Dallas, Texas, is part of an expansive area known as the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex or DFW. This large metropolis consists of more than 1,800 square miles of green, rolling hills and provides endless shopping and dining opportunities. Living in a big city has many benefits, but it also comes with the usual big city challenges, such as traffic. Overall, Dallas is a beautiful place to call home.
U.S. News & World Report ranked the Dallas-Fort Worth area #24 on its list of best places to live in the U.S. — and for good reason. If we had to summarize the Dallas area in one word, it would be fun. Flip-flops are as much a part of the culture here as cowboy boots and the area provides countless entertainment options. Dallas is everything you could ever want or need in a big city.
As amazing as Dallas is, relocating to any new area can be stressful. As a professional moving company, our goal is to make your transition to Dallas as easy as possible, which is why we’ve created this guide that will provide you with an overview of the Metroplex and some ideas about what to do once you get here.
Facts About Dallas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth largest in the United States. As a cosmopolitan city with a diversified economy, Dallas is booming. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the combined metro area has a population of 7.26 million residents.
Originally founded in 1841, the city of Dallas was developed at the same time as nearby Fort Worth due to railroad construction in the area. The Texas and Pacific Railway allowed access to cattle, cotton, and then oil later on in north and east Texas.
Dallas has experienced multiple growth periods; first as a manufacturing hub for the military during World War II and later from the natural gas and oil industry. Dallas will forever be linked with the John F. Kennedy Assassination, which is why you’ll find multiple tourist attractions paying homage to the late president’s memory. The infamous Grassy Knoll is located in a city park known as Dealey Plaza.
The Dallas climate is humid and subtropical with hot summers. Variety is the operative word here, since DFW weather is characterized by a wide temperature and precipitation range. Although the climate is moderate overall, summer heatwaves can also be severe. There is also the occasional ice storm and frequent tornado warnings. Dallas-Fort Worth is one of those areas where you should expect the unexpected and dress in layers.
Transportation In Dallas
If you’re planning on moving to Dallas, a prospecting trip may be in order. It may also be wise to learn how to get around:
Dallas is located approximately 30 miles east of Fort Worth, and the Dallas-Fort Worth area is served primarily by the east/west Interstate 20, which turns into I-30 just west of Fort Worth. One of the north/south freeways is I-75, which ends in downtown Dallas and turns into I-45 as it continues southeast toward Houston.
I-35 is another major freeway that runs through the Metroplex. This one can be a little confusing at first because it is divided into I-35E and I-35W but runs north/south. The major airports serving Dallas include the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field.
If you don’t already have a vehicle, you’re going to need one since the DFW Metroplex is so spread out. As with other big cities, traffic is a part of life in Dallas. Many DFW residents lament the fact that they have to endure long commutes when venturing across the Metroplex.
In addition to these commutes, you can expect to pay tolls on Dallas-area freeways. You don’t have to stop and scrounge for cash, but you will be charged. You’ll receive a bill in the mail unless you invest in a Toll Tag, which is a good idea if you’ll be using toll roads regularly.
Depending on where you’re from, you may encounter a lane you’ve never seen before called a “Texas turnaround.” This special turn lane is located on the far left and is only for making U-turns. You’ll typically see these boomerang-like lanes when crossing over or under a freeway.
Speaking of freeways, if you travel any significant distance around the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area, you’ll likely have to change freeways and take detours due to ongoing road construction. In a nutshell, navigating across the Metroplex isn’t for the faint of heart.
The other option for getting around DFW is, of course, public transportation. While there are solid public transportation choices in some areas, these busses and trains won’t be able to take you everywhere you need to go in this spread-out metropolis. So, if you are looking for a place where you can get around easily without a car, it’s best to stay in the downtown district. The good news is that both Dallas and Fort Worth both have walkable downtown districts with public transportation options.
Public transportation in the Dallas-Fort Worth area includes:
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART): This convenient light rail system includes 64 stations and four lines serving Dallas. The train runs from the pre-dawn hours of the morning to midnight, seven days a week.
Dart Bus: This city bus can get you to several destinations throughout the Metroplex but be prepared to make a lot of stops. The Dart system includes something called the D-Link, a free route that includes 19 stops within the downtown area. If you plan to regularly venture outside of the small section the D-Link covers, getting a DART pass is the easiest way to pay your fares.
