Located in the northeast corner of the state, Dallas is where western and southern cultures collide to make a city that is uniquely Texan. If you’re picturing big hair and cowboy hats, you’re not completely off base, but this cosmopolitan city has a lot more to it than just its stereotypes. Home to three major sports teams (the Mavs, the Stars, and, of course, the Cowboys), a slew of performing arts centers, and a plethora of cultural and art museums, Dallas has no shortage of entertainment opportunities. To pay for all that fun, you’ll be happy to find that job prospects in Dallas are diverse and ample. Thriving industries include defense, life sciences, telecommunications, IT, and financial services. Plus, the cost of living in Dallas is still much more affordable than other cities of its size.
Yes, there’s lots to love about the Big D, but if you’re moving here for the first time, you probably have loads of questions about your new hometown. Below we’ll give you an overview of what you need to know about this bustling city, from info on schools and universities to tips on where to live. In addition to all the pertinent information to plan your move, Great Guys also helps you find the top moving services in Dallas, to make your upcoming move seamless and stress-free! Request free moving quotes from licensed moving companies now!
Living in Dallas: What to Know Before Moving to Dallas, TX
What is life like in the Big D? Find out what you need to know about everything from the cost of living to what to do on the weekends below:
Quality of Life
Dallas is a cultural hotbed for the state of Texas. It’s rich history as a cattle hub, a trading point between the west and the south, and now a modern tech-city give it a perfect mix of old-west charm, southern hospitality, and modern arts and culture. According to U.S. News and World Report Dallas ranks #21 in its list of best U.S. cities in which to live. On that list, it beats out other comparable cities such as Phoenix, Boston, and both of its other large Texan counterparts, San Antonio and Houston. The city also boasts a better cost-of-living value than many other cities of comparable size.
Of course, Dallas is only one half of the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area. The area’s cowboy heritage is on full display in Fort Worth side of the metro area, while Dallas attracts a more cosmopolitan crowd. In the heart of the city, you’ll find many young professionals living and working, while the suburbs boast a quiet, almost small-town feel. Regardless of where you put down roots in the Big D, you’ll find there’s still the time-honored Texas tradition of Friday night high-school football all over town.
One of the best perks of living in the Lone Star State is the lack of income taxes. That’s right, here, you only need to pay property and sales tax. Across Dallas County, the average property tax rate is 2.173%, which is almost an entire percentage point higher than the national average of 1.211%. For comparison’s sake, the property tax on a home valued at $250,000 in Dallas would be approximately $5433, while the comparable bill based on the national average would only come out to $3028. The base sales tax rate across the state is 6.25%, but after you factor in the local sales tax amount, the sales tax rate in Dallas is 8.25%.
The average home price sits a bit above the national average at around $248,000. The good news is, the Dallas real estate market is strong and appreciating quickly. So, if you’re planning on buying a home there soon, you could see a decent return on your home investment in just a few years. If you plan on renting like 50.7% of Dallas residents, you can expect an average rent of around $1,022/month.
Cost of Living
According to bestplaces.net, the cost of living in Dallas is slightly higher than the average cost of living across the rest of the state and nationwide. While you will find savings in groceries, healthcare, and utilities, expect to pay slightly more than the average American for transportation and housing.
A family of four, with two adults and two kids, can budget around $6300 a month to cover housing, food, childcare, transportation, healthcare, taxes, and other necessities. While the cost of these essentials comes out to about $75,000 a year, the median income is $51,000 a year, so the typical family with two working parents can reasonably bring home enough to cover its annual spending.
Climate and Weather
Dallas is in Texas, which means the weather is volatile. It can change at any moment, and the city is home to some of the most awesome thunderstorms in the world. As a rule, however, the climate in Dallas is warm and pleasant. The city rarely if ever receives any snow, and the rainfall is on par with the national average. Dallas residents enjoy an average of 234 days of sunshine a year – higher than the national average – and higher average temperatures in both summer and winter than the national average. If you’re a fan of warm temperatures, sunshine, but also awesome weather events – particularly lightning and tornadoes, then Dallas is the city for you.
