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Moving to Dallas

The city motto of Dallas is "big things happen here" – and as the city often finds itself in the top ten most populated cities in the USA, Dallas truly lives up to the Texan stereotype of bigger is better.

That said, Dallas isn't a typical Texan city. It's less laid-back than other cities in the state and is more business-oriented. That isn't to say it's unfriendly, but expats will experience something in between warm Southern hospitality and a steely business mentality.

There has been a cultural renaissance of sorts in Dallas in recent years, resulting in the development of the Arts District. Expats in Dallas will be able to enjoy a fantastic lifestyle, with numerous museums throughout the city as well as great restaurants and a vibrant nightlife.

Another drawcard for expats relocating to Dallas is its abundance of beautiful family-friendly neighbourhoods with good schools and historic houses. Expats who move to the city's suburbs can expect leafy green avenues, spacious parks and interesting architecture.

Most people living in Dallas use a car as their primary means of transport. However, public transport is available and there are buses, light rail and trams to help commuters get around. Dallas also has a network of bike paths and wide sidewalks for expats who enjoy their daily exercise.

Dallas is a great place for those who like warm, dry weather and lots of sunshine. The good weather in the city allows for outdoor sports to be played year round and expats will soon notice the locals' enthusiastic support of their city’s football team, the Dallas Cowboys.

Working in Dallas

Expats moving to Dallas will find that the city has a diverse economy with job opportunities in a variety of sectors. Due to the city’s strategic location, pro-business attitude and favourable economic climate, Dallas has become a place where business has thrived. As such, increasing numbers of global companies have chosen to start operations here.


Job market in Dallas

Dominant industries in Dallas include banking, commerce, telecommunications, computer technology, energy and healthcare. The city is home to a number of Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, Southwest Airlines, Energy Transport Equity and Tenet Healthcare.

Dallas is dubbed the Silicon Prairie, as it's among America's largest employment centres for high technology industries. In addition, Dallas is known as a hub for telecommunications manufacturing in the USA.


Finding a job in Dallas

Expats moving to Dallas are advised to do so with a secure job offer as finding employment in the city isn't always easy. Competition for jobs in Dallas is high and companies are looking to hire those with considerable experience within their field rather than recent graduates or those who require more training.

Online job portals advertise positions available, while there is also the option of recruitment agencies to help with the process. Those lucky enough to land a job in Dallas will find that many of the big employers in the city offer a pleasant working environment with good training opportunities and incentives. 

All expats wishing to take up employment in Dallas will need to be in possession of the necessary work permit or green card.

Accommodation in Dallas

Finding accommodation in Dallas will be one of the biggest challenges facing those moving to the city. Regardless of whether one is looking to rent or buy, housing in Dallas is in short supply.

The quality of apartments and houses in Dallas is high and property prices reflect this. In fact, Dallas is home to some of the most luxurious and expensive properties in the world. In terms of more affordable living options in Dallas, choices are limited.

Due to the shortage of property, especially in popular areas and suburbs of Dallas, it's advisable to start the search as soon as possible. Luckily, there are plenty of estate agents available in Dallas to advise newcomers on the city’s property market.


Types of accommodation in Dallas

The type of housing available is varied, ranging from modern apartments and urban loft spaces in the downtown area to luxury condos and huge family homes further out in the suburbs.

As property is big business in Dallas, the standard is generally excellent and properties are always well maintained. This high standard of accommodation comes with a hefty price tag, though, so standard property prices should be carefully researched ahead of moving to Dallas.


Finding accommodation in Dallas

Demand for accommodation in Dallas exceeds supply, so finding somewhere to stay isn't always easy. New arrivals will benefit from the services of a real estate agent, who will be familiar with the local property market. There are plenty of agents working in the city and it's worth speaking to other expats to get recommendations too.

The internet is another good place to begin a search for a property. Online portals can be used to get an idea of the property prices in particular areas and suburbs. It's important to note that property in sought-after areas is snapped up very quickly in Dallas, often even before agents have a chance to advertise online. It's wise to get a jump-start by ensuring the agent is aware of one's ideal areas, budget and preferred type of housing.