Dart M-Line Trolley: Relax and take in the scenery with this free electric streetcar that runs through central Dallas every day of the year.
Trinity Railway Express: The Trinity Train connects Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as several key points in between, and it runs every day except Sunday. This is one possible way to get from the downtown area of either city to the DFW Airport.
Trinity Metro: This is the Fort Worth bus system, which is run by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority.
As previously mentioned, there are some areas not serviced by public buses and trains. When all else fails, you can rely on rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft, since there are plenty of drivers in the Metroplex at any given time.
A Family-Friendly City
In 2018, Homes.com included Dallas in its list of top family-friendly metro areas. This list was based on factors such as quality of schools, childcare availability, park acreage, cost of living, and crime rates.
Sports Are Big Here
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know how big sports are in the Dallas area—especially when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys, known as “America’s Team.”
DFW’s Major League teams include:
- The Dallas Cowboys (NFL) football team
- The Texas Rangers (MLB) baseball team
- The Dallas Mavericks (NBA) basketball team
- The Dallas Wings (WNBA) basketball team
- The Dallas Stars (NHL) hockey team
- FC Dallas (MLS) soccer team
Sports are also big outside of the professional realm. For example, high schools here play their state championship games at the AT&T Stadium where the Cowboys play. Other non-pro teams here include the Dallas Roughnecks and the Dallas Dragons.
Of course, not all sports involve a ball, so if you’re into NASCAR, the Texas Motor Speedway is close by. If you own a fast sports car and money is no object, pay for a one-of-a-kind experience where you can race alone in your own car.
Things to See and Do in The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex
While this may sound cliche, the Dallas-Fort Worth area has something for everyone. Kids, singles, seniors, and everyone else will find plenty of places to see and exciting things to do.
Below are some of several local attractions you should check out after moving to Dallas, Texas:
Dallas Arts District: This hub of visual and performing arts is the largest contiguous urban arts district in America. Here you’ll find the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Museum of Art, The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, Klyde Warren Park, and much more.
Dallas Zoo: Located just three miles south of downtown Dallas, the Dallas Zoo boasts of the largest zoological experience in Texas. It will take you a while to see everything, so stop and rest your feet on the T-Rex Express Mini Train, or the Endangered Species Carousel.
Dallas World Aquarium: As you would expect, you will find marine life here, but you’ll also see tropical birds, penguins, otters, and many other sea animals as you make your way through the rainforest exhibit and aviary.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden: Escape the sweltering summer heat in the shady green spaces of the arboretum, which spans 66 acres of White Rock Lake Park. This serene attraction is just minutes from downtown Dallas.
Dallas Area Sports Venues: Some of the major sports venues in the Metroplex include AT&T Field, Globe Life Park, American Airlines Center, and UT Arlington College Life Center.
Dallas Area Lakes and Reservoirs: The DFW area has several lakes, with the largest being Lake Ray Hubbard.
Fort Worth Stockyards: If you’re new to the Western way of life, this living museum will get you up to speed. Attractions include an epic daily cattle drive, countless artifacts, and a three-acre honky-tonk. Be sure to get an old-time portrait taken as a souvenir and enjoy a juicy hamburger at Trailboss.
Higher Education in The DFW Area
The Dallas-Fort Worth area is a popular destination for students from all over the world pursuing degrees in science, engineering, the arts, religion, and more. The DFW area is home to 18 recognized universities, including these well-known schools:
- The University of Texas at Dallas
- The University of Texas at Arlington
- The University of North Texas
- Texas A&M University
- Texas Woman’s University
- Texas Christian University
- Southern Methodist University
- Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary
The area is also home to several notable community colleges. Explore these links for more information:
- Dallas County Community College District
- North Central Texas College
- Tarrant County College
- Collin College
With so many different neighborhoods to choose from, scoping out the Dallas area may be the next critical item on your moving to-do list. The diverse neighborhoods in Dallas reflect the city’s ethnic and cultural diversity. If you find a home you love, you’ll want to snap it up quickly, since this fast-growing metro area has a perpetually hot real estate market.
Here’s a brief overview of some of the most popular communities to consider when moving to Dallas, Texas:
Uptown living options include everything from older, renovated homes to high-rise luxury apartments. This upscale district is known for its great seafood restaurants.
The downtown area is home to the famed Design District, which is chock-full of art galleries and unique restaurants. Housing is pricey here due to the convenience of living in the center of the city.