Economy and Job Prospects
Dallas is a thriving center for many industries which are key to the Midwestern economy, including the energy, healthcare, airline, engineering, petroleum, finance, and agriculture sectors. In 2017, Fortune magazine rated the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area as having one of the highest concentrations of headquarters for publicly-traded corporations in the United States. These major companies include AT&T, Southwest Airlines, Texas Instruments, and Dean Foods. No matter what type of work you’re seeking, you’ll find that Dallas has jobs in nearly every career field. The city also enjoys a low unemployment rate of just 3.5%.
Traffic and Transportation
Dallas sits along the I-35 corridor – a massive interstate that stretches from Laredo, TX in the south to Duluth, MN in the north. Approaching the DFW metro area, the interstate splits into I-35W and I-35E. I-35E connects Dallas with the cities of Austin and San Antonio and is notorious for heavy traffic and plentiful delays. Dallas commuters can take a short 45-minute drive on the east-west interstates, I-20 or I-30 to get to neighboring Fort Worth. These roads also have exits for Grand Prairie, Euless, Irving, and Arlington. Dallas is also served by Interstate 45, which you can take to get to Houston. Loop 12 encircles the inner city, giving drivers access to stops like the Dallas Arboretum, the Dallas Love Field Airport (home to Southwest Airlines), and the Dallas National Golf Club. The outer loop, partially formed by Interstate 635, is routinely taken by drivers looking to skirt around downtown.
Though you’ll likely want to have a car when living here, Dallas does have some public transportation options. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) operates the bus system as well as a light rail system that gets riders around Dallas and out to many of the suburbs. If you carpool, you can qualify to ride in the HOV lane, which will save you substantial time in rush hour traffic. And, though certain neighborhoods, like Oak Lawn and Henderson, are very pedestrian-friendly, Dallas, as a whole, scores low in terms of walkability, getting just a 46/100 from Walk Score.
What to Do
The Big D is big on fun and entertainment. Here’s an overview of all the exciting things to do in your new city:
Dallas Nightlife and Activities
Dallas has something for everyone when it comes to nightlife. From ultra-exclusive clubs and balls to down and dirty dive bars, the fine city of Dallas has you covered. There are plenty of cocktail lounges for sophisticated meetings and rendezvous, while a myriad of nightclubs awaits with music ranging from electronica and hip-hop to down-home Texas blues and country. And if drinking isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy yourself.
Dallas boasts many museums, parks, and other recreational opportunities. Local favorites include the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, The Sixth Floor Museum/Texas School Book Depository, The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and Klyde Warren Park.
In terms of outside fun, one of the major attractions in Dallas for outdoor enthusiasts is White Rock Lake. The lake is part of the Dallas city park system and contains nearly 10 miles of hiking and bike trails. Abutting the Arboretum, the park also includes a dog park, picnic area, and boat ramps.
Just outside the city, you’ll find numerous state parks and lakes which provide plenty of opportunities for hunters, hikers, anglers, cyclists and off-road vehicle enthusiasts to enjoy the natural beauty of the wide-open Texas landscape.
Dallas is home to some of the most iconic teams in sports – no matter which sport you love. The Dallas Cowboys, widely revered as “America’s team,” always put on a good show. Basketball Fans can watch the Mavericks, owned by billionaire Mark Cuban, while hockey fans can enjoy the Stars’ home games. Soccer enthusiasts can go nuts at FC Dallas matches, while baseball fans can cheer on the Texas Rangers in Arlington.
Theater, Arts, and Culture
Fans of the fine arts won’t find a lack of events to attend in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area. From ballet, symphony and opera to world-class art galleries and museums, Dallas delivers. Of course, since Dallas is the cosmopolitan heart of Texas, you’ll find everything from trendy modern art, fine cuisine, historical museums, and just about any live music your heart desires. You’ll also find plenty of down-home Texas charm with barbeque joints, historical storefronts, and sawdust-on-the-floor pool halls.
Schools and Universities
Most of Dallas proper is within the bounds of the Dallas Independent School District. DISD operates 230 schools that serve nearly 155,000 students in grades K-12. Some of the most notable schools in the District, such as The School for the Talented and Gifted and the Science and Engineering Magnet school, consistently rank as some of the top public schools in the country.
If you’re looking to further your education, the Dallas metro, with its 38 four-year colleges and universities, is the place to do it. Within city limits, you’ll find Texas Woman’s University, Dallas Baptist University, Dallas Theological Seminary, and UT Southwestern Medical School. Southern Methodist University, UT Dallas, and Texas Christian University are other well-known schools in the area.
