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min read

A transferee’s guide to Dallas

The best places for professionals to eat, sleep, and play in Dallas, Texas

Hi, I’m Joy, and I can’t wait to introduce you to my amazing city: Dallas, Texas. My family’s history in Dallas began in 1947, when my grandparents moved here. I’ve lived in Dallas my entire life and have always considered the city my home. I know Dallas and the surrounding areas like the back of my hand.

Living in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) are roughly 6.5 million people, representing 30% population growth from 2008. Domestic and foreign-born migration has caused much of this expansion. In fact, the DFW metroplex ranks fourth among the United States’ top 20 metropolitan areas in terms of net inbound migration, including millennials.

DFW’s population increase mirrors the region’s economic growth. The economy has grown faster than that of the area’s three largest competitors: New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Four decades ago, the metroplex hosted less than five Fortune 500 company headquarters; now, 24 Fortune 500 companies — including Exxon Mobil, AT&T, and McKesson  — have corporate headquarters in DFW. 

Click here for a map of corporate headquarter relocations to DFW between 2010 and 2020. While a significant percentage of headquarters moved from California, the map illustrates surging corporate interest in DFW from all over the world. The region is an attractive place to centralize business operations because of the relatively low home prices, lack of state income tax, market of world-class talent, and position in the middle of the continent.

The geography of Dallas is mostly flat. Creeks flow into lakes between scattered hills. To the north sit the formerly small towns of Richardson, Plano, Frisco, and McKinney, which have exploded with the arrival of technology companies. To the east are Garland, Mesquite, and Rockwall. To the south lie Duncanville, Lancaster, and DeSoto. To the west stand Irving and Las Colinas, Coppell, Carrollton, and Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport. Like northern Dallas, Las Colinas is booming with corporate headquarters and Coppell is seeing an increase in office openings.

After Dallas was established in 1841, the city has garnered a rich history. A number of higher-education institutions have served the area for a long time, including:

• Texas Christian University, since 1873.
• The University of North Texas since 1890. 
• Texas Woman's University, since 1901.
• Texas A&M School of Dentistry, since 1905.
• Southern Methodist University, since 1911.
• The University of Dallas, since 1956.
• Dallas College, since 1965.
• University of Texas at Dallas, since 1969.
• Texas A&M School of Law, since 2013 (formerly established in 1989 as the Dallas/Fort Worth School of Law, then acquired by Texas Wesleyan University in 1992).

In addition, since the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy, a major national event that took place in Dallas, the city has chronicled the life and legacy of America’s 35th president with the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. 

Dallas has also been the inspiration and location of all kinds of entertainment. The National Football League established the renowned Dallas Cowboys in 1960. The television series, Dallas, ran from 1978-1991 and got a reboot from 2012-2014. Additionally, NBCUniversal announced its plan for a new theme park in Frisco on a 2,500-acre development that houses the Professional Golfers’ Association headquarters, an Omni resort, and some 14,000 homes under construction.

The last 10-15 years have seen a big effort to revitalize Dallas. The downtown area, Irving (including Las Colinas), the Colony, Frisco, and McKinney have changed drastically to accommodate growing populations and commerce. What used to be rural cattle land for ranching and farming has transformed into a modern, cosmopolitan region with deep offerings in dining, shopping, entertainment, art and culture, and education.

Even though driving from southern to northern Dallas is a completely different experience than it was in my youth, one of my favorite parts of the area, the culture, has remained the same. Locals are warm and friendly, creating the reputation for Texan hospitality. We acknowledge everyone we come into contact with. 

Dallas is also growing in diversity as the city welcomes people from all over the world. In fact, 64 languages are spoken in local schools, and Las Colinas has the most diverse zip code in the United States. This cultural melting pot has not only created pockets within the city for unique shopping experiences, but has also produced a diverse dining hub in Irving, where you can metaphorically take your taste buds on a trip around the world.

A must-see upon arrival is the Dallas Arts District (the largest arts district in the nation), which boasts buildings designed by five Pritzker Prize-winning architects. Don’t miss the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Crow Museum of Asian Art, the Winspear Opera House, or the Meyerson Symphony Center. Programming abounds year-round and includes a variety of visual and performing arts.

Another noteworthy place is the Neiman Marcus store on Main Street. As the brand’s founding location, the Main Street store serves up a unique experience, advertising over-the-top products —  like submarines and his-and-hers Ferraris — in its holiday catalog and offering high-end dining at the Zodiac. Whether you’re visiting to shop or have tea, Neiman Marcus is a great place to spend a few hours.

If you’re looking for family fun, try:

Klyde Warren Park.
• The interactive Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
• The Dallas World Aquarium.
• The Dallas Zoo, one of the top-rated zoos in the nation.
Reunion Tower for a 360-degree view of the city. 