Also known as Old East Dallas, this area includes the Swiss Avenue Historic District—a popular destination for trying out new restaurants and bars. Named for Baylor University Medical Center, the Baylor District is a walkable area that is also located within East Dallas. This section of town has a wide variety of housing options.
West Dallas is the area defined by the boundaries of I-30 to the south, the Trinity River to the east and north, and the Trinity River’s West Fork to the west. This broad region is known for its association with Bonnie and Clyde, as well as several lesser-known criminals.
Originally settled by former slaves following the Civil War, this eclectic community is home to culturally diverse art galleries, remarkable street murals, various music venues, and live theater. It is a unique section known for its urban atmosphere and contemporary loft apartments.
Divided into four distinct sections, this diverse community is home to the University of North Texas, the Dallas Zoo, and Kiest Park. Oak Cliff was once a separate city before being annexed by Dallas. The area has seen a surge in popularity in recent years due to the restoration of historic buildings, which are now restaurants, retail stores, and event venues.
Another neighborhood known for its urban lofts is The Cedars, one of Dallas’s oldest districts. The Cedars community has undergone extensive revitalization over the past several years, and these days it has a reputation for being one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Dallas.
The Park Cities area comprises two neighborhoods — Highland Park and University Park. Residents of these scenic enclaves are typically white-collar professionals with hefty incomes.
If you’re looking for an affordable home, especially a rental, the Douglas Community offers a mix of suburban amenities, as well as access to great schools.
Best Suburbs Around Dallas
Dallas has way too many suburbs to list here, so we’ve featured just a few notable ones:
Home to several telecommunications companies, Richardson is a mid-priced inner suburb of Dallas. Here you’ll find plenty of restaurants and parks, and most of its residents own their own homes.
With a population of around 300,000, Plano feels more like its own city than just a suburb. Plano’s popularity stems from its job opportunities and fast growth. The town of Plano has a dense suburban feel and highly-rated public schools.
If you choose to make Irving your home, you’ll be living in one of the most diverse towns in the United States, and you’ll have close access to Arlington sports venues and amusement parks.
Popular Dallas Restaurants
Foodies rejoice! You probably already know Texas has the corner on the market for meat-centric steakhouses, BBQ joints, and TexMex, but there’s more to the Dallas-Fort Worth dining scene than just those decidedly Texan specialties. In fact, the DFW area has a higher concentration of restaurants than any other metro area in the United States.
Here are just a few examples of the incredible food Dallas has to offer:
- Lucia for Italian food
- Revolver Taco Lounge for tacos and margaritas
- Bullion for French cuisine
- CattleAck Barbeque for decidedly Texan fare
- Mot Hai Ba for Vietnamese food
- Tei-An for upscale Japanese cuisine
- Gemma for California-style offerings
- Mi Lindo Oaxaca for regional Mexican cuisine
Shopping in Dallas
Not only is there a high density of restaurants in the greater Dallas area, but there are also a ton of stores. The DFW Metroplex boasts of more shopping centers per capita than any other U.S. city. Popular shopping centers include:
Important Dallas Links
Once you settle into your new home in Dallas, you’ll need to take care of some paperwork, such as obtaining your Texas driver’s license and finding your local voting precinct. These links will help you get started:
For Drivers Licenses: Find the nearest location for updating your driver’s license at the Texas Department of Public Safety website.
For Vehicle Registration and Voting Information: Everything you need to know about voting can be found at the Dallas County Elections website.
For Utility Providers: Something that may surprise you when moving to North Texas is the fact that you’ll have a choice of multiple electricity providers. Just be sure to select a fixed-rate plan, so you don’t get price gouged during inclement weather. Visit Power to Choose for more information about services in Dallas.
Help With Moving to Dallas
If you’ve already made the decision to move to the Dallas area, MoveDay can help get you there. Find out more about our full suite of local moving services and the helpful resources we offer, or contact us today for a free, no-obligation moving quote.
FAQs About Moving to Dallas-Fort Worth
Does Dallas have a high cost of living?
The cost of living in Dallas is about 2% higher than the national average, which isn’t bad for a major metro area with a mean household income of around $52,000 per year. One benefit of living in Dallas is the fact that you won’t pay any local or state income tax, but keep in mind that this savings is offset by higher-than-average property taxes.
