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It’s a little risky to dive into a new city without really knowing anything about it. That’s why we’ve done the research for you. You’ve no doubt seen our Dallas City Guide, which includes a short section on a few of Dallas’ most popular neighborhoods.
This list is a more in-depth neighborhood guide meant to examine what it’s like living in each of these highlighted areas, with sneak peeks into popular destinations, as well as the neighborhood’s specific housing styles and top schools (and by the way of introduction, we’re Bellhop — movers in Dallas and beyond).
What is Life Like in Dallas?
Dallas has claimed the title, “the Heart of Texas,” and you don’t have to dig very deep to understand why. Most obviously, Dallas is right in the center of the state. But the city is also famous for its friendly and welcoming residents.
Before starting we have to say that Dallas is just part of the bigger Dallas – Fort Worth metropolitan area. Combined, their population is well over 7.5 million and ranks fourth largest in the country. It’s just because both Dallas and Fort Worth have grown so much closer, and share a great airport that we think of them as ‘DFW.’
The city of Dallas counts 1.3 million folks. The city has bragging rights as the largest in the state and likes to remind Houston that it is.
Things in Texas don’t come small, and Dallas isn’t an exception. This big-hearted city is home to the country’s largest farmers market and largest urban arts district.
Dallas has made a big mark on the foodie map, serving up some of the best dishes in the nation:
- Slow-cooked BBQ
- Smothered, thick-cut ribs
- Loaded chili dogs
- Unrivaled Tex-Mex, though other cities like San Antonio, Austin and El Paso with strong Hispanic culture may challenge that.
Food and great breweries aside, this city still has space for new residents in its 200+ unique neighborhoods.
We’ve combed through the city and selected 5 of Dallas’ neighborhoods that we think will fit your family best. Come along as we dive in closer and explore some of the greatest, family-friendly places to live in Big Ol’ Dallas.
This highly affluent town in central Dallas County is a magnet for well-off families. The area boasts of very low crime rates, a healthy job market, and luxury amenities.
Highland Park is home to under 9,000 people with a median income of $235,000 in 2022. Located north of Downtown and south of University Park, this upscale residential area is full of beautiful parks, tranquil residential streets, and show-stopping houses. Home prices easily hit averaged $1.5M in 2021. But for those who can afford it, Highland Park is an outstanding place to raise a family.
What’s Happening in Highland Park
Highland Park is pretty enough that a Sunday stroll down shaded streets could become your favorite weekend activity. But the area offers high-class shopping and dining as well. Locals looking for a little more weekend fun can easily access the many bars and nightclubs in nearby Uptown, Knox-Henderson, and Downtown.
Highland Park Village is absolutely posh and acts as the buzzing center of town. The oldest outdoor mall in the U.S., Highland Park Village sells luxury goods and designer labels, like Gucci, Chanel, and Harry Winston. You’ll also find a wide variety of great restaurants like Cafe Pacific (seafood) and Mi Cocina for innovative Tex-Mex plates, plus frozen Margaritas.
This high-class town also contains several recreational centers, including Lakeside Park, Fairfax Park, and Jester Park. These manicured outdoor spaces are complete with swan ponds, fountains, tennis courts, and walking paths.
Schools in Highland Park
Highland Park’s high price tag comes with a little bonus: a nationally known school district. The Highland Park Independent School District first opened its doors in 1914 with just a four-room building.
Since then, it has grown to become one of the premier school districts in the country. Today, there are eight campuses composed of elementary, intermediate, middle, and high schools, and 63% of its teachers hold a Master’s degree. 85% of households are college-educated, 99% have high school graduates, computers and high-speed Internet, more indicators of affluence and commitment to great education.
Homes in Highland Park
Highland Park’s beautiful collection of old homes sit aside tall trees, broad streets, and winding creekside landscapes. Many homes in Highland Park date back to the 1920s. And any newer construction follows the vernacular style designs that help keep the area’s old-world charm. Zillow shows a pricey $2.8M for an average home, $780K for a condo.
