Located immediately north of downtown Dallas and west of North Central Expressway, this fashionable neighborhood is teeming with young professionals and empty-nesters looking for an urban lifestyle. During the late 1800s, the area was home to prominent businessmen, who uses streetcars to commute downtown, and to post-Emancipation Freedman’s Town. Freedman’s Memorial provides a historical reminder, though the area is now better known as the State-Thomas neighborhood.
Prompted by city tax incentives, Uptown began its current development phase in the early 1990s. Mid-rise apartments and townhouses rule, though a handful of luxury high-rise options are available. Few single-home structures remain, and many have been converted into offices, shops or cafes. Folks looking to buy will find the most options around $300,000 to $400,000 for a two-bedroom condo, although the sky’s the limit when it comes to luxury homes.
For young professionals looking to rent, Uptown is often the first stop when they move to the city. Uptown is one of Dallas’s most walkable neighborhoods, with cafes, bars and boutiques only a few minutes away from most residential areas. The northern end of the neighborhood is home to West Village, a mixed-use complex that includes residential and retail space and some of the best people-watching in the city. McKinney Avenue, which is served by the free McKinney Avenue Transit Authority’s streetcars, is the lifeline of Uptown and is lined with patio bars, restaurants, residential buildings and offices.
The redevelopment of the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad line (known as MKT, or “Katy”) into the Katy Trail pedestrian and bicycle path has created an important greenway link for Uptown to the Victory Park development and American Airlines Center on the south and to Southern Methodist University and the Park Cities on the north. The 3.5-mile trail, which hugs Turtle Creek and links Lee and Reverchon parks, is packed on weekends with joggers, rollerbladers, bikers and walkers. Plans call for the trail to be expanded to the Mockingbird
DART Rail station near SMU and one day to link to the city’s White Rock Creek and Trinity River trail systems. Accessing the trail can be tricky and is easiest from the plaza near Knox and Travis streets or from one of the parks, although some residential complexes include private gates.
The southern part of Uptown is directly across Woodall Rodgers Freeway from the Dallas Arts District, and plans call for the two areas to be linked by a park that will cover a portion of the freeway.
Preston Hollow is one of Dallas’s most elite neighborhoods. Located in North Dallas, but inside the LBJ/I-635 loop, the neighborhood stretches north from Northwest Highway to Royal Lane and east from Inwood Road to Hillcrest Road, offering easy access from LBJ/I-635 and the Dallas North Tollway.
Large estates with majestic specimen live oak trees will inspire you, and because of a quirk in the area’s early founding, many of the streets don’t have sidewalks or curbs. Early homes were one- or two-story styles built in the 1930s, though there have been plenty of tear-down projects for new homes. Homes with 6,000 square feet or more are common here. The price of entry in Preston Hollow is steep at about $2 million.
Preston Road, which is also marked as State Highway 289, is a key artery, with a multitude of neighborhood shopping options. Head to the Preston Royal Shopping Center (located on the corner of the two main thoroughfares) for lunch at a local favorite, Neuhaus Cafe.
Preston Hollow is home to Dallas’s most elite private schools — many with tuitions that soar to $20,000 a year — and they’re where most of the neighborhood’s residents opt to send their kids. The most exclusive schools include Episcopal School of Dallas, Hockaday School, Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, St. Mark’s School of Texas, and Ursuline Academy of Dallas.
This is a neighborhood for Dallas’s civic and business leaders, a power center for some of the city’s best-known names. And Preston Hollow is where former president George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, relocated when he left office. (Don’t count on cruising by, though: plans are under way to install a security gate, limiting access to the street).
With its leafy, tree-lined streets and darling homes dating as far back as the 1920s, the M Streets continues to be a popular neighborhood for couples and young families who want to be close to downtown and near White Rock Lake. Homes have high-gabled roofs, interesting stonework and masonry chimneys. Some still include decorative leaded-glass windows. The neighborhood officially stretches east of North Central Expressway (U.S. Highway 75) to Greenville Avenue and north of Vanderbilt to McCommas, though locals often use the M Streets term more generally to refer to homes in the area immediately adjacent.
Homes here are generally between 1,000 and 1,400 square feet, although some tear-downs have created larger homes. Since 2002 the area has been known officially as the Greenland Hills Conservation District, a designation that will make such projects more difficult in the future.
Homes here are mostly Tudor style, though there are also some ranch, Craftsman, traditional and neo-colonial homes sprinkled throughout. The M Streets has gotten more expensive in recent years, and redone homes that may have been priced in the $200,000s in the mid-1990s are now priced between $350,000 and $500,000. Fixer-uppers go for less but often require extensive work.
Greenville Avenue, which forms the M Streets eastern border, is the primary artery for the neighborhood, with shops, patio bars and restaurants within easy walking distance. The area has generally avoided the brunt of the parking congestion and revelry from restaurant- and bar-goers that have affected the neighborhoods immediately south on “Lower Greenville.”
Located north of Northwest Highway and east of North Central Expressway (U.S. Highway 75), Lake Highlands is a popular neighborhood for families or young professional couples who want to have a Dallas address while living in the attractive Richardson school district, which includes this area. Schools are an important community gathering place here.
Lake Highlands is also attractive for its easy access to both downtown and job centers in Richardson and Plano. The original part of the neighborhood was built in the 1950s in the so-called L Streets, between Northwest Highway and Walnut Hill, and Ferndale and Plano roads. Development moved west from there, creating a sprawling neighborhood that creeps slightly north of LBJ/I- 635. Homes in the western part of Lake Highlands tend to be traditional ranch-style homes built in the 1970s and 1980s. Typical homes in this area start around $200,000 for a three-bedroom home, though there are also plenty of more expensive options.
One thing that sets Lake Highlands apart from most Dallas neighborhoods is its topography of rolling hills — a rarity in the generally flat North Texas prairie. Massive pecan and live oak trees create a gorgeous shade canopy in the Texas heat. The western part of Lake Highlands has easy access to the city’s White Rock Creek trail system, which winds through several Dallas parks to connect to the trail around White Rock Lake and is popular with bicyclists, joggers and rollerbladers.
An older, first-ring suburb, Richardson charms with its diversity and affordability. Nestled between Dallas and the massive suburb of Plano, Richardson has enjoyed a healthy base of major employers that pull from around the country. It is home to the city’s “Telecom Corridor,” where well-known companies such as Nortel and Verizon Business maintain a major presence. The city, which has about 100,000 residents, is landlocked by surrounding suburbs and most neighborhoods are well established.
Connected via the DART light rail system, Richardson is about 20 minutes to downtown Dallas. The city has an impressive modern performing arts venue in the Charles W. Eisemann Center, which is located in the Gatalyn Park Urban Center and adjacent to the Gatalyn Park DART light rail station.
Richardson hosts the popular annual Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival and the nearly 40-year-old Cottonwood Art Festival, held each spring and fall at Cottonwood Park. Richardson attracts families and couples at a wide spectrum of price points. Starter homes, built in the 1950s and priced around $175,000, can be found near the “Heights” neighborhood close to North Central Expressway and Belt Line Road.
One popular Richardson neighborhood is Canyon Creek, which is distinguished by its winding roads and walking trails along the lush greenbelt lining Prairie and Canyon creeks. The neighborhood is adjacent to the University of Texas at Dallas and the city’s Telecom Corridor.
Richardson is also popular with families for its access to excellent schools in both the Richardson and Plano school districts.