Home to 1.3 million people, Dallas is the third largest city in the state as well as the ninth largest city in the country.
Known for its booming economy, wonderful weather, and a ton of things to do, Dallas is considered one of the best places to live in the U.S. Young professionals and families looking to move to Texas find the well-maintained streets and exclusive neighborhoods attractive.
Before you pack your bags and make the move to Dallas, we have created this guide to help you learn everything you need to know before relocating.
Once you make up your mind to take up the challenge and move, contact us to schedule an appointment or visit our website for more information.
Living in Dallas
Founded in 1856, Dallas has become an industrial city in record time. Magnificent landmarks such as the Praetorian Building, the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi is in Dallas. The culinary scene in Dallas is also bustling and it’s known throughout the U.S. for its abundant Tex-Mex, and exceptional barbecue. You also can't miss the fanatic following of Cowboys football.
You’ve probably heard some of the stereotypes about living in Dallas—many residents own trucks, are conservative and frequent mega-churches. But the reality on the ground is different as many people are non-religious, liberal, and eco-friendly.
Other than some folks saying "ya'll", there isn't much of an accent either. Though such stereotypes are rational, there are plenty of other things to know and love about Dallas.
Everything You Need to Know Before Relocating to Dallas
Whether you're transplanting from another state, changing jobs, or relocating your family, many considerations go into making a move to Dallas. Not only is the DFW area great for people of all ages, but the robust economy offers plentiful jobs with no personal income tax. Full of many advantages and disadvantages, here is everything every potential resident should know before settling down in Dallas.
Mass Transit Isn't the Best
According to a recent report, Dallas has largely remained an automobile-oriented place. 3.8% of workers in the city use public transportation with the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) the most popular mass transit option. With 72 miles of light rail—the longest rail system in the country—and 120 bus routes, daily commuters can navigate downtown Dallas and nearby suburbs with ease.
But using DART can be tricky as some routes are inefficient and difficult to understand. The buses are not perfect as they’re few, don’t run frequently, and some of the bus routes have inadequate range. Although outlying DART stations have parking lots, not everyone likes shifting from car to train mid-trip. In addition, many pedestrians don’t like walking through a hostile environment to reach the stations.
Dallas is Cowboys Territory
It won’t take you long to decipher that Texans throughout the state take their allegiance to team sports seriously. Dallas is no exception as college sports stir up a frenzy while the Cowboys reign supreme. Along with their famous cheerleaders, the Dallas Cowboys bring NFL excitement to AT&T stadium downtown.
Perhaps the main aspect of sports in Dallas is not to schedule any activity or event during a Dallas Cowboys game. Event planners in the area know this only too well as residents love cheering on their team on game day. This allegiance goes beyond wearing their favorite team’s jersey and flying the team flag even during the off-season.
Learn to Love Tex-Mex
Mexican food was such a novel concept in the early days for Dallasites. Today, Tex-Mex restaurants and stands are common on almost every street. Tejanos (Texans of Spanish or Mexican descent) created Tex-Mex cuisine in the 1880s. The popular American local cuisine is known for its heavy use of shredded cheese, spices, beans, and meat, all washed down with a cold margarita.
Some of the local restaurants where foodies can sample the best Tex-Mex include:
- Meso Maya - Enjoy fresh-made Pozole Rojo, Ceviche, and Mole Enchiladas.
- El Ranchito - Indulge in Cabrito Al Horno, Caldo De Res, and Mojarra Frita as the Mariachi band plays in the background.
- Pecan Lodge - This beloved barbeque restaurant is where you can indulge in house-made sides, perfectly smoked meats, and dessert.
- Mia's Tex-Mex Restaurant - This popular eatery has been serving up only the best Tex-Mex and barbecue since 1981.
- Gabriela and Sofia's Tex-Mex - This delicious cantina is where you can get your fix of margaritas and Tex-Mex favorites.
- If eating Tex-Mex doesn’t tickle your fancy, you may want to learn to love it as it permeates the Dallas culinary scene.
Covered Parking is Desirable
Whether you choose to buy, lease or rent a property in Dallas, having some sort of shelter for your car is beneficial. Don't wait to experience your first major hail storm like many newcomers. The hails in DFW can cause significant damage to your windshield within minutes.
Plus Dallas' humid subtropical climate means the summers are hot and humid while the winters are mild. If you choose to visit the mall in July and August when daytime temperatures are above 90°F, don't park outside where the sun is going to beam down on your vehicle.
By the time you return to your car, you'll probably find it sunburned and the inside of your vehicle as hot as an oven. Make sure you have great insurance with a low deductible for hair damage if you can't find a carport, garage, or similar covering.
