 spaces but does include one handicap space. It’s a killer spot but always full and difficult to get in and out of.
The vast majority of parking in Bishop Arts is on the street. The streets are mostly residential, and not all have curbs. When you park on residential streets, do not block driveways.. If you are unsure if the driveway is “active” or it looks like the gate hasn’t been opened in decades, don’t block it. If you have doubts then find a different spot.
Before we continue with an exploration of insertion and extraction strategies for your Navy SEAL parking mission, here is a quick guide on how to parallel park. Of course I know YOU do not need this, but perhaps your designated driver does.
It’s easy. Just practice!
Northern Insertion Strategy North of Davis Street is now the best place to park to walk to Bishop Arts. The north-south running streets Madison, Haines, Woodlawn and Adams are your key insertion points. These streets are wider, and make for easier maneuvering. There are a few “residence only parking” areas near here in effect from 6pm to Midnight. Pay attention to the signs for these. Your mission is to approach Bishop Arts on Madison, Haines, Woodlawn or Adams from the north off of Colorado and park when you are in sight of Davis Street. Be careful crossing Davis, as Dallas drivers are not used to seeing pedestrians, and will pay no attention to you. You can park in this area and cross Davis into Bishop Arts in only a few minutes.
Northern Extraction Strategy Once safely back across Davis, take Bishop north to Colorado. If you are headed west to Arlington and beyond, go west on Colorado, then north on Sylvan to I-30. If you are headed north on I-35 or the Dallas North Tollway take Bishop to Colorado and head east to Beckley going north. Take the small off- ramp on Beckley to Commerce headed east, then cross the river and jump on I-35 going north. If you need to be on the Large Marge Bridge to Woodall Rodgers and Central Expressway, continue to Singleton and turn right onto the big white bridge.
Southern Insertion Strategy If you insist on parking south of Davis, the east-west running streets are a beating, and should be avoided at all costs. 7th, 8th and Melba Streets are just not worth driving down or as a place to park. These streets are narrow and allow parking on both sides creating a one lane, block long game of chicken between every intersection. Your flanking maneuver will approach Bishop Arts via the east flank (Beckley Ave) or west flank (Sylvan/Polk Street). Once south of Davis, turn on 10th street towards Bishop Ave, then turn north on Adams or Madison and park soon as you can see the open spaces filling up.
Southern Extraction Strategy Reverse your route back north on Beckley Ave or Sylvan/Tyler Street. Avoid the Axis of Evil intersections, and then head away from Oak Cliff as described above.
Bishop Arts is also a short Lyft ride from downtown and there is a FREE DART bus called “D-Link” that runs until 11:30, though it does not run on Sunday. Pay particular attention to the routes otherwise you could be riding the bus for a long time before you get back to Downtown. The best place to pick up the D-Link free bus to return to Downtown is the bus stop on Bishop north of Davis past Gloria’s.
Soon there will also be a streetcar line that runs from Union Station to near Methodist hospital in Oak Cliff. This line will stop around one mile from Bishop Arts until phase two is completed. The 20 minute walk down the Bishop Street’s newly renovated sidewalks is very pleasant, however.