Are the mild winters and booming economy of Dallas calling your name? You’re not the only one. People are moving to Dallas from all over the country for its good jobs, vibrant culture, and affordable homes.
But before you decide to relocate, you might want to learn more about what life in Dallas is really like. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. These are the 15 things you need to know before you arrive.
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Dallas Living at a Glance
- Located in the northeastern part of the state, Dallas is the third largest city in Texas and the ninth largest city in the U.S., with 1.3 million residents.
- Dallas is often lumped together with nearby Fort Worth. Together, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex (DFW) is the most populous metropolitan area in the entire Southern U.S.
- The Dallas-Fort Worth area is home to 24 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, AT&T, and American Airlines.
- DFW is growing rapidly. According to CultureMap Dallas, the area gained over 1.3 million residents between 2010 and 2019! And the growth continues: The Dallas-Fort-Worth-Arlington area saw an increase of 170,396 people between 2021 and 2022, making it the fastest-growing metro area in the U.S. last year.
Pros and Cons of Living in Dallas, Texas
- Pro: Dallas boasts a significantly lower cost of living than other major hubs like New York and San Francisco — while still being among the 10 largest cities in the U.S.
- Con: If you don’t like driving, you may not love living in Dallas. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is huge, and if you’re commuting, a car is by far the easiest way to get around.
- Pro: Not a fan of the winter? Move to Dallas. Summers might be hot, but winters are blissfully mild.
- Con: Crime rates are higher than many other parts of the country, with a Dallas crime index of 4 (meaning it’s safer than just 4 percent of other American cities).
1. The Cost of Living in Dallas is Cheaper than Other Places
You don’t have to be a millionaire to live well in Dallas. The city’s median income is about $42,300, according to NerdWallet. Though the cost of living on a whole is 3 percent above the national average, groceries and housing in Dallas both cost less than the national average. RentCafe lists the average rent in the city at around $1,600 a month.
The average home value in Dallas is around $309,300, according to Zillow. Compare that to Miami ($561,000), Denver ($562,400), or San Francisco ($1,271,300), and you can see why people are flocking to Texas.
2.Homeownership is Attainable in DFW
If you’re moving to Dallas from another major city, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by the housing options. You can easily find a beautiful and historic three-bedroom home in Dallas for under $300,000. Newer developments, however, tend to be pricier.
3. Renting in Dallas is Easy and Affordable
As we said before, the average rent in Dallas is around $1,600 a month. Of course, how much you pay will depend on what Dallas neighborhoods and what kinds of apartments you’re looking at.
You could end up paying upwards of $2,500 if you want to shack up in one of the city’s luxury apartment buildings, like The Modrian. Still, for many folks, the views, in-house amenities, and, of course, the swimming pools will make higher-end apartments in Dallas worth the price.
4. The Best Dallas Neighborhoods Include Uptown, Oak Lawn, and Frisco
Speaking of living in Dallas, there are dozens of great neighborhoods to choose from. Here are three that really stand out:
This beautiful Dallas neighborhood is located just north of downtown and is home to plenty of young professionals, small families, and wealthy retirees. It’s known for having stately, tree-lined streets, amazing restaurants, and classy nightlife.
One of the cultural centers of Dallas, Oak Lawn is home to tons of great stores and venues. It’s also much more affordable than some other neighborhoods, like Uptown, making it ideal for renters and first-time home buyers.
Frisco is one of Dallas’s largest and most established suburbs. In fact, it’s basically a town of its own, offering everything that a family could need. It’s the location of the Dallas Cowboys corporate headquarters and Toyota Stadium, making it a perfect home for sports lovers.
To learn more about the best Dallas suburbs, check out our Dallas neighborhood guide, which gives you a detailed look at Uptown, Oak Lawn, and Frisco, plus these other popular neighborhoods:
- Casa Linda
- Lake Highlands
- Old East Dallas
- Midway Hollow
- Flower Mound
5. Fort Worth is a City, Not a Dallas Suburb
Before you make up your mind about where to live in Dallas, you really should consider Fort Worth. While we don’t recommend commuting between the two cities, if you have flexibility, Fort Worth (or FunkyTown, as locals call it), is a distinct city in its own right.
You may get more for your money in Fort Worth, where the average home value is a few thousand dollars lower than in Dallas. And while you’re looking, be sure to check out our Insider’s Guide to Fort Worth Neighborhoods.
6. Dallas is a Lot Greener than You Might Think, and it Includes the Largest Urban Forest in the Country!
Dallas has plenty of trees and open space, with a whopping almost 21,000 acres of green space! While there are hundreds of parks, greenways, and other ways to enjoy Dallas life in the outdoors, we highlighted a few of our favorites:
Great Trinity Forest
Recognized as the largest urban forest in the entire U.S., the forest extends off the north shore of the gorgeous Trinity River in the southern section of the city. It’s full of trails, picnic spots, wetlands, and the Trinity Forest Adventure Park.
White Rock Lake Park
This 1,015-acre body of water sits just a few miles northeast of downtown Dallas, and it’s an outdoor oasis for young and old. You can use the park’s nine miles of hiking and biking trails, check out the museum, take your four-legged buddy to the dog park, use the picnic areas, or float a boat across the scenic lake.
It’s no surprise that visiting the Dallas Zoo is one of the most popular things to do in the city. This huge facility is home to more than 2,000 animals and 406 different species, including many endangered ones.
