People & Places

East to West, North to South: What to Know About the Top Regions of North Texas

Downtown Dallas North Texas regions

Like other major metropolitan areas, Dallas and Fort Worth benefit from the cities, towns and suburbs in every direction that make up the greater area, known locally to many as simply “the Metroplex.” What’s more, highly desirable neighborhoods — all represented by the experts at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty — beckon, no matter where you point your compass.

Starting in central Dallas, you’ll find downtown, Uptown, Highland Park and University Park among the most attractive neighborhoods for people relocating to Texas or perhaps upgrading from another part of town. Moving north, there is Allen, Frisco and Plano, representing some of the highest-growth areas of the region. In the northeast, Lakewood and Forest Hills offer city living combined with the tranquil feel of the countryside, thanks to canopies of mature trees and proximity to White Rock Lake, one of the city’s true gems. To the southwest, Oak Cliff maintains its reputation of combining history and a quirky charm in many of its distinct neighborhoods. To the northwest, Southlake attracts everyone from executives to empty nesters, drawn to its big homes but small-community vibe. Farther west, Fort Worth treats residents to a laid-back lifestyle while offering the perks of a major city.

Together, they may all be known simply as North Texas, but each offers its own unique lifestyle, landscape and sense of community. Below, we break down each of these special places, eager to welcome you as a new resident with homes of every possible type.

Downtown Dallas

The heart of nearly every city can be found in its downtown district and Dallas continues that truism with high-rise living attracting people to a faster-paced, cosmopolitan life. From cozy one-bedrooms to lavish homes in new buildings, you’ll find a place that suits your needs, and then some. Walkability makes this area especially appealing, as well as the abundance of entertainment options, highlighted by the largest contiguous urban arts district in the nation. Some of the city’s best chefs operate restaurants here, too, including a variety of options inside The Statler and The Joule. And of course, you’ll always be able to pop over to the flagship Neiman Marcus when the shopping bug bites.

Uptown

Uptown Dallas Trolley

Situated across the Woodall Rodgers Freeway from downtown, Uptown continues to grow while maintaining an immense appeal to younger homeowners, especially those with families, thanks to five-star schools in every grade level. Much like downtown, most homes can be found in high-rises and mid-rises, but on occasion grand, single-family houses become available for a truly different connection to the surrounding neighborhood. Restaurants, bars and shopping galore can be found here, too, with large concentrations at West Village and all along McKinney Avenue, which the fun (and free) McKinney Avenue Trolley serves daily, as well as downtown and nearby areas.

Highland Park and University Park

Highland park and university park

Known collectively as the Park Cities, these adjacent communities — classic American neighborhoods, both — each have their own government, including police and fire departments, while Highland Park has its school district with a five-star elementary, middle and high school within its town limits. Gorgeous homes can be found in both University Park and Highland Park, many dating back decades — for a sense of history and majesty at once — as well as new homes for those wanting the latest and greatest. Both towns have tremendous walkability, posh restaurants (Highland Park Village is a must-visit for eating and drinking, as well as shopping) and dozens of parks between them. SMU and the George Bush Presidential Library offer special programming throughout the year, too.

Allen

Allen Dallas

With homes built within the last 20 years (on average), Allen represents one of the newest communities to increase the allure of Dallas’ northern suburbs. Single-family houses are the primary purchase options here, with homes ranging from those with plenty of square footage to cozy homes for empty nesters looking to downsize on a quiet street. One of the biggest draws to Allen remains its schools, with every single school (six in total) ranked at five stars. Outposts of some of Dallas-Fort Worth’s most popular eateries can be found here, along with the shopper’s paradise of the Allen Premium Outlets, and dozens of parks, miles of hiking trails and a community ice rink.

