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Millions of Americans relocate each year, whether for work, school, a relationship, or a change of scenery. Thanks to its warm climate, burgeoning economy, and favorable tax incentives, Dallas, TX is a popular destination for transplants, attracting new faces from both coasts and places in between.
The greater Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has seen population growth in recent years, and offers everything from bustling urban neighborhoods to upscale gated communities. Prospective homebuyers looking for a more relaxed, family-friendly vibe also may want to explore the surrounding suburbs before making a move.
This guide offers an overview of the best places to live in Dallas, based on factors like housing budget and preferred amenities. We’ve also gathered useful information on everything from school district rankings to employment opportunities and leisure activities, to help guide your search. We answer several common questions about living in Dallas as well, so you can discover the neighborhood that’s right for you.
The best neighborhoods in Dallas
If you want to be in the heart of the city, Dallas has lots of exciting communities to explore. Whether you want an artsy neighborhood with funky boutiques and galleries, or a pet-friendly area with lots of green space, you’ll have ample choices when exploring where to live in Dallas.
As the name suggests, Dallas’ Uptown district offers the true urban living experience in the heart of the Big D. The neighborhood is one of the most walkable in the city and features a host of boutique shops, entertainment venues, and art museums.
Don’t feel like hoofin’ it? Hop on the historic McKinney Ave. Trolley, a streetcar line that offers free service to the Arts District in downtown Dallas. Moviegoers will appreciate the Magnolia Theater, a lounge-while-you-watch moviehouse and eatery, which showcases independent films along with Hollywood hits. Nature lovers will enjoy easy access to the Katy Trail, a one-time railway line turned urban greenbelt that provides the perfect setting for a social stroll. The pathway ends at the Katy Trail Ice House, the premier pub for grabbing a bite or a beer after a long walk, jog, or bike ride.
Uptown also is popular for dog-friendly venues, offering a wide array of beer gardens, patios, and cantinas that welcome canine guests. The live-work-play community of Uptown is home to young singles and 30-something professionals, with fewer families and schools than surrounding neighborhoods. Tucked between I-35 and Central Highway north of the Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Uptown is ideally situated to commute anywhere in the greater Dallas Metroplex.
Bishop Arts District
If neighborhoods had identities, Bishop Arts is most definitely “the cool kid on the block.” Immediately southwest of downtown Dallas, this hipster hood features brag-worthy restaurants, like The Dallas Grilled Cheese Co., where brie and bacon grilled cheese dreams come true, and artisan candy shops, like Dude, Sweet Chocolate.
Although this area originally was designed as a warehouse district, it has quickly become the hot spot for millennials looking for affordable housing. Known among locals as one of the most unique neighborhoods in Dallas, Bishop Arts maintains a small-town vibe, despite offering a wealth of art galleries, eateries, and community events, like Wine Walks on the first Thursday of the month.
Bishop Arts is equally mixed with singles in their mid-30s and young families and maintains a strong Hispanic influence. Residents of the Bishop Arts District are zoned to John H. Reagan Elementary School, W.E. Greiner Middle School, and W.H. Adamson High School.
The center of Dallas’ LGBT community, Oak Lawn has a vibrant nightlife scene and is the location of the city’s annual Dallas Pride parade down Cedar Springs Road. Oak Lawn appeals mostly to singles in their mid-20s to late-30s, with fewer families and children in the area.
But in addition to its numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants, the historic neighborhood also features beautiful brownstones and grand old homes with pillared porches that add to its rich architecture. You can impress visiting guests by putting them up at one of two luxury hotels in the district: the Warwick Melrose – Dallas or the landmark Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. And there is no lack of high-end shopping centers and cool cafés to explore.
The district is known for being both walkable and pet-friendly, with running trails along Turtle Creek and numerous parks. Homes in Oak Lawn offer an easy commute to downtown Dallas and the medical district, as well as Love Field, the hub for Southwest Airlines.
University Park is an affluent suburb named for its main feature, Southern Methodist University. Considered the “sister neighbor” to renowned Highland Park, University Park offers the same upscale abodes with a younger community and exceptional schools.
University Park provides convenient access to Northwest Highway, the Dallas North Tollway, and U.S. Highway 75, making trips downtown a breeze. At the center of this affluent enclave is the popular Snider Plaza, a bustling community center with a wealth of shopping and entertainment experiences that let you feel like you’ve stepped back into a bygone era, when towns were small and life was sweet.
Tourists pop in occasionally to visit the replica Oval Office at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, while residents of University Park enjoy access to the exclusive Holmes Aquatic Center and the play areas and fishing pond at nearby Caruth Park. University Park appeals mostly to professional families with a heart for community and recreation.
