Architectural walking tours are something we generally participate in when we travel to Europe. Learning about the culture and history of a city from a local allows for a more exciting and intimate experience. It’s also a more enriching way to learn about a place than you’d get from a travel guide or, God forbid, in a huge tour group.

Jay Cantrell

I just returned from Prague and Vienna. On a day trip to Bratislava, I took an architectural walking tour that was a highlight of the trip, and it got me thinking about Dallas. We live in an architecturally significant city. However, we seldom take the time to treat our home town with the same respect we treat other major cities of the world. Then I remembered, Jay Cantrell is trying to rectify that.

Cantrell is an architecture teacher, artist, and entrepreneur who lives in the Kirby Building. To say he is deeply passionate about Dallas architecture is putting it mildly. Cantrell is intent on changing the perception of architecture in Dallas.

Almost a year ago, just before Thanksgiving, he launched Architectural walking tours of downtown Dallas.

“I’d done a fellowship in Paris and regularly took my colleagues to tour the beautiful architecture,” Cantrell said. “I missed that and thought if I could do it in Paris, I could do architectural walking tours here.”

The seed was planted and took root on social media. He created a Facebook page for people to sign up. It was an immediate success.

“I was not expecting it to be this big,” Cantrell said. “There happened to be a reporter on the first architectural walking tour, so word got out!”