Your Expert Guide
West Richardson: Where charming homes and a close-knit, creative community collide
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.
Welcome to actual Pleasantville — or something very close to it, if you ask Realtor, resident, and full-time sequin-wearer Nikki Barringer .
“West Richardson is the cutest. It’s a close-knit community, neighbors are neighborly, and everyone is out on a walk in the morning — powerwalking professionals, joggers, stroller-pushers, and four-legged buds,” she says. “There is definitely a vibe in Richardson; people are creative, laidback, go with the flow, and we’re super supportive of our schools, music and arts festivals, events, and local businesses.”
She also credits the big lots and wide streets, abundance of trees and parks with trails, playgrounds, waterfalls and ponds, and "pretty much every home style you can imagine" for making the area so special.
“I love our architecture — we have everything from adorable midcentury homes to Atomic Ranch styles, ramblers, split-levels, and traditional designs along with modern farmhouse and Mediterranean styles.”
The location is also “killer,” says Barringer, with most things south in Dallas or north in the 'burbs just 15 minutes away. But there’s plenty to do in West Richardson, too, and Barringer knows all the pockets, inside and out.
You’ll often find her always exploring and enjoying the neighborhood — when she’s not surfing, that is. She recently picked it up in Costa Rica and is heading out on another surfing adventure in Nicaragua in 2024.
Barringer offered up a few of her personal favorites about life in West Richardson. Here's her guide to the area:
Where to eat & drink
“Real talk? We have the best ice cream at Tongue in Cheek – I’m team Cookies & Cream, but you kind of have to try the Caramel Crack,” says Barringer. “Then there’s La Casita Bakery . It’s freaking amazing and every pastry is seriously a little work of art. Or if you’re up for an old-school tearoom with chicken salad sandwiches and all the usual suspects, head to Chocolate Angel .”
Another local favorite is Bagel Café 21 . “They are delicious and every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, they make rainbow bagels!” she says. “ Bambu Thai is in the same shopping center and seriously so good.”
Richardson has plenty more to dish up, including favorites like Sueño Modern Mex-Tex , Greenville Avenue Pizza Company , Whistle Britches , Haystack Burgers & Barley , and Roman Cucina . Café Amore and Aboca for old-school, authentic Italian. Plus, Partenope just opened in East Richardson — “so freaking good!” adds Barringer.
Make sure to get the chicken fried steak at The String Bean , recommends Barringer. “This is a Richardson institution and has been around since 1977,” she says.
“If you have kids, we have your new favorite restaurant: Hat Creek Burger Company ,” she adds. “It’s like a grown-up McDonald’s. There’s a playground and burgers for the kids and beer and wine so Mom and Dad can make it through another day. Kidding!”
When it comes to drinks, Barringer highlights Lockwood Distilling Co. for its great atmosphere and house-made hibiscus vodka, among other spirits.
Happy Hippie Brewing Company recently opened next to Lockwood, where they brew their own ales and wheat beers with local Texas honey, along with IPAs that include a watermelon and habanero-infused version called Wa-Hotter Melon.
Richardson also has DFW's first alcohol-free bottle shop and tasting room: Beyond the Bar .
Where to play
“We go hard on kid spots,” says Barringer. The top of her list includes Free Play Arcade (fun for kids and a bar for adults), Urban Air Adventure Park , Altitude Trampoline Park , and Kids Empire , which she calls the “cleanest indoor play place I've experienced.”
For outdoor fun, “the neighborhoods of Arapaho Heights, Richardson Heights Estates, and Richardson Heights all share a park we call Big Slide Park, but it's really called Heights Park, ” adds Barringer. “Behind it, there's a little hidden creek that's so fun to hike.”
Other lovely green spaces include Cottonwood Park , Mimosa Park , Hillcrest Village Green , and Prairie Creek Park , which has a “waterfall, paved walking trails, green space for cartwheels, and, inexplicably, an abandoned journal near a shade tree,” says Barringer. “It’s also the go-to backdrop for senior class pictures for many students in the area.”
Barringer also loves that there are so many public and private pools in the area, including Fretz Park Pool which has “slides that rival Hurricane Harbor.”
