What You Need to Know Before Moving to Dallas

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Dallas at a Glance 

The third-largest city in Texas but the biggest in style, Dallas is a city of swagger, sophistication and good spirits. In this business-centric city in north-central Texas, cowboy culture rides high in the saddle, monumentalized in places like Pioneer Plaza’s herd of 70 bronze steers and implied every day in the no-bull attitude of the city’s financial leaders. The city’s economy got its start in the cotton and oil industries, and the Big D is now the headquarters of 10 Fortune 500 companies in diverse industries, from finance to aviation. 

An estimated 1.3 million people call the city of Dallas home, but close to 2.2 million live in the greater Metroplex — the combined Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area. Like many large metropolises, the population within the city of Dallas has declined since the start of the pandemic — the population has fallen by 16,000 residents since 2020 — but Dallas has still maintained a net gain of 90,000 residents over the past twelve years.  

Compared to other big cities, Dallas residents have room to roam. The land area of Dallas is bigger than either New York City or Chicago, but the population density is a whiff of the Windy City’s and only a small bite of the Big Apple’s. 

Culturally, Dallas is no lightweight, either. With historical centers like the Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center — which commemorates one of the oldest African American communities in the county — to the annual Dallas Pride celebration, and dozens of museums, concerts and performance spaces, this Southern city has deep cultural capital. 

If you are looking for a Texas town where the temperatures sometimes run even hotter than the tempers, Dallas may be the city for you. Learn more about Dallas’ neighborhoods, cost of living, and cultural attractions below.  

Living in Dallas 

Dallas’ Cost of Living Is High, but…

Newcomers to the Dallas metro area will find that the cost of living in the city is something of a mixed bag — higher than most large cities in Texas, it’s also  above the U.S. average but not nearly as spendy as the coastal giants. Dallas’ median home value in 2021 was just $230,000 — $25,000 below the national average but $150,000 below Austin’s and way below prices in New York and L.A. The median gross rent in Dallas was $1,178 in 2021, only nominally different from Fort Worth’s and Houston’s. Residential real estate prices have swelled in recent months, but 2022 closed out on a downward trend with an average sale price of $375,000

As a business-first, right-to-work state, Texas is boastful about its tax policies, which some see as advantageous — there is no state income tax on individuals or corporations. However, Texas does levy a gross receipts tax on business and imposes a fairly high property tax (1.66%), as well.  

Note: We are not tax experts and are not offering tax advice, other than you should consider obtaining additional information and advice from your legal and/or financial advisers who are fully aware of your individual circumstances. 

Dallas Boasts a Strong Economy

The job market in the city remains as hot as the thermometers — unemployment levels stood at 3.9% in March 2023, and the non-farm civilian labor force had grown by 5.1% over the prior year — a gain of over 200,000 jobs. Job growth was strongest in the miscellaneous services sector (+8%), followed by education and health services (+7.0%), leisure and hospitality (+6.5%) and mining, logging and construction (+6.5%).  

Within these super sectors, the Dallas area supports a wide range of industries, including energy, technology, aviation and aerospace and manufacturing companies. The city is the headquarters of AT&T, Southwest Airlines and eight other Fortune 500 companies. Tech colossus Texas Instruments calls the Dallas Metroplex its homebase, as do Neiman-Marcus, American Airlines, Vistra Energy and — last but not least — global absorbency giant Kimberly-Clark.

No industry employs more Dallas residents than the office & administrative support sector, which supplies jobs for 559,838 people. The transportation and material moving industry supports 430,931, sales employs 426,319, food preparation and serving has 318,167, and management a robust 309,690 positions.  

The highest median wage in the Dallas area is earned by computer and information systems managers, who take home a cool $159,024, followed by financial managers, database/network admins, and software/web developers and programmers. 

Healthcare practitioners and technicians earn a slightly higher median wage in Dallas than their national counterparts, with a salary of $72,119 in the DFW Metroplex, compared with a U.S. rate of $69,874. But healthcare support workers are another matter: Their earnings total only $28,546 a year — 5% less than their national counterparts.  

Be Ready for Hot Summers in Dallas 

If you’ve ever bitten directly into a piece of chicken — fresh from the fryer — you’ll have some understanding of the heat in Dallas. The fried chicken is cooler, but both the city and the bird are equally steamy.  

