Are you looking to escape the cold wind and even colder winters of Chicago? Considering the sun & freedom of the Lonestar State? Moving from Chicago to Dallas might be the perfect move! City living in Illinois has its benefits, but if you’re looking for year-round sunny days, excellent schools, fantastic opportunities, and affordable living, the city of Dallas is a great pick. We do things a little differently here – it’s all about big living. If that sounds appealing, take the time to check out this guide to making your interstate relocation as smooth as possible.

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What to Know About Moving from Chicago to Dallas

At about a thousand miles, the distance from Chicago to Dallas makes moving no small feat. To help you prepare for the big relocation, check out the following key factors you should consider.

Taxes

Taxation – not exactly a fun topic. The good news is that the state of Texas does not collect personal income taxes. Yes, this is a huge reprieve from Illinois’s 4.95% tax on income. More money in your pocket! You can expect to pay slightly less on property taxes as well. Based on an assessed home value of $250,000, the average county property tax rate in Dallas is currently 1.992% or just under $5,000 annually (by comparison, the average property tax rate in Cook County is 2.009%). As for sales tax rates, Dallas has a minimum combined tax rate of 8.25%. That beats Chicago’s higher rate of 10.25%.

Economy and Job Growth

As a thriving hub for industries like energy, finance, agriculture, healthcare, airlines, and more, Dallas presents a multitude of opportunities for job seekers. Looking at unemployment, the City of Dallas (as of the beginning of 2020) had an unemployment rate of 3.6% versus Chicago’s rate of 4.4%. As for future job growth, Dallas is expected to see a phenomenal growth rate of 41.6% over the next ten years. In contrast, Chicago is projected to have a future job growth rate of just 25.7% over the same period.

Weather and Climate

Climate is one of the top reasons why a lot of people head south to Texas. Those escaping frigid Midwest winters can look forward to a winter low of 36°F (compared to a much colder 19°F in Chi-Town), summer high of 95°F, 39 inches of rain, only one inch of snow (compared to 35 inches up north), and 235 sunny days (which is 45 more days of sunshine than you’ll find in Chicago). You can look forward to basking in that Texas sun!

Geography

As you know, Chicago sits in the northern portion of Illinois, along the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan on a flat plain. Dallas, on the other hand, lies about 250 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. The North Central Texas city is relatively flat with some hills. While you’ll lose access to Great Lakes, the Dallas area does enjoy a high concentration of manmade lakes for recreational fun. 

Housing and Cost of Living

When it comes to the overall cost of living, both cities are similar. Dallas has a cost of living index of 101.6, whereas Chicago has a slightly higher index of 106.9. Living in either city is just slightly more expensive than the US average index of 100. These indexes consider the cost of groceries, healthcare, housing, median home cost, utilities, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. As for home values, Dallas has a median list price of $365,000. Chicago homes have a slightly lower median list price of $329,000. Both cities are relatively affordable for major metro areas.

Things to Do

There’s so much fun stuff to do in Dallas! Let’s separate into a few categories. When it comes to nightlife, there is an endless list from charming dive bars to classy balls. The city is home to many parks and museums, including Klyde Warren Park, the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, and the Perot Museum of Nature & Science. Into outdoor activities? White Rock Lake is a massive draw for those interested in urban kayaking or paddleboarding. And, if you’re a sports fan, this is the place to be! The Dallas metro area is home to the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Mavericks (NBA), the Stars (NHL), FC Dallas (MLS), and Texas Rangers (MLB).

Educational Opportunities

So, who wins out in education between Dallas and Chicago? When it comes to being the most educated cities in America, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area comes in #72 in the US, while Chicago ranks #30. 

When it comes to K–12 schools, however, the City of Dallas has some exceptional public and private schools. The Dallas Independent School District enrolls over 150,000 students across its 238 campuses. While the district does have some standout schools, like the Harry Stone Montessori Academy and Lakewood Elementary School (both rated 10/10 on greatschools.org), only 27% of the campuses rate as above average when compared to the rest of the state. If quality PK-12 education is essential to your family, you may want to explore living in a neighborhood zoned for either the Highland Park Independent School District or the Plano Independent School District. Most schools in both of these districts rate as above average. 

The best colleges and universities in Dallas TX include Southern Methodist University (ranked #64 in the country), Dallas Baptist University (#281), Texas Woman’s University, University of North Texas – Dallas, UT Southwestern Medical School, Dallas Theological Seminary, and Wade College.

Culture, Diversity, and Demographics

This section is an interesting one. Which city would you guess is more diverse? According to WalletHub’s ranking of the most culturally diverse cities in the United States, it’s actually pretty close! Dallas takes the #47 spot, while Chicago lands a few places higher at #40. As for race & ethnicity demographics, the City of Dallas is 41.1% Hispanic & Latino, 29.2% White, 24.6% Black, 3.3% Asian, and 3.6% mixed/other. Chicago is 32.3% White, 30.9% Black, 28.7% Hispanic & Latino, 6.1% Asian, and 1.9% mixed/other.

