With a metropolitan area that's bigger than some states (all right, Connecticut, still pretty big though), it’s a no brainer that the Dallas suburbs have sprawled and thrived. Notorious for chain stores and backyards equipped with trampolines or above-ground pools by law, suburbs sometimes unfairly get a bad rap. So what exactly makes our outlying suburban towns stand out from Lame-O, USA? We've profiled the top 'burbs that'd give the Dallas lifestyle a run for its money.
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Located directly up US 75 from Downtown Dallas, Richardson serves as the gateway from Dallas to the dozens of northern suburbs. Richardson is also a food lover’s paradise, with offerings ranging from hole-in-the-wall Thai to high-end comfort food such as Jasper’s. Distance from Downtown Dallas: 15 miles Public transportation: DART bus and light rail Food scene: Strong to very strong with an emphasis on Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine Best local bars:Richardson Food Truck Park features a bar built into an old trailer. It’s dog friendly and features a wide variety of local brews as well as prosecco on tap. Cost of living ($-$$$$ scale): $$; Downtown Richardson features affordable, mid-century houses while North Richardson is more apartment-focused to cater to the students who attend nearby University of Texas. Local entertainment value vs. going into the city (1-5 scale): 4; With Alamo Drafthouse, the Eisemann Performing Arts Center and hundreds of affordable dining options, it’s entirely possible to experience great food and culture without ever having to leave Richardson.
The king of the DFW suburbs, Plano will soon become home to even more out-of-state transplants as Toyota relocates their US headquarters to the city. Plano has come a long way since its brush with infamy in the 1990’s as the focus of an MTV documentary about teenage addicts. It’s now the gold standard for suburban success in the metroplex. Distance from Downtown Dallas: 22 miles Public transportation: DART bus and light rail Food scene: From barbecue to sushi, if there’s a high-end restaurant in Dallas that you love, there’s a very good chance that said restaurant has a Plano outpost. Best local bars: It’s tough to beat the feeling of sitting on the rooftop bar of Plano’s beloved pizzeria Urban Crust and sipping a cool beer or full-bodied glass of cabernet. Cost of living: $$$; Living in Plano doesn’t come cheap. With thousands of Californians relocating to Plano, you should be ready to pay a pretty penny for a house or apartment. Local entertainment value vs. going into the city: 3; With plenty of dining and movie options, Plano provides enough of the entertainment basics but music lovers will still find themselves making the trek south to Dallas for their concert fix.
Frisco and The Colony
The far northern suburbs of Frisco and The Colony are growing more rapidly than any other suburbs in the area. The Cowboys have even relocated their practice facilities to Frisco, joining baseball’s Rough Riders and soccer’s FC Dallas. It’s not cheap but it’s also definitely not boring. Distance from Downtown Dallas: 30 miles Public transportation: None currently but part of DART’s northern expansion plan Food scene: Steakhouses, steakhouses, steakhouses. While there are also Tex-Mex, Italian, and Thai offerings, high-end food is king in Frisco and The Colony. So if it’s an expensive steak or a delicious sushi roll that you’re looking for, you’re in the right part of town. Best local bars: The soccer watching scene at The British Lion Pub, located outside Toyota Stadium, is lively and raucous. Cost of living: $$$$; Famous for some of the highest priced real estate in the city, life in Frisco and The Colony is not for those who are weak in the wallet area. There’s not a lot of options for doing Frisco or The Colony on the cheap. Local entertainment value vs. going into the city: 4; If you’re a sports fan, Frisco has plenty of entertainment options for you. Fans of theater or live music may find Frisco and The Colony lacking, however.
This suburb, located near DFW Airport and midway between Dallas and Fort Worth, is best known for its Southlake Town Center. Residents include dozens of current and former Dallas Cowboys and no other suburb gives residents the opportunity to run into Terry Bradshaw at the grocery store. But it ain’t cheap. Distance from Downtown Dallas: 30 miles Public transportation: Ha ha ha, you’re joking, right? Did you not get the memo about every resident of Southlake being required to buy a Range Rover? Food scene: Much like Frisco and The Colony, Southlake is all about high-end food offerings. From pricey seafood joints to DFW staples such as Mi Cocina, this is definitely not Mecca for the hole in the wall foodie type. Best local bars: The people watching in Southlake Town Center is second to none. And there’s no better place to do that people watching than from a barstool at The Ginger Man, the beloved Dallas bar which has expanded into Southlake. Cost of living: $$$$; Over 75% of the residents of Southlake make $100,000 or more a year. To be able to afford the spacious and enormous mega mansions of Southlake, you need to bring some major cash to the table. Local entertainment value vs. going into the city: 2; While the people watching is top notch, Southlake’s entertainment options for free or cheap activities are extremely limited. What else would you expect in a city where almost everyone has their own in-house movie theater?
A large and sprawling suburb spreading from the north and east from the area near White Rock Lake, Garland is affordable, funky, and closer to Dallas than you may realize. Plus, it’s heaven for the budget-conscious foodie. Distance from Downtown Dallas: 18 miles Public transportation: DART bus and light rail Food scene: With a large immigrant population, Garland is a hotbed of affordable cuisine from all over the world. Pho and barbecue are two of the most popular players. Best local bars: It’s awfully hard to beat the $5 burger and a deliciously dirty martini from Bar Louie when the garage doors are open and there’s a Rangers double header on the TV. Cost of living: $; One of the most affordable suburbs in the metroplex, Garland offers a great suburban life starter experience for young professionals and those wanting to slowly explore life outside the hectic city. Local entertainment value vs. going into the city: 3; It should be noted that Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butt-Head, Office Space, King of the Hill, and Silicon Valley, is a Garland native. So if you’ve ever wanted to meet the inspiration for Boomhauer and Dale Gribble, head to any alleyway or sports bar in Garland and grab a cold Alamo beer.
Once a relatively anonymous and somewhat identity-less suburb, Carrollton (and Farmers Branch) have carved out a reputation for their food scene and affordable housing. Distance from Downtown Dallas: 19 miles Public transportation: DART bus and light rail Food scene: Middle Eastern and Cuban food done right is one of the calling cards of Carrollton. It’s also home to the universally loved and often recommended Babe’s Chicken Dinner House. Best local bars: Sports bars dominate the drinking scene in Carrollton and Farmers Branch. Chopshop Sports Garage is an auto mechanic shop-themed gastropub with plenty of craft beers on offer as well as an opportunity to watch any given Mavericks, Cowboys, Stars, or Rangers games with like-minded passionate fans. Cost of living: $; Affordable older homes and mid-priced apartments are plentiful in Carrollton and Farmers Branch. Easy access to public transportation makes it simple to get to the city quickly and cheaply for date nights as well. Local entertainment value vs going into the city: 2; There isn’t a tremendous amount of unique entertainment options in Carrollton and Farmers Branch themselves. However, being located on I-35 within a 30 minute drive to Dallas to the south and Denton to the north makes for a short drive from all kinds of cultural events.
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