Dallas Drivers are Terrible
When you move to Dallas, you will realize having a car is important as the city is big and spread out. The first thing you should do before taking the wheel is to familiarize yourself with the major arteries including I-30, I-635, and I-820. These freeways will be your lifeline whilst commuting in the area.
While Dallasites aren’t the worst drivers in the country, expect to encounter annoying drivers on the road. For example, some drivers won't think twice or even indicate before swerving onto a shoulder to maneuver a bottleneck or off-road onto a grassy median.
With that in mind, here are the general rules of driving in Dallas:
- Despite having speed traps in the city and various suburbs, school zones are the most likely places to get speeding tickets.
- To lower the fines, many areas in Dallas offer a variety of traffic and speeding ticket options such as safe driving classes and adjudication.
- Dallas drivers tend to be polite but can immediately lose their cool when other drivers drive below the speed limit.
- You will save money on tolls if you choose to buy a toll tag.
- Unless on rare occasions, honking is considered inappropriate and rude in Dallas.
- Avoid demonstrating aggression, rudeness, or flashing finger signals to other motorists. Though road rage is less apparent in Dallas than in other cities, people here may have guns.
Things to Do in Dallas
You will likely have a full calendar when you start living in Dallas, and every engagement will be worth it. Whether you're an outdoor aficionado, art enthusiast, foodie, music lover, urban explorer, or just a shopping junkie, Dallas has something for everyone!
The Dallas food scene is somewhat underrated with eateries and Chic cafés scattered around Trinity Groves and Bishop Arts in Deep Ellum. Restaurants throughout the city have Michelin Star-awarded chefs, and in recent years, the culinary growth of Dallas has piqued the interest of the James Beard Awards.
Every weekend offers foodies a variety of spots to enjoy brunch, and sports lovers have an array of options for enjoying a meal while cheering on their favorite team.
What's more, new restaurants and eateries are continuously opening in Dallas. Terry Black’s and Loro are Texas staples that recently opened spots in the city. East Coast favs such as Sadelle’s and Sweetgreen have also opened branches in Dallas. For lovers of craft beer and coffee, the entire Metroplex is dotted with a variety of roasters and breweries.
Where to Shop
Dallas has a great shopping scene where shopping enthusiasts can indulge in some retail therapy. The Farmer's market is the ideal place to pick up local produce, and handmade goods. Enjoy a shop-till-you-drop experience in Uptown as well as neighborhood shopping centers such as the Highland Park Village—the country's oldest shopping center. You can also break the bank at various stores and specialty boutiques.
Enjoy the Performing Arts
Theater buffs can take in a quality live show at the AT&T Performing Arts Center which plays host to a variety of theatre, opera, music, and dance shows. Everyone who enjoys cultural and entertainment programs will love the performances at Wichita Falls and House of Kell. You can also get your fix of local and national indie and pop acts at the South Side Music Hall.
Dallas museums offer a peek into notable figures in history, major historical events as well as innovations that influence the way we live. A stroll around the Dallas Arts District will reveal the Nasher Sculpture Center.
For visual arts, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Crow Museum of Asian Art feature a collection of local and international works spanning different styles, cultures, and times. You can even plan an entire trip around the educational with a fun tour of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
Whether you're a jazz or rock lover, or you simply want to unwind and dance, Dallas has it all. Enjoy great food and drinks along with live music at some of the best bars, pubs, and live music venues. Some of the local favorites include The Factory in Deep Ellum, the Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, and Southside Ballroom.
Watch a Game
Dallas sports fans will find plenty of sports to root for be it their college sports team or favorite professional team. Spectator sports fans should not overlook a trip to the American Airlines Center, home to the Dallas Stars and Mavericks. You can also catch NFL excitement in nearby Arlington, home to Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers.
As with any urban city, downtown Dallas doesn't offer much greenery to enjoy. However, plenty of wildlife and natural outdoor beauty abounds only a short drive from the city.
On weekends, outdoor aficionados flock to popular attractions including the Dallas Zoo, Klyde Warren Park, and Six Flags Over Texas. For those who enjoy natural escapes, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden host a popular summer concert series and several family-friendly events every year.
To learn more about Dallas's colorful past, history buffs should make a pit stop at the Dealey Plaza Hotel, not to stay in a hotel room, but to tour the sixth floor and learn about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Excursions to Dallas are incomplete without viewing the underwater world at the Dallas World Aquarium.
Where to Live in Dallas
The sub-cultures of each surrounding city make Dallas a great place to live. Singles, empty-nesters, young families, and retired people can all find a place that suits their lifestyle.
Researching the ideal neighborhood can be overwhelming, but with the help of our agents, navigating Dallas real estate is a breeze. We can assist you to find a community that is affordable while still enjoying the advantages of living in one of the best cities in the country.
