Moving to Dallas Texas: 9 Things They Don’t Tell You

Considering moving to Dallas Texas? Worried about the changes? Discover the long and short of everything I wish I knew before we called DFW home.

dallas texas skyline

Earlier this year, I traded in my Manhattan stilettos for Dallas cowboy boots. We picked up our family, kissed New York goodbye, and landed 1800 miles southwest.

OK, let’s be honest – I traded the fancy shoes in when I had kids. And I still don’t own a pair of cowboy boots.

But swapping our Long Island beaches for the Texas desert was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Hands down.

Sure, it was a lifestyle change. But Dallas welcomed us with 70 degree winter days, family fun, and plenty of delicious craft beer.

First Things First: Why Did We Move to Dallas?

The short answer: my husband’s tech job. Like everyone else who’s relocated from the Northeast or California.

If you want the longer answer, here it is:

We called Long Island, NY home for 30+ years. Ideally, we lived fifteen minutes from the beach and forty minutes from New York City. The schools are great. Tailgating concerts was never easier. I’ll never find a better Indian restaurant!

But we were ready to move on to something bigger. Everything’s bigger in Texas.

Long Island was wearing on us. Ponying up 2Gs a month didn’t cover functioning A.C. A glass of wine during happy hour was still $9. And the traffic…

At the end of the day, the lower cost of living left us more to enjoy life. We were ready to see another part of the country. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to be home with my kids. How could we say no…

Obviously we didn’t. We packed our minimalist home into a uHaul and landed in Dallas, ready for a new adventure.

While I expected a booming metropolis, growing tech, beer, and plenty of tacos, there were a few aspects of moving to Dallas Texas that took me by surprise.

texas craft beer flight

9 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before Moving to Dallas Texas

The good, the ugly, and the down right laughable…

No State Income Tax

Did you know that moving to Dallas Texas lets you leave the state income tax behind…in your pocket. More opportunity to travel. More money in your wine fund.

The Surrounding Areas Have the Most Restaurants Per Capita

And you thought Texas was spread out. Don’t quote me but I’ve read that many of the Dallas suburbs have more restaurants per capita than San Francisco and New York City.

Who’s counting though when you drive past a whisky bar with a playground almost daily.  $2 beers and $4 tacos exist!

Pizza Isn’t the Same

Don’t get me wrong, you can find pizza in Dallas. But it’s not a slice of New York pizza and no matter what anyone says, it’s not the same.

Outside of New York, pizza isn’t typically served by the slice. This doesn’t compute for me. If a restaurant serves New York Style pizza, it means by the slice. It doesn’t mean it’s any good…

D and FW are Really Two Different Things

Dallas and Fort Worth are like 40 minutes apart. You can’t actually live in DFW because DFW doesn’t exist outside of an airport code.

The nature of the two are wildly different, too – and both great in their own ways.

You Can’t Miss The State Fair

You think you understand that Texans love their state fair…until you go to the Texas State Fair. It’s basically a crime to live in Dallas and not go.

texas state fair wheel

Tornadoes

Our first tornado warning was…uneventful. Because we didn’t know that’s what it was. Oops. We’ve since come up with a tornado plan because they’re a real threat down here. Texas sees more tornadoes annually than Kansas.

Toto, we’re definitely not in New Yo…wait.

Hailstorms

Dallas might not get a ton of rain, but we certainly get hail. Hailstorms that damage your vehicle are a serious threat and Texans worry about parking on the street during severe weather.

Superhighways

I don’t understand how I keep magically ending up in a left turn lane. Wait, maybe it’s a u-turn lane (because they’re separate). Lanes just decide to change and somehow you end up on a tollroad.

And the super highways. I missed my exit the other day four times. FOUR TIMES. The signage sucks and again, you end up on a new road because Dallas can’t decide what’s what.

Dentists

Literally there’s a dentist on every corner. I’m still waiting for someone to explain this one to me.


Share what surprised you most about your hometown or a city you’ve visited in the comments below! If you’ve been to Dallas, where are your favorite spots?

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what i wish i knew before moving to dallas texas

14 Comments

  1. September 1, 2019 / 4:22 pm

    Congrats on your big move! That’s super exciting. I’ve never been to Dallas but I’ve been to Austin and really loved that part of Texas. I’m sure it’s going to be such a huge change from New York. We recently relocated from Vancouver to Prague, which was pretty huge. But so glad we did it! We were also looking for a change and wanted to take advantage of an opportunity to live abroad. All the best with your packing and moving!

    https://teaspoonofadventure.com/

    • Tori
      Author
      September 19, 2019 / 12:31 pm

      Thanks so much. Sorry I’m just getting to my comments now! Moving is crazy. We’re excited to be closer to Austin and San Antonio for weekend trips. How did your move to Europe go? It’s a big time bucket list thing for us…one day!! How did the visa situation go? I’m going to check out your blog for info, too!

