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Dallas, Texas city skyline at sunset.

19 Things to Know About Living in Dallas

Thinking about moving to Dallas? While the Big D is known for its big hair, big steaks, and big sports, there’s plenty more to appreciate in this larger-than-life city. Here are 19 things to know about living in Dallas!

Live Affordably in Dallas

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Not only is Dallas an exciting place to live, but it’s also one of the most affordable U.S. cities! The cost of living in Dallas is 2% lower than the national average, and despite its up-and-coming real estate market, the cost of housing is still 18% lower than the national average. The Dallas median home price is $142,600, the median monthly price for Dallas rentals is $888—which are 23% and 6% lower than national averages respectively—meaning you can find all kinds of affordable homes throughout Dallas’ top neighborhoods. Though property taxes are high, there are sometimes exemptions for residents 65 and older and tax incentives for those rehabilitating historic properties. Plus, all residents can take advantage of no state income tax in Texas!

Dallas’ Job Market Is Growing

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Major Dallas industries revolve around skilled trades, business, government, education, and health services. And with job growth in nearly all Dallas industries, this Texas city is one of the strongest-recovering job markets in the nation after the COVID-19 pandemic. D-Town is bouncing back with an impressive 7.4% increase in employment, which is 2.5% higher than the national average. Dallas not only offers big job opportunities—it offers higher-than-average salaries than other U.S. cities! Manufacturing employees, in particular, are seeing record-high wage growth—even high-paying salaries are increasing. Looking for jobs with major companies in Dallas? Fortune 500 companies like AT&T, Southwest Airlines, Texas Instruments, Bank of America, and Tenet Healthcare all have their headquarters in the Big D! Or residents can find jobs in Dallas at Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD), Baylor Scott & White Health, Texas Health Resources, or some of the best Dallas tech companies.

Dallas Is NOT Fort Worth

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Though Dallas and Fort Worth share DFW International Airport and are part of the DFW metro area—which consists of Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington—locals want you to know they’re not the same city. In fact, this lively Texas city alone spans an incredible 385 square miles, and is home to nearly 1.3 million residents! If you’re relocating to Dallas, one of the major differences you’ll notice between the Big D and Cowtown is the word association with “cowboys.” In Fort Worth, cowboys are the people leading the twice-daily cattle drives at The Fort Worth Stockyards. In Dallas, the Cowboys are a famous NFL team (with equally-famous cheerleaders). Dallasites will also find unique infrastructure dedicated to Dallas history like the Dallas cattle drive sculpture in Pioneer Plaza.

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Enjoy Sunny Winters in Dallas

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If you’re wondering what the weather is like in Dallas, Texas, the answer is usually warm and sunny! Dallas residents enjoy an average of 234 days of sunshine and comfortable weather year-round in the city’s Blackland Prairie ecosystem. In the winter months, average highs hover around 60 degrees, except for a few freezing nights with rare snow dustings, which usually keep winters in Dallas mild. In the summer, the Dallas climate is hot and subtropical, with average highs around 90 degrees. Break out the sunscreen for spring and fall in Dallas because you’ll want to be outside! The best times in D-Town are during these transitional seasons when the temperates range from 60 to 80 degrees and the urban Metroplex blooms with greenery thanks to its 40 inches of annual rainfall.

Get to Know the DART System

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Despite being a huge metro, the average Dallas commute is only 28 minutes. Though you’ll most likely need a car while living in Dallas, there are still plenty of public transportation options to beat Dallas’ infamous traffic. Hop on the free M-line trolley from McKinney Avenue Transit Authority, or use the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)—the longest light rail in the U.S. Residents can purchase DART monthly passes or day passes and single-ride tickets for visitors. To make it easier for Dallas residents to travel from the heart of the city to the outskirts, DART continues to expand its public transit with buses, trolleys, streetcars, and light rail lines. Professionals commuting from Downtown Dallas to Fort Worth can utilize the convenient Trinity Railway Express (TRE).

Earn Your Degree in DFW

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If you’re looking for higher education in Texas, consider one of the 18 Dallas universities and colleges. Set a custom degree program to prepare for jobs that don’t yet exist at Southern Methodist University, which has the third-best Game Design grad program in the country, and one of the best pre-med schools in Texas. Dive into liberal arts, participate in Charity Week, travel abroad, or study works that have shaped Western Civilization at the University of Dallas. Participate in fun extra-curriculars like esports tournaments, an anime-soundtrack-playing orchestra, and sustainable gardening with butterflies and beehives while earning your degree in biomedical engineering, global business, and more at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Welcome to Sports Country

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A big part of living in Dallas is cheering on its biggest teams, whether you’re tailgating in a Dallas‘ stadium or at a local Dallas sports bar! The Big D has several professional sports teams to follow. Support “American’s Team,” the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), as they approach their sixth Super Bowl victory at AT&T Stadium. Get fired up for the Dallas Stars (NHL) at their home rink in the American Airlines Center. Munch on classic baseball snacks while the Texas Rangers (MLB) hit homers at the climate-controlled Globe Life Field. Watch your favorite Dallas Wings (WNBA) and Dallas Mavericks (NBA) players catch air at the American Airlines Center. Celebrate bicycle kicks and “Olimpicos” from FC Dallas (MLS) at Toyota Stadium.

