Whereas many people refer to the DFW as one entity, the fact is Dallas and Fort Worth are two distinct cities with a detached history.
Both cities are joined at the hip by an urban stretch that is linked by 30 miles of suburbs including the Trinity Railway Express light rail system.
Despite some similarities, the two cities couldn't be any more different. Dallas is widely popular for its prominent big business and contemporary architecture while Fort Worth embraces a historical Wild West character.
VIP Realty receives calls from all over the country and around the world from buyers looking to move to either Dallas or Fort Worth.
If you have any questions about real estate anywhere throughout Texas don't hesitate to call us on our toll-free numbers. We’d be happy to assist you with your next real estate transaction.
With this in mind, let’s dive into the differences that set the two cities apart.
Dallas (400 sq. miles) and Fort Worth (300 sq. miles) are roughly the same sizes though their population numbers are different.
According to recent census population estimates, Dallas has a population of 1,343,573 while Fort Worth is home to 909,585 people.
Some US cities are infamous for their nicknames; Chicago is The Windy City, New York City is The Big Apple, and closer to home San Antonio is Alamo City.
Dallas is widely popular as the "Big D" while Fort Worth goes by the nickname "Cowtown". Each of these monikers sets the tone for each city.
The Dallas Morning News first used the nickname in 1976 and ever since the name has been popularized on a national as well as international level. The Big D is synonymous with a larger-than-life sprawl with the random metropolitan abruptness.
Besides Cowtown, Fort Worth has half a dozen other nicknames including Panther City. The west begins in Cowtown which prides itself on a leisurely, ranch-style living. Its history with cows or cattle can be credited for reviving the Texas economy after the Civil War.
Cost of Living
Data by Numbeo reveal that Fort Worth rent prices are 18.85% lower than in Dallas. Meanwhile, the cost of living in Fort Worth is 4% lower than the national average whereas the median home price is 31% lower than the national average.
The cost of childcare, dining, and groceries is also lower making the cost of living in Fort Worth 15% lower than in Dallas.
The word cowboys can mean different things in both Dallas and Fort Worth. In Dallas, cowboys can mean football - Dallas Cowboys, huge arenas, and cheerleaders. America's Team is the nickname the Dallas Cowboys are fondly known.
From the late 1870s to the mid-1980s, Fort Worth earned its Cowtown nickname thanks to the Fort Worth Stockyards. Back then, the stockyards were a major business center for cattle trading.
Though largely inactive, the legacy of the west still lives on thanks to Stetson-wearing cowboys who drive cattle twice a day down Exchange Avenue through the stockyards.
A recent survey discovered nine of the most congested roads in Texas are in Dallas County while Tarrant County has only two. Dallas drivers spend roughly 60 hours a year in traffic making the city one of the most congested in the state. On some lists, Dallas takes the top spot for bad traffic.
With multiple highway interchanges and awful rush-hour accidents, you can easily miss an important appointment in Dallas if you do not prepare well.
However, the superior DART system offers Dallasites a favorable commuter option. It may not be the best intercity passenger rail service in the country, but the DART system is better than the assortment of rails over in Fort Worth.
Fort Worth is more commuter-friendly and despite experiencing some bottlenecks on its limited system, traffic congestion is nowhere near the scale of Dallas.
Alternatives such as the B-Cycle bike-sharing program help reduce commute times, ease traffic congestion, promotes a more active lifestyle as well as reduce the carbon footprint.
Best Downtown Areas
Downtown Dallas is unquestionably modern, displaying soaring glass skyscrapers, public art buildings, and an inclination for considerable development.
The more densely populated Downtown Dallas offers more variety in condominiums and apartments than its Fort Worth counterpart does. Downtown Dallas is also undergoing a developmental restructuring of sorts as it tries to bring back businesses and residents.
Meanwhile, Downtown Fort Worth is popular for its clean and safe streets. It combines modernization whilst preserving its historic structures, flaunting glossy skyscrapers, and archetypal red-brick structures.
Nightlife: Cosmopolitan vs Hipster
When it comes to their unique cultural scene, cosmopolitan vs hipster is the best way to distinguish between Dallas and Fort Worth.
It is best to carry a purse full of change if you are going out in Dallas. Drinks in Uptown establishments tend to be expensive and some clubs even charge entrance fees.
However, the cultural and ethnic diversity common in Dallas is omnipresent in the city's shopping and dining options.
The nightlife in Fort Worth has changed drastically in recent years, and it is now comparable to Dallas. The college crowd tends to gather in the West 7th area while the Magnolia area offers a more dive bar scene. Enjoy two-stepping in a more country atmosphere in the Stockyards.
Fort Worth is referred to as Cowtown for obvious reasons. The beef king of Texas is your ideal destination if you want to enjoy a mouth-watering steak or juicy burger.
Locals are passionate about their Tex-Mex, pizza, and barbecue. You are likely to start a lively conversation with a local on the subject.
With its eateries, microbreweries, and mom-and-pop shops, Fort Worth has a more laidback scene. But unlike Dallas, Fort Worth cannot support a remarkable variety of other ethnic cuisines.
In recent years, Dallas has witnessed a culinary resurgence that includes the best barbecue food trucks and joints. Dallas is also home to several Ethiopian restaurants, Korean barbecues, Indian cuisine, and any other cuisine you can imagine thanks to a large immigrant population.
With the unemployment rate a meager 3% in Fort Worth, employment opportunities in the defense sector are plentiful in the area. Major employers in Fort Worth include Lockheed Martin, the Naval Air station Joint Reserve Base and American Airlines.
If you are considering a city with a large tech presence, Dallas is home to all the tech jobs you can imagine outside Silicon Valley. Dallas is also ranked third in tech job openings behind Washington and New York.
With over 60% of the city's population under working age, big tech companies such as Facebook and Uber have identified Dallas as a future corporate hub.
Should You Live in Dallas or Fort Worth?
The big debate of Dallas vs Fort Worth may never come to a definite conclusion. Choosing between the two cities is a personal decision that will be determined by your unique circumstances and preferences.
With that said, buyers that are ready to pay a little extra in rent and do not mind a little traffic congestion should consider Dallas. If you prefer a big city with a slower pace of life, then Fort Worth is your ideal destination.
Ready to move to the Big D or Cowtown? Do not hesitate to reach out to VIP Realty to help you make the right decision.