Reposted from Redfin.com.
Texas may not have a reputation for walkability, with its wide open spaces and 800 miles of land between its northern and southern borders, but there are actually many densely populated, highly walkable neighborhoods throughout the state. But which city has the most walkable neighborhoods? Is it Austin, with its burgeoning Millennial cohort, densely populated Dallas or the expansive city of Houston?
According to our calculations based on Walk Score data, Dallas is the big winner when it comes to walkability. Not only did Downtown Dallas nab our number one spot for the most walkable neighborhood in the state with an 89 out of 100 Walk Score, but Dallas also tied for the most neighborhoods to make the top 10 list, with a total of three neighborhoods. Austin came in a close second place to Dallas, with three neighborhoods in the top 10 list, including the number two and three slots.
Which cities didn’t fare so well? Houston, San Antonio and El Paso, which made the bottom slots of our list, and Fort Worth, which didn’t make an appearance at all.
To see the full list and how the neighborhoods shake out, take a look at our findings below, which rank neighborhoods based on their Walk Score ratings and our own agents’ local insights. Do the winners surprise you? Leave a comment! And to see how your hometown or neighborhood stacks up, head over to WalkScore.com.
Downtown Dallas tops our list of the best neighborhoods in Texas for pedestrians with a Walk Score rating of 89. Residents living in the many high-rise condos enjoy easy access to centrally located jobs, cultural opportunities in the museum district and the popular Klyde Warren Park.
“Downtown Dallas is continuing to grow and develop into a top-tier urban destination,” said Redfin agent Bob Plessinger. “Our city has seen incredible growth over the last decade, especially from out-of-state buyers looking to escape sky-high prices in places like San Francisco. Many of these buyers purchase homes downtown because they know they’ll be able to quickly familiarize themselves with the city and all it has to offer, even without a car. They can walk across Klyde Warren Park and tour Oak Lawn/Uptown, or they can walk any other direction and access excellent restaurants and bars.”
Recent efforts by the City of Austin through programs like the Great Streets project have made Downtown Austin one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Texas. Public spaces along the roadways, updated sidewalks, ample lighting for night-time activities and streetside cafes give residents safe, easy access to the heart of the city.
“There has been a huge push to make Downtown a more livable place,” said Lauren Johnson, an agent with Redfin. “Many cities have downtowns that stay busy and vibrant during the day, but once 5 p.m. hits people pack up and go home. Austin’s downtown, however, is full of people through the evening because they have access to a huge variety of interesting places to eat, drink or shop. If you live in one of the many condos downtown, you’ll be in the center of it all.”
West Campus is aptly named for its location directly west of the University of Texas. Since most of the neighborhood’s 15,000 are college students without cars, the neighborhood is highly walkable. You’ll find many small craftsman bungalows built in the 40s, a swath of decade-old condos and a recent influx of brand new apartment buildings.
“Not surprisingly, this neighborhood is densely populated with students. They really have everything they need within walking distance – they can run or exercise along the Shoal Creek Greenbelt, study for finals at one of the many coffee shops or go out to one of the local bars on a Friday night, and when they land an internship downtown they’re just a short commute away,” said Lauren Johnson.
Walk across Klyde Warren Park on the north side of Downtown Dallas and you’ll be in Oak Lawn/Uptown. This neighborhood has a bustling retail corridor and a slew of new restaurants and eateries. It also has all the necessary amenities like grocery stores, gas stations and the like. Residents can easily access downtown jobs, but can remain somewhat separated from the dense urban core.
“There is a huge variety of homes in Oak Lawn — for example, you can get a mid-rise condo with expansive city views, or you could move farther north to Turtle Creek and get a small rambler,” said Bob Plessinger. “Property values in Oak Lawn run the gamut as well, anywhere from $350 per square foot to $1,800 per square foot, so the neighborhood is accessible to all types of homebuyers.”
Houston dwarfs its fellow Texas cities in size and population, but it’s not known for its walkability. Most Houstonians will tell you that their main method of transportation is a car, but there are certainly pockets within the I-610 Loop where walking is a viable way to get around. Midtown is one of those neighborhoods. It is close enough to downtown that residents can walk to work, yet it is full of its own local hang-outs, restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops and bars.
