Moving to Dallas & would like advice on East Dallas living.
April 10, 2011 11:48 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend and I are moving to the Dallas area for her doctoral internship in July. We're both East Coasters and haven't spent too much time in the south, so we are looking for answers to some questions about Dallas itself.

She'll be working in the South Dallas school system around the Texas State Fair Park.

We're looking at the East Dallas area but that's about as far a we got. We're aware that there are many communities in the East Dallas area; are there any that you can recommend we check out or even avoid?

We'd like to find something with the following criteria:

- Small one or two bedroom house [ideally!!]
- Some kind of fenced in yard or local dog park within walking distance. We have a greyhound =)
- Access to shopping. Mainly groceries, coffee, etc. Walking or a short drive would be awesome.

There is always craigslist, but are there any recommended sites or real estate agencies that would do a better job of locating available properties?

We have a trip booked for the beginning of June. Do properties move slowly or should we setup everything in advance and not wait until we're in the area?

(on a selfish side-note: can you recommend any comic book stores/gaming stores in the area?)

Any help would be appreciated!

posted by neverminding to Work & Money (18 answers total)
I'll have some more specific advice for you later, but until then can you clarify if you all are looking to rent/buy a property? It sounds like rent, but I could be reading that wrong.

Also, what's the general range you all are looking at for housing budget?
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:09 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

It sounds like you ought to focus on the White Rock lake area. The closest in-town dog park (with a great large space for a dog who likes to run!) is on the shore of the lake.

The Lakewood area has lots of houses that would meet your criteria, and it'd be a short drive to shopping and a couple of great coffee shops. (Dallas is many things, but it is NOT a walkable city in general.)

Properties do not seem to be selling too quickly these days, so I don't think you'd need to set up everything in advance. That said, it would definitely not hurt to have a conversation with one of the major real estate agencies in town before you head out here.

And on a selfish side-note of my own, we're putting our house (in the Bluffview neighborhood) on the market this month, and you're welcome to come take a look at it!
posted by AngerBoy at 12:11 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm from the Dallas burbs, but for what it's worth: neighborhoods in east Dallas that come to mind, for me, are the M streets, Lakewood, Casa Linda and Little Forest Hills. M Streets and Lakewood are really nice and reaaaallly expensive, IIRC. Like, you get a cute little old-suburban cottage for money that would basically buy you a mansion in the suburbs.

You might like Little Forest Hills. It's another old suburban area but I think (?) it's relatively less expensive than stuff that's closer in. It's also super close to White Rock lake, which is nice, and you'll almost definitely have a yard if you go for a house.
posted by MadamM at 12:15 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ufez - good point, I forgot to clarify that.

We're looking to rent since we won't be in the area that long. Price range would be $750-1000
posted by neverminding at 12:21 PM on April 10, 2011

I can't comment much about the neighborhoods on that side of Dallas, but the best gaming store we've found in the area is called Game Chest and in the Valley View mall on 635 (near the Galleria). The mall is a bit sketchy, but the store has a good selection compared to other places we've shopped for lesser-known board games (and my husband has been known to wander towards the dice and such). They might not have comics, though. Husband says that Lonestar Comics chain might be decent.
posted by Terriniski at 12:23 PM on April 10, 2011

walkable area, with a yard or a dog park, in a neighborhood you'd want to live in is probably more than 1k per month. i paid $750 for a small 2 bedroom apartment just next to the highway around a bunch of industrial buildings.
posted by nadawi at 12:30 PM on April 10, 2011

Something you may not be thinking about, coming from the East coast, is how far from everything else everything is in Dallas. If you live in East or especially Southeast Dallas going to Arlington, north dallas or most definitely Denton or Fort Worth will make for drives of an hour or more. What I also mean to say is that you'll want to go to these places.
posted by cmoj at 12:52 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I grew up in Little Forest Hills. It is very pleasant. (Casa Linda Park is not an official dog park, but at certain times of day, it seems to be an unofficial, if unfenced, one.) Many parts of it are not, however, very walkable to anything commercial. If I were going to move back to Dallas today, I would look hard at Junius Heights (although the houses may be bigger than what you're looking for.)

Based on these recent listings, I think Little Forest Hills is not out of your price range. (If you have specific questions about the neighborhood, feel free to memail me.)

PS: It's just called Fair Park.
posted by purpleclover at 1:04 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

if you're coming for a visit, you should check out north oak cliff as well. won't be too far from fair park and is a pretty fantastic community.
posted by sapo at 1:41 PM on April 10, 2011

I can't speak to suggested Dallas neighborhoods to live in, as I'm on the Tarrant county side of the area. But, if you're looking for a comic book shop, try this place.