Renting accommodation in Dallas

Most people whom move to Dallas will opt to rent rather than buy property, at least initially. This allows a greater degree of flexibility and gives new arrivals time to get to know the city's various neighbourhoods before making a long-term commitment.

Leases

As the availability of property is limited, landlords will typically be looking for tenants who can commit to a minimum of a one-year lease. It's important to read a lease carefully before signing to become familiar with any limitations it might specify and to check whether there are additional costs on top of rent.

Deposits

Generally, tenants are expected to put down a deposit of at least one month’s rent. If the property is returned in good condition, tenants should receive the deposit back in full.

Furnished vs unfurnished

Both furnished and unfurnished housing is available. Basic fittings such as light fixtures, blinds and built-in cupboards are usually included in both types of property. Some unfurnished properties will come with a stove, refrigerator and washing machine, but it is always worth confirming the details with the property owner.

Utilities

Utilities are usually not included in the cost of renting a property, so these costs need to be taken into account on top of the rental price.

Areas and suburbs in Dallas

The best places to live in Dallas

The question of which area or suburb of Dallas to live in is a big one for most new arrivals. Choosing the right neighbourhood to match one's priorities will have a significant impact on the experience they will have of living in the city.

Property is big business in Dallas and expats will benefit from the advice of a real estate agent. These professionals have an in-depth knowledge of the city's property market and have access to a larger pool of potential properties to suit the different requirements of each person. 


Family-friendly neighbourhoods in Dallas

Dallas is a great city for expats moving to the USA with children. To a large extent, schooling choices will ultimately determine where families live. However, there are plenty of safe, family-friendly communities to choose from.

Parker 

Parker is popular among families because of the excellent quality of life. Most of the accommodation in Parker comes in the form of independent family homes, with spacious gardens and swimming pools. The area is some distance from the city centre, but Parker has good road links that allow easy access for those commuting to work. There are lots of modern malls nearby.

In addition to the green open spaces and fresh country air in Parker, expats will find that the schools are excellent and the crime rate is low, making it a great place to raise children. 

Southlake

Southlake is another popular choice for families with children and pets. The schools are really what draw people to the area and there are lots of great options.

Accommodation in Southlake mainly consists of large family homes. It's popular, however, and housing is in short supply. The area has plenty of shopping and dining options, most of which are located at Southlake Town Square. It's also very safe and known for having a strong sense of community.


City living in Dallas

Living in downtown Dallas is great for those who want easy access to the newest restaurants, clubs, bars and shopping experiences. While city living options tend to be a little less spacious and more expensive than those in the suburbs, these areas are very convenient for expats who want to live close to their place of work. 

Bryan Place

Bryan Place is an east Dallas neighbourhood near the Arts District in the city centre. Being so close to the commercial centre of Dallas, it's popular among young professionals and executives who want to be close to work.

Accommodation in Bryan Place is varied and, although there are some older standalone homes available, most of the housing consists of townhouses, low-rise condos and modern apartment complexes. For those who enjoy the outdoors, Exall Park is close by and is a great place to enjoy the city's favourable climate.  

Highland Park

Highland Park provides all the best elements of city living. Located just outside the city centre, it's within easy reach of all major facilities. Expats living in this neighbourhood will have access to some of the city’s best shopping and entertainment facilities. 

There are a number of good schools in the area which accounts for its growing popularity among families. There are many local parks in the area, which provide open spaces for recreational activities.

Healthcare in Dallas

The standard of healthcare in Dallas is good and there are many excellent hospitals to choose from. The USA does not have universal healthcare, however, meaning that access to quality medical care in Dallas is directly related to having a comprehensive health insurance policy.

For this reason, those moving to Texas will either need to invest in health insurance or ensure that they have a policy provided as part of their employment package. Without insurance or the ability to pay upfront, medical care can be denied. In the case of an emergency, hospitals are obligated to give life-saving treatment, but the patient will nevertheless be presented with a bill once they have been stabilised.

Pharmacies can easily be found in Dallas, with many operating 24/7.