Frisco

Frisco in North Texas

Known as Sports City USA, Frisco welcomes tens of thousands of people at any given time to experience six professional sports teams, including the practice facility for the Dallas Cowboys, as well as the other football — soccer — and our local representatives of the sport, FC Dallas. Living options here range from incredible estates to well-appointed condominiums. Even though Frisco is situated far north of Dallas, downtown can be reached in 25 easy minutes during low-traffic periods and both DFW Airport and Love Field in just 25 minutes when you’re ready to get out of Dodge. A plethora of restaurants, shops and entertainment can be found throughout the city, while active residents flock to three golf courses, more than two dozen parks and 463 miles of nature to enjoy on 108 trails. 

Plano

A whopping nine five-star schools make Plano an extremely attractive place to put down roots for families and families-in-the-making — but there’s much about this consistently popular northern suburb to love. It’s regularly named one of the safest cities in the U.S., too. You’ll find impeccable homes with acreage and plenty of space to spread out within city borders, too. Many international corporations continue moving their headquarters here, which has dramatically increased the number of high-profile restaurants, world-class retailers and leisure activities, so you hardly ever need to venture into Dallas if you don’t wish to — but it’s only a 25-minute commute when you do.

Forest Hills and Lakewood

Lakewood

Both within walking distance of White Rock Lake, these two well-established neighborhoods have extremely similar vibes: large homes; lush green spaces and mature trees; and a family-friendly way of life. Some of the city’s most spectacular homes can be found here. Homes in gated communities and cozier houses can also be procured with relative ease if you catch them quickly. An active lifestyle suits life here well, with trails that encircle the lake and connections to the city’s larger trail system that can lead cyclists and runners all the way to downtown Dallas, as well as acres of gorgeousness to enjoy at the Dallas Arboretum. Across the street and walkable from Forest Hills, Smoky Rose has become one of the most popular neighborhood hangouts thanks to its open-air patios and Texas barbecue. Grocery stores can be found in abundance nearby, along with local boutiques offering a variety of goods for those who wish to stick close to home most of the time.

Fort Worth

Fort Worth in North Texas

Even though Fort Worth can get lumped — wrongly — into the concept of Dallas as a whole, it couldn’t be more different in what it has to offer. Known for both cowboys and culture, Fort Worth thrives on its diversity of experiences. In the cool shadows of downtown’s skyscrapers exist a variety of cultural experiences, from Bass Hall to Sundance Square. For the cowboy/cowgirl experience, nothing compares to the Fort Worth Stockyards, where daily cattle drives, weekly rodeos, live country music and some of the city’s most beloved restaurants co-exist for the enjoyment of both locals and visitors alike. Museums here rank among the best in the world, too, from modern art to the world-renowned Kimbell Art Museum. As for homes, you’ll find everything from high-rise luxury to single-family stunners to condominiums in historic buildings, each with proximity to the beauty of Fort Worth’s trail system and activities along the Trinity River.

Oak Cliff

From cozy bungalows in storybook neighborhoods to sprawling homes in Kessler Park, Oak Cliff brings together an eclectic mix of people from all backgrounds — one of the many reasons people have such a fondness for this part of town. Close to downtown, but worlds away thanks to its winding streets and rolling hills (and yes, actual cliffs), a small-town mentality unites the residents no matter what section they call home. The bustling Bishop Arts District brings people from all over the city, but it still belongs to the locals and they have much to be proud of with noteworthy restaurants, bars and some of the most delightful boutique shopping anywhere in North Texas. Several five-star schools only add to the appeal, with schools dedicated to the talented and gifted, as well as those seeking professions in healthcare, science, engineering and business.

Southlake

Just minutes from downtown Dallas, Southlake is known for its exemplary public schools and its Friday-night lights. It’s a place where the whole town comes together in the fall to cheer on the Carroll High School Dragons football team, which has won the state championship multiple times. Ranked among the best neighborhoods for families with children by The Dallas Morning News, here you can hike, bike or fish at one of nearly 20 local parks — or you can take the kids to nearby Milwaukee Joe’s Gourmet Ice Cream in the Southlake Town Square for a cone. From year-round golf to sophisticated shopping, Southlake is also a popular executive-relocation town, just minutes from DFW Airport and with easy access to all things Dallas. There is a home here for everyone, especially if you like new construction and custom-built traditional homes.

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