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Newcomer’s Guide to Dallas

Why We Love Little Forest Hills

The East Dallas neighborhood is proud of its independent spirit.
By D Magazine |
Photography by Melody Asgari

We asked the residents of the fiercely funky Little Forest Hills neighborhood to tell us why they think it’s the best place to live in all of Dallas. Here’s what they had to say:


“Little Forest Hills can be found at the intersection of Normal and Mayberry right here in modern Dallas. It’s a pleasant throwback. Neighbors pass one another in the streets and actually pause to talk. Plus we enjoy all the pleasures of living next to a world-renowned botanical garden and bucolic lake.

We live here because of the quaint little cottages bursting with artistic flair and individuality rarely found in most of Big D. While the houses are small, the neighborhood lives large.

The funky freedom of no homeowners association restrictions allows — and actually encourages ­­­­— people to “do their own thing.” Art shows and garden tours wind through our streets and seasons. This is a place where you can build a wooden boat in your backyard. Even hammering and sawing into all hours of the night won’t prompt your neighbors to call 911 or code enforcement. 

And, yes, that is a charging station in front of our house for our electric car. I think it was Gandhi who said ‘Be the change you wish to see.’”


“We have a coed softball team and a monthly Wine-O-Group, where volunteers host a party at their home and neighbors show up with wine and snacks to share. LFH is also known for its annual Fourth of July Parade and has its own Funky 4K run/walk that winds through the hilly neighborhood and finishes with a party. Each year, LFH and two adjoining neighborhoods create the White Rock East Garden Tour. And several of the LFH neighborhood artists are featured in the Annual White Rock Studio Tour. LFH has a Welcome Committee, bringing all new residents baked goodies and an informative packet. LFH, with approximately 1,000 homes, is a caring neighborhood, with chain-link fences that better allow you to get to know your neighbor.”


“Little Forest Hills, nestled in East Dallas’ Lake and Garden District, is populated by an eclectic cast of characters and homes. Yet we blend together to form a harmonious community. Bonded by a love of dogs and a lack of sidewalks, neighbors meet easily.

Sometimes the fellow or lady down the street might ask what you do for a living, but it doesn’t really matter since everyone who lives here is actually an artist. And the most highly coveted neighborhood status symbol is most definitely not a black BMW — it’s the fantastic garden in the deep yard. Bonus points to anyone with a chicken coop out back.

Little Forest Hills is a place where the Promise of Peace Community Garden and local flea and farmer’s markets thrive. Shopping local is a religion.

It’s a place of natural, unkempt beauty where flora and fauna grow as they please in striking contrast to the manicured lawns and displays of the nearby Dallas Arboretum. And it’s a place where a writer can find her voice, a photographer his muse, or a musician his stage with or without a day job. 

It’s comfortable, it’s welcoming, and somehow it’s both familiar and strange at the same time.”


 “Since 1998 I’ve experienced living in a place populated by interesting dwellings and their occupants, who are just as fascinating and varied. One of the world’s premier restorers of 1957 Chevrolets was also a neighborhood resident, R.D. Wallace, a veteran who met his wife in Germany following World War II and lived here from 1953 until his death last November. Neighbors on my block have included musicians, landscapers, doctors, dentists, a delivery man, a paralegal, a professor, several sales people, teachers, flight attendants, a judge, a journalist, an artist/gallery owner, and a family rumored to be in a witness protection program.”


“Living in Little Forest Hills sometimes feels like living in a fairy tale. After all, it sits in a forest full of adorable animals and cute little cottages. I love how friendly and down-to-earth all the people are. Every season it’s a treat to see how the look of the neighborhood transforms. It’s like living in a work of art. Autumn is my favorite season. There are so many trees that when fall comes around, the streets are ablaze with brilliant red, orange, and yellow leaves. Seeing these stunning colors against the piercing blue sky takes my breath away.”


“Picture a smaller blue house next to a bigger yellow house, which is across from a brown house with a green door, and one street over is a stone house with a red door. Then picture large trees, pink flamingos, chickens, cool sculptures, sinks, and wheelbarrows filled with flowers, cacti, and plants. Bowling balls, broken pottery, and upside-down wine bottles are used as borders for landscaping at the houses. The backyard gardens are hidden jewels of creativity. You can get to know your neighbors better with lots of volunteer opportunity options through an active and engaged neighborhood association.”


“When I moved from Germany to Little Forest Hills almost five years ago, I didn’t know anybody. I missed my old friends and never thought I would find a group like them ever again. But I went walking my dog through Little Forest Hills — and that proved to be my ‘Open Sesame’ to social life here. I have lived in different countries throughout in my life, but I have never met so many friendly, interested, engaged, communicative people in just one little neighborhood. Sometimes my husband and I joke that we hardly ever leave our neck of the woods anymore — but then, most of the time, why would we?”


“I moved to Little Forest Hills from North Dallas in 2013. I found the neighborhood when I was on a bus tour of East Dallas. That same weekend I began stalking its streets, looking for a house I could afford. I soon found a three-bedroom, one-bath cottage with a great deck overlooking a backyard with tall trees and a grove of bamboo.

Soon after moving in, I found out how friendly my neighborhood is. I received a welcome basket from the neighborhood association complete with fresh-baked cookies. I hadn’t known any of my neighbors in North Dallas. We rarely even saw one another unless we happened to be walking out to the mailbox at the same time.

Driving through Little Forest Hills, you’ll see such creative yard art and beautiful gardens and trees. One of my friends remarked to me once, ‘You really do live in a forest. I didn’t know Dallas had trees like this.’

I love that every home is different — no cookie-cutter floor plans here. I feel so fortunate to have found this hidden gem just a stone’s throw from White Rock Lake and the Arboretum. It’s paradise on earth.”


“Little Forest Hills is ‘large enough to meet your needs and small enough to meet your neighbors.’”


Little Forest Hills residents Robin Hawke, Max and Denise Davis, Kelli Renfro, Kristin Laminack, Linda Rush, Jane Ann McGee, Verena Mahlow Lage, Elizabeth Dry, and Martha Humphries contributed to this article. 

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