Is Dallas, TX, a good place to retire?
Yes, but North Texas does have four distinct seasons, including an extended hot summer. Seniors will appreciate the fact that a number of local hospitals are nationally ranked in 16 specific medical specialties. These hospitals include Baylor University Medical Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center, and Parkland Health and Hospital System-Dallas. Although Texas is notorious for high property taxes, there are some exceptions for seniors, making housing more affordable.
Is Dallas a safe place to live?
Statistics from 2018 show that the DFW area has a lower violent crime rate than similarly-sized metros. That said, property crime rates are slightly above the national average.
How is the job market in the Dallas area?
The Dallas job market is constantly expanding due to its diversified economy that’s centered around technology and services. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is a great place to find jobs in:
- Retail and sales
- Nursing and medicine
Notable employers in the DFW area include:
- AMR Corporation
- Bank of America
- Baylor Health Care System
- Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
- JP Morgan Chase & Company
- The Dallas School District
- The City of Dallas
- Texas Instruments
Is Dallas, Texas, a good place to raise a family?
Yes. Living in a big city like Dallas means having access to just about anything you need for your family; whether it’s entertainment, children’s sports leagues, or state-of-the-art hospitals.
Although the local school district has recently received some poor marks, there are many high-rated schools in Dallas, particularly amongst magnet and charter schools. There’s also a wide selection of private schools, as well as a large homeschooling community. Overall, the Dallas area is known for its great educational infrastructure and it is superior to many comparable metro areas.
What are some fun activities for kids in and around Dallas-Fort Worth?
Whether it’s riding colossal roller coasters at Six Flags Over Texas, checking out sharks at the Dallas World Aquarium, or enjoying the breathtaking view from atop Reunion Tower, there’s plenty of family fun to be had in and around Dallas. Below are several more kid-friendly destinations:
- Adventure Landing: This go-to spot to host kids’ birthday parties offers miniature golf, laser tag, go-karts, bumper boats, batting cages, and a large arcade.
- Bahama Beach: Minutes from downtown, this family waterpark offers affordable season passes for unlimited visits and priority weekend entrance during the park’s operational season.
- Celebration Station: This is another venue that offers birthday packages, and its fun center is located in nearby Mesquite, Texas. Packages include paintball, go-karts, bungee jumping, pizza, and more!
- Frontiers of Flight Museum: Watch the history of aviation come to life as you and your kids learn about the Wright Brothers’ first flight, the Apollo space program, and more. With more than 35,000 artifacts within 13 historical galleries, you’ll be here for a while.
- Hurricane Harbor: Located in Arlington and owned by Six Flags, Hurricane Harbor is the largest waterpark in North Texas.
- SpeedZone Dallas: Kids and adults alike will enjoy drag racing, mini-golf, and go-karts designed for younger kids at this car-themed mini amusement park.
- The Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in McKinney, this 289-acre attraction focuses on conservation and educational programs for children.
- The Perot Museum of Nature and Science: With 11 permanent exhibit halls and a constantly changing list of activities, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a great place for hands-on learning.
What are some of the pros and cons of moving to Dallas?
- Plenty to do: Whether you love visiting theme parks, museums, or sporting events, the Dallas-Fort Worth area has it all.
- Beautiful weather: With only around an inch of snow per year or less, Dallas has a nice, middle-of-the-road climate with a long summer.
- Affordable travel: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport provides non-stop flights to many U.S. cities, as well as major international destinations, so if you fly a lot, Dallas is the perfect home base.
- Tax advantages: There are no state or local income taxes in the state of Texas.
- Heavy traffic: Unless you’re relocating to Dallas from Houston, Los Angeles, or some other high-traffic area, you may be shocked by Dallas area traffic.
- Humidity: North Texas isn’t as humid as some other parts of Texas, but it does get hot and sticky in the summer.
- Bugs: Along with those humid southern summers come undesirable pests such as large roaches, aka “water bugs,” and hordes of fire ants that are known to deliver a painful bite that can itch for days.
- No ocean or mountains: Although there are plenty of outdoor activities here, you won’t be snow skiing or surfing anytime soon, since Dallas is an inland city with no mountains or coastline. With that said, you’ll have an easy drive to several Gulf Coast beaches.
If you’ve already made up your mind about moving to Dallas, contact MoveDay for a free, no-obligation moving quote today.