Big city – big opportunity, that’s what most people think when they leave their hometowns in search of the cosmopolitan dream. But as metropolitan prices continue to rise, big city living is making it harder to afford a high quality of life. In response to the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, smaller, more unassuming, cities are popping up as viable alternatives, reinventing themselves in order to attract and retain their younger inhabitants. And that is especially true in Dallas, Texas, a place that is going through its own personal transformation.
While Austin has long been thought of as the “cool” city of Texas, Dallas is quickly becoming the “it” town of the big state and is attracting a lot of young professionals, first time homebuyers and innovative culture. It is this exchange of low cost of living for a high quality of life that has people from all over considering the move.
But you won’t find the Dallas you think you know. Instead, you will see a thriving gay and art community, teaming with creatives living and working out of chic warehouses, sophisticated lofts, and modern apartments – all for a fraction of the price of cities like New York or San Francisco.
The influx of young people is changing the culture of Dallas and evolving its image and vibe. Phillip Jones, President of the Dallas Convention and Visitor’s Bureau tells us, “We have people from all walks of life that are moving in and changing the look and feel of the city.” He says over the last five years, there have been big changes to the types of people that call Dallas home. “Demographically, we are very diverse and I think that’s a big surprise to people.”
According to Jones, Dallas now has the fifth largest gay population in the U.S. and is the number one city for same-sex families. In addition, it is also actively working to become a “Smart City” through the Dallas Innovation Alliance and Dallas Entrepreneur Center. With the myriad of millennials redesigning the fabric of the city’s culture, Dallas has so much to offer those interested in escaping the big city grind.
Where to hang in Dallas
If you are looking for urban rustic design, where industrial warehouses have blossomed into shabby chic lofts or state of the art breweries, then look no further than Deep Ellum. As Jennifer Sanders, CEO of the Dallas Innovation Alliance (DIA) tells us, “There is demand here for the live/work/play neighborhoods.” And that is exactly what you are going to find in Deep Ellum.
Just east of Downtown Dallas, Deep Ellum offers deep country roots with gritty panache, the perfect blend to represent the new face of North Texas. Claiming the best BBQ in the city, Deep Ellum is home to the Pecan Lodge, a barbeque house so popular with the locals, there is a daily line out the door and down the street.
Here you will also find Deep Ellum Brewery, a staple for the beer-drinking connoisseurs of Dallas. Deep Ellum Brewery prides itself on producing and crafting the best tasting beer money can buy in the city. And with a fun outdoor drinking patio, it is the place to celebrate a Sunday Funday.
During the week, startups and freelancers congregate around Common Desk, a beautiful two-story coworking loft in the heart of Deep Ellum. Its trendy design features wooden pastoral panels accented with modern steel rails to reflect southern charm in an urban setting.
Located in North East Dallas, this gem of a neighborhood is spicing up the nightlife culture with its burgeoning rooftop scene. It is also the place where most millennial-run restaurants, bars, and shops have taken root.
One of the most signatory eateries to welcome a new era to Lower Greenville is HG Supply Co., a Paleo inspired restaurant with the city’s most acclaimed rooftop bar. Enchanting candle lit outdoor picnic style lounge covers the open-air deck, which overlooks the Dallas skyline and offers a bird’s eye view of the Lower Greenville street buzz.
Also on the street are Dallas favorites, Bullzerk, a silkscreen shop known for its humorous phrases about Dallas locals, and Steel City Pops, a husband-wife run popsicle parlor with fun flavors like Cherry Sour Cream.
Bishop Arts District
For the bohemians looking for affordable real estate and quaint neighborhood cafes, look no further than the Bishop Arts District. With cozy craftsman homes surrounding whimsical eclectic shops, the Bishop Arts District is the cornerstone of Dallas’ virtuosity.
In fact, it is the largest urban arts district in the country, and home to over 60 independent boutiques, restaurants, bars, coffees shops and art galleries. The clustered nature of these free spirited establishments makes this part of town one of the most unique neighborhoods in all of Dallas.
The Uptown neighborhood is a hotspot for young professionals who love a good night out on the town. With some of the best bars and clubs, Uptown offers rich diversity in the types of watering holes frequented the most.
From The Rustic, a cowboy-style live music country bar, to Social House, an outdoor bar with human sized beer pong and jenga games, Uptown is the place to see and be seen on any given night.
In addition to the fun nighttime activities, Uptown also prides itself on outdoor spaces, namely the Katy Trail, Dallas’ version of the New York High Line. Built on an old railroad line, the Katy Trail is a nature path in the heart of the city for joggers, walkers, and those wishing to spend some quality time in nature, although, locals have come to know it as a place for good looking singles to pick up a date!
Home to the Dallas Innovation Alliance, the West End is the tech hub of Dallas filled with historic buildings that have been converted into high tech office space. As Texas’ resident rate continues to grow, Dallas is jumping on the Smart City train to make life more manageable amongst the density.
By focusing on “infrastructure, mobility, and connected living,” Sanders explains how the Dallas Innovation Alliance is set on turning Dallas into a 21st century city. She describes infrastructure improvements as being anything from “public wifi to street lighting with sensors that can measure air quality and traffic” to mobility ultimately being responsible for “reserving parking spaces.”
“We just want people to have a stronger relationship with the city and the quality of life here,” Sander says. “I’m seeing more and more momentum around community investment, and people really wanting to build the future of Dallas.”
Along with incorporating technology into social infrastructures, Dallas is investing a lot of money into the reforestation of the city to include lots of parks and green spaces. When it comes to job opportunities and quality of life, Dallas tops the charts with everything it takes to lead a successful and meaningful life. Just remember, BIG things happen in Dallas!
If you are interested in learning more about Dallas or would like to explore the city, go to www.visitdallas.com