Moving to Dallas, TX: A Bellhops City Guide

So you're thinking of moving to Dallas. You're in good company—in 2017, Dallas was the fastest growing city in the US, with approximately 300,000 US citizens packing up their bags and heading to the Big D. In 2017, Dallas also had the second highest rate of job growth just after Atlanta. The city is booming in all sorts of ways right now, with an active downtown revitalization and an explosion of all types of cultural activities—microbreweries, film festivals, and more.

So yeah, we get it. Moving to Dallas may be a great decision for you. But you probably have lots of questions, right? What'll it cost to live there? What kind of jobs can I find in Dallas? Where should I live? Is there really anything to do in Dallas besides go to the rodeo? The list goes on.

Relocating to another city is both incredibly exciting and stressful. But today, kiss that stress goodbye. Let us here at Bellhops show you around Dallas a bit as we answer all the above questions (and more!). Now, without further adieu, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy our guide to moving to Dallas.

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The Cost of Living in Dallas and the Dallas Job Market

1. Cost of Living in Dallas.

Before we tell you all about the pros (and cons) of living in Dallas, we're going to fill you in on some very important stuff––like the cost of living, the strength of the job market, and the best places to live in the city.

Dallas could be the coolest city in the world, but if you can’t swing it financially, there is no point considering the move. While living in Dallas is more expensive than living in other parts of the United States... it’s not San Francisco expensive. If you shop around hard enough, you will find a nice place you can afford.

Given that "Cost of Living" can often turn into an abstract theoretical discussion with little practical import (for example, the "Cost of Living Index" in Dallas is 70.2... but that's not exactly helpful), we are going to give you examples of how much certain purchases would cost in Dallas.

  • A tasty sit-down lunch: $14
  • A meal at a fast-food joint: $7-$8
  • A dozen eggs: $2.77
  • Monthly rent for an apartment (expensive): $1,500
  • Monthly rent for an apartment (moderate): $1,300
  • Monthly utilities for one person: $100
  • Dinner for two: $40
  • Cocktail at a downtown bar/ club: $10
  • Cappuccino: $5

As you can see from this short list, everything seems to be pretty reasonable... save for housing. As such, the cost of living in Dallas is roughly 1% above the national average. Dallas is a popular city and like any growing city, housing prices can grow with the population. Now, if you are really considering moving to Dallas, you should know that the average salary is roughly $60,000. Keep this in mind as you apply for jobs and go about your negotiation process. Which brings us to our next point: the Dallas job market.

2. The Dallas Job Market.

According to data from Indeed, Dallas is third in the U.S. for highest salaries (this is after adjusting for the cost of living expenses). A big reason for this is the massive corporations that have made their headquarters in or near Dallas, Texas. AMR Corporation, for example, also known as American Airlines, is headquartered in neighboring Fort Worth and employs 25,000 people from flight attendants to engineers. You might also be familiar with Southwest Airlines, AT&T, ExxonMobil, JCPenney, Kronos, and Fossil: all large companies that have chosen Dallas for their headquarters.

Healthcare is also quite big in the Dallas area, with both Texas Health Resources, Inc. and the Baylor Healthcare System making up a large share of the employment scene.

Not to mention, Dallas is known for being an extremely affordable city for business owners to get their businesses up and running –– ranked tenth by Forbes Magazine for "Best Places for Business and Careers."

Even if you aren’t looking to start your own business, the career opportunities in Dallas are growing. Like we mentioned before, in 2017 Dallas boasted the second highest rate of job growth in the US. Hungry entrepreneurs are building businesses that need employees.

The Best Places to Live in Dallas

If you’re still reading, it means you might be interested in making the jump to Dallas—we’ve put together a short list of the best places to live in Dallas, Texas. If you pay the city an exploratory visit, be sure to wander around these neighborhoods—one might just feel like home.

3. Central Dallas: For the location... and the donuts.

If you want to be where all the action is with access to the newest businesses and restaurants in town, then Central Dallas is where you should call home.

The convenient central location is the major selling point for this neighborhood, with great access to food, nightlife, and shopping. Also, you will be within walking distance of the D-link buses (Dallas’ public transportation system). These provide transportation around Central Dallas neighborhoods, free of charge, Monday-Saturday. And, recently, the donut craze has hit downtown Dallas as Urban Donut brings a unique twist: a design your own donut bar. Donut lovers, look no further than Central Dallas.

4. Park Cities: Beautiful, but the price is not right for everyone.

A few miles north of central Dallas lies some of the wealthiest real estate in the DFW region: the Park Cities area. Here the median home value is well over a million dollars a pop. This location is obviously recommended for those with bigger pocketbooks. But, regardless, the Park Cities area is worth checking out just to explore the great shopping at Lover’s Lane—home to some of the best shopping, dining, and attractions in all of Texas.

