Rockwall, Texas

Rockwall makes its debut on the Best Places to Live list this year, thanks to its status as one of the fastest-growing cities in one of the nation’s fastest-growing states. This Dallas suburb has experienced 19% job growth over the last five years and is projected to grow another 17% in the next five.

While Rockwall has not been immune to pandemic-related job losses, it’s made a relatively swift recovery. In June, the local unemployment rate sat at 7.2%, compared to a national average of 11.1%. Large employers in Rockwall include Special Products, a metal manufacturing company, Bimbo Bakeries, which manufactures breads and pastries, and L3Harris, an aerospace and defense contractor. Rockwall is also home to Texas Health Hospital Rockwall, which employs over 600 people.

And the people of Rockwall have definitely been reaping the benefits of its growth. Residents enjoy a median household income of $101,000, much higher than the state median of $67,000, while more than three-quarters own their own homes.

It’s not all work. Rockwall’s super-walkable downtown district has a small-town vibe, with historic false-front buildings and a broad variety of locally owned shops and restaurants. In the summer and fall, live music events liven up San Jacinto Plaza, while the Rockwall Farmers’ Market attracts visitors from all over the Dallas metro area. Fresh peaches, grass-fed beef, and honey from Texas bees are all available on Saturdays from May to September.

The biggest draw, however — and the first thing you see coming from Dallas across the 4-mile-long Lake Ray Hubbard Bridge — is the waterfront Harbor District with a lighthouse, boat slips and amphitheater which regularly holds live concerts by artists like The Voice’s Hannah Kirby, among others. — Mayra Paris

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