Check out the popular Dallas CityPASS for discounted tickets to some of the best local attractions.

As a Relocity Relocation Consultant, I can also guide you through an ideal day in Dallas. The morning is a great time to walk, bike, or run at White Rock Lake in the Lake and Garden District. Afterward, stop by one of the top-five display gardens in the United States: the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

Since no one shops better than Dallas, enjoy some shopping in the afternoon. NorthPark Center includes a stellar art collection among an array of impressive stores, while Highland Park Village houses upscale shopping and several delightful restaurants.

At night, consider catching a Dallas Mavericks basketball game or Dallas Stars hockey game. If you need live music and dancing in your nightlife, visit Deep Ellum, one of the city's coolest entertainment districts and the birthplace of Dallas Jazz.

Working professionals have more than play to consider when moving to or spending an extended amount of time in Dallas. Luckily, the city has excellent spots to work remotely, take lunch breaks, and hang out with colleagues. The Wild Detectives, a renovated house in the Bishop Arts District, is a unique coffee shop, bookstore, and bar that makes for a great collaborative work spot. Its variety of seating contributes to the cozy and eclectic vibe. Open from 10:00 a.m. until midnight, the Wild Detectives invites you to treat yourself to coffee, cocktails, wine, and beer. 

See this flyover view of The Wild Detectives in the Relocity app under the “Explore” tab.

On sunny days, enjoy the outdoors by working at Klyde Warren Park. With free Wi-Fi and plenty of tables across five acres of green space, Klyde Warren Park is an ideal place to enjoy fresh air while on the clock. When you get hungry, stop at a restaurant outside of the park or a nearby food truck.

If you’re working in the city and want to grab a bite on your lunch break, you’re in luck. Dallas has more restaurants per square mile than New York City. Trinity Groves is a fantastic dining incubator that includes a variety of chef-owned restaurants of various cuisines, outdoor spaces to relax, and an art park. McKinney Avenue in Uptown also houses all sorts of great dining options.

After work, check out Katy Trail Ice House. Situated along one of Dallas' most popular walking trails, Katy Trail Ice House is a fantastic place to unwind with colleagues or friends outdoors. If you’re looking for somewhere further south, go to the Bishop Arts District, another great gathering spot with open-air restaurants.

By now, you’re probably wondering about the best way to get from point A to point B in Dallas. Uptown and Downtown are the most walkable areas of the city and the ideal locations for transferees who won’t get a car right away or at all. The historic (and free) nonprofit McKinney Avenue Trolley offers tours of both areas. 

Otherwise, driving your own vehicle or taking public transportation is your best bet. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit System (DART) has expanded from a bus system into light rails and trains. The light rails connect to the suburbs and DFW Airport, while the Trinity Railway Express moves between Dallas and Fort Worth. Additionally, Texans are anticipating the 2026 completion of a high-speed bullet train, which will transport passengers between Dallas and Houston in less than 90 minutes.

What kind of commute should you plan for? It depends on where you live. Some of the most popular neighborhoods in and around Dallas are:

• Deep Ellum, which is adjacent to Downtown and known for its live music, hip indie vibe, tattoo shops, bars, and clubs. Deep Ellum has hosted bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam.
• Uptown,
which offers a California feel. The athletic locals are passionate about health and wellness. Uptown is known for its dog-friendly neighborhoods, coffee shops, and jogging routes.
• Downtown,
which has a New York-like ambiance. Downtown used to just be a place to work, but the city decided 15 years ago to make this area a cultural hotspot. Since then, high-rise housing and restaurants have sprung up in Downtown, enticing people to stay long after the workday.
The Design District, an up-and-coming district full of young artists who make furnishings, linens, and more. Check out the art galleries and Virgin Hotel.
Oak Lawn, one of the country’s most prominent LGBTQ+ epicenters, has a happy and fun atmosphere with great restaurants, clubs, and bars.
• Bishop Arts
, a formerly run-down area that locals have resurrected with mom-and-pop shops — like Norma’s Cafe — and restaurants with culinary chefs.
• Plano
, a family-friendly community with good schools, lots of shopping, and many corporate headquarters, including Toyota Motor North America, Ericsson North America, and Frito-Lay North America (PepsiCo).
• Frisco
, a small community turned destination town and one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. Fun fact: Frisco is home to The Star, the headquarters and practice facility of the Dallas Cowboys.

Here are the typical commute times into Dallas during rush hour:

I look forward to helping you find the right home and settle into a new lifestyle. Thanks for letting me show you the best of my hometown!

Relocity is proud to have served the Dallas market since October 2022. Check out our other market guides on Boston and Portland.

Joy Goodrum

Relocation Consultant

Throughout her career, Joy has served as a director in the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, working closely with the leadership of corporations in north Texas.