Recently I stumbled on an interesting problem: I needed to open and modify a list in SharePoint designer. So, I opened the list and found that designer gave a generic “There are no lists to show in this view” message. However, this particular site had over fifty lists that I could clearly see in the UI. The solution, which I found here, was a list that had been deleted was showing up.
As the blog suggest you can use a REST call to your site http:// [sharepoint] / [site] / _vti_bin/listdata.svc which should give you some XML, append a list name to this http:// [sharepoint] / [site] / _vti_bin/listdata.svc/ [list name] and with a little hunting you should be able to find your broken list. I was able to find it by trying to open the list through the browser and see a “This page does not exist” error. From here, the list can be deleted.
Finally, close designer and clear your webcache, reopen designer and you should now be able to open your list in designer.
I believe this may have occurred in our migration from 2010 to 2013. The site in question had several outdated and unused lists that needed to be cleaned up and/or deleted. The link to the list seems to have persisted even though it no longer existed and this prevented designer from open the site correctly.