Cosmic Comic Books
728 East Marshall Dr.
Grand Prairie, TX 75051

If you're looking at a map, they're in the shopping center that's on the northwest corner of Marshall & Belt Line.
posted by AMSBoethius at 2:24 PM on April 10, 2011

My wife has already given my suggestions for comic and game stores, so I'll talk to areas for housing. Fair Park is on the Green Line of DART, so if you can live along the line, you should be ok. If you get into East Dallas, you'd have to transfer, and I'm not sure how much time that would tack on (my wife takes the train straight in from Lewisville, which is sort of northwest of Dallas).

In your budget, you're kind of limited if you want good areas and a nice place. The area right around Fair Park is a little run down, but I know there are a few places right by the medical center stop on the green line near Fair Park that look nice. Plus, there's a Cafe Brazil right near by.

North Oak Cliff is also a good location, but I'm not sure if you can get the combination of what you want there.

Check some of my early past questions about other stuff to do in DFW, as well as other suggestions.

Lastly - when you get here, set up a meetup! We don't have them very often, and I've had to cancel on every one I've wanted to go to, but hey, I'll probably show up this time! Let's do it!
posted by SNWidget at 2:40 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just to note that many distances that might be convenient to walk now will be rather less convenient to walk when it's 95-110F outside.

Which it will be for months.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:45 PM on April 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

There's a ginormous Half Price Books that had a pretty sweet selection of gaming books and other nerdery last time we were in Dallas, which was last August. And you didn't ask but it's very important to eat at Taco Joint as often as possible.
posted by Neofelis at 4:38 PM on April 10, 2011

As others have noted, as far as East Dallas goes, Little Forest Hills is probably your best bet for finding a 1-2 standalone rental. Most of the houses in Lakewood proper/M-Streets etc. will be larger and more expensive than you're looking for.

You may also want to check Old Lake Highlands. The majority of the houses around there are going to be larger, but not all of them, and there are (were) several rental properties around there last time I was looking for a house in East Dallas (FWIW, the last house I rented there was a 3-bed 1.5 bath with a wooden fenced yard for $1100/month).

If you all are willing to consider duplex living, there are several in that area that will expand your options. There are a handful between Skillman and Abrams around Morningside and some more a bit further south nearing Gaston. There are also some right off of the north side of Mockingbird East of Abrams (but they're *right* off of a very busy street, so if your dog is a door dodger, it may not be worth your time to look there). There are also a bunch just East of Buckner right around Dixie Lane on this map that will almost certainly be on the lower end of your range but still be a safe place for you all (and your dog).

All of these are a short drive from the nearest grocery store (though the East side of White Rock Lake has fewer options) and less than ten minutes (again drive) from the White Rock Lake Dog Park.

Both of the houses I rented in East Dallas I found by driving around and both were owned by independent landlords, although I also looked at some I found on Craigslist or in the Morning News. It's just kind of one of those "luck of the draw" things.

I'd definitely keep North Oak Cliff/Bishop Arts under consideration though. It's not a part of Dallas I'm terribly familiar with, but the folks I know that live there love it and I would be sure to check it out if I were in the market for a rental down there. Good luck and feel free to MeMail if you have any further followups. I lived in that part of Dallas for about five years and know the area fairly well (although I moved about two years ago).
posted by Ufez Jones at 4:50 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

When I lived in Texas (which, granted, was over 7 years ago) we always had the best luck using the weekly "Greensheets" classified ads to find places to live. I have no idea how the online version compares, but the print version can usually be found in bins next to the Dallas Observer streetboxes.
posted by unknowncommand at 5:08 PM on April 10, 2011

Grew up in Casa Linda, Little Forest Hills, Lochwood.

Little Forest Hills is an absolute awesome place to live.

I'll send you a MeMail.
posted by roboton666 at 9:31 PM on April 10, 2011

Just throwing out a recommendation for Lone Star Comics. I can personally vouch for the Dallas and Plano locations. I'm not typically there to buy comics(more interested in collectibles), but they seem to have a large selection of comics and gaming materials. Staff tends to be friendly and knowledgeable.
posted by owtytrof at 8:37 AM on April 11, 2011

Thanks to everyone for such a quick and helpful collection of tips! This community does really warm the heart. And we're now getting very excited about Dallas.

We'll be sure to check out Little Forest Hills, Junius Heights, North Oak Cliff, and Old Lake Highlands. These are all great tips!

It also really does help for us to hear about issues of distance and temps in Dallas, because they aren't usually our first considerations (thank you, urban Northeast frame of reference).

The comic/gaming stores are much appreciated. I think I've ordered stuff form Lonestar comics before, so I'll be glad to give them my return patronage.

And we'll be sure to post again in July or August after we're settled in Dallas to plan a MeFi meetup. It would be great to meet all of you!

Elsa & Ron
posted by neverminding at 9:25 PM on April 12, 2011

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