There's something about that "Open House" sign that acts like a magnet. Whether you're looking for a new place to live, keeping tabs on real estate in your neighborhood, or just angling for a sneak peek at someone else's private domain, the lure of an open door is strong indeed.
From a gorgeous Tudor just minutes from Manhattan, to a "Fantasy Island"-inspired Mediterranean overlooking the bay, we lay down the welcome mat at some of the most interesting open houses in the nation. So wipe your feet at the door and scroll right on through.
Open Houses for Jan. 13-15
Coral Gables, Fla.
Open house: Sun., Jan. 22 Location: Coral Gables, Fla. Price: $13.475 million Property details: This majestic waterfront estate situated on Biscayne Bay is nothing short of a Mediterranean masterpiece. Boasting over 15,000 square feet, the seven-bedroom property features soaring ceilings, a gorgeous porte-cochere entrance and a foyer with incredible ocean views. Plus, with a private elevator, spacious bedrooms and living areas, a sauna and a whirlpool, this is Florida luxury at its finest. See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., Jan. 22 Location: New York Price: $1.98 million Property details: If shiny, flashy contemporary homes aren't your thing and you prefer something classically beautiful, this could be the perfect home for you. This wonderfully traditional four-bedroom Tudor home, nestled in the prestigious Bayside Gables community in Queens, boasts hard-to-find antiquarian features such as fully-functional stone fireplaces, hardwood detailing and cathedral ceilings. If you fancy yourself a bit of a Nigella Lawson, you'll be pleased to know that the home boasts a traditional double oven set in a gorgeous brick arched wall. A rare find.
See inside this property.
Open house: Tues., Jan. 24 Location: Los Angeles Price: $7.95 million Property details: This spectacular Spanish contemporary overlooking downtown L.A. and the entire Los Angeles Basin is for those who prefer unabashed luxury. We're talking unashamed opulence, here: an infinity pool equipped with waterfalls and a water slide, and featuring stunning Pacific Ocean views, floor-to-ceiling windows, soaring beamed ceilings throughout and French doors leading to a large back patio. For those who won't accept any less than an A-list lifestyle.
Open house: Sun., Jan. 22 Location: Stamford, Conn. Price: $1.305 million Property details: This sprawling, five-bedroom Colonial home in prestigious North Stamford boasts stately elegance. The stunning traditional American gem features four functional fireplaces, glossy hardwood floors and an ideal location among the trees. Plus, the home is also wheelchair-friendly, with a an elevator from the driveway, to handicap-friendly bedroom suites.
See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., Jan. 22 Location: Portland, Ore. Price: $729,500 Property description: Located in prestigious Irvington, highlights of this three-bedroom, two-story home include stunning craftsmanship, a broad front porch, a brand-new furnace, and refinished hardwood floors on both levels. Featuring a kitchen deck and a huge side yard, the home is perfect for families who love to entertain.
Open House: Sun., Jan. 22 Location: Charlotte, N.C. Price: $1.305 million Property description: This gorgeous Myers Park home may be beautifully renovated but it still retains the charm and character of the 1930s. With a majestic grand staircase, traditional wood-burning fireplaces, bay windows and bookshelves galore, you can enjoy modern luxury without sacrificing the feel of a classic home. Nine-foot-high ceilings finish off this rare five-bedroom beauty.
Open house: Sun., Jan. 22 Location: Richmond, Va. Price: $650,000 Property description: Located on a half-acre lot in the swimming and tennis community of Foxhall, this four-bedroom, four-bathroom gem is perfect for those with an eye for the finer details. With glossy hardwood floors, 9-foot-high ceilings, detailed moldings, arched doorways and brick and hardiplank detailing, this home is simply exquisite.
Open house: Sun., Jan. 22 Location: Austin, Texas Price: $610,000 Property description: Located on the 14th hole of the University of Texas Golf Club and overlooking the hills of west Austin, this beautiful four-bedroom home has authentic Texas flavor. Durango front doors open to a two-story entry that flows into the rest of the open home, with endlessly tall ceilings. The home showcases incredible walnut and Travertine flooring, and stunning built-in bookshelves in the main level study.
The Boston-Cambridge-Quincy metropolitan area’s greatest strength for those without an automobile is the prevalence of dense, easily manageable communities. This makes it exceptionally easy for residents to reach amenities such as groceries, restaurants, shopping and schools. The metropolitan area’s primary city, Boston, has the third-highest walk score in the country. The area’s public transit also has a relatively high service frequency rate, making its use that much more convenient for the city’s residents.
> Transit coverage: 96 percent (second highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 6.2 (second lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 25.6 percent (69th highest)
> Walk score: 65.9 (14th highest)
> Commuters who bike: 0.87 percent (14th highest)
Los Angeles is the second largest city by population in the United States, and its metropolitan area is fairly spread out. Due to its extensive public transit system the area has avoided a complete automobile-based culture. The metro area’s 19 transit systems have more than 500 bus routes. As a result, 96 percent of neighborhoods are within 0.75 miles to a transit stop -- the second highest rate in the country. Better still, commuters can catch a form of public transportation from their nearest stop every 6.2 minutes.
