Best Places to Live - Arlington


Arlington prides itself as the entertainment center of the Metroplex, and as far as sports entertainment goes, that’s difficult to challenge. It’s home to the Texas Rangers and to Cowboys Stadium, both playing in spectacular venues.

But longtime resident O.K. Carter sees another reason for the city’s success.

“Arlington’s most unappreciated strength is that it is a college town, with about 50,000 higher ed students — UTA and TCC campuses combined — in any given semester,” says Carter, a longtime Star-Telegram editor and columnist and now a member of the Tarrant County College Board.

“In this, Arlington strives to be Austin-like,” Carter says. “Though the general tone of Arlington is solidly middle class, the presence of so many students and faculty pervades the town with an academic, intellectual and cultural persona — a creative class subculture. There’s no substitute — none at all — for being a college town.”

Arlington’s big advantage has always been central location, both as a suburban retreat and as a location for entities like amusement parks or professional sports, Carter said. But some considered that a minus as well because of the dominance of Fort Worth and Dallas.

“We’re nobody’s damn suburb,” former Mayor Richard Greene famously responded to a reporter’s question.

The city was founded in 1876 on the Texas and Pacific Railway and named for Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s hometown in Virginia. It was the General Motors Arlington Assembly Plant opening in 1954, along with Six Flags Over Texas and later the move of the Washington Senators — now the Texas Rangers — in 1972 that triggered the expansion. The city grew 4,656 percent between 1950 and 2012.