You are not alone if you are considering relocating to Dallas, Texas. The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex comprises ten major cities and thirteen counties. As a result, it is the most populous metropolitan region in the southern United States. But is Dallas worth the move to the Lone Star state?
We recognize that deciding where to live isn’t an easy decision. Let’s face it: with so many possibilities on the table, deciding on the best place to live in Texas can be challenging.
We’re covering all you need to know about Dallas before you relocate to help you grasp what it’s like to live here. What is the current state of the Dallas job market? What can you expect from Dallas-area school districts? Is it possible for me to commute using Dallas public transportation? What do folks do for entertainment when they’re not rooting for the Dallas Cowboys?
If you’re thinking about relocating to Dallas, here are ten things you need to know about living in the city.
1. Dallas is enormous!
Everything is bigger in Texas, and that’s certainly true when it comes to Dallas’s population, growth, and size. In fact, the DFW area has grown in population by 18.9% since 2010. In terms of population, it trails only Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.
Dallas is approximately 343 square miles. To put that in perspective, Chicago covers 234 square miles. Manhattan sits on a relatively minuscule 34-mile plot of land. That’s smaller than the landmass covered by the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) alone. Living in Dallas may not be for everyone due to its size, but we will cover commuting, traffic, and public transportation a little later.
2. Each neighborhood and city has its own vibe depending on what you want.
Dallas is a great place to live because of the sub-cultures of each surrounding city. There is something for everyone! The answer on where to live will be different for every person in their walk of life. Singles, young families, and retirement-aged residents can all find something of their own here.
Researching neighborhoods can be overwhelming — so many opinions and numbers to consider! You want a reasonably priced community while still enjoying the benefits of living in one of the most fantastic cities in the U.S.
There are 30+ retirement communities in and around the Dallas Fort-Worth metroplex. Families can choose to live in Dallas retirement villages where activity and independence are the main focus. As aging-in-place becomes more and more common, this is a great option for seniors who want to feel a part of their community.
Check out some of the top Dallas neighborhoods to get your search started before moving. Then you can begin to narrow it down. We’ve chosen a few neighborhoods that are worth your attention.
Best Suburbs Around Dallas:
Addison is filled with amazing restaurants, and the food scene is always adapting to what is trending in Dallas. The city also hosts an annual Taste of Addison festival, the KABOOM Town! 4th of July Celebration, and Oktoberfest. Addison is ideal for young professionals because of its proximity to LBJ freeway, Dallas North Tollway, and President George Bush Turnpike.
Addison is home to many corporate buildings and numerous upscale apartment communities.
Frisco is north of Addison and Plano, but is still a quick trip via Dallas North Tollway. Frisco has been multiplying for a decade but has recently undergone another revitalization with the addition of The Star in Frisco, home to the Dallas Cowboys training center, and soon will include the new PGA Headquarters.
With a walkable downtown area, great schools, several shopping centers, and many options for entertainment, Frisco is a great suburb for young families.
The affluent suburb of Colleyville is located in northeast Tarrant County, is located just outside of Fort Worth. Its proximity to DFW Airport is a big draw for frequent travelers. The Village at Colleyville is home to specialty and boutique shops, and the city is home to hundreds of restaurants and attractions. The spacious homes also have large yards, perfect for grilling out.
Grapevine residents choose to live here because of the parks, affordable taxes, and excellent school system. The city has a knack for entertaining and attracting a crowd. Many wineries have a home in Grapevine, also renowned as Texas’ Christmas capital. Tens of thousands of Dallas-area residents and visitors head to Grapevine for exciting annual festivals.
Residents’ popular activities include golfing, boating on Lake Grapevine, and shopping in historic downtown Grapevine.
Plano has a median household income of $330,000 and is home to Frito-Lay, Toyota, and many more corporate headquarters. The housing market in this 17-mile-north of Dallas suburb is booming. It features lovely communities such as The Shops at Willowbend, fantastic shopping and restaurants at Legacy West, and one of Texas’ best school systems.
