10 Important Things To Know For Someone Who Just Moved To Dallas, Texas

Here are 10 things you need to know if you've just moved to Dallas....

Dallas is a great place to live; it's a big city but has many friendly neighborhoods as well as urban conveniences. It's an important business city, hosting many corporate headquarters, and it also has many tourist attractions. Homes in Dallas are available in many different price ranges, and surrounding suburbs also offer numerous neighborhoods and excellent school districts. While living in Dallas will be much like living in other big cities, here are 10 important things a newcomer should know about the city.

1. WEATHER: Although Dallas weather changes frequently, it tends to be warm to very warm most of the year. Summers are hot and fairly humid, and smog gets very bad, prompting ozone alerts. Snow falls occasionally in the winter, and there are severe weather alerts often in the spring; hail, lightning storms, tornados, and heavy rainfall are possibilities. These spring and early summer storms move very quickly across north Texas; residents watch TV news updates or listen to the radio to keep up with the movements of a storm. If caught in a hail storm, a car can suffer damage; parking under some type of cover is advised.

2. SPORTS: Newcomers who like sports will find a pro team for each season in Dallas. The Dallas Mavericks play hoops at the American Airlines Center; the Dallas Stars play hockey there also. The Dallas Cowboys play football at Texas Stadium in Irving, but will be building a new stadium in Arlington. The Texas Rangers play baseball at Ameriquest Field in Arlington, which is very near the site of the future Cowboys stadium. The Dallas Burn, a major league soccer team, has been playing at the Cotton Bowl, but the team is moving to a new soccer stadium in Frisco soon. High school and college sports are also popular in Dallas, and residents have plenty of games from which to choose each weekend.

3. CRIME: Dallas is first in the state of Texas in crimes per capita. Although there are numerous crimes reported on TV and in the newspapers each day, the city has a safe feel, and the approximately 3,000 policemen and women are visible around the city. There are many crime watch groups in neighborhoods, and of course, some areas of the city have much higher or lower occurrences of crimes than others. There is also a Crime Stoppers program in Dallas that encourages citizens to report criminals. Newcomers to Dallas should be alert to the possibility of crime, as in any large city.

4. POLITICS: Don't even bother trying to decipher Dallas politics. There's a mayor and there's a city council, and the two seem to be able to reach unanimous agreement on very few topics. A recent election voted down giving the mayor more power, so the game will probably continue. Different sectors of the city have different needs, and their representatives try very hard to get favorable concessions; usually it's the same old song-and-dance: If you get this, then I get that, and there's no money for any of it. Mayor Laura Miller tries her best to preside graciously over Dallas City Hall; newcomers can follow Dallas politics in the Dallas Morning News or online.

5. PETS: Pets must be registered in Dallas; it costs $7 to register a neutered or spayed pet or those less than six months old. Pets that have not been spayed or neutered cost $20 to register, except for those belonging to owners who are over 65, which cost $7. Spayed and neutered pets are registered free for owners over 65. PetData runs the Dallas pet registration program; their phone number is 214-821-3400. If a pet is picked up by animal control and is wearing its registration tags, it will be held for 10 days. Those who lose a pet can call 214-670-8389 and 214-670-1965, which are the lost pet hot lines. Dallas also has leash and pooper-scooper laws for pets.

6. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Dallas has buses that run all around the city, the DART light-rail system that connects 13 cities, and the TRE railway that connects Dallas and Fort Worth. The DFW International Airport and Love Field (which Southwest Airlines uses) provide air transportation, and there are many freeways with HOV lanes for shuttle buses, vanpools, and carpooling. Newcomers without cars should be able to find their way around Dallas using public transportation, and DART is constantly expanding its system to add more miles of tracks.

7. EDUCATION: The Dallas area has many excellent school districts for newcomers with children. There are also many facilities for higher education, such as the Dallas County Community College, which has 7 campuses in different parts of the city, the Art Institute of Dallas, and many technical schools. Southern Methodist University, UT at Dallas, Baylor College of Dentistry, and the University of Dallas are also located in the city, and there are also universities nearby in Fort Worth and Denton.

8. SHOPPING: Dallas is a shopping mecca that draws those who want the latest in fashion from hundreds of miles away. Galleria Dallas has 3 levels of stores including high-end sellers such as Tiffany & Co., Versace, and Nordstrom as well as lower priced staples like Bath & Body Works and The Gap. Neiman Marcus, the legendary cornerstone of Dallas shopping, has a downtown store with a museum on the 5th floor and several other locations in Dallas. Other popular shopping sites in Dallas include Highland Park Village, Northpark Center, Valley View Center, and West End Marketplace. Well-liked malls in Dallas suburbs include Grapevine Mills in Grapevine, Vista Ridge Mall in Lewisville, The Parks at Arlington in Arlington, Collin Creek Mall in Plano and Allen Premium Outlets in Allen.

9. DINING: Dallas has many restaurants; newcomers are sure to find some to suit their fancies. Tex-Mex food is popular in Dallas, and there are many places that serve fajitas, margaritas, enchiladas, tamales and other Tex-Mex dishes, such as the Blue Mesa Grills. Seafood restaurants and steak houses are also well-represented, such as Al Biernat's and Rockfish, as well as theme restaurants and fast food; The Magic Time Machine on Beltline is fun for kids and adults alike. Fine dining establishments are also plentiful, such as the Mansion on Turtle Creek, and many of the hotels have excellent chefs in their dining facilities. Newcomers who want a taste of Dallas should visit the city of Addison, which has a huge amount of diverse restaurants.

10. HEALTH AND EXERCISE: Dallas has 15 hospitals, and there are many more in the outlying suburbs. There's a central medical complex including Parkland Hospital, Zale Lipshy University Hospital, St. Paul Medical Center, and the UT Southwestern Medical Center on Harry Hines Blvd., and there are numerous clinics and physicians in the Dallas area. Many exercise clubs and gyms are located near neighborhoods, and there are many outdoor exercise and recreational areas. The Trinity River Greenbelt contains miles of jogging and walking trails, and White Oak Lake also has trails. Dallas has acres of city parks, many of which are located near neighborhoods, many golf courses, tennis courts, and sports fields. The renowned Cooper Clinic, Aerobics Center, and Fitness Center are located on Preston Road; they offer wellness programs, spa facilities, and fitness training.

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