According to bestplaces.net, Dallas ranks worse in terms of both violent and property crimes than the U.S. average. However, crime rates across the Dallas metro area are on par with the rest of the country. Violent crimes are most rampant in Dallas proper, except for the prestigious University Park and Highland Park neighborhoods. Looking for somewhere safe to call home? Set your sights on the tony suburbs of Plano, Grapevine or Carrollton.
Trust us, it’s a lot easier to move in when the lights are on, and the water’s running. Be sure to schedule turn-on of important utility services before your move-in date. Here’s an overview of the city’s primary providers:
- Electricity: Unlike some other parts of the state, the electric service in most areas of Dallas is deregulated, which means you get to choose your provider (and find the most competitive rate). Search for providers by zip code on org, the website for the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
- Gas: Atmos Energy provides gas to most of the metro area. To start service, you can call 888-286-6700 or visit their website and click the “New Customer” button on the homepage.
- Water and Garbage Collection: The City of Dallas operates the water utility and handles trash pick-up. To start water service, visit com. The city offers three sizes of recycling and garbage roll carts for residents, and trash is collected once a week. If your new residence doesn’t come with these carts, you can order new ones by dialing 3-1-1.
- Internet and Cable: There are several internet and cable providers in the Dallas area, but the primary ones are Spectrum, AT&T, Dish Network + Windstream, and Cable ONE.
Best Neighborhoods in Dallas, TX
When choosing a list neighborhood in the Dallas metro area, there are several factors to consider. Among these are safety, median home price, schools, available activities, population density, and whether the neighborhood is family-friendly. After looking at data from several sources, we’ve compiled a list of ten of the best neighborhoods in Dallas.
Located in Plano, with around 5700 residents, Timberbrook scores very highly on several of our metrics. The neighborhood is great for families, with excellent schools, many parks, and plenty of suburban charm. It’s also an area where most people can feel relatively safe, and its crime rate is about a third of the state’s average. Timberbrook’s population has a higher average age than some of the other neighborhoods we profiled (51), but there are still plenty of activities in the area for younger couples and families. In terms of politics, residents in Timberbrook are reported to be moderate.
The typical commute from Timberbrook to downtown Dallas is around 40 minutes, so even if your employer’s in the city, you’re not too far away. If you’re a looking for a quiet suburban feel just a short drive from the bustling activity of one of Texas’ – and America’s – greatest cities, then Timberbrook is a great place for you.
Built around Southern Methodist University, this neighborhood is rife with amazing architecture and charm. Moving west from the University, however, provides residents with a Rockwellian picture of the ideal American small town. There’s a real sense of community in the neighborhood. “Boulevarding” during SMU football season is a favorite local tradition, and – let’s face it – if you’re moving to Texas and you weren’t a football fan before, you will be soon.
University Park is close to two major freeways leading into downtown but getting to the city without using them is easily done. The neighborhood boasts many popular attractions, such as Snider Plaza – a fantastic town square with a lot of one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants. It’s also home to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, and the Holmes Aquatic Center. The schools near University Park are highly rated, and the crime rate is much lower than Timberbrook, which is already much lower than the rest of the state.
Technically in Dallas, but knocking on Plano’s door, Preston Highlands boasts a younger demographic than that of nearby Timberbrook, while still claiming the highly-rated Plano schools and relatively low crime statistics for the area. Described as an ideal neighborhood for upwardly mobile families, Preston Highlands offers easy access to many local freeways. The typical commute for most families in the area is around 25 minutes.
A mostly white-collar neighborhood, Preston Highlands has a median household income of around $115,000. The average home costs roughly $333,000, and over 85% of the houses in the neighborhood are detached single-family units. Most residents love the fact that the neighborhood sits just minutes from the suburban shops and setting of Plano while still being close enough to downtown Dallas to enjoy the city’s action.
This affluent North Dallas neighborhood is incorporated and has a population of around 9,000. The city itself is extremely proud of its transparent government, as well as its proximity to downtown Dallas (only 3 miles). The residents of Highland Park earn on average around $165,000 per year, per household, and the town has some of the best schools and lowest crime in the Dallas metro area. The small-town charm, great schools, and low crime rate come at a cost, however, of over $1,000,000 per home, on average.