Dallas Is Home to a BIG State Fair

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If you love deep-fried delicacies and are looking for fun things to do in Dallas, the Texas State Fair is a must-visit! One of the largest and longest-running fairs in the nation, the Texas State Fair has been held annually every fall for over 130 years. This event in Dallas offers live music, livestock shows, culinary demonstrations, and more! Visit on Thrifty Thursdays for discounted prices on treats like the famous Texas State Fair corn dog or sweet funnel cakes. Or try newer and stranger inventions created by chef “Fried Jesus” Abel Gonzalez Jr. like fried butter, fried Coke, fried PB&J, and more. If you get lost on the way to the fair, just keep an eye out for the 52-foot cowboy statue, “Big Tex,” and the 20-story Texas Star Ferris Wheel!

Dallas Is LGBTQ-Friendly

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Dallas isn’t just an international city—it’s also one of the largest LGBTQ communities in the U.S. The Oak Lawn Dallas “gayborhood” is the gay-friendly epicenter of the metro’s LGBTQ-friendly bars, restaurants, shops, and more. Dance your heart out at Sue Ellen’s two-story Dallas nightclub, or get your boots on for free dance lessons at The Round-Up Saloon! Don’t miss a spectacular Dallas drag show in the Rose Room at Station 4. The Bishop Arts District in Dallas has historically hosted queer artists and creatives, and now is home to the second-largest concentration of gay-owned shops in Dallas. Celebrate with the whole family at Dallas Pride! Dance at the Dallas Pride Miller Lite Music Festival concerts, shop the booths on festival grounds, check out resources at Teen Pride, or get your face painted after jumping in the bounce houses at the Family Pride Zone. Then, join the Dallas Pride’s Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade on Sunday to round out the weekend!

Explore Unique Dallas Museums

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From beautiful parks to world-famous museums, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in Dallas! Step into the past by visiting the Sixth Floor Museum, located in the Texas School Book Depository. Head to the nearby John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza or book a JFK Discovery Tour to see even more historic locations. Marvel at 2,000 animal species at the Dallas Zoo. Check out the breathtaking view from the top of Reunion Tower in Downtown Dallas. Step into an indoor rainforest filled with tropical birds, monkeys, manatees, and more at kid-friendly attraction, Dallas World Aquarium. Or catch a performance of famous operas like Carmen at the Winspear Opera House.

See Art Everywhere You Go in Funky Town

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Did you know the Dallas Arts District is the largest urban arts district in the nation? The area includes famous museums and galleries like the Crow Collection of Asian Art, and the Nasher Sculpture Center. See everything from ancient sculptures by Mississippians to African Komo ceremonial masks and postwar abstract paintings, at the famous Dallas Museum of Art. Walk around the Dallas Design District, just outside of Downtown Dallas, where you can find Dallas Contemporary, The Cameron Gallery, Samuel Lynne Galleries, Goss-Michael Foundation, and many more galleries. But you don’t need to visit a museum to soak up the Dallas art scene! One of the best free things to do in Dallas is to stroll around the city and find beautiful street art in Dallas like murals on the Viva Deep Ellum Wall.

Stunning Festivals for All Ages

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Dallas festivals are a place to dream big and live it up! Rock out to over 100 bands and buy works from over 200 artists in the three-day, adult-centric Deep Ellum Arts Festival in Downtown Dallas. Experience a breathtaking sunset lantern release with over 200,000 people at the Night Lights Sky Lantern Festival in Dallas at Texas Motorplex. Appreciate up-and-coming artists’ works at the three-day Dallas Art Fair, or purchase a pARTy pass to become a VIP at the Early Access Champagne Soiree and The Eye Ball closing party. Train for the BMW Dallas Marathon, the state’s longest-running marathon, which was founded in 1971 and started its philanthropic donations to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in 1997. After you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Dallas, you won’t want to go anywhere else for the holiday! The parade has a funny history, morphing from a small neighborhood event that got out of hand, to a regretfully canceled annual get-together, to today’s extravagant 100 boat parade hosting nearly 100,000 attendees!

Enjoy Dallas Parks & Recreation

Dallas has more than 350 parks and 160 miles of trails throughout the city, making D-Town an ideal city for people who love outdoor recreation. Residents can run, fish, hike, or boat in the 2,000-acre White Rock Lake Park. Go birdwatching or hiking in more than nine miles of trails in the Cedar Ridge Preserve, a Dallas treasure that includes a butterfly garden. On the lookout for fun Dallas activities for kids? Head to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens for the Children’s Adventure Garden or visit during the six-week-long Dallas Blooms Festival, which features over 500,000 spring bulbs, Chef-tastic Cooking classes, a designated Family Fun Weekend, live music and performances, and more! Watch waterfowl, hike trails through prairies and wetlands, or picnic for an afternoon at Great Trinity Forest. Or find Dallas activities for all ages and seasons, from Movies in the Park in the summers to Trick-or-Treating in the Park for Halloween at Klyde Warren Park.

