Thinking about moving to Dallas? This massive Texas city spans an incredible 385 miles and is home to nearly 1.3 million residents—and that doesn’t even include the whole metro area! While the Big D is known for its big hair, big steaks, and big sports, there’s plenty more to appreciate about it. Here are 15 things to know about living in Dallas!
An Affordable Place to Live & Work
Not only is Dallas an exciting place to live, but it’s also incredibly affordable! The Dallas cost of living is 5% lower than the national average, and the cost of housing is 18% lower than the national average. Property taxes are high, but there’s no state income tax. The city also has one of the healthiest job markets in the nation with an unemployment rate of 3.6%. In fact, Dallas claimed the second spot on the list of highest rate of job growth in the country in 2017. Looking for jobs with major companies in Dallas? AT&T, Southwest Airlines, and Tenet Healthcare all have their headquarters in the Big D!
Dallas Is NOT Fort Worth
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. One of the major differences you’ll notice between the Big D and Cowtown is the word association with “cowboys.” In Dallas, the Cowboys are a famous NFL team (with equally famous cheerleaders). In Fort Worth, cowboys are the people leading the twice-daily cattle drives at The Fort Worth Stockyards.
Excellent Neighborhoods & Suburbs
Where are the best neighborhoods in Dallas? Areas like Bishop Arts District, Deep Ellum, and Design District are popular among singles and young professionals, thanks to their close proximity to Downtown Dallas, hip artist communities, and exciting nightlife. For families and retirees, neighborhoods and suburbs like Highland Park, North Dallas, and Oak Lawn are favorites for their quiet streets, excellent schools, and safety. No matter where you’re looking to settle down in the Big D, you’re sure to find affordable housing! The median home price in Dallas is $142,600, and the median monthly rent is $888, which are 23% and 6% lower than national averages respectively.
Get to Know the DART System
Despite being a huge metro, the average commute time in Dallas hovers right around 26 minutes. Although you’ll most likely need a car while living in Dallas, the city is improving in terms of public transportation options. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit System (DART) continues to expand its public transit offering with buses, trolleys, streetcars, and light rails, making it easier for Dallas residents to travel everywhere from the heart of the city to suburbs like Carrollton, Plano, Garland, Richardson, and Irving.
Welcome to Sports Country
A big part of living in Dallas is becoming the ultimate fan! The Big D has several professional sports teams, including the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Dallas Wings (WNBA), Dallas Stars (NHL), Dallas Mavericks (NBA), Texas Rangers (MLB), and FC Dallas (MLS). Especially if you’ve just moved to Dallas or are planning to move to the area, tailgating with Dallas fans of any one of these teams is a great way to meet people!
Home to One of the Biggest State Fairs
If you love deep-fried delicacies and are looking for something fun 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 is held annually in the fall and offers live music, livestock shows, culinary demonstrations, and more! Visit on Thrifty Thursdays for discounted prices on treats like corn dogs and sweet funnel cakes. If you get lost on the way to the fair, just keep and eye out for the 52-foot Big Tex cowboy statue and the 20-story Texas Star Ferris Wheel.
There Are Plenty of Fun Things to Do
From beautiful parks to world-famous museums, there’s no shortage of things to do in Dallas! See more than 2,000 animal species at the Dallas Zoo. Check out the breathtaking view from the top of Reunion Tower in Downtown Dallas. Take the free McKinney Avenue Trolley in Uptown Dallas to attractions like the Dallas World Aquarium or Klyde Warren Park. Catch a performance of famous operas like Carmen at the Winspear Opera House. View exhibits on dinosaurs, anatomy, and astronomy, at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Or enjoy the thrills at Six Flags Over Texas, like the Texas SkyScreamer, a 40-story tall ride that swings riders in a 124-foot circle at more than 35 miles an hour!
Art Everywhere You Go
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 Dallas Museum of Art, Crow Collection of Asian Art, and Nasher Sculpture Center. There’s also the Dallas Design District just outside of downtown, 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 see great art in Dallas! Simply take a stroll around the city, and you’ll see all kinds of beautiful murals like the Viva Deep Ellum Wall.
Enjoy the Beautiful Outdoors
Some of the best things to do in Dallas are right outside your front door! Dallas has more than 350 parks and 160 miles of trails throughout the city, making it an ideal city for people who love outdoor recreation. Residents can run, fish, hike, or boat at the 2,000-acre White Rock Lake Park. Go birdwatching or hiking on more than nine miles of trails in the Cedar Ridge Preserve, a Dallas treasure that also includes a butterfly garden. There’s also the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, which has 66 acres of flowers and plants, a children’s adventure garden, water features, and even a life science laboratory!
A Legendary Music Scene
Love live music? You won’t be disappointed in the Dallas music scene! American Airlines Center is the place to be for larger-than-life concerts with chart-topping artists like Kelly Clarkson, Justin Timberlake, and Travis Scott. 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 The Wood Brothers. Want live music that’s a little less mainstream? The Bomb Factory and Trees in Deep Ellum are indie venue staples!
The Birthplace of the Shopping Center
Whether you’re looking for small boutiques or major retailers, Dallas has fantastic shopping options. In fact, the shopping center was born in the 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 Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford, and Dior. For even more shopping, spend the day at West Village, a walkable shopping district with 19 restaurants and unique boutiques. Don’t forget to pick up your Western gear at Wild Bill’s Western Store, a family-owned store with nearly 50 years of history in Dallas.
Fall in Love with Tex-Mex
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 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 and brisket tacos. Pull up a chair next to the mariachi band at El Ranchito and indulge in gorditas wrapped with house-made tortillas. With a walk-up window and fast-casual food, Taqueria La Ventana is celebrated for its burritos, tacos, and margaritas.
You’ll Be Living in a Foodie Paradise
The best places to eat in Dallas vary from small cafes to nationally-known restaurants. Have a hankering for barbecue? Grab a seat at Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum to try incredible dishes like southern fried chicken and fresh smoked brisket, or head over to The Porch Restaurant for their famous shrimp and grits. If a burger is calling your name, Rodeo Goat is the place for you! You can top your burger with tons of special ingredients like herbed goat cheese, jalapeno bacon, Irish whiskey cheddar, and more. Switch from french fries to French food at rise, a cozy French restaurant boasting fresh-made soufflés and an expansive wine list. For a truly unique dining experience, try to get on the list at FRANK Underground. The location of this pop-up restaurant is only revealed if you win a coveted spot in the lottery. Their past menus include themes like “Fusion” and “Netflix and Chill” with corresponding appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
Thank Dallas for the Frozen Margarita
Are you a fan of frozen margaritas? Send your thank-you notes to Dallas! The frozen margarita machine was actually 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! The Rustic offers creative concoctions of margaritas like The Lemon Drop Margarita, a traditional margarita with a shot of lemon liquor. 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. And, of course, a visit to Mariano’s (the birthplace of the original frozen margarita) is a must! Try the original recipe and explore new flavors like the Frozen Sunburst.
Hit Up the Local Nightlife
Looking for things to do in Dallas at night? The Big D nightlife is vivacious with plenty of bars, clubs, and hot spots to explore! The It’ll Do Club is a dance club with a massive dance floor and fantastic array of guest DJs. Station 4 is another nightclub with some of the best dancing in Dallas, and they have an incredible light show every night. Take a break from dancing in the Granite upstairs bar, or enjoy a show in the famous Rose Room Theatre and Lounge. 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 the drinks!)
Are you moving to Dallas soon? Extra Space Storage has several facilities throughout the DFW area that can help with the transition. Find a storage unit near you!