One of the things locals love the most about the Highland Park neighborhood is the annual lighting of the “Big Pecan Tree” at Christmas time. It’s a beloved tradition that goes back to 1927 and is the oldest tree lighting ceremony in Dallas County.
Canyon Creek South
Located in Richardson, Canyon Creek South is one of the most highly rated neighborhoods in Dallas County. Though it’s closer to downtown than Timberbrook or Preston Highlands, it still maintains a suburban feel. The schools in the area are all highly rated, though many residents in this community are either retired or older. The median home value in Canyon Creek South is around $350,000, and most residents own their homes. Residents tend to lean politically conservative.
Canyon Creek South is home to many parks, shops, and restaurants, so there’s plenty to do for nearly everyone. The neighborhood is also one of Dallas’ safest, with a staggeringly low crime rate. With its proximity to downtown, easy access to Interstate 75, and great suburban feel, it’s not hard to see why Canyon Creek South is one of Dallas’ most popular places to live.
Just west of University Park sits Bluffview, one of Dallas’ other favorite neighborhoods. This part of the city is home to former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and musician Don Henley. The real estate is pricy, with the average home value listed at around $625,000. However, the median household income in the area is only around $64,000. Still, of the neighborhood’s 4600 residents, well over two-thirds own their homes.
Though property crime in this neighborhood is a bit higher than some others we’ve profiled so far, Bluffview residents still find that violent crime rates are well below average, for both the state and the nation. While there are a few good schools around the area, families with school-aged children might do better in one of the other neighborhoods we’ve profiled.
Clear Spring Place
So far most of the neighborhoods we’ve profiled should be described as suburban. That is not the case with Clear Spring Place. Located in Richardson, the neighborhood offers an urban feel and has many young professionals. The schools near Clear Spring Place are highly rated, and the crime rate is one of the lowest in Dallas County.
The average home in Clear Springs Place costs less than the other neighborhoods we’ve profiled, at around $240,000. A higher percentage (39%) of Clear Spring Place residents rent rather than own, however, so we’ll include the median rent as well, which is nearly $1375 per month. Residents tend to be well-educated, lean left politically, and earn an average of about $90,000 household income per year.
With over 30,000 residents, Oak Lawn is one of the largest areas of Dallas we’re profiling here. Oak Lawn has long been hailed as the cultural hub for Dallas’ LGBTQ community and is still home to Dallas’ annual Pride Parade down Cedar Springs Road. Though the community has a thriving nightlife and urban feel to it, many quieter areas within the neighborhood are great for people who want to be near, but not right in the middle of the action.
Most Oak Lawn residents rent rather than own, and the average monthly rent is about $1350. The median home value in Oak Lawn is just under $200,000, and the median household income is just below $60,000. Compared to other neighborhoods we’ve profiled on this list, the crime and school statistics for Oak Lawn are worse, but this neighborhood is more about urban living than families and suburban feel.
Canyon Creek North
Like its southern sister neighborhood, Canyon Creek North is in Richardson. In contrast to Canyon Creek South, however, the north end has a lower median home value at just over $290,000 and a higher percentage of renters. Still, the neighbors in Canyon Creek North enjoy A+ ratings on public schools and family living.
The neighborhood has a suburban feel to it, and there are many nearby restaurants, shops, and other things to do. Also like its southern counterpart, Canyon Creek North’s proximity to downtown Dallas – while still being in Richardson – makes it an attractive option for many families.
Though its population is nearly half of that of Oak Lawn’s, Preston Hollow still offers one of the best suburban feeling neighborhoods in North Dallas. The ratio of homeowners to renters is about 70/30, respectively. Though the median home value in Preston Hollow is nearly $800,000, at just under $1000 per month, the average rent is lower than in other neighborhoods like Oak Lawn and Clear Spring Place
Preston Hollow is a mostly white-collar community, and the median household income is $120,000. Still, the neighborhood has lower-rated schools and a higher crime rate than many of the other neighborhoods on our list. Despite that, however, residents love the easy access to downtown, along with the beautiful architecture and estates on Strait Lane.