Plano was named one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live in the United States.
Trophy Club, as its name suggests, is one of the most desirable suburbs in the area. It boasts excellent schools, a well-developed park system, and a reputation for being a golfer’s paradise. The town is rapidly expanding, with 200 new houses produced each year, over 3,900 homes and apartments, and a median home value of over $535,000.
Despite its growth, this neighborhood on the outskirts of Fort Worth retains its quaint, small-town charm.
Best Neighborhoods in Dallas Proper
The Dallas Arboretum, Botanical Garden, and White Rock Lake make the picturesque East Dallas neighborhood of Lakewood a wonderful place to live. From historic mid-century modern homes to townhomes nestled near luscious green parks, Lakewood is a diverse area with charming shops, cafes, sports bars, and some of the best restaurants in Dallas.
Lakewood’s proximity to Central Expressway (U.S. Highway 75) and LBJ make it a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of city life while providing quick commutes around the city. A quick trip down Abrams Road brings you to neighborhoods like Lower Greenville or Deep Ellum for even more weekend activities and nightlife.
This freshly revitalized neighborhood, located south of Downtown Dallas and across the Margaret Hunt-Hill Bridge, offers fantastic shopping, eateries, and live music venues. Many housing alternatives are available, including new apartment complexes and renovated houses. As this neighborhood grows, now is a great time to plant roots in Trinity Groves.
Lower Greenville and the M Streets
As you drive through the quaint tree-lined streets full of craftsman-style homes, you will be surprised that just a few blocks away is a good mix of nightlife, shopping, and some of the locals’ favorite restaurants in Dallas. The M Streets neighborhood gets its unique charm from the newly remodeled homes dating to the 1920s. The median housing price in this highly desirable neighborhood is more than $550,000.
Uptown is Dallas’ most walkable live-work-play community, featuring an excellent food scene, including bars, cafes, and nightclubs.
Young singles are attracted to McKinney Avenue’s bustling bar and restaurant scene, while 30-something professionals choose the modern townhomes around Knox and Cole Streets.
3. The cost of living in Dallas continues to rise.
Wondering if there are any downsides to this city? Costs! According to Zillow, the median home value in the Dallas/Fort Worth region is $361,270. Overall home values have increased by 28% percent, and the trend is expected to continue, considering that more people are craving a connected, urban lifestyle. Neighborhoods like Highland Park and suburbs like Frisco and Plano are among the most desirable and expensive housing markets in the DFW area.
Are you planning to rent after moving to Dallas? Be prepared to open your wallet — MyNewPlace.com reports that the rent on a Dallas apartment can run as much as $2,365 per month, with even higher rents in popular neighborhoods and suburbs.
When it comes to salary expectations for living in Dallas, the living wage is $15.21 an hour for a full-time employed single individual. To live comfortably in Dallas in a 2-bedroom apartment, you will need to earn $45,720 a year.
4. Traffic is unavoidable in Dallas.
What are the cons of living in Dallas? Traffic is crazy here! One of the biggest cons of living in Dallas is traffic and highway construction. The city is very spread out, which means that DFW residents tend to endure longer commutes than in many other cities. You have to own a car to get around the area if you do not live a walkable distance to your job.
Dallas is home to some of the most congested highways in the state. Though workers have a more extended commute time than the national average, it could be significantly worse. COVID-19 has alleviated some of the worst traffic in the city at commute times since more people are working from home than ever.
According to a recent INRIX scorecard, in 2020 Dallas ranked 97th for cities in the U.S. with the most traffic, with an average of 44 hours per year of driving time spent in congestion in 2021. This is a -31% change from pre-COVID-19.
Commuters traveling on the Central Expressway (U.S. Highway 75), certain sections of the LBJ Freeway, George W. Bush Expressway, and Dallas North Tollway will see heavy traffic, especially before and after work hours.
5. Dallas has public transportation.
Like any other city, please do your homework on Dallas Area Rapid Transit before relying on it for your commute.