Just north of University Park, across Loop 12, Preston Hollow is home to many of the Dallas elite, from former U.S. Presidents to business tycoons and NFL royalty.
Preston Hollow is a prestigious and established neighborhood made up of both modest 1950s ranch-style homes and newer Southern mansions on large lots with century-old oak trees lining the streets. The local public schools are some of the best in DFW, although many residents take advantage of the neighborhood’s proximity to the top private schools in the city.
There is no lack of luxury shopping experiences in the area as well, since both Dallas Galleria and North Park Center are nearby. Residents enjoy access to local parks, like Preston Hollow and Netherland Park, which offer an array of outdoor amenities, from baseball and soccer fields to tennis courts and trails. Overall, however, residents of Preston Hollow value the beauty and privacy of this exclusive neighborhood.
Located along the west side of White Rock Lake, Lakewood provides shoreline living in the middle of the Big D. Older homes in Lakewood offer an eclectic mix of architectural interest against a beautiful backdrop of rolling hills and abundant wildlife.
Not surprisingly, Lakewood attracts nature lovers who enjoy the walk, bike, and hike trails throughout the neighborhood, while sailboats and kayakers share the lake’s smooth waters. Known for its small shops and markets at the Lakewood Shopping Center, Lakewood touts a vibrant community, with yearly events like the Fourth of July Parade and annual Chicken Coop Tour, where urban chicken keepers show off the habitats for their backyard flocks.
Lakewood is home to some of the finest schools in the state, including Lakewood Elementary and Woodrow Wilson High School, both of which have exceptional ratings and famous alumni.
Live jazz lovers frequent the Balcony Club, while the historic Lakewood Theater now houses an upbeat bowling alley, Bowlski, where locals hang out to enjoy a round of pins and cocktails with friends. Located just 30 minutes from DFW Airport and a short drive to the Dallas Central Business district, the Lakewood district offers a perfect balance of big city proximity and lake life charm.
The best suburbs in Dallas
For those who want to be close to the action in Dallas but prefer the slower pace of suburban living, several cities on the north end of the Metroplex offer the best of both worlds. Housing prices are more affordable in many areas, and the school districts are among the best in the state.
Although buying a house in the Dallas suburbs can mean commuting into the city during rush hour, the upside is the potential to have more space for less money, as well as access to art and entertainment venues and other amenities that surrounding locales have to offer. Although this list doesn’t cover all the neighboring townships, here’s a quick look at some of the best suburbs in Dallas.
Social butterflies in their 20s and 30s flock to this upscale suburb, which plays host to numerous large outdoor festivals, including Kaboom Town, Oktoberfest, and Taste of Addison. Enjoy public art and dramatic water features at Vitruvian Park, a 19-acre green space in the heart of Addison, or catch a show at one of several performance venues, including Addison Improv, Addison Theater Center, or the WaterTower Theater.
Shopping, eateries, and bars are plentiful in this community of young urban professionals. Most residents rent, but smaller homes and condos are available at a premium, and commuting into Dallas is a breeze with the DART Train.
Just a few miles west of DFW Airport, Colleyville is suburban living at its finest. With a population of about 25,000 residents, very low crime, and top-rated schools in the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District, the area is perfect for homebuyers with growing families who enjoy the quiet life and plan to stay settled for a while.
The 30-mile commute from Colleyville to downtown Dallas is very manageable, and driving to Fort Worth is just as easy, since Highway 26 runs through the center of Colleyville. It’s worth noting, however, that Colleyville has much higher housing prices than some of the other surrounding cities, due to its prime location and limited housing inventory.
A straight shot up Highway 75 from the heart of Dallas, Plano has contributed to the explosive growth on the north side of the DFW Metroplex. Home to major corporations, including Frito-Lay, Pizza Hut, and most recently Toyota, the booming Dallas suburb offers abundant employment opportunities coupled with an exceptional quality of life.
Plano is the fourth largest city in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, with more than 284,000 residents, of which 57% hold a Bachelor’s degree. Thanks to award-winning schools, one of the lowest crime rates in the region, affordable home prices, and a high standard of living, Plano is considered an ideal place to raise a family in the Dallas area.
The fastest growing large city in the nation, Frisco has become a mini-metropolis over the past 30 years, with a current population of more than 200,000 residents. The suburb is the epitome of family-friendly living, boasting 1,600 acres of park land, 90 miles of hike and bike trails, fascinating museums, and sprawling sports venues.
Frisco is home to five professional sports teams, including the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, whose world corporate headquarters and practice facilities are located on the 91-acre campus called The Star. With one of the lowest property tax rates in the area, highly rated public schools, thriving public-private partnerships, and the highest job growth among mid-sized cities for two years running, it’s no wonder that WalletHub recently named Frisco the best place to live in Texas, and one of the top places in the country for first-time homebuyers.