Transportation and Traffic

Not happy about commute times in Chicago? We understand. According to average commute times in major US cities by Index Mundi, Chi-Town comes in #4 (just behind Newark, Jersey City, and New York City) for the slowest commute in the country with an average time of 35 minutes. As for Dallas? You’ll be happy to hear that the City of Dallas offers shorter travel times with an average commute of only 27 minutes.

Crime Rates

Curious about the public safety differences between Dallas and Chicago? When looking at the crime rates of Dallas, the Texas city has a violent crime index of 37 (compared to the US average of 22.7) and a property crime index of 50.7 (compared to the national average of 35.4). As for Chicago, it currently has a violent crime rate of 49.9 and a property crime rate of 46.3.

The safest neighborhoods in the Dallas area include Frisco, Double Oak, West McKinney, and North Dallas.

Food

Chicago does have some great dishes – deep-dish pizza, Italian beef sandwiches, Chicago style hot dogs, and so on – but Dallas turns things up a notch. For starters, it’s no secret that Texas is famous for its mouthwatering barbecue, and Dallas is no exception (especially when it comes to brisket). Top BBQ picks in Dallas, according to Texas Monthly, include Cattleack Barbeque, Pecan Lodge, and Hutchins BBQ. Tex-Mex is also huge here. With diverse influences, there’s no shortage of delicious food: chile con queso, Frito Pie, chicken-fried steak, pecan pie, Fletcher’s Corny Dogs, margaritas (the first frozen margarita machine was made here), and pretty much anything fried (the State Fair in Dallas even features an annual fried food contest). Simply put, foodies will love living in Dallas!

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Best Neighborhoods in Dallas

Here are the top communities to call home in the Big D.

Timberbrook

Ideal for older folks and families, this highly-rated neighborhood of less than 6,000 is full of suburban charm. Those looking for a quiet escape from the hustle & bustle of major cities, while still being within a short distance of Downtown Dallas and other commuting destinations, will find life in Timberbrook appealing. Read more about moving to Timberbrook here.

University Park

Enjoy a college atmosphere? Love football? Developed around Southern Methodist University (go Mustangs!), this neighborhood is perfect for you! Even if you aren’t a big sports fan, University Park is home to many wonderful restaurants, Snider Plaza, the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the Holmes Aquatic Center, and more. Learn more about University Park here.

Preston Highlands

Close to Timberland, this neighborhood is perfect for younger families and the upwardly mobile who enjoy the topnotch schools and low crime rates. Preston Highlands offers easy access to freeways and everything that nearby Plano has to offer (work, shopping, and so on). Find out more here.

Highland Park

Only three miles from Downtown Dallas, this incorporated neighborhood is full of small-town charm. If you’re looking for a highly affluent neighborhood with some of the top schools and lowest crime rates in the metro area (and the state of Texas), look no further than Highland Park! Discover more about this highly adored neighborhood here.

Canyon Creek South

Great for retirees, Canyon Creek South offers a suburban feel in the Richardson area. Most residents own their homes and lean on the conservative side. With a host of attractions (lovely parks, restaurants, shops), the neighborhood is also one of the safest in all of Dallas. Get more details here.

Bluffview

Home of Don Henley (singer for the celebrated rock band The Eagles), Bluffview is a favorite in the Dallas metro area. It’s on the pricier side, but most residents would agree that it’s well worth the price tag. Located to the west of University Park, the neighborhood offers a dense suburban feel. Click here for additional info.

Clear Spring Place

In the market for a decidedly urban neighborhood? Clear Spring Place is the clear choice! This highly-rated community is situated in Richardson and is home to many educated, left-leaning young professionals. Here you’ll enjoy excellent schools and low crime rates. Learn more here.

Oak Lawn

Home to 30,000 residents, Oak Lawn, is one of the most populous neighborhoods in the Dallas metro area. It’s considered the center for the city’s LGBTQ community (and hosts the annual Pride Parade). Oak Lawn offers a great mix of vibrant nightlife, urban vibes, and quieter spots for relaxation. Find out more about this lively neighborhood here.

Canyon Creek North

Also located in Richardson, Canyon Creek North is home to great schools and family living. This neighborhood, compared to Canyon Creek South, has a higher concentration of renters and lower home values. Discover more about Canyon Creek North here.

Preston Hollow

Found in North Dallas, this predominantly white-collar neighborhood offers one of the most desirable suburban experiences in DFW. Offering appealing architecture, stellar schools, and easy access to downtown, this charming neighborhood offers great American living (though it does come with a hefty price). Check out more about relocating to Preston Hollow here.


Cost of Moving from Chicago to Dallas

On average, it costs about $2500-$3000 to move to Dallas from Chicago. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff almost 1000 miles across the country. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination zip codes, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best Chicago to Dallas movers now!

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Devin Barroga

Ever been bitten by the wanderlust bug? It's a powerful force, one which has captivated Devin for his entire life.... Read More