Photo courtesy of ilume Park

Go dog, or go home. If you don’t have a four-legged friend, that’s probably the message you’re receiving, because Dallas has an ever-growing legion of dog-friendly restaurants, bars, shops, communities and activities. Spending time with your pup is always a priority — yours and his. After all, your dog never says no to cuddling, never passes on playtime or turns away from adventure.

So grab the smartphone (for snaps, of course) and your best friend’s leash and head out to experience eight exciting things to do with your dog in Dallas.

No. 1: Dog Dinner Date
The number of al fresco dining establishments has grown by leaps and bounds across the city, partly because restaurant owners and operators recognize how much humans love to bring their canine counterparts along.

As such, Bread Winners, Eatzi’s, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Ginger Man, Gloria’s, Henry’s Majestic, Twisted Root Burgers and The Quarter bar are among many area restaurants that invite dogs to dine on the outdoor patio. Bread Winners even bakes its own line of housemade dog treats called Sole Mates that you can purchase onsite. (Tip: The staff gives out samples to your pooch for free when dining there.)

No. 2: Hang Out in Harmony
All children need to be taught manners – even your canine kids. Dog trainer Art Ortiz holds training classes every fourth Saturday at Klyde Warren Park that teach you and your BFF (best furry friend) tips for building an even better relationship.

After the lesson, hang out in the park for some fun in the sun. Learn more about the free DogFit classes here.

No. 3: Sip and See
Your pup’s the cutest/cuddliest/smartest/silliest/most obedient one in the pack, and you absolutely have the right to brag about it.

Get your chance to boast and mingle with other proud parents at Mutts Cantina, where pups can strut their stuff in the off-leash dog park. (There are separate areas for large and small breeds.) And don’t forget you can enjoy a cocktail and bites while you watch.

No. 4: Let Him Eat Cake
Sprinkles Cupcakes are the definition of decadence. While you’re enjoying your favorite, your pup can too, with a selection made especially for canines. Doggy cupcakes are available in stores during business hours, or 24-7 at the cupcake ATM at the Plaza at Preston Center.

No. 5: Dog’s Perfect Dwelling
ilume Park offers the ultimate in pet-friendly living. Pups lucky enough to live in this luxury apartment community get to hang out in the bone-shaped dog pool and two off-leash play areas. ilume Park also pampers pooches with a washing/grooming studio and dog lounge, and helps owners out with pet sitting services.

Humans get the luxe treatment too — each residence offers fine finishes, great views and spacious rooms. Community amenities include a 4,000-square-foot fitness center, dry cleaning and housekeeping services, onsite handyman, and more.

No. 6: Your Own Caddy
In Dallas, leashed pups can critique your golf game by joining you on municipal courses and driving ranges. Just don’t be upset if his game is better than yours. Your dog will love watching you show off, and you’ll love the guaranteed audience. Get a list of city-run locations at Golf In Dallas.

No. 7: Join in Worship
Your pup wants to be a part of every facet of your life, so bring him (on a leash) to Sunday services at Rafter J Cowboy Church. Services take place in a covered riding area, so you don’t have to worry about formality. People and pups of all denominations are welcome. Amen.

No. 8: Yappy Hour
RAW by Canines First is an organic dog food retailer with an awesome treat bar. Bring your pal by either of its two locations to sample a wide variety of dog treats and see which goodies garner the biggest wags.

After they graze their way through various flavors — including bison, venison, duck, chicken and beef — you’ll know exactly which snacks to purchase to show your appreciation at home for a trick well done.

Do you have a favorite dog-friendly adventure? Let us know in the comments below.

Dogs and humans both feel pampered at ilume Park.

Photo courtesy of ilume Park
Dogs and humans both feel pampered at ilume Park.
Photo by Sylvia Elzafon

The best social scene in Dallas could be happening at your apartment community

Get Social At Home

Survey suburban home owners and you’ll be surprised how many confess they don’t even know their neighbor’s last name. Neighborhood “events” may be the occasional multifamily garage sale or the driveway cocktail hour attended by a few homeowners who live on the same street. There isn’t that sense of fellowship you had when you lived in the college dorm, or the camaraderie you felt when you played a team sport.

