There's nothing quite like the lure of an open house sign. Granted, you might not be in the neighborhood (or tax bracket) for many of these outstanding properties, but there's still plenty to admire -- even from the comfort of your swivel chair.
From coast to coast, and everything in-between, we lay down the welcome mat at some of the most enticing open houses in the nation. So wipe your feet at the door and scroll right on through.
Open Houses for Feb. 18-19
Open house: Sun., Feb. 19 Location: Los Angeles Price: $7.595 million Property details: Despite being located above the always-glittering Sunset Strip, this stunning, 8,644-square-foot Mediterranean villa will transport you to the peaceful hills of southern Italy. The gorgeous home boasts a natural setting and ocean panoramas from almost every room, and features intimate terraces. Outside, you can enjoy an outdoor entertainment area and pool, perfect for soaking up the California rays. Inside, you'll find five bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a theater, library, gourmet kitchen, and even a dance studio! No doubt, this stunning home will make you want for nothing. See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., Feb. 19 Location: Chicago Price: $1.299 million Property details: Though this beautiful, two-story contemporary residence is situated on happening Michigan Avenue, it is "remarkably quiet" and private. Located in a historic building overlooking Grant Park, the stunning home features three spacious bedrooms, four bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen and a formal dining room that's perfect for entertaining large parties. We love the glossy hardwood floors and soaring, 14-foot-ceilings.
Open house: Sun., Feb. 19 Location: Dallas, Texas Price: $799,000 Property details: Described as a "hidden jewel," this exquisite, 4,364-square-foot home is a true rare find: a fusion of the old and new. Flanked by lush, beautiful greenery, the five-bedroom, five-bathroom home boasts modern luxuries with traditional features like wrought-iron decor throughout and a handsome wooden staircase. We love the huge deck surrounding the saltwater pool and spa.
Open House: Sun., Feb. 19 Location: Queens Price: $1.6 million Property description: This charmingly pretty, five-bedroom, three-bathroom home in New York City's borough of Queens is set on a lovely, high lot with a gentle slope. The picture-perfect home boasts a beautiful sun room, wooden floors, a fireplace, plenty of windows (so you can admire your sprawling lawn and trees), plus a stunning deck with (more) great nature views. We love the splashes of color throughout this home in the Jamaica neighborhood, and its elegant center hall. Perfect for growing families!
Open house: Sun., Feb. 18 Location: Salt Lake City Price: $299,900 Property description: This quaint, California-style bungalow is located on beautifully tree-lined South Douglas Street. It boasts red oak hardwood flooring throughout, brushed nickel fixtures and a massive backyard that's professionally landscaped with a large natural stone patio (hot tub included!). But it's not just a pretty face -- this home features an incredible eco-friendly gourmet kitchen with custom Lyptus cabinetry, Cesarstone quartz countertops, Grohe fixtures, and top-of-the-line appliances including the Thermador DualFuel Range. Perfect for those who like a home that's easy on the eyes and the earth.
Open house: Sun., Feb. 19 Location: Orono Price: $1.649 million Property description: This beautiful home, situated on the picturesque Lake Minnetonka peninsula, boasts a timeless coastal design with an open floor plan and panoramic waterfront views from every single room. A hundred feet of lakeshore flanking two sides of the property offer unmatched sunrise and sunset vistas. Boasting 4,125 square feet, four bedrooms and two bathrooms, the home is spacious yet cozy.
Open house: Sun., Feb. 26 Location: San Francisco Price: $375,000 Property description: This gorgeous second-floor co-op offers the best of both worlds: It's nestled in a leafy, tree-lined area, yet it's centrally located. In fact, it's just steps away from the hottest restaurants, bars and some world-class entertainment, including Yoshi's Jazz Club, Davies Symphony Hall, and the opera house. Offering two bedrooms and one bathroom, with a spacious, west-facing deck (perfect for outdoor entertaining and parties!), this home is perfect for couples or young professionals who want to be close to the action. See inside this property.
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.