“Residents living in Midtown can walk to downtown or hop on the rail line and quickly get across the city and catch a sporting event at BBVA Compass Stadium, Minute Maid Park or Toyota Center, but one of the best things about Midtown is that it has its own vibrant scene,” said Redfin agent Irma Jalifi. “Locals really don’t need to leave the area for fun or entertainment – it’s a one-stop-shop with plenty of options within walking distance for nightlife or running quick errands on a weekend.”
Knox/Henderson is farther from Downtown Dallas, but still within a reasonable commute time for residents with inner-city jobs. This area is undergoing stunning growth as residents flood to the area and developers rush to meet their demand.
“Many Dallas neighborhoods have older, classic homes, but Knox/Henderson is seeing an inflow of new, modern townhomes and condos, in styles that typically appeal more to out-of-state buyers,” said Bob Plessinger. “More restaurants and shops are cropping up as new residents arrive in the neighborhood, so I expect that this neighborhood’s walk score will continue to improve over time.”
Downtown San Antonio has all of the typical attractions of an urban core — retail shops and businesses, restaurants and cultural happenings — but the River Walk is the real draw for pedestrians. The lined pathway sits one story below street level and stretches from downtown to Mission Espada, with pet-friendly bars and lively restaurants, as well as more tranquil sections without businesses all along the way.
While the river walk is certainly a tourist attraction, local residents make use of it, too. “The river walk is an especially popular destination for local families and their kids,” said Erin Pierce, a real estate agent with Redfin. “The majority of the homes nearby are condos and lofts, and a lot of new developments are coming into the area. The river walk creates a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the downtown streets.”
East Austin has been on the rise in recent years as new developments make their way to the neighborhood. Many developers are replacing older homes with more modern structures, but some residents still favor the 30s and 40s style and opt for heavy renovations that keep the charm and personality of the home in-tact. The variety in home styles, coupled with the neighborhood’s close proximity to downtown (it’s just on the East side of I-35), draw in all types of homebuyers.
“This neighborhood is increasingly popular with my customers,” said Lauren Johnson. “One of the most important things to my buyers is finding a home that fits their unique style, and the variety in structures in East Austin provides that. One of the other important things for my buyers is a high Walk Score, and this neighborhood is full of interesting shops, bars, restaurants, stores and public spaces in close proximity to the quiet residential streets.”
Neartown/Montrose is one of Houston’s older, more colorful neighborhoods. You’ll find a mix of home styles from ultra-modern to 1920s craftsman, and a mix of residents to match. Young professionals working downtown can live in Neartown/Montrose and manage an easy commute, students attending the University of St. Thomas are within striking distance of campus and golfers are a short drive from Hermann Park Golf Course.
“Everything you need is really within walking distance here,” said Irma Jalifi. “There are several parks, including dog parks, all along the Buffalo Bayou Trail, fun restaurants and bars on and just off of Westheimer Road, and a plethora of boutiques, shops and convenience stores scattered throughout. This is also one of Houston’s more laid-back neighborhoods — the quiet streets make it feel very far from the noise and activity of downtown, yet it’s just a short commute away.”
The Virginia neighborhood of El Paso isn’t known for its bustling night life or active daytime scene, but it is still a highly walkable neighborhood for its 1,100 residents. Running along the north border of I-10, Virginia is a narrow strip (just two blocks wide) of older homes and the occasional mom-and-pop shop. Locals can get most of their shopping done within walking distance, and are just a short distance from businesses and attractions downtown.
“Residents on the southwestern end of the Virginia neighborhood are just a short walk away from some of downtown’s main attractions, like the convention center, the El Paso Museum of History and the El Paso Museum of Art, while residents on the northeastern side are within walking distance to El Paso High School, Tom Lea Park and the city’s main hospitals,” said Redfin agent Maggie Garcia. “If you want to live in quiet residential neighborhood that also has access to the more lively areas of town, Virginia is a good bet.”
Walk Score Methodology: Walk Score analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities to determine a neighborhood’s Walk Score, which is a number between 0 and 100. Points are awarded based on the distance to amenities in each category. Amenities within a 5 minute walk (.25 miles) are given maximum points. A decay function is used to give points to more distant amenities, with no points given after a 30 minute walk. Walk Score also measures pedestrian friendliness by analyzing population density and road metrics such as block length and intersection density.