If you’re looking for a close-knit community and opportunity to network and socialize, apartment living is king. Here are four reasons why an apartment community fosters fellowship, belonging and a sense you’re a part of something bigger than yourself.

Proximity to others
Living next door to someone doesn’t mean you’ll be best friends, but the odds of meeting like-minded people increase when you factor in density and location. Apartments are built for density, so there are many people living in a relatively small footprint. Oftentimes, people select the apartment based on a certain metro, community or even street.

The Cedar Springs area, for example, appeals to young urban professionals who gravitate to the work-live-play lifestyle. In this neighborhood, you’ll find a bevy of restaurants, bars and retail, many of which are frequented by the people who live in the area. Cedar Springs is also conveniently located near Uptown (but benefits from less noise and traffic) and is in proximity to the Dallas North Tollway and work centers.

Common area congeniality
Fitness centers, pools, green spaces and elevators give you the opportunity to meet and mingle with others. By and large, these are the amenities of apartment living, and although they are included to provide convenience and fun, common areas also help people get to know who lives down the hall.

Common areas are a place to converse, hang out and relax, and they provide residents with a go-to area for meeting up, sharing ideas, giving support and building relationships.

Onsite interests
One of the signs of an apartment community’s success is that people talk about how much fun it is to live there. A community that gets rave reviews is ilume Park, which was created for discriminating residents and their furry friends.

Here, canines are catered to. The community includes a dog walk, enclosed dog play area, bone-shaped splash pool with fire hydrant fountain, Pawspa® (which features professional groomers and grooming equipment), and dog sitting. ilume Park has mastered the art of appealing to residents’ interests with onsite amenities that transcend the expected. (There are even dog treat vending machines.)

Fun and games
Many apartment communities encourage resident activities where you can meet others who share your interests and passions. Again, ilume Park has the ideal setup.

The apartment community features a Grand Lounge that was designed to feel just like an enormous living room. Inside there are five flat-screen TVs, board games, poker table, media room and movie library; there is a complimentary happy hour every evening. Grand Lounge is designed to encourage residents to mingle and have fun.

The community also offers a complimentary brunch each month, cigar night and holiday events. You won’t find this kind of social mixer in a single-family home community.

Whether you’re looking for new activities or want to expand your inner circle, apartments are designed to foster the work-live-play lifestyle.

Whom have you met in your apartment community? Please use the space below to share your story.


To learn more about where luxury living meets your pet’s paradise on Cedar Springs, visit the ilume Park website.

ilume Park provides plenty of fun opportunities to get to know the neighbors.

Photo by Sylvia Elzafon
ilume Park provides plenty of fun opportunities to get to know the neighbors.
Photo courtesy of ilume Park

Dog-friendly Dallas caters to Generation Rex with luxury live-play community

Dog-friendly Living

As a society of canine-obsessed humans, we spend a lot of time and cash when it comes to our dogs. Today in the United States, somewhere between 70 million to 80 million homes have at least one canine resident, according to the ASPCA.

Our dogs lead lives of loving privilege: They shop with us, dine with us, and hang out as we relax and unwind. This year, it’s estimated by American Pet Products Association that Americans will spend nearly $60 billion on products for our four-legged friends.

As the bona fide group affectionately known as Generation Rex, it’s a fact that Americans are unabashedly pet-crazy. Dallas is on board with this trend, as many retailers, restaurants and even luxury apartment communities cater to our city’s canine population.

The place for dog lovers
For those who love their furry friends, finding a home with pet-friendly amenities is often one of the strongest factors in deciding what apartment community will earn their residency. After all, they’re not just seeking an apartment complex that allows pets; they want a community that loves animals as much as they do.