5. Oak Cliff: for diversity and revitalization.

Oak Cliff is home to a wide variety of populations. It’s not uncommon to find yourself driving through a completely revitalized block one minute... and then the next driving through an extremely run-down area. The recent addition of public transportation via the Dallas Streetcar by DARTA has increased access to the neighborhood and flexibility to reach downtown.

6. East Dallas: for the outdoor enthusiast.

East Dallas neighborhoods are close to White Rock Lake, one of the few bodies of water in all of Dallas. Open to the public, the lake area is great for kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, and picnicking. Lakewood, a district on the west side of White Rock Lake, has a nice mix of home ownership and rentals, offering more affordable costs of living. We definitely recommend this spot if you are an active type that is interested in quick easy access to the great outdoors.

7. West Dallas: where the old meets new.

Those who choose to make West Dallas home find the close proximity to Arlington and Fort Worth along Interstate 30 very appealing.

Historically, West Dallas has been a working class and minority neighborhood. This area west of the Trinity River has seen some transition over the past decade. Google "West Dallas" and you'll find a range of news about the neighborhood and recent. While big-time investments have gone into the revitalization of neighborhoods within the area, many long-time West Dallas residents are concerned about preserving history and affordability within neighborhoods.

The Pros of Moving to Dallas

Now that we have gotten all the nitty-gritty details out of the way, let’s talk about the good and the bad of living in Dallas, Texas. We are optimists here at Bellhops, so we are going to start with the pros of moving to Dallas.

8. No State Income Taxes.

You read that right. Yes, one surprise people find when they start working in Texas is that there are no state income taxes. Don’t get too excited though, to fund state and local projects, property tax and sales tax are often higher in Texas than in other states. So, if you’re buying a home in Dallas, be sure to budget for higher than average property taxes to avoid sticker shock.

9. Amazing Food.

Dallas, and really the state of Texas as a whole, is home to some incredible food. If you are a foodie, ending up anywhere in Texas would be a move both you and your stomach will appreciate. For the sake of time, we aren’t going to list off every restaurant in Dallas, but what we can tell you is that Texas tacos are a must have. Every neighborhood in Dallas has their own favorite taco joint and Texans will debate to no end on which is the best.

If you’re looking for a place to start your Taco journey, start with La Nueva Fresh & Hot Tortilleria in East Dallas. These tacos won D Magazine’s “Best Tacos” in both 2013 and 2016.

10. The Professional Sports.

The Dallas Cowboys are fondly known by many as "America’s Team." The five-time super bowl champions play at AT&T Stadium, located in Arlington just west of Dallas. While the Cowboys dominated the NFL in the 1990’s, the nickname actually originates from a 1978 highlight video for the team, in which the narrator John Facenda called the Cowboys "America’s Team." and the name stuck.

Besides the Dallas Cowboys, we can’t forget about the Dallas Mavericks—Dallas' NBA team. While the Dallas ‘Mavs’ haven’t won a championship since 2011, they are regularly one of the more competitive teams in the NBA. Between them and the Cowboys, Dallas is a great city for sports lovers.

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The Cons of Moving to Dallas

11. Crazy Traffic.

Ask any Dallas resident what first comes to mind when they think of the cons of living in Dallas, and they will likely mention the traffic. Although Dallas has a number of freeways to get you from point A to point B, traffic is still rough. The city is very spread out and part of the larger Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and, as a result, DFW residents have longer commutes compared to the national average. If you’re short on patience, be sure to look into residential locations close to your workplace or stock up on podcasts for the commute.

12. The Metroplex Phenomenon.

Not only is Dallas a very large city by area, it’s also part the “DFW Metroplex” as native Texans call it. Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth, and surrounding suburbs occupy a large area of land compared to other cities. You’re not going to find a ton of green space or countryside for exploring in the Dallas metro area proper.

13. Housing Costs.

We touched a bit on this under our cost of living section, but housing costs are certainly up there in Dallas. While it isn’t so expensive that it is unaffordable, for some people it may be a deal breaker. With that said, there are certainly plenty of options if you are willing to shop around before you rent or buy.

So... Should you move to Dallas?

Here at Bellhops, we are constantly moving people. Which means we have seen plenty of high-caliber cities. If we're going to be honest, we like what we see when it comes to living in Dallas.

With that said, it all depends on what you want out of a city. If you’re willing to pay a little extra rent for a big city feel with great food, diverse culture and plenty to do... then moving to Dallas might be right for you. If you decide to take the plunge and move, get in touch. We know some guys that might be able to help.

Header photo by Daxis. Creative Commons License.