Located in North Texas, Dallas combines Southern hospitality, diversity, and the amenities of a big city. Due to an affordable cost of living and ample job opportunities, thousands of people move here each year.
If you're planning on moving to Dallas, here are some things you should know before heading to the "Big D."
1. It's part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metro Area.
Dallas alone is a big city; it's the ninth-largest in the United States in terms of population. If you're wondering how it compares with other Texas cities, it's not quite as big as Houston but larger than Austin. That means there are lots of different neighborhoods that vary in both appearance and price. You can find nightlife and walkability in Deep Ellum, a community-oriented feel in West End, and cookie-cutter housing developments in Far North Dallas, just to name a few.
While Dallas itself is big, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington Metro Area is even bigger; it's the biggest metro area in Texas and the fourth-largest in the US, after New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The metro area includes the cities of Garland, Irving, and Plano as well as smaller towns.
2. Public transportation isn't great.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) provides trains and buses that run throughout the city, but locals complain that they're slow, unsafe, and unreliable. If you're riding outside of normal commuting hours, it's common to see dirty trains or be hassled. Despite attempted improvements to public transportation, Dallas is largely a car-city.
Pro-tip: It's hard to see if the fabric seats are wet on DART, so make sure you give them a pat before sitting down.
3. Thousands of people move here each year, and Dallas welcomes them.
Between 2000-2019, the Dallas-Fort Worth area was the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the US. During the past decade, the area gained an average of more than 100,000 people each year. And that growth isn't expected to slow down anytime soon.
With that many people moving to the area, you might worry that people are rude or unwelcoming to transplants. But, that's not the case. Compared to other cities, Dallas welcomes its new residents with open arms. Southern hospitality and politeness is a thing here, so get used to hearing "welcome, y'all" as well as "sir" and "ma'am."
Also, know that the people of Dallas will welcome you whether you've moved from across the state or across the world. In 2019, Dallas become the first Texas city to gain Certified Welcoming status, meaning that it includes and engages immigrants and refugees. So don't be afraid to get out there and make yourself at home.
4. The population is diverse.
Dallas is a culturally and racially diverse city, leading to a lively and welcoming area. Almost a quarter of the residents were born in a different country, and about half of these people emigrated from Mexico. The mix of cultures presents itself in languages, businesses, and festivals.
5. Lots of big companies have headquarters here.
The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is home to 23 Fortune 500 companies. Southwest Airlines, AT&T, McAfee, Match.com, and Texas Instruments all have headquarters in Dallas, Exxon Mobil, and McKesson are located in Irving, and American Airlines' headquarters is in Fort Worth.
Other prominent sectors of the job market include health, education, finance, and technology. The area has a large pool of tech talent, making it an attractive place for corporations to relocate and startups to launch.
6. It's easy to find an affordable place to live.
Despite increases in population, the cost of rental housing has remained relatively stable over the past five years. It's easy to find a one-bedroom apartment for under $1,300 and you can even find apartments under $1,000 if you're willing to live further away from downtown.
However, prices are more expensive in areas including University City, Uptown, Bishop Arts District, and Oak Lawn. Still, if you split a two-bedroom apartment with a housemate, you can pay less than $900 a month in rent and still live in one of these popular neighborhoods.
The overall cost of living in Dallas is just a bit above the national average and lower than that of many other large cities.
7. Consider your commute when choosing a place to live.
With so many jobs in the DFW area, you might be tempted to live in your favorite neighborhood and deal with a long commute each day. Before you do so, make sure to determine just how long your drive will take. The backups in the Dallas area are some of the worst in the country, and traffic wastes 67 hours of commuters' time each year. And when it rains, drivers struggle.
If you're planning on relying on public transit, make sure to take note of nearby stops and routes. Even if you are near a train station, you might have to make a few transfers to get to your end destination.
8. You'll see lizards outside ... and maybe inside too.
If you're moving here from the Northeast or Midwest, you might be shocked to learn that lizards are all over in Dallas. Don't be surprised to see anoles soaking up the sun on the side of buildings or a gecko inside your apartment. None of these critters are dangerous, and they're easy to shoo out your door.
9. Summers are hot. Really hot.
Daytime temperatures during the summer are almost always above 90°F, and they rarely fall below 70°F at night. Some days are humid while others are dry, but the summer is always hot.
It helps to know someone that has access to a pool, or you can always visit some local water to cool off. You can hang out on the banks of the Trinity River or rent a kayak to paddle on White Rock Lake.
10. Sports exist, but not everyone is a diehard fan.
Dallas and the surrounding area has teams for all the major sports. There's the Dallas Mavericks for the NBA, the Dallas Cowboys for the NFL, the Texas Rangers for MLB, and FC Dallas for MLS.
11. There's Tex Mex and Barbecue, but don't expect a street filled with cowboys.
Yes, this is Texas, but that doesn't mean that cowboys ride down the streets and oil barons make up the majority of the city's wealth. However, some stereotypes prove true. Dallas has some great Tex Mex food, and you'll have no trouble finding delicious BBQ.
12. There's no state income tax.
While Texas doesn't have a state income tax, this doesn't necessarily mean you'll save money. State and local sales taxes add up to 8.25%, so you're giving money to the government in a different way. If you're planning on buying real estate in Dallas, it's also important to note that the area has some of the highest property taxes in the country.
Saddle up and move to Dallas.
Okay, okay. By now you know that Dallas isn't filled with cowboys and ranches. However you make the move to this new city, you'll find it's residents will welcome you.
With so many places to explore, you'll find some spots you love in Dallas in no time.