All around the city, dog owners rejoiced when ilume Park® was constructed in the Cedar Springs neighborhood earlier this year. This luxury boutique apartment community was specifically designed for discriminating residents and their pets. (Or maybe it’s the other way around.) In addition to stylish design and beautiful décor, ilume Park® prioritizes canine-friendly perks, such as enclosed walking trails that wind through a 700-foot private dog walk and park that has two off-leash play areas and a bone-shaped splash lagoon created exclusively for dogs.

ilume Park® also offers a professional dog wash/groom studio and dog lounge. For people who pamper their pets, ilume Park® has it all. And for humans, plenty of details are taken care of too. From everyday wants such as a high-end gym, community lounge, media room and dry cleaning services to proximity to five-star dining and salon services, ilume Park® was built as a place for residents and their furry housemates to live, relax and indulge.

For people who adore pets, ilume Park® is not only the place to live, it’s the place to be.

Out and about
Bread Winners
is one of many restaurants around the city that allows al fresco dining with your pet at the Inwood Village and Uptown locations. Here, the servers will even bring your pet a water dish upon your request.

And if your dog has gourmet tastes, he’s in luck: Bread Winners makes and sells its own line of organic dog treats called SoleMates. Other dog-and-dine patio hot spots around town include The Quarter Bar, Henry’s Majestic, Katy Trail Ice House, Cafe Brazil (Cedar Springs), Dish and restaurant/dog park Mutts Cantina.

Canine couture
Dallas boasts an impressive array of dog-focused stores and online boutiques, including Jack & Jill Pet Market, located in Uptown, and DallasDogs.com, which features canine accessories such as sweaters, scarves and hats. Baby Bow Tie, an online retailer that initially designed and sold bow ties for children, branched out to handsome hounds by popular demand. Each bow tie has a magnetic closure to ensure a fur-friendly experience.

As more people insist on being tailed around town by their favorite companions, retailers and dining establishments have evolved to serve every customer — and that most certainly includes the tail-wagging kind.


To learn more about culturally sophisticated living options on Cedar Springs, visit the ilume Village website.

Tail-wagging residents of ilume Park have plenty of amenities to enjoy.

Photo courtesy of ilume Park
Tail-wagging residents of ilume Park have plenty of amenities to enjoy.
Photo courtesy of ilume Park

The fabulous evolution of Dallas' Cedar Springs

Cedar Springs Evolution

Cedar Springs has been the bustling avant-garde subset of Oak Lawn affectionately known as the “gayborhood” since the 1970s. Over time, new trends have been established. Different style waltzed in. Innovation and ideas came to fruition.

Before anyone could say “fabulous,” this small but mighty community has evolved, defining a true-blue cultural shift where today, sexual orientation is a hot button of the same magnitude as, say, how many olives one prefers in a martini.

In a nutshell: The gayborhood put out the welcome mat, and it has become the place everyone wants to be.

ilume Park meets the lifestyle needs of the modern Cedar Springs, which today represents the influences of a young professional urban community.

Popular for work-live-play
Over the past decade, Cedar Springs has evolved into a coveted live-work-play community for urban professionals of all ilk. Although most of the original retailers have moved out (such as Union Jacks, which had been a clothing staple since 1971, and Buli, a cafe that closed in September), others have moved in, followed by a new demographic of buyers and discretionary income.

As Luke Crosland, developer of the neighborhood’s newest apartment community, ilume Park, puts it, “The recent influx of urban professionals to the area has created a need for the luxury they want and the services they feel they deserve. We developed ilume Park with those thoughts in mind.

“The result is a high-fashion, contemporary setting with every luxury you can think of.”

ilume Park definitely has residential amenities galore, including salon services, housekeeping, dry cleaning and onsite handyman. And for those who are crazy about canines, check this out: ilume Park provides any lifestyle service a dog owner would want — pet sitting and walking, as well as grooming services at the Pawspa® — and even has an onsite dog track with agility equipment, bone-shaped splash pool and dog-washing area.

ilume Park is located across from its sister community, ilume, a mixed-use development with dining and retail on the ground floor. Collectively, these two communities are referred to as ilume Village. The properties reflect the new demographic and scene of Cedar Springs and also help to define it.

Signs of the evolution
Proof of the area’s evolution is newcomer Cedar Springs Tap House, a sports bar offering plenty of big-screen TVs, a robust menu featuring American cuisine and craft beers on tap. As Silver Gordon, Tap House’s managing member, explains, the new bar addresses “something that is in short supply in the area.”