  2. September 1, 2019 / 10:12 pm

    Congrats! OMG, you sound just like me with our move too!

    I am sure that you guys will love and welcome the change. I had lived in CT for about 25 years (minus 4 years of college in MA) before I headed off to Indo. I needed to get out and away from everyone to be more *me*. Then, Tom and I lived in Florida for 8 LONG ASS years.

    After a while, you just have to mix it up. Since we moved to Asheville, I definitely feel like I am no longer drowning or suffocating like I was in FL. My FL routine was really getting to me, and we barely went out anymore. Now, we get outside more for hiking and dinner, I switched up my workouts, and I listen to podcasts while cooking. I am trying to cook one new meal a week–all sparked by switching up my environment, truly. It’s so cliche but it’s like a breath of fresh mountain air.

    I loved seeing your Dallas beer updates on IG and Twitter–that is a fab reason to move somewhere (at least in my boozy opinion).

    I cannot wait to see what you do in all aspects of life with the move. I hope everyone adjusts well and loves it! I’m sure the family will be happy to see you even more. Southern charm is great too, especially when you come from New England.

    • Tori
      Author
      September 19, 2019 / 12:34 pm

      God I’m so behind on comments!! Yeah, moving for booze is the best =) I’m not sad about it at all.

      So I totally miss Asheville already, but Texas is fun. There’s a lot to do and the food scene is great, too. It’s just a better quality of life, and like you said, a breath of fresh air. I feel like I can focus on blogging – when I’m not policing children!! – and relax in a home that actually has space and a dishwasher for a change!!

      • Dubelsa
        August 24, 2020 / 9:47 pm

        We moved to Dallas in July 2019. How did you feel once they closed “all we get to do around here” in mid March? Glad it’s opening up again.

  3. September 1, 2019 / 10:56 pm

    Ahhhh congratulations!!! A big move is very exciting. It’s nice to have a big change every now and again. I hear you about getting squeezed out of NY. I will probably be facing that in the nearish future too. I’m kind of itching for more nature anyways.
    I actually visited Dallas earlier this year and did a full book tour post there! I really liked it there. It does have lots of great restaurants and a cool bar scene. You and my good friend there should hang! She does not have kids though but she’s also teaching yoga. She’s in my blog post too.?

    I’m excited for you!! Can’t wait to to hear more about how it’s going! Let me know if you test out one of those scooters!? I did not.??‍♀️

  4. Alan Taveras
    November 12, 2020 / 12:53 am

    Planning to move down there with my four year old son. My wife is a teach and I’m a mortgage banker. Any neighborhoods you recommend looking in to buy a home with space for a pool?!

    • Tori
      Author
      November 30, 2020 / 3:24 pm

      A lot of homes down here either have pools are in communities with a pool/playground. We live north of Dallas in the Plano area – that’s where most families settle, especially with kids. West Plano is very safe and family friendly, as is Frisco. Both have excellent school systems. Little Elm is a bit further north, but also good schools and things to do. The McKinney area is also expanding rapidly and a bit more price friendly. I find the homes down here a bit closer together than I was used to up north but most properties still have room for what you’re looking for.

  5. January 13, 2021 / 6:38 pm

    Omg, too funny. I’m having flashbacks to when we moved to Houston the first time…and now the second. Also related to my husbands oil & gas job. So many similarities (the dentist!!! lol) but also differences (hurricanes!!!). I love your writing style and you’ve inspired me to perhaps write about what moving to Houston is like (again).

  6. Rebecca
    January 26, 2021 / 5:36 am

    Moving to Dallas from NYC in a few months. Super excited about it!!! Tell me more about these Whiskey bars with playgrounds….where are they? Any places in particular to try?

  7. NJrealtor
    January 30, 2021 / 2:21 pm

    We are thinking to move from NYC area too. My biggest question is : suburb (west Plano or Frisco) or city? Maybe Lakewood? I’ve a 4yo and a baby. How expensive are daycares? And how about cleaning ladies? Those houses are huge and I wonder what’s the actual cost of living compared to here. Ps: ive never been to Dallas before lol

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