Hospitals in Dallas

Baylor University Medical Center

Website: www.bswhealth.com/dallas
Address: 3500 Gaston Avenue

Medical City Dallas

Website: www.medicalcityhealthcare.com
Address: 7777 Forest Lane

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas

Website: www.texashealth.org/dallas
Address: 8200 Walnut Hill Lane

UT Southwestern Medical Center

Website: www.utsouthwestern.edu
Address: 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard 

Education and Schools in Dallas

Education plays a central role in Dallas. The city is a major centre of education for much of the South Central region of the USA. Each year thousands of Americans and people from abroad head to Dallas to attend one of the city’s universities, colleges or trade schools.

The Dallas Independent School District oversees the provision of education in the city and is one of the largest school districts of the USA. The standard of schooling in Dallas is good and there are plenty of options for students moving to the city from abroad.

Expats moving to Dallas will need to carefully evaluate their priorities for their children’s education when picking schools. It's necessary to consider cost, the proximity of the school to home and the workplace as well as the curriculum and teaching style followed by the school.


Public schools in Dallas

The standard of public schools in Dallas is varied. On one end of the spectrum, Dallas boasts many excellent charter and magnet schools that cater for gifted students and produce outstanding results; on the other hand, the city is also home to some schools that produce less stellar results. 

For this reason, expats choosing to send their children to a public school in Dallas will need to do extensive research into a school’s standards and facilities. A good starting point is to check the Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) reports, which outline the school’s rating as evaluated by the state’s education agency. 

One major advantage of choosing a public school in Dallas is the cost, as no fees are charged. The other advantage is that it gives expat children a chance to mix with the local population, which can help them integrate into life in a new country.

Charter and magnet schools

Other options option falling under the public school system in Dallas are charter and magnet schools. Both types of schools are associated with high achievement and a broader cultural outlook. They're great options for expat parents who are looking for a higher standard of education for their child. 

Charter schools use state funding and uphold the state curriculum. However, these schools have more scope to be flexible in their teaching methods than traditional public schools.

Magnet schools also use state funding but follow an alternative, more specialised curriculum focusing on a particular subject area such as languages, science or the performing arts. Dallas is home to some of the top-performing magnet schools in the country.

Expats interested in this option should be aware that competition for places at these schools can be fierce, with long waiting lists. Lottery systems are used to confirm enrolment for both charter and magnet schools in Dallas. 


Private schools in Dallas

New arrivals in Dallas also have the option of sending their children to one of the city’s private schools. Private schools generally follow the state’s curriculum but tend to have some degree of flexibility when it comes to teaching styles. Teaching at these schools is often through a religious lens, such as Christianity, or an alternative education philosophy, such as Montessori.

Private schools in Dallas provide a high standard of teaching and provide lots of scope for gifted students to flourish academically. They also tend to offer a more varied range of extra-curricular activities. The downside of sending children to private schools is the high fees.


International schools in Dallas

Unlike in other major US cities, there aren't many international schools in Dallas. Most expats from English-speaking countries find that sending their child to a public or private school is viable and there isn't a huge demand for international schools in the city.

Expats from Germany and France, however, will be pleased to know that they can send their children to international schools that follow the national curriculum from their home country. There are also many private and magnet schools in Dallas that offer the option of studying for the International Baccalaureate.

Demand for places in international schools is high and there are long waiting lists, so it is best to start the application process early. Fees at international schools can be extremely expensive. Expats considering this option should factor this into their negotiations with regards to their employment package.


Homeschooling in Dallas

Homeschooling is legal in the state of Texas. Children who are taught at home are exempt from the compulsory attendance requirement in the same way as students who are enrolled in a private school.

Parents who homeschool their children in Dallas need to follow certain rules, for example following a course of study that includes good citizenship. Parents also need to keep in mind that the public school district may ask them to provide assurances in writing that they intend on homeschooling their child.


Special needs education in Dallas

The city of Dallas welcomes special needs children and adults with open arms. In recent years the city has had constant inclusion initiatives with adaptive programs popping up in all areas. The city has accessible playgrounds, sensory-friendly museums and many other options to keep special needs individuals in Dallas entertained.

Texas is one of the few states with strong Early Childhood Intervention programs. There are professionals who can analyse a child's circumstances and determine the appropriate course of action such as setting up a personalised learning plan, getting access to early intervention therapists and getting assistance with transitioning into public schooling.

