Your Expert Guide
There are so many great places to live in Dallas that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.
Esteemed for its storied tradition, head-turning architecture, and tight-knit community, Old Highland Park is a true gem.
Real estate professional Ralph M. Randall, who specializes in Dallas’ most prized neighborhoods, will be the first to sing its praises. He has worked in this section of Highland Park, located east of Preston Road, for more than 40 years.
Indeed, the redevelopment of Old Highland Park to meet modern needs — starting in the ’80s — was an integral part of his early career.
“The architectural timeline from Prairie-style homes to the Spanish Colonial, Georgian, and Tudor revivals of the ’20s and ’30s is beyond fascinating to me,” says Randall, who has long been intrigued by the original installments of Highland Park and it homes.
He also loves the neighborhood’s dedicated park spaces that are nearly cinematic in nature, including Lakeside Park, Dyckman Park, and Lockart Park.
“Highland Park is home to a magnificent greenbelt along Hackberry Creek, a tributary of Turtle Creek, which includes parks, tennis courts, and trails,” he says. “The trails were originally made of crushed gravel and served as bridle paths for early residents.”
In addition to its scenic setting, Old Highland Park is adjacent to fantastic luxury shopping and high-profile eateries in the renowned Highland Park Village. Fashionable Knox Street is right down the road, too.
Randall adds that the neighborhood played a pivotal role in the founding of Southern Methodist University, which borders its perimeter, and boasts other top-notch schools, including the highly sought-after Armstrong Elementary. The township is also protected by its own police and fire department.
Randall’s multifaceted neighborhood knowledge and industry experience have contributed to his success as an agent — he has held records for the most expensive residential property sold in Dallas County and the largest sale of land in Highland Park.
But he also prioritizes the relational aspect of his career and is deeply devoted to his clients and to his decades-long community involvement. He has been on boards or councils for many nonprofits and has supported the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Architecture Forum, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, and the Highland Park Education Foundation.
His affinity for arts and architecture extends to music, too. “I have a secret desire to conduct a symphony orchestra!” Randall says.
Randall offered up a few of his personal favorites about life in Old Highland Park. Here’s his guide to the area:
Where to eat & drink
Randall recommends Café Pacific, The Honor Bar, and Bistro 31, which are all neighborhood institutions in Highland Park Village. Park House, a private social club, is also there and serves an elevated breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu.
Nearby on Knox Street, right off the Katy Trail, you’ll find Le Bilboquet, Knox Bistro, and Georgie by Curtis Stone — the famed Australian chef’s first non-L.A. restaurant.
Randall also loves longtime favorites Toulouse and Taverna along with Café Madrid, which has an incredible selection of tapas in a cozy setting.
Old Highland Park is a stone’s throw from Dallas’ longest running bistro (and Randall's personal favorite), Parigi Restaurant, and it is only three blocks west of Origin Kitchen + Bar, which specializes in sustainable, curated cuisine.
Where to play
In addition to those numerous parks and paths, Randall mentions there’s a pool that’s open to HP residents only as well as tennis courts that are situated nearby.
“A walk along Exall Lake is always delightful, especially at Simons Point, where there are some magnificent displays of architecture like the Crow estate, Muse estate, and Lloyd-Cox-Beal estate,” he adds.
What to see
SMU is a major attraction and is home to the Meadows Museum, which has one of the largest collections of Spanish art — including the work of Goya — outside of Spain.
“SMU football and a pre-game walk down the Boulevard is always a favorite pastime for its alums,” adds Randall, as are lectures and programs at McFarlin Auditorium.
Where to live
With its majestic tree-lined streets, Old Highland Park is home to everything from the charming abodes that surround Armstrong Elementary to the impressive estates along Lakeside Drive. Randall advises that lot size is the primary determinant of price, affording what size of home is built in specific areas.
“The originals of Old Highland Park — like the wildly popular Spanish Colonial and Tudor Revival homes of the ’20s and ‘30s — still dot the architectural landscape as they rapidly approach the 100-year mark,” he adds. “But you’ll also find midcentury moderns built by captains of the technological age; Georgian Revivals of the ’80s designed to complement SMU; and beautiful French eclectic and Italianate homes of recent years.”
For Randall, one of the most significant properties in the neighborhood is 4800 Preston Road, where he represented the undisclosed land purchase in 2000, a sale that held a land record price for 17 years as one of only five multi-acre parcels in Highland Park.
“The address features an authentic Palladian-style home, designed by King Charles III’s architect Quinlan Terry, on eight rolling acres and is perfectly situated along the sight lines of Simons Point on Lakeside Park,” he says.
Ralph M. Randall lives, works, and plays in Old Highland Park. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email email@example.com, or call 214-533-8355.