There’s no doubt about it: Dallas is a car-centric city. However, it is also home to the country’s longest light rail system, the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit), which allows you to successfully navigate Dallas via 72 miles of light rail and 120 bus routes (see the section on commuter traffic above).
The Trinity Railway Express (TRE) connects downtown Dallas with downtown Fort Worth and includes stops at DFW airport and the Mid-Cities — places like Grapevine, Southlake, Trophy Club, Irving, Grand Prairie, and more — between the two metropolises.
If you want to take in a concert or a show in the Arts District, have dinner in Trinity Groves (yum!), or attend a hockey game at the American Airlines Center, rideshare services like Lyft and Uber are readily available. They will help you avoid traffic and pay high parking fees in certain areas.
The McKinney Avenue Transit Authority, and free vintage trolleys (the M-Line) are a nostalgic way to travel to the restaurants, bars, and clubs in the hip, trendy Uptown neighborhood.
A bit of a downside: DART can be tough to navigate. Routes can be difficult to understand and inefficient. If you’re new to the area and plan to get around by Dallas public transportation, be sure to purchase a DART pass and give yourself enough time to navigate the complicated options.
6. Taxes work differently in Texas.
You can put a little of that money back in your pocket come tax-time. If you’re new to Texas, you may be surprised to learn that residents of the Lone Star State don’t pay state or local personal income taxes. Nice!
On the other hand, Texas residents pay personal property taxes on their homes and vehicles and sales tax. You may experience sticker shock when you see your first property tax bill. Property tax bills in Texas are among the highest in the country.
The state of Texas currently charges a 6.25% sales tax.
Municipalities, counties, transit authorities, and special purpose districts can additionally levy an additional 2% sales tax, as they do in the Dallas metro region. Someone has to pay taxes, after all. Residents of Texas pay in other ways since they don’t pay state or personal income taxes.
7. The Dallas job market is hot.
Although the historically significant oil industry has struggled in recent years, job growth in Texas has seen steady growth, and incomes remain competitive. The median household income is $72,205 throughout Dallas County.
Among the country’s 12 largest metro areas, Dallas has had the highest percentage of job growth year over year at 2.5%, and the second-most jobs added (up 115,800) according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many corporate employees relocate for finance, transportation, or marketing jobs in Dallas.
Moving to Dallas without a job? The five largest employers in the Dallas/Fort Worth region are:
American Airlines Group
American Airlines Group, Inc. is the world’s largest airline headquartered in Fort Worth.
Dallas Independent School District
From teachers and administrators to the folks who scrape the gum off the chairs, over 18,300 people get their paychecks from Dallas ISD. The system is responsible for the education of 157,000 students in 220 schools.
Texas Health Resources
Healthcare is big business in Dallas, and THR — with over 19,000 employees — is the most extensive faith-based, nonprofit system in North Texas.
Baylor Scott & White
Most people outside of Dallas know Baylor as a college football powerhouse. The Waco, Texas-based institution also has a university medical center in Dallas that is considered one of the nation’s finest, employing over 17,000 people.
Bank of America
A cool 20,000 residents of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex are employed by the second-largest bank holding company in the U.S.These are a few of the employers that were voted Best Places to Work by the Dallas Business Journal in 2021: LiquidAgents Healthcare, Gordon Highlander, Republic Title, Highlands Residential Mortgage, Citi, Accenture, and CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company.
8. Dallas is filled with great schools and universities.
There are various schooling options in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, ranging from private to charter to public.
The Grapevine-Colleyville, Plano, Frisco, and Highland Parks ISDs, for example, are among Texas’ greatest public school districts. In addition, the education/healthcare sector is one of the fastest-growing in the country, according to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics study on local job growth.
According to U.S. News & World Report, there are 355 public elementary, middle, and high schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, as well as 401 private schools. In fact, 1,524 Texas Schools made the rankings by U.S. News & World Report.
Southern Methodist University, Texas Christian University, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of Dallas are among the 18 universities and colleges in Dallas.