> Transit coverage: 89 percent (eighth highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 8.5 (11th lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 58.9 percent (2nd highest)
> Walk score: 57.6 (29th highest)
> Commuters who bike: 0.78 percent (17th highest)
Utah’s population is expected to grow from 2010’s approximately 3 million to 4.4 million in 2030. Salt Lake County accounts for more than one-third of the state’s population. To accommodate this growth, the Utah Transit Authority has plans to add four more lines to its light rail system, TRAX, up from its current three lines. This investment is meant to improve transportation for the suburban and exurban population to the city. In the winter, the UTA runs ski transit lines in addition to its rail and bus services.
> Transit coverage: 83.7 percent (12th highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 8.1 (10th lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 47.5 percent (10th highest)
> Walk score: 60.4 (23rd highest)
> Commuters who bike: 0.79 percent (16th highest)
Denver has bus service, light rail lines and an airport shuttle service. The city is currently undergoing a multibillion dollar expansion of its transit system, called the FasTracks Expansion. This plan is meant to increase light rail, commuter rail and bus rapid-transit lines. The project, which is expected to be completed in 2019, currently faces a $2 billion shortfall.
> Transit coverage: 95.6 percent (third highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 6.9 (fifth lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 58.4 percent (third highest)
> Walk score: 54.5 (34th highest)
> Commuters who bike: 1.56 percent (seventh highest)
The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan area’s public transportation is overseen by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Like Los Angeles, the area relies heavily on buses, running about 100 routes. Public transit covers 95.6 percent of neighborhoods, the third greatest in the country. Public vehicles also run under seven minutes apart, the fifth smallest frequency. The metro area also has the seventh highest rate of commuters who travel to work by bicycle.
> Transit coverage: 85.3 percent (11th highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 8.8 (15th lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 33.4 percent (35th highest)
> Walk score: 73.6 (sixth highest)
> Commuters who bike: 1.07 percent (ninth highest)
Seattle’s public transportation system not only includes bus and rail transit, but a monorail in the city center, as well as ferries. The city also has the sixth highest walk score in the country, due to its high number of easily accessible amenities. According to Bicycling magazine, Seattle is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country and “has a 10-year, $240-million bike master plan that seeks to triple the number of journeys made by bike and add 450 miles of bike paths.”
> Transit coverage: 97 percent (the highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 9 (18th highest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 59.8 percent (the highest)
> Walk score: 63 (19th highest)
> Commuters who bike: 0.95 percent (12th highest)
Honolulu currently does not have an urban rail system, but its bus system helps cover 97 percent of neighborhoods — the highest rate in the country. Additionally, almost 60 percent of jobs are accessible within 90 minutes to those who live in neighborhoods covered by transit. This is also the highest rate in the country. Nevertheless, the city is planning a $5.5 billion rail project called the Honolulu Rail Transit Project. This will include 20 miles of track, connecting East Kapolei with the Honolulu International Airport and downtown Honolulu and will end at Ala Moana Center.
> Transit coverage: 89.6 percent (seventh highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 4.5 (the highest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 36.6 percent (25th highest)
> Walk score: 85.3 (the highest)
> Commuters who bike: 0.52 percent (32nd highest)
New York City and its surroundings rank first in the nation for total number of passenger trips and government spending per capita on public transit, according to U.S. News. It also has the highest rate of service frequency. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 2010 operating budget was $13.4 billion. The average weekday ridership for the city is estimated to be over 8.4 million trips. The city also has the highest walk score on this list, thanks to the ability of city dwellers to reach just about any amenity on foot.
> Transit coverage: 83.5 percent (13th highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 7.4 (eighth lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 39.9 percent (16th highest)
> Walk score: 66.3 (13th highest)
> Commuters who bike: 2.23 percent (second highest)
Portland is such a good place for people to live without a car due to both its public transit system and the ease of walking and biking around the city. The metropolitan area is served by TriMet, which in addition to other services offers a Free Rail Zone — a region that includes most of downtown Portland and where light rail and streetcar rides are always free. The city has a number of benefits for bike riders, including designated bike-only areas at traffic signals and free bike lights. It has the second highest rate of commuters who ride bikes to work in the country.
> Transit coverage: 91.7 percent (fifth highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 8.5 (12th highest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 34.8 (30th highest)
> Walk score: 84.9 (second highest)
> Commuters who bike: 1.65 percent (sixth highest)
San Francisco is held in high regard for its many successful transit systems, including the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority and the Bay Area Rapid Transit district. These systems cover nearly 92 percent of neighborhoods -- the fifth highest rate in the country. San Francisco also has the second highest walk score and is excellent for bicyclists. Commuter rails within the city allow bicyclists to mount with their bicycles, and there is a bike shuttle across the Bay Bridge to help cyclists during rush hour.