Considering move to Ft. Worth, TX
June 8, 2015 5:49 AM   Subscribe

While DC has been a lovely place to live, we're interested in something quieter and closer to the family and friends back in TX.

Mrs. Thistledown and I are contemplating where to live next. We're presently in DC and kinda tired of it. She's been here for 20 years, I've been here for 4.

Although both born here, we both grew up in Dallas, and we're quite familiar with Texas in broad terms, and we know Dallas intimately well. But we don't know Ft. Worth that well. We've both visited 1-2 times, and like it. We'd plan on selling our house here in DC and buying something there.

What we're interested in is neighborhoods which are preferably walkable or, at least bike-able as we're both avid bike riders. We do not have children, nor plans for them, so family-friendly is not a major priority. We do like older neighborhoods with trees, if that helps.

Note: we have both also lived in Austin, and while it's a nice place, it's not the place that we necessarily want to live; the costs are getting exhorbitant and the city felt like it was choking on its own growth when I last lived there. I guess we'd consider it again but it would have to be considerably cheaper than "Austin proper" these days.
posted by Thistledown to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I live in Fort Worth and love it!

From your mention of Austin and walkability, I'm going to assume that arts and culture are important also. I should also note that my only major gripe with Fort Worth is how little of it is easily bikeable, but there's a huge push in city government around a "blue zones project" which explicitly aims to create walkable and bikable micro-communities around town. Considering the extent and structure of the Trinity Trails system already in place, I see no reason this shouldn't be a great success.

As for neighborhoods that actually answer your question: The only truly walkable neighborhoods I can think of are these:

Fairmount is the current cultural center. It's where all of the best food, bars, street festivals, and hipsters are. Most of the homes are historic and I'm pretty sure subject to a (newly hip) HOA.

I don't remember the name of the neighborhood east of Como around Arlington Heights on either side of Hulen St., but of these neighborhoods it's the only one that contains a full-fledged grocery store. A Central Market. I'm a small time real estate investor and if i was buying at the moment it would probably be in this neighborhood west of Hulen. The Basses have been buying near there and there are some incredible 50's modern houses.

West 7th and Downtown both qualify, but you'd have to settle for an apartment. The associated grocery store would be a Target.

Failing West 7th and Downtown, Montecello and Crestwood are just west and northwest. The area north of West 7th seems to be currently morphing into something like Fairmount and trying to creep west along White Settlement Road. Montecello has long been gentrified, but Crestwood is only recently on tis way. Another great investment area, though it seems that a small price bubble is bursting in the area.

I should also mention that all of these neighborhoods except Fairmount are very near what in the next three years will be the hub of the Trinity River Vision Project. They aim to reroute the Trinity River, creating an urban lake and downtown river walk with the whole Blue Zones thing in mind. It sounds very ambitious, but there's a lot of money and community support behind it.

Feel free to MeMail me about anything. I grew up here, left, came back and through no virtue of my own happen to be well informed about local politics, business, and so forth through my friends.
posted by cmoj at 7:42 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't remember the name of the neighborhood east of Como around Arlington Heights on either side of Hulen St., but of these neighborhoods it's the only one that contains a full-fledged grocery store. A Central Market. I'm a small time real estate investor and if i was buying at the moment it would probably be in this neighborhood west of Hulen.

Came here to say this also, except I'm not a real estate investor.

There are neighborhoods of neat cute houses dotted around TCU, but I have a biking friend in one of those neighborhoods and I don't think she considers it any good for biking or uses her bike for errands at all. She used to live in an apartment around the 7th Street mixed-use area and I think did have easy access to some of the river-y bike trails from there. It was a neat apartment in a neat area, you could do worse - especially maybe to spend a year getting your sea legs before you buy anything.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:23 PM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

"Utility biking" is hard in Ft. Worth. Walking is harder still. Fairmount, Ryan Place, and the Near South Side have the best shot at making it work -- eventually. As cmoj mentions, there are lots of folks holding their breath for the Trinity River Vision Project. The current city politics is bicycle friendly, but there's a whole lot of big, car-based infrastructure that makes it hard.

There are (a precious few) folks who commute downtown on bike. I've had some good conversations with the folks at Trinity Bicycles downtown and Colonel's Bicycles off seventh street about getting around town. I bike commuted in Seattle and hoped that I could make it work in Fort Worth. The trinity river trails are really great for getting mileage in, if you're just riding to ride. But for commuting, there are no trees and plenty of heat that make it tough for daily rides to work.

Another limiter is shopping. There aren't many small, convenient grocery stores. There are some pockets on the westside that can work: Tom Thumb on camp bowie, soon to be in competition with a Sprouts going in; Albertson's next to the troubled Ridgmar Mall; Tom Thumb on University next to TCU. Not sure where the folks in Fairmount and Mistletoe Heights would ride for daily errands. I think the Fort will slowly get over the big box idea of retail in town, but it's going to take some time.

I think Fort Worth does provide a good contrast to Austin. There's a TON of super-burb development going in north of town and 35 up that way is all sorts of messed up right now, but I think the plan will come together in 2-3 years. There's a cultural arts scene in Fort Worth that Austin doesn't quite have, and it's a bit more approachable than Dallas. (Oh crud, I'm veering off into the "my Texas city is better than your Texas city" which so many folks are fond of.)
posted by GPF at 10:13 PM on June 8, 2015

I grew up in Fort Worth, the only thing that I would warn is that the city is changing FAST. Development has made certain neighborhoods almost unrecognizable to me :(

If you like to walk / bike, any neighborhoods with access to the Trinity River levies are great. There's about 30 miles of biking and it goes by downtown. My sister and I spent our summers all day on the bike trails (we lived in the Crestwood neighborhood).

Another hip and (I guess already up and coming) is a neighborhood just south of downtown (7th St, Lancaster area). It used to be kind of dangerous but has changed drastically over the years.

I always adored the houses and neighborhood in the TCU area as well.

Maybe one thing to consider is that Ft Worth is much more spread out than DC. As long as you find a neighborhood that has the basics in walking/biking distances (groceries, entertainment, schools, etc), you're gonna love it!
posted by hillabeans at 2:39 PM on June 9, 2015

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