Some of Dallas’s best architects who have created eclectic homes of English, French, Mediterranean, and neoclassical styles designed the homes in Highland Park.
Running along the edge of White Rock Lake, Lakewood is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Dallas. This quiet, verdant neighborhood is full of historic charm and friendly residents. The trees, the consistency of well-kept homes and yards, and plenty of folks out walking their dogs with smiles on their faces are some of the few things newcomers notice about Lakewood.
East Dallas (where Lakewood is located) is close to the city center. But locals get to take as many city time-outs at White Rock Lake as they’d like.
What’s Happening in Lakewood
This peaceful neighborhood is ideal for young families. Lakewood offers its locals beautiful nature, calm roads, and playgrounds. Families frequent the children’s area of the nearby Arboretum. Allegro Coffee keeps the parents going. And local breweries like Lakewood Brewing Company can please any crowd.
One of Lakewood’s most coveted features is its 100-year-old country club. Complete with a 180-hole golf course and a pool with a diving board and waterslide, the Lakewood Country Club keeps the whole family entertained.
Next-door to the club, you’ll find the historic Lakewood Shopping Center. The shopping center is where Lakewood locals do most of their shopping and eating out.
If your family is more interested in spending your time outdoors, Lakewood is a great spot. You can enjoy an afternoon picnicking at Lakewood Park, gazing at the 1,254-acre lake, and walking the trails that border the water.
Schools in Lakewood
Lakewood is known for its excellent schools, both public and private. Schools like Woodrow Wilson High School, Lakehill Preparatory School, and Dallas Academy all have excellent reputations and are great options for your kiddos.
Homes in Lakewood
Lakewood might be Dallas’ most beautiful neighborhood, with its position on the lake and abundance of trees and grassy parks. But certainly, Lakewood earns its beauty with block after block of charming homes.
From historic gems to stunning new builds, from extraordinary estates to cute cottages, Lakewood’s housing has charm. The prices for homes In the Lakewood zip code (75206) average $575,000 in mid-2023.
Located in central Dallas County, about 8 miles north of downtown, and 38 miles east of Fort Worth, University Park is set in the perfect position. Despite its proximity to the city, University Park’s broad tree-lined streets and early 20th-century architecture are distinctly different from the gleaming skyscrapers and office buildings of downtown.
Considered an “Inner Suburb,” University Park still has plenty of bustling. This upscale Dallas neighborhood is packed with shops and restaurants, as well as some of Dallas’s breweries. Now one of the most prestigious enclaves in Dallas, University Park boasts of charming old homes, new construction, and an exemplary-rated school district.
What’s Happening in University Park
Locals of University Park can get to downtown without having to get on one of those often-clogged highways. But within its own borders, residents can easily access grocery stores and charming corner cafes, cookie shops, and French bakeries. Sandwich shops, laid-back coffee shops, and local boutiques surround Snider Plaza. Thirsty? Try either Pegasus City Brewery or Celestial Beerworks to make new friends.
University Park’s name doesn’t lie. The area is packed with 20 local parks, including Goar Park, Burleson Prak, Curtis Park, Coffee Park, Germany Park, and Elana’s Children’s Park. The nearby Caruth Park is home to a fishing pond and playgrounds.
Right next door (about 4 miles to the east), you’ll find White Rock Lake Park and its accompanying Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Residents can also easily access the Tenison Park Golf Course. The stunning Dallas Country Club sits snug against the southern border of the neighborhood.
Schools in University Park
University Park’s public schools are not only among the best in the DFW metroplex, they’re among the best in the state of Texas. Families in University Park are eligible to attend Highland Park Independent School District schools. And many consider the local high school, Highland Park High School, to be the best available in the DFW metroplex.
Homes in University Park
University Park housing is dominated by charming single-family homes. Homes don’t come cheap in this coveted neighborhood. The median home price in University Park pushes over $2 million.
