WORDS BY NICK TOTIN
This article originally appeared in the Spring/Summer issue of VisitDallas The Magazine. To see the entire issue and read other features, click here.
Oak Lawn is home to Dallas' LGBTQ community, and at just under twelve square miles it's known as the largest gay neighborhood in the country. Located just north of Downtown and close to the Uptown neighborhood, Oak Lawn bucks outdated and misguided stereotypes outsiders may have about Dallas, and Texas.
Jaron Turnbow, executive director of Dallas Pride, knows Dallas has much more to offer than folks might imagine. "Some people may have an idea about Texas that it doesn't offer as much culture or depth as perhaps coastal cities or other states, but we have world-class museums and restaurants and an amazing gay neighborhood centered on the Cedar Springs strip."
The Cedar Springs strip, a few-block stretch of Cedar Springs Road, is the epicenter of the Oak Lawn LGBTQ scene, and for many years it was home to Dallas' Pride celebration every September. In 2019, Dallas Pride outgrew the area and made a permanent move to its new home in Fair Park; the festival also moved to June, aligning Dallas' celebration with national Pride Month. This year, Dallas celebrates Pride June 6–7.
In Dallas tradition, Pride festivities are big and bold featuring a massive parade and family festival. And revelers are not afraid to lean into Dallas' cowboy culture. "I've traveled for Pride and there will always be something memorable in every city, and Dallas is no different. Dallas has its own special touch and western flare," Turnbow said.
While Pride has moved from Cedar Springs, the area is still growing and as vibrant as ever. In 2019, Mr. Misster, a new upscale cocktail bar, joined the businesses along the strip offering a fresh and intimate setting for dancing, enjoying craft cocktails and meeting with friends and neighbors. TMC, a popular nightclub just across the street, underwent a renovation project to make the legacy establishment "like-new" with a redesigned layout and updated tech and décor.
In 2020, residents and visitors can look forward to major renovations to the area's curb appeal, including a monument to proudly welcome visitors to the strip and ten rainbow crosswalks to add flare to the streets and create Instagram-worthy moments. These crosswalks will get people safely and proudly around the strip from places like the world-famous Round-Up Saloon and The Rose Room, a famous drag performance stage where queens such as Alyssa Edwards and Asia O'Hara got their start.