If you want a small-town feel with easy access to all corners of the Dallas Metroplex, Flower Mound is the place to be. Founded by pioneer settlers in the early 1800s, this historic enclave sits along Highway I-35 only 20 miles northwest of Dallas and 25 miles northeast of Fort Worth.
Outdoor enthusiasts will be delighted to know that Flower Mound is also located between Lake Grapevine and Lewisville Lake, both of which are popular for fishing, boating, swimming, and wakeboarding.
The population of Flower Mound is a mix of both young and old, with many locals having lived in the town for decades, making it a good place to consider retirement. Housing options are a mix of ranch houses from the 1960s and newly constructed single family homes, as well as modern townhomes in the recently completed Riverwalk development.
Still considered by many to be part of Flower Mound, the affluent community of Highland Village stands on its own, with a population of about 16,800. The median age is 43, with 56% of the population holding a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
The safe, family-friendly township encourages residents to get outdoors, providing access to numerous neighborhoods, parks, schools and retail centers via a 20-mile paved trail network called the Inland Trail. Highland Village also boasts several large shopping centers, as well as fine dining restaurants, like Verf’s and Bistecca Italian Steakhouse, where international award-winning chef Morris Salerno has been serving loyal customers for more than 20 years.
For those wanting a custom-built home in a quieter part of the Dallas Metroplex, Highland Village is the place to be.
Nestled in the northwest corner of the greater Dallas area, the tiny town of Roanoke is known as the Unique Dining Capital of Texas. With a variety of eateries to suit every taste, from Oak Street Pie Company to Inzo Italian Kitchen and Hard Eight Bar-B-Que, the town boasts 60 restaurants within only six square miles.
Roanoke also hosts an extensive lineup of outdoor festivals and events, including the Evenings on Oak Street Concert Series, Fishing in the Park, Roanoke EggAPalooza, and a weekend Farmer’s Market that runs seven months out of the year.
This kid-friendly town is part of the award-winning Northwest Independent School District and offers housing options to accommodate different tastes and budget considerations, from historic homes to new luxury residences.
McKinney is a historic town that has withstood the test of time. Founded in 1839, McKinney served as the commercial center and county seat for Collin County. Located 30 miles north of Dallas, the city of 200,000 offers residents an engaging mix of historic landmarks, boutique shopping, and farm-to-table cuisine. Locals spend lazy Saturdays shopping the downtown square or frequenting local cafés and seasonal festivals.
McKinney neighborhoods feature a charming mix of late-19th century architecture, from Gothic Revival Victorians to craftsman bungalows. And foodies will find fare for everyone, with gastropubs like the Yocal Local, and cozy hole-in-the-walls like Rye Craft Kitchen and The Celt Irish Pub, famous for its Irish whiskey classes and tastings.
In addition, McKinney supports an active community with numerous hiking trails, parks, wildlife sanctuaries, vineyards and golf courses, and strongly appeals to 30-something married couples with kids.
Home to the indigenous Caddo Indians and formally established in 1872 by the Central Texas Railroad, the city of Allen is a historic bedroom community just 20 miles north of downtown Dallas. Allen boasts a host of recreation centers, natatoriums, and parks, and is the home of the renowned Allen Community Ice Rink, a prime training location for aspiring Olympians. Known as a safe area with highly rated schools, this community of young families and 30-something professionals is kid-focused, with playgrounds, ponds, and trails at the heart of most neighborhoods.
With no shortage of retail therapy, Allen Premium Outlets offers savvy shopping, while Cabela’s provides a bounty for the hunter or sports enthusiast.
Housing in Allen ranges from simple cottages and ranch-style homes to unique modern residences and new construction. With all this and more, it’s easy to see why the city of Allen consistently ranks as one of the best towns not just in Dallas, but in all of Texas.
Finding the best place to live in Dallas
If you need help choosing between the best places to live in Dallas after considering your options statewide, Orchard offers several resources to locate a home that fits your needs in the neighborhood you desire.
When you’re ready to start house-hunting in Dallas, check out our Home Match tool to make searching a breeze. You can specify the price range, the size and type of home you’re looking for, and the Dallas neighborhood where you’d like to live, among other criteria. Orchard will provide you a list of homes to view online, each one with a Match Score based on how well it meets your needs.
What’s more, you don’t have to wait to sell your home when you use Orchard’s Move First service, which can help you snag your Dallas dream house before it’s off the market. Through Offer Boost, you can also increase your chances of getting the home you want by extending an all-cash offer to the seller.
To learn more about how Orchard can help you buy and sell a home more easily, get started here.