The sports bar has been so popular that Gordon says the team has worked hard to keep up with the volume. “It’s an absolutely beautiful neighborhood, and we have been well-received,” he reports. “Everybody’s been great. It’s a very friendly and open crowd.”

Another entrepreneur, Shane Walker, opened his floral and gift boutique, Flower Reign, two months ago and targeted Cedar Springs specifically for the great location.

“Having the store located on Cedar Springs gives me access to our existing customers in Highland Park and Turtle Creek, but it opened up a whole new window of opportunity to downtown and the Uptown community,” Walker says. “I love being surrounded by an artistic and creative community. There’s just a great energy here!”

As Cedar Springs continues to thrive as a leader in high fashion, influential art, and dining and retail, you can expect the community of ilume Park to meet the lifestyle needs of the modern Cedar Springs, which today represents the influences of a young professional urban community.

Says Crosland, “As the neighborhood continues to evolve and transform, we certainly hope that the sense of community we feel today continues into the future.”


To learn more about culturally sophisticated living options on Cedar Springs, visit the ilume Village website.

Dogs love the bone-shaped splash pool at ilume Park.

Photo courtesy of ilume Park
Dogs love the bone-shaped splash pool at ilume Park.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

New play about Uvalde shooting takes the stage at DFW university


A TCU faculty member has written a new play called For the Love of Uvalde: A Play Inspired by the Robb Elementary School, and it's premiering January 28 both in-person on-campus and online via streaming.

Playwright Ayvaunn Penn, who is part of the Theatre TCU faculty, also wrote a play in 2020 inspired by the Botham Jean shooting by police officer Amber Guyger.

The premiere staged reading of For the Love of Uvalde promises a similar evening of art for social change, paired with a panel-led community discussion. This staged reading will feature select songs and monologues from the show.

The original play uses testimonies to explore the aftermath and varying viewpoints of the families, politicians, and medical professionals affected by the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde last May. Nineteen children and two adults were killed in the deadliest shooting ever at a Texas public school.

Panel members for the discussion include Dr. Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, TCU Chief Inclusion Officer; James McQuillen, director of Theatre for Youth at Casa Mañana; Professor Lisa Devine, UNT Theatre for Social Change professor; and Shania Tari, M.S, LMFT-A & EMDR trained.

A collaboration between Theatre TCU, TCU School of Music, and El Progreso Memorial Library in Uvalde, the event is free to attend, though tickets are required and may be reserved here. It begins at 6:30 pm at PepsiCo Recital Hall at the Mary D. and F. Howard Walsh Center for Performing Arts on the TCU campus.

El Progreso Memorial Library will also stream the event on YouTube so that community members may join and participate in the discussion and reflection.

Indie Dallas coffee shop chain unveils modern new location in Uptown

Coffee News

Beloved indie Dallas coffee shop White Rock Coffee has opened its newest location. The chain founded in 2005 by husband-and-wife Bob and Nancy Baker has softly opened its shop in Uptown Dallas at the Rosewood Court office tower.

Located at 2101 Cedar Springs Rd. #130, between Ocean Prime and Flower Child, the shop will serve coffee, pastries, lunches, and treats to tenants and the surrounding community. It'll mark its official opening on Tuesday January 31.

This is the sixth for the small chain, joining the original in Lake Highlands, plus Lakewood Express/drive-thru, Preston Royal, Preston Center, and University Park.

The company had been looking for a downtown space, and were "picky and patient to find the right fit," says Wesley Ballard, Executive Manager of Coffee Education.

They stayed true to their goal to connect each location to its neighborhood, which for Uptown meant incorporating modern, upscale details such as the walnut honeycomb hex tile bar front, quartz counter, and mid-century seating and light fixtures.

Food & drink
The coffee menu features bestsellers such as the White Rocker, a double espresso with white mocha, caramel, and steamed milk; and the Adam Bomb, a double espresso with vanilla syrup, white mocha, and cinnamon powder with steamed milk.

