I used to work at Travelocity which is based in Southlake, an affluent suburb of the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. Travelocity recently shut down their San Francisco and New York offices. Fortunately or unfortunately, some of the Gnomies who were located there were given the opportunity to relocate to Dallas. You can imagine all the disdain and haughty comments about the thought of moving to DFW from these two great and proud American cities. One San Fran resident who I am friends with on Facebook asked the question,
“Dear Dallas Friends — I need help with my decision! Please tell me what you love about Dallas, (and DON’T say cost of living or weather!) Needing more items in the “pro” column.”
I never thought I’d be a Pro-Dallas fanboy. I spent a large part of my life in Houston where we are raised to hate our Texan Brethren up I-45. I worked in a number of cities in the US and Canada and grew up abroad as part of a expat family (elementary school in Thailand and Saudi Arabia and high school in Switzerland). I would have laughed at the thought of living anywhere for more than 10 years straight, let alone Dallas – the largest city in the US not on a major body of water. An arid high plains city with no geographical or geological reason for existing. But low and behold, Dallas has grown on me and I have been a proud resident of this great American City for a full cycle of the Chinese lunar calendar. So why Dallas? Here are my top 5 reasons.
1) Low cost of living. Okay, this is a big deal. Cheap homes, no state income taxes, lower prices in the grocery stories,restaurants, and at the gas pump, affordable State Universities, etc. So you can either save that money or do like most Dallasites do: add more square feet to your home, buy an luxury SUV, put in a swimming pool, drop some coin at the many great malls around town, hire a housekeeper or take a great vacation twice a year.
2) Nice people. Okay, New Yorkers are rude. San Franciscans are weird. In Dallas people are just good warm people. Truly middle of the road with most people leaning a little more to the right. I’d say progressive conservatives with a sprinkling of zealots and radicals on both sides to keep things interesting. People smile a lot, respect basic social norms, and are more likely to be friendly and helpful than indifferent or rude. In fact, I would say coming to Dallas may actually make you nicer!
3) Frictionless living. You never have to fight for parking. Tons of nationally ranked public and private schools. There are great supermarkets on every corner. Dallas is a car culture so traffic can be bad at times, but nothing compared to the grid lock of LA. No shoveling snow during the winter. And two major airports allows you to get anywhere in the US in less than 4 hours.
4) Burgeoning re-urbanization movement. The suburban sprawl is starting to contract and re-concentrate around the Dallas central core. With this re-urbanization Dallas is building a great arts district, great pockets of dining, entertainment and shopping, more public parks, and pedestrian friendly areas.
5) Great sports. Okay, this one might not be important to everyone but a great sports culture is part of any world class city. Where do we start? Dallas Mavs, 2011 NBA champs; Texas Rangers, 2010 AL Champs; The Cowboys – America’s Team. The Stars have even put together a championship season in the NHL. We have great team owners: Jerry built a $1 billion stadium in Arlington. Cuban . . . well he’s just awesome. I wish he would run for Mayor if not the Presidency. Also throw in an MLS team, a minor league baseball team, an NBA D-League franchise and don’t forget our amazingly exciting and competitive local High School football and basketball teams.
These five reasons plus tons of jobs, a thriving economic climate, and 6 months out of the year of very temperate weather has made Dallas the fastest growing US city the first 10 years of the 21st Century. I’ve had many new and old friends move from NYC, SF, Boston, and Chi-town. Those that thought, like me, that Dallas was just temporary, that the soul of this city was manufactured and artificial and that we could never call the Big D home. But we stayed for many reasons, some listed above. But in the end I think we stayed because we realized that Dallas is inhabited and more than ever is attracting the people we wanted to live amongst.
By the way, my friend who was contemplating the move from San Fran to DFW? Well she’s here now, but misses her old home. But like a homesick kid at summer camp on the first night, once they make a few friends and get use to the new surroundings, they won’t want to go home at the end of the week.
Are you a Dallasite? What do you think? Love or Hate the Big D, please share your thoughts below.