By John the CEO
As a native Californian from Los Angeles and a long time Dallas area resident, I personally understand the dynamics of moving from California to Texas. It’s never easy, but hopefully this article can help make it easier and more comforting.
First, for those thinking of moving to Dallas and have never been here or any other Texas city before, not everybody goes around wearing cowboy hats and riding horses (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The Dallas Ft. Worth area is a massive, modern metropolitan area that hovers between 3rd and 4th largest in the country (depending on which study or metric you use). If you navigate the many pages on this site and on our Instagram account (@affluentblacks), plus that of sites such as 50Plano.com and Dallas Business Journal, you will quickly see the modern city lifestyle choices available.
Enough of those details. Most of you want to know what are the best cities in Dallas Ft. Worth (aka DFW) to relocate to, how’s traffic, best schools for youngsters, and the social spots. Because DFW is so vast in size (similar to how spread out the greater Los Angeles area is), any advice depends on which city your job will be located in. If you’re not coming here for a job but just to stay with family or friends until you find a job, then the advice becomes more detailed as the job search relocation strategy is different from a straight up job relocation strategy.
With the job search relocation strategy, your strategy will depend on the city you stay in, plus the kind of job you seek. If you seek the kind of job that is present all over DFW, then traffic will be less of a factor if you find a job close to where your stay would be. However, if you’re in a specialized job, your home city should be as close or convenient to your job city as possible. For instance, a lot of black professionals choose to live in the southern suburbs such as Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, Grand Prairie, or Arlington.
If your job has you driving into downtown Dallas, you’re going to deal with the traffic beast known as the Mix Master highway interchange nexus. This is where several highways merge into a mix that can be more turned up than a DJ mix at a club at midnight! Highway 20 and 30 are the main east-west highways that cut through a lot of black communities in the southern sector, and there are spurts of traffic that you need to navigate to time when to go into downtown Dallas or Arlington if that is where you work. Other major job suburbs are Irving/Las Colinas (near DFW Airport, one of the busiest airports in the country), Ft. Worth (which is a major city in its own right), Plano (where I am based), Frisco, McKinney, Richardson (where the telecommunications corridor is, the biggest in the nation), Allen, Carrollton, Grapevine, Southlake/Westlake, Lewisville, north Garland, Farmers Branch/Dallas Galleria District, Alliance Airport (north of Ft. Worth), and probably a few others I might have missed, but these are the most notable. Black professionals are spread out in pockets through all of these areas, so feel free to message me here or post a comment below or on our Facebook pages so we can provide specific advice for your situation.
If your job has you driving down 635, 35, 75 or Dallas North Tollway during rush hour, you will hit congestion. All lot of people are moving here regularly (Dallas is usually number one for adding new people and jobs among major cities). Friday afternoons are the worst for traffic, which is why I usually work from home in Plano on Fridays and do happy hour close by at Kona Grill in Plano or Shell Shack or Blue Fish (I need a sponsorship deal, doggonit!). I try to go into Addison or even Dallas sometimes for happy hour, but the traffic. Park Avenue has a nice happy hour on Fridays but the traffic from Plano to that part of Dallas is jammed solid at that time. But that’s my two cents.
As for schools, a lot of the cities are competing to be among the best in DFW, and some are nationally ranked (I’ll get some research links and update this article). Some are number one in the country, or in the top 20 nationally. Hopefully others will chime in with their suggestions, but generally, good school ratings usually go hand in hand with above average property taxes and incomes, though some school districts that don’t fit this affluence criteria have exceeded expectations. The cities I mentioned above tend to have good schools. Collin County (north of Dallas, which includes Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Allen, and others) has done exceptionally well. Some schools in Dallas (DISD), particularly the magnet schools, do well nationally. I’m not THE authority on all school districts, so send a note about your city situation and one of us will get the answers for you. We welcome everyone to share their tips. Some schools have more racial diversity than others. If having your youngsters around others who have a common culture affinity is important, then the southern sector cities mentioned earlier might be a good start. If diversity is more important, than the northern suburbs plus those near or north of DFW airport (Irving/Las Colinas in particular) are diverse, with Irving ranking as one of the most diverse urban areas in the country, especially with Asian/Indian students. Plano and Frisco tends to also have high diversity rates that include Asians (Chinese, Indians, etc), as well as white and black. Lewisville and Carrolton have diverse demographics. The further outside the major cities you go, the less diverse (if you have to go to a town too far out, we’ll give you a danger alert…just kidding).
For socializing, it depends on your mood and nature. If you’re a homebody, then you can quit reading now (lol). If you prefer low key events, there are several wine bars, jazzy spots, cool sushi bars/restaurants, and lounges we can recommend. If you liked to turn up to the max on weekends, we got that covered, too. Visit our Events page and Fun Things to Do page for more info. My personal line up is Blue Fish in Irving three days a week for happy hour right after work because I’d rather sip hot sake and socialize rather than be stuck in traffic from Irving to Plano! So if you’re in or near Irving Mon, Tue and Thu, let me know. Let’s network. On Wed, I am at Blue Martini in the upscale Shops at Legacy in Plano at 6pm for happy hour, so network there with me. On Thu, after leaving Blue Fish in Irving, I may go to a spot in Dallas like Truth Lounge or Ra Sushi in Addison to network with friends in those areas. I’m usually do other spots, too. On Fridays, as I mentioned, I do Kona Grill in Plano. Basically most of the affluent blacks of Collin County and other areas come there (we wrote about this trend in an article a couple of months ago). There are many happy hour choices on Friday, including Park Avenue mentioned earlier. After that, it’s either a jazzy spot or Mercy Wine Bar in Addison, Stone Trail in Addison, maybe stay at Park Avenue as the crowd gets younger throughout the evening. Truth Lounge often has 97.9 The Beat on Fridays and Boom 94.5 on Saturdays. Follow this site and check our Events page often. Once you find out your job city here in DFW, let me know, and I can cater my advice to that reality.
Finally, it takes a bit to get used to not having palm trees, world class beaches and the Sierra Nevada mountain range (and other mountains) within view of your backyard, so flights back home are only about 3 hours and can be very cheap if you book in advance or know the right people. Ease your mind into it so you don’t send a shock to your inner Cali beast. Also keep in mind that Dallas is now much closer to Miami and the Caribbean, and Miami is as little as 2 hours away if you book the right plane. Feel better now? Cool. Let’s do this!