Once home to George W. Bush and his wife, this elite neighborhood is full of aged oak trees, gorgeous homes, large lots, great private schools, and a homey ambiance.
Preston Hollow has been a popular spot for families and young professionals for decades. And it sits just six miles north of downtown Dallas. It’s a great spot for those who want quieter streets, close access to the city, and a gorgeous place to call home.
What’s Happening in Preston Hollow
While Preston Hollow might sound fancy and exclusive, it’s actually a very welcoming destination for new residents and visitors. The neighborhood features some of the most trendy restaurants and family-friendly eateries in the city, like the award-winning Mercury and popular Royal China.
Preston Hollow sits between three of Dallas’ best shopping centers:
- The Preston Center
- The Northpark Mall
- The Galleria
For more small-scale shopping, check out The Toy Maven, Ken’s Man’s Shop, and J. Renee Shoes for affordable women’s shoes.
Schools in Preston Hollow
There are two neighborhoods known in Dallas for beautiful homes and prestigious Dallas schools. You can probably already guess that Highland Park is on the list. Here, you’ll find great schools, like Preston Hollow Elementary School, Edward H Cary Middle School, and Emmett J. Conrad High School among others.
Homes in Preston Hollow
The best birthday parties happen in Preston Hollow. This neighborhood is one of the best for families who want a little space. Estate homes sit on beautiful pieces of property, and families in Preston Hollow are not constrained by houses on top of each other. Homes are valued at $650,000 with some condos available at $140,000.
Housing ranges from modest and affordable cottages to highly elite and luxurious estates. Many of these grand homes were built in the ‘20s and ‘30s, but there are lots of homes being renovated and new constructions as well.
A historical area, Uptown has been home to Dallas’ families and professionals since the late 1800s. It was remodeled in the 1990s and became a popular spot to live around 2000.
Uptown is the spot for families that aren’t ready to give up city life. The area is full of some of the best places to eat, drink, and shop in the city, and features over 200 restaurants, 160 shops, and a large outdoor mall.
This area is full of a diverse range of residents who crave an exciting urban lifestyle, and locals enjoy the convenient public transportation, diverse cultural scene, and incredibly walkable grid of their home. Also, the McKinney Avenue Trolley transports residents around this neighborhood for free! Other locals tend to walk or bike to many of their destinations.
What’s Happening in Uptown
One of Dallas’ most walkable areas, Uptown is full of cafes, bars, boutiques, and restaurants that are just a few blocks away from many residential areas. In fact, Uptown is home to one of the city’s most famous restaurants, The Rustic. This charming spot has plenty of outdoor seating, homestyle cooking, and a tempting drink menu. Aside from being one of Dallas’s best family-friendly neighborhoods, it’s also an up-and-coming neighborhood within the city. Try a hand-crafted pale ale at Texas Ale Project or barbecue at Sammy’s Bar-B-Q.
Klyde Warren Park, a 5-acre oasis in the middle of the city, is a relatively new addition to the area and a popular outdoor destination. Families frequently gather here for year-round programs like fitness classes, dance lessons, lawn games, live music, and film screenings.
Schools in Uptown
Uptown sits within the Dallas Independent School District, which is considered to be one of the fastest improving urban school districts in the country. Schools in the area include Ben Milam Elementary School, William B. Travis Academy, Booker T. Washington High School among others.
Homes in Uptown
Uptown is home to trendy areas full of modern condos and apartments as well as many older and rehabbed homes. Families from all different financial standing can find a lovely home in Uptown. Prices in this popular neighborhood range from under $200K to over $1.3 million with 2023 averaging $540,000.
There You Have It: The 5 Most Family-Friendly Neighborhoods in Dallas!
We hope this was helpful, and if you decide to take the plunge, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends here at Bellhop. As we said, we coordinate local Dallas moves and long-distance moving services in Dallas, and we would love to help. We even help coordinate moves for nearby cities such as Austin, Fort-Worth, and Houston should you be interested!