Klyde Warren Park
This 5.2-acre park may not be as large as some of the city’s other outdoor spaces, but it has so much to offer. It’s home to a butterfly garden, dog park, yoga classes, movie screenings, and plenty of other events.
7. There are Great Schools in Dallas, TX
According to Niche, five of Texas’s top 20 schools are located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including the #2 and #3 spots. Let’s highlight just a few of the best high schools in Dallas, TX.
School for the Talented & Gifted
This Dallas school is ranked the #1 public high school in the entire state.
School of Science and Engineering
This school is ranked as the second best public high school in Texas.
St. Mark's School of Texas
This private school currently holds the Niche title of the best all-boys high school in the U.S.
The Hockaday School
This private school situated in Dallas is ranked as the best all-girls school in Texas.
This K-12 private school in Dallas has an A+ grade on Niche, which also dubs it the #3 best high school for the arts in Texas.
8. Dallas is a Very Diverse City
Forget New York City. Living in Dallas is living in the real American “melting pot.” While it was historically a very White cowboy town, in recent years the city has diversified dramatically. Now, about 42% of the city is Hispanic and 24% of the city is African-American. It’s an awesome place for those who want to raise their family in a diverse setting.
Plus, nearly 25 percent of the population of Dallas is foreign-born, meaning that the city has a rich international feel. That also means unique restaurants and easy access to food from around the world. So whether you’re in the mood for Mexican, Mediterranean, Columbian, Taiwanese, or Ethiopian cuisine (to name a few), there’s always a local restaurant around to satisfy your cravings.
9. Summers Get (Very) Hot, but the Winters are Mild
If you think it gets hot where you live, you better check out the Dallas weather. During June, July, and August the average high is above 90 degrees. And the thermometer will regularly peak above 100. Yikes.
But it wouldn’t be Dallas living without a little bit of heat. You can always cool off in a pool or in the shade of a large elm tree. Plus, there’s a tradeoff: the winters are very mild.
Dallas almost never sees snow, and winter days often hover in the high 50s and low 60s! That’s like a beautiful summer day in Maine or Montana.
10. Crime Rates are Higher than Average, but there are Plenty of Safe Dallas Neighborhoods to Live In
We’ll be honest, Neighborhood Scout gives the Big D a score of just 4 (out of 100), meaning that it’s only safer than 4 percent of other American cities. But it’s best to take these types of ratings with a grain of salt, as they certainly don’t mean that living in Dallas is dangerous. If you take reasonable safety precautions, you can be just as secure as anywhere else.
Here are some of the best Dallas suburbs and neighborhoods when it comes to safety:
- Flower Mound
11. Dallas Culture Goes Way Beyond Cowboys
It’s not just the awesome food in Dallas that makes it a cultural hub. After you eat out, you can go to one of the city’s many museums or galleries. Or you can catch a performance.
It doesn’t matter whether you like music, opera, or comedy — Dallas has something for you. Pretty much every major band that tours through the U.S. South will hit Dallas.
If you’re moving to Dallas, be sure to check out the listings at these performance venues to find the best culture Dallas has to offer.
Winspear Opera House
Moody Performance Hall
This is another venue in the AT&T Performing Arts Center that is home to amazing ballets, symphonies, and more.
Sammons Center for the Arts
This smaller venue acts as an “arts incubator” for small troupes, new projects, and the local artist community, in general.
Annette Strauss Square
This 128,000-square-foot outdoor performance space is also part of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and is perfect for large concerts.
Map of Dallas:
12. It's No Surprise: You Will Need a Car Here
Okay, maybe not everyone needs a car in Dallas, but it will make your life a lot easier. The city is huge on its own, but when you include the Fort Worth area, it’s enormous. It can take hours just to drive from one end to the other.
If you’re moving to Dallas, you should probably take a look at the map and learn a few of the major freeways that criss-cross and circle around the Big D, like the I-820, I-30, and I-635. These will be your lifeline when you’re commuting in the area.
For those who don’t have a car (or are just trying to be more green), there are some public transit options. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit System (which everyone calls DART) is a huge train and bus system that will get you pretty much anywhere. There is also a downtown trolley system and plenty of airport shuttles.
13. You Can Easily Earn a Degree in Dallas
If you (or one of your kids) is interested in pursuing higher education, then Dallas is a great place to be. The city is home to the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of North Texas, and it’s just a few miles from Texas A&M. In fact, there are over 35 universities and colleges in the DFW metro area.
14. The 10 Best Things to Do in Dallas Are. . .
Looking for something to keep the whole family occupied on a weekend? Or maybe you’re looking for a clever place to take your date? Either way, there’s no shortage of fun stuff to do in Dallas.
Here’s a list of our 10 favorite ways to experience a slice of Dallas living (in no particular order).
- Visit the Dallas World Aquarium.
- Go to the African American Museum.
- Check out the Dallas Museum of Art.
- Visit the animals at the famous Dallas Zoo.
- Learn about JFK at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.
- Hang with the plants at the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden.
- Go root for the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
- Stroll through Nasher Sculpture Park.
- Get a drink and see a show in Deep Ellum.
- Check out a Bonnie and Clyde Tour.
That’s it for our facts about Dallas. We hope you’re starting to feel like a local already! Now it’s time to plan your move. Check out our detailed moving checklist to avoid stress and make sure you don’t forget anything.
Easton Smith works as a freelance writer and researcher, reviewing technology trends and the moving industry.
Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.