Many of Dallas’ best neighborhoods are on the north side of town. In Timberbrook, Canyon Creek South and North, and Preston Hollow, you can find charming suburban American life that’s only a short commute away from the heart of the city. Other neighborhoods like Oak Lawn and University Park put you right in the heart of the action and are perfect for younger couples or professionals looking to enjoy all that Dallas’ urban lifestyle has to offer. Whichever neighborhood is right for you, make sure you check out our moving services and don’t forget to use our “Moving to Dallas Checklist” to make sure your move to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area is worry and hassle-free.
How to Move to Dallas – Interstate Moving Checklist
Stressed about your upcoming move? Keep things going smoothly with this helpful relocation checklist:
1. Start with scheduling
Schedule and plan your move at least six weeks in advance (preferably longer) to allow for ample time to deal with any possible hiccups that might happen along the way. Giving yourself up to two-three months is advised, but six weeks should still give you enough time to fix problems as they arise in advance of moving day.
Now is the best time to start looking for movers. You can quickly compare rates on moving services to Dallas using the “Get Quote” button. We’ll take your info and provide you with moving estimates from licensed interstate movers that serve the Dallas area.
2. Organize your packing and get started
We recommend organizing your packing by room and getting several sizes of boxes for each room. Once you’re ready to start packing, follow these tips:
- Don’t mix items from one room in the box for another room. Keeping things from each room together will speed up the unpacking process.
- Make good use of those Sharpies and label makers. Each box should have a logical label identifying its room and contents. Furthermore, BE SURE to label boxes with fragile items in them. For valuable crystal or fine China, use packing material other than newspaper as the print may damage the items.
- While supermarket boxes might seem like an attractive option because they’re free, they’re generally weaker boxes and should be avoided – especially for items of value.
- Empty and remove all drawers from dressers and such. Remove excess pieces from furniture to facilitate easier loading and unloading (i.e., couch feet, etc.), but be sure to keep loose parts with the original piece of furniture.
- Do not wait until the last minute. Get started packing as soon as you have your move scheduled.
3. Start getting your affairs in order
Once you plan the logistics of your move, you’ll want to take care of the following as soon as possible.
- First, ensure your finances are in order – this means taking care of switching bank accounts if necessary, ensuring you pay bills, and that all other financial matters are in order.
- Next, arrange for any special care items you’ll be moving. These can be anything from pets and livestock, to flammable or controlled items, or guns and ammunition.
- After that, you’ll want to arrange for the transfer of your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy.
- Consider hiring a cleaning service if the packing and other tasks are too daunting by themselves.
4. One week before the move
Within a week of your scheduled move date, you should have your financial and insurance affairs in order, as well as your travel plans for pets and specialty items. Once those things are taken care of, you’ll want to:
- Arrange for babysitters or pet sitters for the day of the move (for everyone’s safety when using a moving crew).
- Make sure you transfer any prescriptions to a new Dallas pharmacy.
- Cancel subscription services to the old address and set up delivery to the new address.
- Dispose of any hazardous materials on the property, and make sure you drain all yard implements such as mowers and weed eaters of gasoline and oil before moving day.
- Make a “trip-kit” for the car during the move. This kit should include emergency and first aid gear, as well as extra blankets, water, child care items, pet care items, personal electronics, cash, checkbook, cards, and anything else you’ll need during the trip.
5. The day before the move
Unplug and defrost freezers and refrigerators. Clean and disinfect them and use baking soda to keep them fresh for the new owners/tenants. Make sure all cables are unplugged from large electronics to make re-installation easier. Keep cables with any appliances you’re taking with you and be sure to label anything that shouldn’t go on the moving truck.
6. Moving day – moving out
Make sure the children and pets are either out of the house or in a safe place while the movers are at work. Dismantle beds, so they are ready to move (keep the hardware taped to these in a plastic bag). Make sure that you are on site so that you can answer any questions for the movers as they work. Finish up any last cleaning, then get ready to hit the road!
7. Moving day – moving in:
Have an idea or a solid plan of where you want all the furniture in your new house to go. The more organized you can be (use color coding, room numbering, etc.) the more smoothly things will go when it’s time to move in. Again, you’ll want to be on site to answer any questions and help direct the movers. Once the movers finish, it’s up to you to make your new place home!
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For help getting started on your move to the Big D, contact Great Guys Moving. Getting moving quotes is always free, plus we only work with licensed and insured Dallas moving companies, to ensure you have the best move possible at an affordable rate! Click “Get Quote” to get started.