Speaking of the best Dallas neighborhoods, here are five that stand out:
- Median Home Value - $480,665
- Median Rent - $1,770
- Crime Rate: Safer than 35% of Dallas neighborhoods
Located north of downtown, Uptown is Dallas' most walkable live-work-play community. A common spot for Dallas transplants, Uptown features a bustling food scene including cafes, bars, and nightclubs. Despite the scarcity of single-family homes, Uptown Dallas condos & townhomes abound. Though the median home value is on the higher end at $450,000 plus, the short commute may convince buyers to fork out the extra cash.
Daily commuters appreciate how it’s easy to commute in Uptown—the free McKinney Avenue Trolley dissects Uptown and connects to three major areas of the neighborhood. To access downtown, commuters can hop on the rail or bus service or make use of Highway 75. Direct access to the Katy Trail allows residents to walk, jog, or cycle on the paved trails. You can even make a pit stop at Katy Trail Ice House for some of the best burgers in the Big D.
2. Preston Hollow
- Median Home Value - $1,030,560
- Median Rent - $2,200
- Crime Rate - Safer than 32% of Dallas neighborhoods
Preston Hollow is situated near the North Dallas Tollway and Walnut Hill Lane. This neighborhood is approximately 15 to 20 minutes away from both Dallas Love Field Airport and Downtown Dallas.
Make your dream of owning a large lot in Preston Hollow real estate where buyers can choose a variety of housing styles, from ranch-style homes and Mid-Century Modern to large estates. You will also find some of the most magnificent mansions in Dallas in famous streets such as Inwood Road and Strait Lane.
Along with an array of shops and restaurants, Preston Hollow is well-known for being the neighborhood of choice for high-profile residents such as Ross Perot, Mark Cuban, and former President George W. Bush.
In addition, outstanding private schools like Ursuline Academy of Dallas and St. Mark's School of Texas are one of the main reasons many families choose to move to Preston Hollow. Along with a luxurious shopping center and great restaurants, there is no shortage of things to do in Preston Hollow.
3. Highland Park
- Median Home Value - $1,451,310
- Median Rent - $2,330
- Crime - Safer than 23% of U.S. Cities
Highland Park is an autonomous municipality that offers residents access to all the benefits of Dallas' living with far fewer shortcomings. Established in the 1980s, Highland Park is a wealthy commune with a small-town charm. Home to some of the best public schools in Texas, Highland Park attracts residents to its thriving avenues lined by large houses.
With 77% of the housing inventory consisting of detached, single-family homes, Highland Park real estate is fertile ground for buyers to find architect-designed contemporary homes. These homes include Texas Modern, Mid-Century, and Transitional Modern homes.
One of the highlights of living in Highland Park is the easy access to walking trails, and beautiful parks, complete with ponds, fountains, and tennis courts. Hackberry Creek and Turtle Creek are some of the neighborhood's best features that meander through the area.
A variety of restaurants seBiernat'serves up multiple cuisines including the iconic Al Biernet's, a Highland Park staple. You can even pack a picnic and visit the bear sculptures in Lakeside Park. In addition, Highland Park boasts the oldest outdoor mall in the U.S.—Highland Park Village, a great destination for shopping enthusiasts seeking designer labels and luxury items.
4. Deep Ellum
- Median Home Value - $188,850
- Median Rent - $1,385
- Crime Rate - Safer than 56% of Dallas Neighborhoods
Known as the “Live Music Capital of North Texas,” Deep Ellum is the go-to destination for entertainment and exciting nightlife. A great place to settle, many professionals and young adults are attracted to the area for its perfect balance of work, play as well as cultural diversity.
Named by Niche.com as one of the top neighborhoods in Dallas, Deep Ellum is the ideal location for anyone looking for a fulfilling cultural environment. Often described as eclectic and quirky, Deep Ellum real estate is centered on Elm Street which is lined by several homes for sale including chic luxurious condos and newly-renovated apartments and lofts.
Without a doubt, Deep Ellum is the coolest neighborhood in Dallas. It appeals to Dallasites with a more edgy, liberal vibe, and plenty of tattoos and dyed hair. Embrace the local culture at one of the many community events including the Deep Ellum Arts Festival.
The yearly event sums up the neighborhood’s alternate, artsy vibe with hundreds of art and food vendors. Whether you prefer all things jazz or love indie, residents can enjoy a variety of music styles from local musicians any day of the week.
5. Lake Highlands
- Median Home Value - $370,585
- Median Rent - $1,270
- Crime Rate - Safer than 38% of Dallas Neighborhoods
Do you desire a bit of old-town appeal in a more relaxed area? This location is ideal for buyers looking for a property near the suburbs of Dallas. Lake Highlands derives its name from its location set on a higher elevation over White Rock Lake.
A great place for first-time homebuyers, Lake Highlands real estate offers a wide variety of large estates, ranch-style single-family homes, as well as apartment complexes. Many of the single-story ranch homes and cottages are older homes built from the 1950s to the 1970s.