Dallas also has several schools specifically catering to those with special needs. Children are eligible for public school at the age of three; however, programmes differ greatly between districts.

New parents can contact the Texan Department of Education for more assistance. There are also groups like The Down Syndrome Guild where parents can connect with those who have children enrolled in a range of special needs programs in the city.


Tutoring in Dallas

Tutoring is common among expats in Dallas. There are a vast number of options available to students who require extra help with specific school subjects. Some of the top tutoring companies in Philadelphia include Reading Ranch Tutorial Center and Sylvan Learning of Dallas and Highland Park. 

Parents who don't want to work through a tutoring service will find that there are also a number of private tutors in the city ranging from retired teachers to university students.

Lifestyle in Dallas

Dallas is a bustling city full of life. While it might not be near a beach or the mountains, there's always an event to attend, a new restaurant to try, or a not-to-be-missed party happening around town. As one of the largest cities in America, Dallas is known for its shopping, hot temperatures and friendly Southern hospitality.


Shopping in Dallas

A hotspot for shopping, Dallas has plenty of high-end stores and quirky boutiques.

Malls such as NorthPark Center and the Galleria Dallas are very popular. Here, shoppers will find exclusive designer stores, while outlet malls can be found nearby in Allen and Grand Prairie. Here, shoppers can pick up big brand names at discount prices.


Eating out in Dallas

Dallas isn't known for its restaurant scene but there are signs that things are changing as new and exciting restaurants continuously pop up. From elegance to kitsch, one can find any ambience or type of cuisine to suit their mood.

Furthermore, Dallas loves to brunch. On weekends, many restaurants offer a delicious brunch menu with specials on Mimosas or Bloody Marys. 


Nightlife in Dallas

Uptown Dallas is the place to see and be seen. Brimming with bars, restaurants and beautiful people, partygoers can find drink specials during the week and an eclectic club scene on the weekends. Those looking for a relaxed atmosphere will find a few dive bars in the city where people play pool and watch live sports over a beer. 


Arts and culture in Dallas

Dallas offers residents a range of arts and culture activities. Museums focusing on both art and science can be found throughout the city. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a favourite among locals and expats alike because of its unique design and hands-on approach. 

Be sure to check out the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Dallas Arboretum, where art and music are combined. In summer, wonderful outdoor concerts are held at these spectacular venues.  


Outdoor activities in Dallas

White Rock Lake is one of Dallas' most popular spots. With running paths, biking trails and water activities kayaking and canoeing, it is the perfect place to spend time with friends and family over a weekend.

Dallas is full of lush parks. Klyde Warren Park, Main Street Garden Park and Lakeside Park are a few of the city's most popular green spaces.

New arrivals looking to get a taste of the Dallas sporting spirit should take the chance to watch one of the city's two favourite sports teams – the Dallas Cowboys in football and the Texas Rangers in baseball – play a home match at one of the local stadiums. 

See and Do in Dallas

Expats living in Dallas will have a range of attractions to keep them entertained during their spare time. Whether one prefers relaxing in the park, catching some live music or theatre, or getting to grips with the city's rich history, there's something for everyone in Dallas.

For those moving to Dallas with children, there are plenty of family-friendly attractions to keep kids busy at the weekends and during school holidays.


Recommended attractions in Dallas

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Located on the shores of White Rock Lake, this 66-acre display garden features a breathtaking range of floral exhibits throughout the year. The unique Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, designed to help the little ones connect with nature, is a highlight.

Dallas Museum of Art

Since 1903, this has been a prominent arts venue in Dallas and is home to more than 24,000 objects spanning two millennia. Many of the 19th and 20th century's most renowned artists have works in the museum, including Degas, Gaugin and Monet.

Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture

Housed in a beautiful old red courthouse, this museum provides interesting insights into the cultural, economic, political and social history of Dallas County. It's a must for all visitors and new arrivals in Dallas.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza

This museum is located on the sixth floor of the Dallas County Administration Building where Lee Harvey Oswald fired those infamous shots. The exhibit chronicles the life, times, assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. 

White Rock Lake Park

A stunning park surrounding Dallas’ White Rock Lake, this is a popular spot for running, hiking, bird-watching and fishing, or for simply having a relaxing picnic.

