They say coolness is relative, but Apartment Therapy, which itself is a very cool website about cool design, is taking a shot by naming the 24 Coolest Suburbs in America for 2019. Denton, 45 minutes north of very cool Dallas, and Arlington, just to the west, are two of three Texas towns to make the list.
In order to determine between a suburb versus, say, just a cool town, the design site focused on areas situated outside major cities with populations between 20,000 to 100,000. Admittedly, however, Arlington breaks this mold.
Distinguishing between towns and suburbs can be tricky, Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, a senior research analyst at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, tells Apartment Therapy. Ultimately it comes down to three factors. "If there’s high home ownership, high car travel, and single family housing, you can call that a suburb,” she says.
Apartment Therapy also tries to quantify coolness. Writes author Jessica Prois: "We ultimately assessed suburbs for stand-out cultural options like diverse dining options, awesome coffee shops, walkable areas, outdoor recreation, unique boutiques, family-friendly activities, a sense of community, and a lively arts scene. Overall, we were looking for suburbs in which it didn’t feel like you’d be making a ton of sacrifices by moving out of the city." The site then asked staffers and contributors to vote on the winners.
Lucky for North Texans, Denton and Arlington made the cool cut. "Denton, Texas, is like 'Cheers' — it’s a small city where everybody knows your name. It’s a suburb with an immense sense of pride, where locals sport 'I Heart Denton' bumper stickers on their cars and wear t-shirts emblazoned with hometown pride," says Apartment Therapy, which also points to the city's "thriving downtown community, arts community, and music scene" — as evidence of its cool factor.
Arlington isn't just "cool," it's the most "googled" suburb, according to Apartment Therapy. The city is "a hotspot for thrill seekers, sports fans, and intellectuals alike. From Six Flags Over Texas and AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys) to the University of Texas at Arlington to the International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame, Arlington has something for both residents and visitors," the site adds.
Arlington also boasts being the third best city in the U.S. for first-time homebuyers, and its downtown is "undergoing a large renovation project that will offer residents even more food and drink options," Apartment Therapy says.
Round Rock, a few miles north of Austin, is the third Texas 'burb to land a "cool" designation. "Round Rock may not be known for keeping it 'weird' like that other cool nearby place, but it’s pretty solid," says Apartment Therapy, who points to the city's many superlatives — fastest growing, most affordable — as evidence of its cool factor.
Among the stand-out attractions the suburb offers is a burgeoning restaurant industry, solid live music scene, and sports teams like the Round Rock Express. (In fact, Round Rock touts itself as the "Sports Capital of Texas," which, who knew?) Round Rock's parks — 37 within the city limits — and hike-and-bike trails are also a big draw.
Elsewhere in the U.S., the unranked list also declared Alexandria, Virginia; Pasadena, California; Beaverton, Oregon; and Evanston, Illinois, among the coolest suburbs.