But exclusive to this location will be the Rosewood Blossom Latte, featuring syrup infused with rose and orange blossom tea.

For food, White Rock Coffee has a central commissary that provides food for all six stores daily. The menu includes pastries, grab-and-go salads & wraps, and breakfast sandwiches and strata with choice of sausage and vegetarian.

Two customer favorites come from Nancy’s family recipes: Texas pecan coffeecake muffin, and chicken salad with rotating flavors such as their current Spring Citrus.

Hours are 6 am-6 pm weekdays, 7 am-3 pm on Saturdays, and closed Sundays.

The Uptown shop opens in a heavily saturated coffee market. Ascension and Starbucks both have locations across the street at Crescent Court, and Magnolias Sous Le Pont in the Harwood District is just a couple of blocks away.

But the White Rock team feels confident that their emphasis on customer service will keep them in good stead.

"Our hiring process is centered on authentic people," Ballard says. "Coffee, we can teach. I’d rather train people that I enjoy being around."

Save the date for these 13 must-attend Dallas galas and luncheons of spring 2023

The gown lowdown

With the busy holiday season behind us, it's time to start looking forward to all the bounties of spring. And in Dallas, that means not just wildflowers and baseball, but all the glitzy galas and lavish luncheons that benefit beloved nonprofits. This season sees a coterie of Hollywood and Broadway stars as event headliners - Nicole Kidman, Rob Lowe, and Patti Lupone among them. Art Ball has become an even more exclusive black-tie gala, and Mad Hatter's has reformatted from a tea party to a luncheon - with the most majestic theme yet. Here are the dates and events to circle in your social calendar.


Bela Cooley (here, with Chase Cooley) is co-chairing DMA's Art Ball this year.

St. Valentine's Day Luncheon, February 13
After postponing to May last year, the season's loveliest luncheon moves back to its traditional Valentine's-week date. Themed "Let Love Shine," the 39th annual Leukemia & Lymphoma Society benefit is chaired by Katy Bock and Sunie Solomon, along with advisory chairs Nancy Gopez, Maggie Kipp, and Melinda Knowles. The event will feature champagne, lunch, inspiring speakers, and a fashion show of looks from Highland Park Village, produced by Jan Strimple. The mega-luncheon will be held at the Meyerson Symphony Center, and funds raised will help fight blood cancers.

Mavs Ball, March 3
Mavs fans won't want to miss the eighth annual Mavs Ball, featuring appearances from favorite players, CEO Cynt Marshall, and Governor Mark Cuban. The star-studded night at the Omni Dallas Hotel includes a cocktail reception, seated dinner, live and silent auctions, and live entertainment. The gala is the premier fundraising event for the Mavs Foundation and celebrates the year's grantees and charitable work of the Dallas Mavericks during this season.

Broadway Dallas Moulin Rouge Gala, April 1
The first of two Broadway-themed galas on the same night, this one will feature a full performance of Moulin Rouge (which is playing at the Music Hall at Fair Park, March 15-April 2). The evening, which also includes dinner and drinks, promises to celebrate the best of Broadway while supporting Broadway Dallas and its nonprofit mission to deliver the spirit of Broadway to North Texas through educational programs and community outreach initiatives.

Turtle Creek Rhapsody with Patti Lupone, April 1
Broadway legend Patti Lupone will headline "Rhapsody," Turtle Creek Chorale’s benefit gala at the Meyerson Symphony Center. The evening will feature opening receptions, seated dinner, open bar, live auction, a private performance by Lupone, and an after-party experience with live band, dancing, and dessert. Funds raised will support the chorale’s mission to entertain, educate, unite, and inspire through its musical, cultural, and educational programs. James Lynn Williams is the honorary chair.

Junior League Milestones Luncheon with Rob Lowe, April 14
Known for snagging big-name Hollywood speakers, this year's event doesn't disappoint. Award-winning actor, activist, and author Rob Lowe is the keynote speaker for the annual Junior League of Dallas luncheon. Pam Busbee will be honored as Sustainer of the Year at the event, taking place at Omni Dallas Hotel. The luncheon benefits Junior League's many civic causes throughout greater Dallas.