What's On in Dallas

Newcomers to Dallas will find they have plenty of exciting events to look forward to throughout the year. Regardless of whether one is interested in food and wine, arts and culture or sports, there's sure to be an event that appeals to every type of resident in Dallas.

Here's a list of must-see festivals, events and celebrations in Dallas.


Annual events in Dallas

Martin Luther King Birthday Parade (January)

Each year more than 250,000 spectators head to downtown Dallas to view this colourful march through the streets celebrating the life and achievements of the famous civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

Cinco de Mayo Parade and Festival (May)

Each year the streets of downtown Dallas become a hive of activity as thousands of visitors come to view the annual parade and cultural festival. The festival includes a parade of floats and marching bands as well as food stalls and festive mariachi bands.

Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games (June)

This festival celebrates Scottish culture with highland dance, athletics and rugby. Attendees can also indulge in whisky tasting and enjoy classic Scottish fare such as haggis. Culinary expats can even enter a shortbread-baking contest.

Dallas Turkey Trot (November) 

The largest of its kind in the US, the annual Turkey Trot is a Thanksgiving run of 8 miles (13km) through the streets of Dallas. For less serious runners, there's also a fun run of three miles (5km). 

Dallas Holiday Parade (December)

Attracting nearly half a million attendees each year, this fun and festive celebration is the largest one-day outdoor event in all of Dallas. Children and parents alike will be enthralled by the spectacle and Christmas spirit of the parade.

Getting Around in Dallas

Dallas has an extensive but under-utilised public transport network. Despite the bus and rail services available to the city’s population, most residents prefer to get around using a car. The city's public transport system is known as DART, an acronym for Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

Even weekday public transport commuters are likely to invest in their own car, as it comes in handy for exploring the surrounding areas at weekends or travelling during vacations.


Public transport in Dallas

Light rail

Dallas’ light rail network serves most of the city’s suburbs and consists of four colour-coded lines. Trains operate from 5am to 12am daily, with trains arriving every 7 to 15 minutes during rush hours and every 20 to 30 minutes at off-peak and late-night hours.

Train

There is a single commuter train line known as the Trinity Railway Express, or TRE. The TRE has connections with all four light rail lines and covers areas west of the coverage provided by the light rail system.

Buses 

With more than 130 routes available, the bus network in Dallas is extensive. One can get almost anywhere using the city’s buses, although most bus journeys will require multiple transfers that lengthen travelling times.

Streetcars

DART operates a modern streetcar service which runs from the Bishop Arts District to Union Station, the major transport hub downtown. Streetcars run from 5.30am to midnight and arrive every 20 minutes.

There's also a historic tram service known as the M-Line Trolley, which is also free. There are a number of attractions along the single route it travels daily, including restaurants, shopping districts and hotels. 


Taxis in Dallas

Various taxi firms operate in the city. While taxis are readily available in downtown Dallas, locals rarely use them on a regular basis.

It's possible to hail a taxi from the side of the road in the downtown area of Dallas, but it's best to pre-book a vehicle if travelling from the suburbs.

Ride-hailing applications such as Uber and Lyft are also operational in Dallas.


Driving in Dallas

The easiest way to get around Dallas is by car. The road networks in Dallas are sophisticated, making it possible to get across town relatively quickly. Petrol is quite cheap in Dallas and gas stations are plentiful, making life convenient for drivers. Road conditions in Dallas are excellent and signage is clear.

Expats with residency in Dallas can drive on their foreign licence for up to 90 days before they have to get a local one. Certain countries have a reciprocal agreement with the state of Texas, allowing a foreign licence to be exchanged without taking a local driver's test. Non-eligible expats will have to take both a knowledge and a skills test to be allowed to drive in Dallas.


Cycling in Dallas

Dallas is not known for being a particularly cycling-friendly city. As the population becomes increasingly health-conscious there have been demands for improved cycling infrastructure, with the city adding both dedicated and shared bike lanes in selected areas. Cyclists will still likely find themselves having to ride on the road or sidewalk. All in all, residents will probably want to opt for another form of commute, though there are numerous parks and trails that are great for recreational cycling.