State Of The Suburbs
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State Of The Suburbs
The best moves in the DFW Metroplex
At Thrillist, we love big cities, but we also recognize the appeal of smaller towns with the same mix of great food, nightlife, and culture – plus a lower cost of living. That’s why we’ve partnered with the National Association of Realtors® on a content series highlighting the best suburbs of nine major cities, perfect for young urbanites who may be looking to buy a home. And when it’s time to start house hunting, check out HouseLogic.com, from NAR, for buying and selling advice to help you navigate loan options, bidding wars, and everything else it takes to close the deal. Dream home, here you come.
By now, you’ve almost certainly heard all of the stereotypes about millennials -- good and bad (OK, mostly bad). But one trend among this generation that may surprise people is that they’re increasingly taking the plunge into home ownership. Sure, 20- and young 30-somethings enjoy the entertainment, culture, and convenience of urban life, but the quest for affordable housing can cause even the most die-hard city-dweller to start to look towards the suburbs.

Dallas, in particular, offers advantages for young house-hunters. Not only is the median home price here much lower than other major metro areas, there are a number of suburbs that offer that Texas sense of community as well as enough entertainment, dining, and leisure options to keep you busy on weekends. And hey, if you miss the city, you’re still only a short trip away from downtown.

So, ready to give up your Dallas address? Here are the five most millennial-friendly suburbs to consider.
Duncanville/DeSoto/Cedar Hill
Abundant nature & ethnic diversity
For young adults who have been priced out of Oak Cliff or prefer the hillier terrain of South Dallas, Duncanville/DeSoto/Cedar Hill is the way to go. This trio of cities, which make up the suburban heart of southern Dallas, are incredibly popular with millennials who appreciate the outdoors and are in the market for bigger lot sizes than most towns offer.

The area’s biggest gift to nature lovers is Cedar Hill State Park, home to the 7,500-acre Joe Pool Lake, where you can swim, fish, and paddle. On land, camp at one of 350 campsites, hike or mountain-bike the 1,200 acres of trails, or tour an old Texas farm. Throw in a boat ramp and picnic area, and you’ve got everything a young couple or family needs for a fun weekend outdoors.

Historically, these cities have also been a more ethnically diverse counterpoint to the sometimes bland suburbs surrounding the city -- the population of each is more than two-thirds Black and Hispanic. Nowhere is this respect for diversity more obvious than at the Museum of International Cultures in Duncanville, which promotes global awareness and understanding through its programs, seminars, and exhibits. Another way to observe the sense of community in the area? Attend a Friday-night football game at DeSoto High School, where pride in the Eagles football team, the 2016 Division II state champs, is a very, very big deal.
Prime location & outdoor living
Garland’s close proximity to Dallas and the millennial-friendly housing prices make it one of the most popular suburbs with younger, first-time homebuyers -- especially those who favor the great outdoors. Nine miles to the east, Lake Ray Hubbard provides outdoor leisure activities like fishing, boating, and water skiing, while the Spring Creek Forest Preserve in town offers year-round hiking opportunities and regular guided walks on topics such as water conservation and eco-friendly gardening.

Trains from the DART light rail Blue Line station get you to downtown Dallas in 25 minutes, which means parking and riding to work is an affordable commuting option. Residents also enjoy easy entry to I-635/LBJ Freeway, I-30, and State Highway 190, making the drive to neighboring suburbs or the urban core much easier. “With the relatively recent completion of the George H. W. Bush Turnpike, Garland has finally become accessible to everyone” says Eloise Eriksson Martin, a Dallas real estate agent and Realtor® -- a member of the National Association of Realtors®. “Garland is minutes from Dallas, but cross the lake and drive for 15 minutes and you're in the country.”

Working artists Marti Schweitzer, an actress at the Ochre House theater, and her husband Cheyenne, lead singer of The Rich Girls, were priced out of Dallas and ended up in Garland for exactly that reason: “It takes me 15 minutes [to get to Ochre House] in little traffic and you get to choose any school in the district,” Schweitzer says. “Plus, I found this awesome pocket of country directly off the freeway. There are horses looking over my back fence. I get to touch them.”