Highland Park offers the ideal destination for families and young professionals looking to settle down in Dallas, but still, have access to employment opportunities and great schools in the suburbs. Prized for its high safety rating, this locale boasts several recreation areas and nature spots. Outdoor aficionados appreciate the over 870 acres of biking trails and parks.
Best Dallas School Districts
Before buying a home you should consider moving to a neighborhood that feeds into the schools you would want your kids to attend. Dallas ticks the right boxes as it features an excellent public school system along with many top-rated schools for all grade levels.
Here are the top-five best school districts in DFW for 2022:
- #1 Highland Park Independent School District
- #2 Carroll Independent School District
- #3 Coppell Independent School District
- #4 Lovejoy Independent School District
- #5 Frisco Independent School District
Highland Park Independent School District
Established in 1914, the Highland Park Independent School District started with a four-room building on Cornell Avenue. It has since grown to become a leading school district in the U.S. comprising five elementary schools, one intermediate school, one middle school, and one high school.
With enrollment nearing 7,000 students, the district posts over 97% of graduates attending college. Additionally, Highland Park High School is a 12-times winner of the Lone Star Cup from the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL).
Carroll Independent School District
Located in the heart of the DFW Metroplex is Carroll ISD, a K-12 public school system. The 21-square mile district—one of the largest in Texas—comprises 11 schools that serve over 8,400 students. Having earned the top rating of "Exemplary" by the Texas Education Agency, the district along with its campuses have also met the federal guidelines for the "No Child Left Behind Act".
Boasting a 97% attendance rate and 0% dropout rate, Carroll ISD often scores above the state and national averages on assessments. The U.S. Department of Education has named five of CISD's schools National Blue Ribbon Schools. Meanwhile, Carroll ISD is a four-time winner of the coveted UIL Lone Star Cup.
Coppell Independent School District
Boasting a statewide reputation for educational excellence is Coppell Independent School District. The innovative and high-performing public school district serves more than 13,000 learners in several Dallas communities—Dallas (Cypress Waters), Coppell, Lewisville, Valley Ranch, and North Irving.
You will find the highest concentration of top-ranked public schools in the state in Coppell ISD. They include Coppell Middle North, Coppell Middle East, and Coppell Middle West. Meanwhile, the school district’s graduation rate of 98% has stayed relatively flat for over five years.
Lovejoy Independent School District
Founded in 1917, the Lovejoy Independent School District is located approximately 25 miles north of Dallas. Spanning over 17 square miles, the public school district boasts a convenient location in the rapidly growing region of central Collin County.
Lovejoy ISD operates three elementary schools, an intermediate school, a middle school, and a high school. With a student body of 4,200, learners who live in Allen, Fairview, Wylie, Lucas, and McKinney attend these schools.
Since its first senior class graduated in 2010, Lovejoy ISD has received several accolades which include:
- Winner of Texas State HEB Excellence in Education Award for school districts
- Ranked in the top one percent of over 1,200 school districts in performance in the state
- Has won the prominent UIL Lone Star Cup twice
- 2019 5A UIL Academic Champions
Frisco Independent School District
One of the fastest growing public school districts in both Texas and the country is Frisco Independent School District. With over 66,000 students and straddling 75 square miles, the district serves residents of both Colin and Denton counties including portions of Frisco, Plano, McKinney, and Little Elm. Frisco ISD has also been recognized for its youth-focused programs dedicated to health and education, as well as supporting and mentoring the youth.
Top-rated Schools in Dallas
According to a recent report, the Dallas Fort Worth area is home to eight of the state’s top 20 schools. They include:
- School for the Talented & Gifted – This Dallas School is ranked second overall in Texas
- School of Science and Engineering – This Dallas School is ranked third in the state
- Carroll Senior High School – Located in the Dallas suburb of Southlake, this is the sixth-best school in Texas
- Jasper High School – Located in Plano, one of Dallas’ best suburbs, this school is eleventh-best in Texas
For those looking to pursue higher education opportunities, Dallas is also home to several colleges and universities. It’s safe to say that Dallas prioritizes education and learning as it offers a choice of 30 institutions.
Furthermore, in-state tuition status allows Texas residents to further their studies at a top-rated school in the city. Some of the popular colleges and universities in Dallas include:
- Dallas Baptist University
- Southern Methodist University
- The University of Northern Texas
- The University of Texas at Dallas
- Texas A&M
Are you pondering whether it’s worth moving to Dallas? This is an important question to consider before you schedule your relocation or even get a job in the area. Whether you're moving interstate or cross country, you will have different reasons and expectations for relocating. If the advantages and disadvantages of the Big D align with your lifestyle, this city and its surrounding suburbs can be a great place to call home with the help of our agents.