Dallas summers easily last five months, and you can expect an average of 20 days a year with a high over 100 F. Lows average around 75 F and highs average 95 F. The high temperatures in this north central Texas city are thanks to the climate of the southern Great Plains, which also keeps the area a bit drier than its coastal neighbor to the southeast, Houston, which sends all of its humidity from the Gulf of Mexico to Dallas, C.O.D. 

Most Dallas days are sunny and breezy, but the city does receive a decent amount of rainfall. Every drop of those 37 annual inches is welcomed by the city’s overheated citizens, even when they arrive with afternoon thunderstorms.  

Winters in Dallas feel like springtime in most cities, with highs often reaching the 60s F, lows seldom falling below 35 F and snow a rare, magical sight.  

Commute Is not so Bad in Dallas 

If you’ll be commuting to work by car in Dallas, as many DFW Metroplex residents do, you’ll be cheered to know that your average drive time — 27 minutes — will be shorter than many major cities, including LA, Atlanta and Chicago, which has the second-worst traffic in the world. But Dallas is still a part of the fourth-largest metro area in the country, and avoiding navigating the three local interstates by car can save you time, money and a lot of hassle.  

Each day, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) moves 220,000 passengers around the 700-square-mile region on dozens of buses along with 163 trains on 93 miles of track — the city has the longest light rail system in the nation. One of the coolest ways to get around the downtown neighborhoods is on the historic McKinney Avenue Trolley — the M-Line — whose vintage cars are whimsically named things like Betty, Petunia and Green Dragon.  

Business travelers who commute to other cities for work can rejoice that one of the country’s favorite destinations to change planes is now their home base. Dallas has two major airports. DFW International is the larger of the two facilities and is located 23 miles outside the city. Dallas Love Field — Southwest’s home base — is only seven miles from the city but is served by fewer carriers.  

Popular Neighborhoods in Dallas 

If you move to Dallas, you won’t be moving to just a single city — you’ll be relocating to a vibrant and diverse array of neighborhoods, each with its own history and vibe. There’s the entertainment district of Trinity Groves, where you’ll find casual-cool restaurants and retail nestled around the iconic Margret Hunt Hill Bridge. In the glitzy Dallas Design District, you’ll find art galleries, bespoke clothiers, interior showrooms and swanky bars. Old East Dallas is something of an urban oasis, situated around White Rock Lake Park and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Homes near the lake can be quite pricey, but you can find more affordable dwellings in nearby areas like Casa Linda. 

If you want a prime experience of city life every time you leave your house, Uptown may be the district you’re looking for. With the eight unique areas within this lively neighborhood, you can find the right vibe for any night of the week, whether it’s a movie night in the West Village, boutique-hopping in Routh-South, or a fancy business dinner in The Pearl. Homes in this dense urban area average $555,000, and most residents are high-earning professionals who have not started families of their own. The area is served by high-ranking public schools, including some with subject specialties, like arts and sciences.  

Growing families looking to escape some of the hassles of city life flock to the suburban community of Preston Highlands, located in Frisco (Collin County). This area has spacious, new homes and all the conveniences you could ask for — closet space, open floor plans and easy access to Starbucks and the highways. The average home value in this area is $550,000, and the neighborhood is in the Plano School District, which is considered a plus by some families.   

Another popular northern suburb is Campbell Green, which offers an easier 17-mile commute to the city. One of the biggest draws to this affluent area is Campbell Green Park — the splashpads are an especially popular diversion during Dallas’ long summer days. There are also tennis courts and trails, as well as pickleball courts. Homes here are a bit less expensive than Preston Highlands, but at $457,208, still high above the city averages. Crime in this district is low and public schools are highly ranked.  

In the Far North suburb of Prestonwood, residents enjoy access to two major natural attractions: the Lake Lewisville recreation area and the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. This multi-generational district in the Plano area has top-ranked public schools and upscale residences encircling the neighborhood country club. The average home in Prestonwood is valued at $463,000, and the area is situated just off the tollway near the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano.  

Before you move, we encourage you to thoroughly research neighborhoods in Dallas to see which one has the right amenities and resources for your family, including the area’s commute time, tax rates, cost of living, safety statistics and schools. 

Settle in and Explore Dallas City 

Everyone knows that Dallas is a booming town for business, but when they’re off the clock, Dallas residents definitely know how to have a good time. Whether that’s line dancing at the Round-Up Saloon, watching Texas’ wildest riders compete in rodeos at the Cowtown Coliseum or watching Andrea Bocelli perform at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. 