AWARE Affair, April 14
This gala makes the list on the merits of its location alone: the immersive art venue Lighthouse ArtSpace. Themed "An Artful Evening of Advocacy Fighting Alzheimer's," the event has Rangers Baseball LHP Taylor Hearn and Venise and Larry Stuart serving as honorary chairs, with Lori Bush, Pamela Musgrove, and C'Mone Wingo as co-chairs. The artsy Affair will include a cocktail reception, live and silent auctions, seated three course-dinner, and entertainment. Attire is Art Chic Cocktail. Tie optional. Proceeds to go help fight Alzheimer's disease.

Art Ball, April 15
Considered the most glittering gala of spring, this beautiful black-tie ball at the Dallas Museum of Art is now in its 61st year. Leigh Anne Clark and Bela Cooley will chair the ball, which supports the museum's mission to offer free admission to the more than 800,000 annual visitors. Tickets will be coveted, as it will be a more intimate event of just 330 guests this year. (Also, save the date for DMA's Art in Bloom luncheon on March 6. Look for more details to come, here.)

Mad Hatter's Luncheon, April 20
Hats and fascinators will be nothing less than regal with this year's theme: "Commemorating the 35th Annual Majestic Mad Hatter’s Luncheon - A Celebration of English Elegance." The bigger the better for this posh afternoon event at the Dallas Arboretum. The 35th event - reformatted from a tea party to a luncheon - is chaired by Anne Stodghill and Kristina Wrenn, with Kim Hext as honorary chair and Sarah Jo Hardin serving as president of the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum. The afternoon will once include a champagne reception, luncheon, hat contest, and (instead of a fashion show) a presentation by renowned fashion designer Michael Faircloth on the history, humor, and hope of the hat. Funds raised benefit A Woman’s Garden.

TEX Gala, April 20
This rare Thursday night gala benefits the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, which improves the lives of children, the military, and first responders' families in the community. Attendees will experience a red-carpet arrival, dinner on the playing surface of Globe Life Field, live and silent auctions featuring exclusive Rangers experiences and sports and Hollywood memorabilia, and a live performance from country superstar Kenny Chesney. For information and tickets, visit the website.

Chick Lit Luncheon with Lisa Vanderpump, April 21
TV personality, author, and philanthropist Lisa Vanderpump will headline this favorite Dallas luncheon. Besides featuring a chat with The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules star, the afternoon event will include a special tribute to Paige McDaniel, set to retire in May as the president and CEO of Community Partners of Dallas. The big-deal luncheon at the Hilton Anatole is chaired by Sally Dutter and Beth Thoele, with Debbie Scripps as honorary chair.

Children's Cancer Fund Gala, April 21
The is the biggie for Cowboys fans. Honorary chairs Troy Aikman and Dak Prescott join event co-chairs Heather Randall and Blake Stephenson in a black-tie ball that helps fight childhood cancer. Besides being an epic evening that includes dinner, auctions, fashion, and after-party, the gala always tugs at the heartstrings because the highlight is seeing seeing children rocking the Hilton Anatole runway, alongside their idols and favorite superheroes, in a fashion show.

Genesis Annual Luncheon with Nicole Kidman, May 12
Consider this take two. After 2020's luncheon starring Nicole Kidman canceled due to COVID and pivoted to a virtual conversation with the Oscar-winning actress, she's agreed to come back to Dallas in person. The 30th annual edition of the beloved luncheon will take place, per usual, at the Hilton Anatole. It raises funds for the organization's continuous effort to provide safety, shelter, and support for women who have experienced domestic violence.

House of DIFFA, May 13
Happening at the Hilton Anatole this year, May's most colorful black-tie gala always features a one-of-a-kind runway show and killer silent auction. The 2023 theme, "The List" will celebrate inclusion and pay tribute to Studio 54, London Punk, and Coachella, to name a few. ("Everyone is on The List," they say.) Haley Clark and Richard Rivas co-chair the gala, which benefits organizations that help raise awareness, advocate for individuals, and fight HIV/AIDS in the Dallas community.