The Best Neighborhoods in Dallas for Families

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Mike Romano

Jul 31, 2023

Mike Romano is a mortgage industry veteran with over 20 years of experience. His expertise spans mortgage technology, credit risk, and loan origination, and he has spoken at many mortgage and fintech conferences. He has a Bachelor's and MBA from the University of California, Berkeley and currently resides in Austin, TX. NMLS # 2515901

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    Dallas is one of the most popular cities in the United States, partly thanks to the relatively affordable housing market in Texas. But the state-wide housing market aside, Dallas offers a lot on its own, especially when it comes to raising kids in the area.

    If you’re thinking about moving to the city, we’ve compiled a list of the best neighborhoods in Dallas for families. To give you a complete picture of each neighborhood’s offerings, we took into account school ratings, housing affordability, recreation options, and proximity to amenities. 

    We hope this helps as you begin your housing search. 

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      Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal or financial advice. Please consult an attorney, mortgage lender, or CPA for guidance on your specific situation.

      The shortlist

      • Arapaho
      • Timber Brook
      • Far North Dallas
      • Briarwood
      • Northeast Dallas

      The 5 best neighborhoods in Dallas for families: All the info

      Dallas has a pretty affordable housing market compared to many other mid-sized cities, so there are actually a lot of areas that might qualify for the ‘best neighborhoods in Dallas’ title. 

      However, to keep it simple, we narrowed our list down to five neighborhoods. But we recommend branching out into the surrounding areas while you’re home shopping, because many of the bordering neighborhoods and nearby suburbs offer very similar living experiences.

      1. Arapaho

      Arapaho is a neighborhood on the north side of Dallas that’s far enough outside the city center to offer the feel and benefits of a suburb, but with a reasonable commute straight into downtown via highway 75.

      The neighborhood is situated in between the cities of Plano, Richardson, and Garland, so you’ll have quick access to plenty of amenities there as well. There are also many quality schools to choose from as all three cities have a good selection of highly rated options.

      Average home price: $442,917

      Top-rated schools:

      • Walnut Glen Academy for Excel (9/10 GreatSchools rating)
      • Austin Academy for Excellence (8/10)
      • Harmony School of Innovation (8/10)

      Family activities: Hawaiian Waters Garland, Duck Creek Linear Park, NickelRama

      2. Timber Brook

      Timber Brook is located northeast of Dallas. The neighborhood offers impressive housing prices, considering the neighborhood is almost within walking distance of the Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve and only a short drive away from Lake Lavon. 

      Nearby highway 75 also offers a straightforward commute into the city.

      Additionally, Timber Brook is centrally located between the cities of Plano, Murphy, and Allen. All three cities have several highly rated schools and plenty of family activities.

      Average home price: $493,176

      Top-rated schools:

      • McCall Elementary School (8/10 GreatSchools rating)
      • W E Pete Ford Middle School (9/10)
      • Lovejoy High School (9/10)

      Family activities: In-Sync Exotics Animal Center, Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve, Lake Lavon

      Learn more: Need help buying a home in Dallas? Check out our list of Dallas down payment assistance programs.

      3. Far North Dallas

      Far North Dallas is close enough to the city center that it’s technically in Dallas proper, but far enough from downtown to avoid the bustle of a metro area. There’s a good number of activities in the area to do with your family, though it can be a bit of a drive if you want to visit the local lakes or larger parks.

      Nearby schools for the lower grades are good, but not exceptional. However, the nearby high schools are very highly rated and the University of Texas at Dallas is located on the eastern edge of the neighborhood. 

      Average home price: $554,286

      Top-rated schools:

      • Brentfield Elementary School (8/10 GreatSchools rating)
      • Parkhill Junior High School (7/10)
      • Early College High School (10/10)

      Family activities: Urban Air Adventure & Trampoline Park, Adventure Landing Family Entertainment, Cavanaugh Flight Museum

      4. Briarwood

      Briarwood is a suburb of Dallas, bordered by Bob Woodruff Park on the east and the Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve to the north. Although technically a suburb of Dallas, Briarwood is a relatively short drive from the center of the city. There are several unique family attractions in the area, and the nearby schools are rated fairly well. 

      Briarwood also has one of the more affordable housing markets in the area, so it’s a good option for families with a more modest housing budget who still want to live near the city.

      Average home price: $342,773

      Top-rated schools:

      • Martha Hunt Elementary School (9/10 GreatSchools rating)
      • Murphy Middle School (9/10)
      • Wylie High School (8/10)

      Family activities: Bob Woodruff Park North, The Texas Pool, Heritage Farmstead Museum

      5. Northeast Dallas

      Northeast Dallas isn’t far from the downtown area, which makes commuting easy. However, it’s also right next to White Rock Lake, so it’s not hard to find green space, even though the neighborhood is relatively close to the Dallas metro area.

      The neighborhood schools in Northeast Dallas are good, but there are also some excellent specialized high schools — namely, the School of Business Management and the School of Science and Engineering — located just a bit further away, near central Dallas.

      Average home price: $459,625

      Top-rated schools:

      • Mockingbird Elementary (9/10 GreatSchools rating)
      • Highland Park Middle School (8/10)
      • Highland Park High School (8/10)

      Family activities: Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, White Rock Lake, Play Street Museum

      Things to do in Dallas with kids

      Most cities have plenty of amenities and attractions that cater to families. However, Dallas really stands out in this area, especially if your kids are old enough to go to sporting events. Aside from sports, here are just a few of the many other activities to enjoy in Dallas with kids.

      Dallas Zoo

      The Dallas Zoo is 106 acres, and it’s the oldest and largest zoological park in Texas. The Dallas Zoo is so large and has so many exhibits that it takes more than one visit to really see everything. They also often have special exhibits, so there’s something new every time you go.

      Six Flags Over Texas

      Six Flags Over Texas is the original Six Flags amusement park. It has 14 of the most impressive roller coasters in the world, and over 100 other attractions. Most people have to travel to visit this park. If you live in Dallas, the park stays open late enough that you could take the kids to go ride a few roller coasters after school, if you’re so inclined.

      LEGOLAND Discovery Center

      The LEGOLAND Discovery Center is a great option for summer entertainment because everything is indoors. The center has rides, a build-and-test lab for innovating new Lego designs, a 4D movie theater, and several other creative activities for the kids.

      SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium

      The SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium is an impressively large aquarium with underwater tunnels, oceanic dinosaur exhibits, tide pools, and everything else related to the ocean. You can also get a discounted ticket to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center when you buy a ticket for the aquarium.

      Looking further afield? Check out our state-wide list of the best places to live in Texas for families.

      The bottom line: Is Dallas a good place to raise a family?

      Dallas is a good place to raise a family, especially when compared to other large cities. The housing market is reasonably affordable, which can be a rarity in metro areas. The education system is strong, and there are a surprising number of family-friendly activities in Dallas, which can also be rare in big cities.

      Get help moving to Dallas with down payment assistance

      Moving is never easy, but saving enough for a large down payment and covering Texas closing costs doesn’t have to be the hard part.

      There are many down payment assistance programs available in Texas.The problem is that it’s difficult to find and directly compare programs because there’s been no central source of information. Until now. 

      Stairs Financial brings all the information about down payment assistance programs together in one place. Stairs connects you with knowledgeable lenders who work with down payment assistance programs, then helps you compare down payment assistance programs and loan options side-by-side and choose the best option for you.

      Learn more about all your down payment assistance options.

      Find up to $15,000 towards a home 🏠

      Compare local down payment assistance and find a mortgage, fast.

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