Best Places to Live - Grapevine

Modern day Grapevine first saw settlers in around 1850, with a store near where the town square was later built and at the site where the restored Torian log cabin stands today.

It has been known by a variety of names: Cross Timbers, Grape Vine Springs, Leonardville, Dunnville, Grape Vine and Grapevine. It’s located on the edge of the Grape Vine Prairie. The name likely came from the wild — mustang — grapes in the area. The post office in the town has always been known as either Grapevine or Grape Vine. By 1936, the town was incorporated. Like many of the cities on this list, the railroad played a role in its development.

When Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was built, Grapevine acted quickly and, to the chagrin of Dallas and Fort Worth officials, annexed much of the land on which the airport sits. That’s proven to be of great tax advantage to the city, as well as the cause of a population explosion.

But it is more complex than that. Grapevine leaders have been passionate about history, restoring the downtown area and adding festivals that entertain local and visitors. And it has drawn residents.

In the 1970 census — just before the airport actually opened — the count was 7,023. That quadrupled by the 1990 census to 29,198. Estimated population for 2012 was 46,420. Resident Rocky Gribble, producer of the Grapevine Opry, thinks he knows why.

“Grapevine has acquired its own unique energy through historical renovations, world-class hotel and business acquisitions and the international flair of the two huge festivals, Grapefest and Main Street Days,” he says.

Throw in the proximity to Fort Worth and Dallas and “Grapevine has something that appeals to just about every demographic,” Gribble said. “To me, the heart and soul of Grapevine is the small-town feel with uptown amenities and great little one-of-a-kind shops in the revitalized downtown area.”

Over 25 years, he’s seen downtown grow from boarded-up businesses and two or three restaurants to a thriving city with unique shops and a smorgasbord of eateries.

Lake Grapevine is nearby, as are Grapevine Mills shopping mall, the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, the Great Wolf Lodge, a Bass Pro shop and other attractions such as a LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and an aquarium.

“Closely related to that is the incredible job Grapevine Parks and Recreation has done in developing the land surrounding Lake Grapevine with parks, pavilions, sports fields of all kinds, boat launches, walking and biking trails,” Gribble said.