Boogie at Dallas’ Legendary Music Scene

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Love live music? You won’t be disappointed in the Dallas music scene! American Airlines Center is the place to attend larger-than-life Dallas concerts with chart-topping artists like Lizzo, The Lumineers, and Machine Gun Kelly. If you’re hoping for something a little more country, try The Kessler Theater, where you can see performances from musicians like Ian Moore and Morgan James. Want live music that’s a little less mainstream? The Bomb Factory and Trees in Deep Ellum block are indie venue staples! Listen to jazz and cabaret concerts by Dallas artists at The Sammons Center for the Arts, an arts incubator for the local community. Rock out to Imagine Dragons, Halsey, Wiz Khalifa, and more at the Dos Equis Pavilion. This local, indie, live-music-only venue is the longest-running outdoor venue in the Dallas area!

The Birthplace of the Shopping Center

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Whether you’re looking for small boutiques or major retailers, Dallas’ shopping options are fantastic. In fact, the shopping center was born in Big D! The glamorous Highland Park Village shopping center opened in 1913 and became the template for shopping centers all over the nation. This luxury shopping center now offers the best in name-brand clothing from designers like Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, Dior, and Fendi. You can spend the day at West Village, a walkable shopping district with unique boutiques and restaurants like Baboush and Village Burger Bar. Don’t forget to pick up your Western gear at Wild Bill’s Western Store, a family-owned store with 60 years of history in Dallas.

Fall in Love with Dallas Tex-Mex

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Tex-Mex cuisine was created in the 1880s by Tejanos (i.e., Texans of Spanish or Mexican descent) and introduced nachos, enchiladas, and fajitas into American cuisine culture! Today, Tex-Mex restaurants and stands are some of the best places to eat in Dallas! For some of the best Mexican food in Dallas, visit Meso Maya to enjoy fresh-made Ceviche, Pozole Rojo, and Mole Enchiladas. Pull up a chair next to the Mariachi band at El Ranchito and indulge in Caldo De Res, Cabrito Al Horno, and Mojarra Frita. With a walk-up window and fast-casual food, Taqueria La Ventana is celebrated for its Suadero Burritos, Pastor Tacos, and creative cocktails like the Mango Chamoy.

Dallas Is a Foodie’s Paradise

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The best restaurants in Dallas vary from small cafes to nationally-acclaimed eateries. Have a hankering for BBQ? Grab a seat at Pecan Lodge in the neighborhood of Deep Ellum to try incredible dishes like the Southern Fried Chicken, freshly Smoked Brisket, and The Hot Mess, a loaded sweet potato. Head over to The Porch Restaurant for a Salmon Burger, Steak Frites, and Gooey Butter Cake. If a burger is calling your name, Rodeo Goat is the place for you! Try crazy flavor combinations like the Sugar Burger, Terlingua Burger, and vegan Neil Young—or cast a vote with your order in the special Battle of the Burgers competition. Ready yourself for fresh-made souffles in flavors like Truffle Infused Mushroom or the Herb & Spicy Sausage, paired with one-of-a-kind Pour Commencer items like the Marshmallow Soup at rise, a cozy French restaurant. Pop by the always-changing restaurant called FRANK Underground, where the location is only revealed if you win a coveted spot in their lottery. Their past menus include items like Gnoccho Fritto, Prawn Ratatouille, and Childhood Beans.

Thank Dallas for the Frozen Margarita

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Are you a fan of frozen margaritas? Send your thank-you notes to Dallas! The first frozen margarita machine was invented in a Dallas restaurant in 1971 and is now on display at the Smithsonian. Wondering where to find the best margaritas in Dallas? The famous Margarita Mile has plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from! Find creative concoctions like The Lemon Drop Margarita, a traditional margarita with a shot of lemon liquor, at The Rustic. Meso Maya offers their famous De La Casa Margarita, which is made with Blue Weber Agave and Oaxacan Sea Salt for a refreshing twist on the classic drink. Try the original recipe or explore new flavors like the Frozen Sunburst at Mariano’s, the birthplace of the original frozen margarita!

Hit Up the Local Nightlife

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Looking for things to do in Dallas at night? Nightlife in the Big D has plenty of bars, clubs, and hot spots to explore! The It’ll Do Club is a dance club with a massive dance floor and a fantastic array of guest DJs. Pitch in ideas for Saturday night improv sets, catch a hilarious duo, watch inclusive LGBTQ shows, and more at the Dallas Comedy Club in Deep Ellum. If craft cocktails are more your speed, slide up to the bar at Midnight Rambler, a speakeasy-style bar in the basement of The Joule Hotel. Finish the night with a bull ride at the Dallas Trophy Room, an Uptown dive bar complete with a mechanical bull. (The first one who falls off the bull has to buy drinks!)


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About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.