Greenwood Hills Country Club is a members-only pool and has been around since the 1960s. “ Canyon Creek Pool is a sparsely-attended secret when you’re up for a crowd-free splash day,” she says.
“This one’s a curveball, but don’t miss Jim Montgomery Swim School ,” she adds. “He was an Olympian who is still very active at the swim school.”
What to see
“A secret spot that's technically North Dallas, but so dang close is Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden ,” says Barringer. “It's the 'oldest modern art gallery in Dallas,' and you can bring your kids to wander the garden.”
Events like the bi-annual Cottonwood Art Festival and the annual Wildflower! Arts + Music Festival bring in top-tier talent. “This year, Wildflower! had Joan freaking Jett — hello! ” exclaims Barringer.
During the holidays, the JJ Pearce Pacesetters Holiday Bazaar and Senior Center Holiday Bazaar are beloved community shopping events.
Don’t miss the “cutest gift shop, Lone Chimney Mercantile , either,” says Barringer. “They host fun and funky events at their space next door, brillintly titled LCM Next Door , like Bedazzling Your Bra, tarot readings, plant workshops, and more.”
Where to live
Barringer gave us the rundown on some of her favorite neighborhoods in West Richardson. “I obviously love them all; they are my children, my babies, and there are no favorites… except these — kidding!” she says.
1. Arapaho Heights , where Barringer lives, is full of adorable 1950s homes that have largely been updated with great landscaping and backyards. “My favorite street, aside from my own (Chadwick Drive), is Northlake Drive. It has huge trees on either side of the street that create an amazing tunnel canopy as you drive down the road,” she says. “The houses are all solid, too. Not a dud in the bunch.”
For her, the most charming thing about Arapaho Heights happens in the fall on Friday nights, when you can hear the football games, and on Saturday mornings, when you can hear the Richardson High School Band practice from your backyard.
“This is a neighborhood where kids run over to one another’s houses, bike to the small pond off Newberry Drive, and use real fishing poles to catch approximately zero fish (that I know of), but see tons of turtles instead,” she adds. “Moms take turns lugging the neighborhood kids to the pool and we take a massive trick-or-treat photo every year.”
2. Located within Arapaho Heights, Waterview Preservation is “super-cool,” according to Barringer, because of the variety of homes. “They’re larger and there’s a little bit of everything architecture-wise, from Spanish, Colonial, and straight-up traditional to the clean lines of the midcentury era, grand two-stories, and some you just want to call ‘stately.’” Homes on the east side back to a creek.
3. Canyon Creek boasts some of the largest homes in the area, with varied architecture. “Growing up in Plano, this is the neighborhood I heard about the most,” says Barringer. “Part of it sits along Canyon Creek Country Club, which is currently undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation, so if you’ve ever wanted to live on a golf course, now is a great time to make it happen because as soon as that renovation is complete, prices are going to go up and up.”
4. The Reservation . “It’s so funny, because every neighborhood in Richardson has its own personality and draws its own crowd,” says Barringer. “The Reservation is the Golf Cart Crowd. You might even call them the Party People. The houses are bigger and there’s a mix of original homes, remodels, and new construction."
A prime example of a West Richardson home is 918 Chadwick Drive in Arapaho Heights, where Barringer represented the seller.
It’s an architect’s home, with modern yet comfortable design and a generous lot. “Almost every home in Arapaho Heights is like this one with an exterior and elevation that can be tweaked ever so slightly to transition from midcentury to modern,” she says. “I'm always yapping about our larger lots, but this is a prime example of why that matters so much. There's room to add on, still have a huge backyard, create two seating areas (a firepit and a personal outdoor theater), and have space for a sizable detached garage, storage shed, or private office with the best commute.”
Barringer mentions that this home sold in a single weekend with multiple offers — despite the higher interest rates.
“When you have an exceptional house in a desirable area that's listed at the right price, it's still very, very much in demand — no matter what the market is doing!” she says.
Nikki Barringer works and plays in West Richardson. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here , email email@example.com, or call 214-394-7840.