9. There are plenty of things to do in Dallas, including eat!
The traffic and cost may provide cons to living in Dallas, but there are also plenty of pros. For pros, Dallas is chock-full of exciting, noteworthy attractions, museums, restaurants, boutiques, and parks. After moving to Dallas, you’ll discover a vibrant arts district and high-end shopping in Uptown, Highland Park, and North Park Center.
Chic cafés and eateries fill Bishop Arts and Trinity Groves, and in Deep Ellum, you’ll find awesome music venues and art galleries. Dallas has all of this, as well as the American Airlines Center, which is home to the Mavericks and Dallas Stars. Nearby, Arlington is home to the Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys.
Check out the following if you really want to get to know the city:
The Dallas food scene is incredibly underrated. There are Michelin Star-awarded chefs in restaurants throughout the city, and the James Beard Awards have taken a notable interest in the culinary growth of Dallas in recent years, including nine nominations in 2022.
Foodies can endlessly brunch at a different spot each weekend, and sports lovers have a multitude of options for watching their favorite teams. New and widely-loved spots are constantly opening. Loro and Terry Black’s are Texas faves that opened spots in Dallas recently. East Coast staples such as Sweetgreen and Sadelle’s also now have Dallas locations. If you love coffee or craft beer, there are roasters and breweries scattered throughout the metroplex.
Dallas is home to several enriching museums. In the Dallas Arts District, you will find the Nasher Sculpture Center. It is also home to the Dallas Museum of Art and the Crow Museum of Asian Art, which provide free general admission to view art exhibits. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is fun and educational for all ages.
Sports, Shows & Live Music
There are so many venues for concerts, theater, comedy, and more in Dallas. The Factory in Deep Ellum, Southside Ballroom, The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, Winspear Opera House, Wyly Theater, and more, all offer Dallas residents a wide array of cultural, artistic, and entertainment choices. Fans can see their favorite Dallas sports teams in several venues around the city.
Some of the city’s most popular outdoor attractions include Klyde Warren Park, rooftop dining, Six Flags over Texas, and the Dallas Zoo. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, a sixty-six-acre botanical garden bordering White Rock Lake is home to a popular summer concert series as well as several family-friendly events each year.
The list could go on for days. There’s so much to do in Dallas!
10. Consider the crime rate of Dallas.
If you are new to city life, don’t forget to consider the crime rates of different neighborhoods before making your big move. In a city of this size, saying there is crime is a bit like saying that there are tall buildings in New York.
NeighborhoodScout.com’s data shows that 8.84 Dallas city residents per 1,000 are the victims of violent crime and 36.51 residents per 1,000 are property crime victims. These numbers are well above the average for Texas, which are 3.96 and 19.47, respectively.
As you consider your move to Texas, check out our moving tips for new residents:
- Compare apartment communities before making your decision. Every management team is different and can provide an amazing or lackluster apartment-living experience depending on their professionalism and care. Read reviews and employ an apartment-searching service at no cost for the best experience.
- Use a reputable moving company. Dallas is home to many 4 & 5-star moving companies. Please do your research before employing a crew to move your stuff. Dallas residents can tell you the horrors of hiring a moving company for the cheapest price or quickest availability!
- Find a trusted storage company for your belongings. Whether you are downsizing or house-hunting, you should choose somewhere climate-controlled, with surveillance cameras, and convenient access if you need to store your belongings. Life Storage has locations in Dallas which provide all of this and more.
Make room for your new cowboy boots and Texas décor! Just kidding, but you may want to update your wardrobe upon your move to Texas after checking out all of our boutiques and department stores.
- The Ultimate Moving Checklist
- Create a Realistic Moving Budget Using This Guide
- Find Storage Deals in Dallas, TX
- Revised on July 28, 2022, with new information from Dallas expert, Hailey Laughlin.
- Revised on September 9, 2020, with new information from Dallas expert, Clara Mathews.
- Revised on November 6, 2019, with new information from Dallas expert, Justine Harrington.
- Originally published on May 15, 2018.