To top it off, there are a wide range of homes available in Garland in lots of different styles and affordable price points. So hipsters who have always dreamed of doing the HGTV remodeling thing can buy a fixer-upper, mid-century modern house that would be way out of their price range in Dallas -- and still have enough money to remodel it.
Grand Prairie
Culture & recreation in a central locale
While Grand Prairie has not always been considered a hip suburb for young people, its caché is starting to grow as millennials begin to appreciate its easy access to both Dallas and Fort Worth. Such a centralized location means that residents are able to take advantage of the robust job market not just in Dallas, but all around the DFW Metroplex.

Also helping entice first-time homebuyers to the area is the addition of shopping and recreation options that appeal to younger singles and families. IKEA recently opened their second Dallas-Fort Worth store in Grand Prairie, in part because of that aforementioned centralized location. As for recreation, the Texas Airhogs independent minor league team plays in town; in addition to catching a baseball game, their ballpark also has a 17,000 square-foot playground for the kids, a swimming pool, and a restaurant/bar area.

For loyalists of Oak Cliff or Deep Ellum who don’t want to give up access to live music by moving to the suburbs, the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie is one of the largest non-stadium concert venues in the area, where, on any given night, you can catch acts like stand-up comedian Katt Williams or Grammy-winning country group Sugarland. For the young or simply young at heart, Epic Waters, the city’s newest addition, is an 80,000 square-foot indoor water park.
Great schools for growing families
Plano has long been considered the gold standard of Dallas suburbs. Two decades ago, it was a far-flung suburb to the north of Dallas that almost exclusively featured high-priced homes and more well-established older families. But in the past 20 years, the northernmost suburbs of Dallas have stretched even further north to include Frisco, The Colony, and McKinney -- opening up Plano to the younger, up-and-coming set.

The city has, for lack of a better term, the best of both worlds by being a suburb but also having some sense of history. While those pricier suburbs to the north only began their explosive growth in the 1990s, Plano started its boom in the 1970s, which translates to a more diverse range of available homes in terms of age and price point. Add to that the fact that Plano public schools are phenomenal (nine of its schools earned a perfect 10 out of 10 rating from GreatSchools.org), and it makes a prime location for millennials who have or intend to start a family.

There are perks for adults, too. The DART light rail Red Line gets you to downtown Dallas in 45 minutes. Toyota opened its new, 100-acre North American headquarters here last year, bringing new jobs with it. Martin, the real estate agent and Realtor®, also points to “the Shops at Willow Bend, Shops at Legacy, and Legacy West, a 240-acre mixed-use project” as further points of interest in Plano. The latter is home to Legacy Hall, a gourmand paradise consisting of 30 stalls offering every type of food and beverage imaginable (including lobster rolls, Philly cheesesteaks, and ginger beer floats), craft beer at Unlawful Assembly Brewing Co., and a schedule of live music.
Diverse cuisine & a quick commute
The prize for the suburb with the easiest access to all that downtown Dallas has to offer goes to Richardson, which is a 20-minute straight shot down I-75 South. (Its four light rail stops also make commuting via public transport easy.)

But let’s talk about what is arguably the biggest perk of life in Richardson: its diverse cuisine. The stretch of Greenville Avenue between Main Street and Arapaho Road is home to a robust Asian food district with options ranging from Korean barbecue joints, hole-in-the-wall pho restaurants, some of the best dim sum you will ever eat at Kirin Court, and where most agree serves the best Chinese food in the Metroplex, First Chinese BBQ. There’s also a large Indian and Mediterranean food scene surrounding the downtown Richardson area with staples such as Bawarchi Biryanis for halal Indian and Afrah for Lebanese.

That diversity (plus the need for more space) is what drew writers Jason and Elizabeth Philyaw from Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood to Richardson in 2015. “When our youngest son came along, our house in Oak Cliff got 33.3% smaller,” Jason says. “We chose Richardson for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the [public] schools. Elizabeth takes the train from the Spring Valley station to work downtown every day. My kids wanted a pool and an upstairs. Did I mention Afrah? Now I need shawarma.”

Besides the top-notch food and schools, Richardson is also becoming a center for industry, technology, and the arts. The University of Texas -- Dallas located here is home to top-tier robotics and tech graduate programs. State Farm’s regional hub at the CityLine campus employs 7,200 people and counting and Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Texas headquarters is in Richardson, too, so insurance-industry jobs are available. Then, there’s the Eismann Center, a huge, multi-million dollar performing arts venue that is increasingly luring touring productions, such as PostSecret: The Show (about the secret-sharing blog that inspired a recent Smithsonian art exhibition), from Dallas’ Arts District to the suburbs.
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