Dallas is, of course, a sports town — or really, it’s a football town that also tolerates the playing of other professional sports. The Dallas Cowboys have had a storied history, from the 1967 Ice Bowl, where the Packers leveraged their clear climactic advantage, to the team’s five Super Bowl wins. The other pro teams in the city include the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Wings (basketball), the resident rugby team the Dallas Jackals, the FC Dallas — the area soccer team — and the Dallas Stars, the city’s NHL players.  

There are oodles of fun things to do with the kiddos in the city. The Dallas World Aquarium has an amazing range of exhibits, from the gentle manatees who greet you on the first-floor, freshwater river exhibit to the exotic creatures of the rainforest who reside in their third-floor aviary in the Cloud Forest Trek. Have a bite in the Aquarium’s Café Maya afterwards, where you’ll have a prime view of the shark tunnel. Budding naturalists will love visiting the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, where they can touch a tornado and see the dazzling “Grape Jelly” amethyst geode. If you go on the museum’s paleo scavenger hunt, you’ll might find the skeletons of the lizard-like Tenontosaurus, the seafaring Tylosaurus and a Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum, or “Perot dinosaur,” which was discovered by the museum’s own paleontologists. Based on this Perot dino’s expressive grin, he certainly appears to have the same gift of gab as his namesake, but his comments might have been considerably more biting.  

If art is your jam, you will feel right at home in this creative city. The Dallas Arts District encompasses nearly 70 acres — the largest contiguous space of its kind in the nation. Within this 20-block arts enclave, you can spend a night in the HALL Arts Hotel, stroll the grounds of the Nasher Sculpture Center to see works by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Magdalena Abakanowicz and Richard Serra, and explore the 25,000-work collection of the Dallas Museum of Art. Other sites of interest include the Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Winspear Opera House and the Wyly Theatre. Outside the district, there are lots of commercial and artist-run gallery spaces throughout the city, which is a great way to get acquainted with contemporary artists from the area and beyond.  

When it’s time to eat, Dallas certainly knows how to set the table. Al fresco dining rules in this warm-weather haven, whether you’re looking for authentic Texas barbeque, burgers or Tex-Mex. Off the Bone is one of our favorite spots in D-Town—their pecan smoked baby back ribs alone might be are worth moving to the city for.  

If you’re on the hunt for taquerias, El Come Taco will transport you to Mexico City one tortilla at a time. Their street-style traditional with tripa, lengua, cabeza and sesos (that’s tripe, tongue, cow head and veal brains) are expertly prepared alongside less adventuresome (but no less delicious) favorites, like the Gringas, made with pork, melted cheese and pineapple.  

Okay, but where do you go in Dallas if you don’t eat meat? Where else but Belse? Lots of Dallas menus offer plant-based plates, but this exclusively vegan restaurant will make you forget you ever needed another protein. Their patty melt is especially convincing, but the tomato and cactus soup and sweet potato empanadas are delicious on their own terms. 

If you want to beat the heat, meet up with friends at Apothecary, a dark and atmospheric lounge with inventive elixirs that run from the botanical to the savory. The buzzy 20th Century Fennel is a pollen-dusted concoction combining anise-infused gin with white cacao, lemon and vermouth, while the Pekin Tom blends duck confit-washed bourbon with a tea-infused peach liqueur, topped off with absinthe and a whiff of peach smoke.  

Relocating to Dallas? Let Mayflower Help You 

When you’re ready to move to Dallas, you can trust Mayflower’s team of movers to help you relocate from anywhere in the U.S. Whether you’re moving locally in Texas or moving long-distance, Mayflower can help simplify your move to Dallas. When you move with Mayflower, the Mayflower Move Portal keeps all the details about your upcoming move organized and at the ready. 

Are you moving cross country to Dallas? Mayflower’s trusted team of long-distance movers can help you move from anywhere in the United States. We offer custom moving packages and provide full-service moving services to Dallas. 

Searching for local movers in Dallas? We can help! Mayflower’s Dallas Movers perform local moves in the state of Texas independently under their own brands and business names.  

Are you handling your own move to Dallas? Check out Mayflower’s moving checklists and packing tips — perfect for the DIY mover. 

Curious about other cities in the Lone Star State? Check out our guide to moving to Texas to learn more about popular suburbs, destinations across the state, and local insights on settling into your new home. 

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