By Vince Mancuso, Storage.com

Dallas, Texas, is the fourth largest metro in the United States with a wealth of jobs, culture, and family-friendly suburbs. If you’re thinking of moving to the Big D, here are a few things you should know.

1. NEWCOMERS ARE DEFINITELY WELCOME.

People in Dallas, TX
Photo by Nelo Hotsuma

The Dallas area is home to more than 1.2 million people. To give you some perspective, Dallas has more people than Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Rhode Island, and Vermont have in their entire state. But don’t be intimidated. More than 44% of those living in Dallas weren’t born in Texas—that’s almost half the population! What’s more, 20% of these residents weren’t born in the United States.

2. DALLAS IS HOME TO INDUSTRY LEADERS.

Downtown Dallas TX
Photo by Michael Zanussi

Several Fortune 500 companies, including JCPenney and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, are headquartered in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Even the auto industry has a presence in Dallas, as Toyota announced earlier this year that it was moving its national headquarters to Plano, Texas, which is just north of Dallas.

3. AN ABUNDANCE OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE.

Margaret Hunt Bridge in Dallas
Photo by Marco Becerra

While the Dallas skyline is impressive with its high-rise buildings coming in over 400 feet tall, there are other city structures particularly worth checking out. I.M. Pei, who’s considered the master of modern architecture, designed three buildings in Dallas: the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Fountain Place, and Dallas City Hall (which was used as the police station in the 1987 film RoboCop). There’s also the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, which was designed by Spanish neofuturistic architect Santiago Calatrava. The bridge crosses the Trinity River and uses roughly five miles worth of steel cables for its unique design.

4. ONE OF THE LARGEST FARMERS MARKETS IN THE U.S.

Dallas Texas Farmers Market
Photo by Travis Isaacs

One of the best ways to really dig into Dallas is to visit the Dallas Farmers Market. Located in the Farmers Market District downtown, this market has been around since the early 1900s and is one of the largest in the country. You can taste local fare—roasted corn-on-the-cob is always a hit, especially with Parmesan cheese—as well as buy fresh produce. Most local vendors welcome questions about their products, too. Just be sure to look for the local vendors, as this market does include some commercial growers.

5. GOOD EATS ARE EVERYWHERE.

SMOKE Restaurant at Belmont Hotel in Dallas
Photo by John Tornow

If you prefer to taste the local fare without a market, you’ll be happy to hear that Dallas has quite the restaurant scene. From highly-rated fine dining at III Forks in Far North Dallas to the smoked meats at the Belmont Hotel’s SMOKE in West Dallas, you have a wide selection of good eats. And if you’re moving to Dallas for authentic Mexican food, you won’t be disappointed in local favorite Taqueria El Paisano.

6. EXPERIENCE DEEP ELLUM CULTURE.

Deep Ellum - Dallas Texas
Photo by John McStravick

One of the well-known hot spots in Downtown Dallas is Deep Ellum (once called “Deep Elm” before the pronunciation “Deep Ellum” caught on). It’s a hub for entertainment, dining, and nightlife. There’s also a free, three-day arts and jazz festival each year for artists and musicians. Not to mention, the area was an incubator for jazz and blues artists, such as Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter and Blind Lemon Jefferson.

7. GRAB YOUR READING GLASSES.

Dallas Public Library - J. Erik Jonsson Library
Photo by Dallas Public Library

Everything is bigger in Texas, and libraries are no different. The Dallas Public Library is one of the largest in the United States, circulating eight million items each year. While the library system has 30 service points spread throughout the city, its main location, the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, is a ten-story building downtown. Besides being home to an original Declaration of Independence and Shakespeare’s First Folio, the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library also has one of the largest genealogical research sections in the region.

8. DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE PARKS.

White Rock Lake in Dallas, TX
Photo by Nathan Vaughn

If you need a break from the city, Dallas is home to some fantastic parks, like White Rock Lake. Originally built in 1911 as a reservoir for drinking water, the 5.8 billion gallon lake is now home to a more than 1,800-acre nature area with trails and wildlife, as well as the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. You can also go a little north of the Dallas Farmers Market to Klyde Warren Park, which features gardens, fountains, a dog park, jogging trails, a children’s playground, a restaurant, and a performance area.

9. STATE FAIR OF TEXAS.

Texas Star at State Fair of Texas
Photo by Glenn Harper

You can’t miss the State Fair of Texas! This annual event has been going on since 1886 and starts the last Friday in September, ending about three weeks later. Be sure to check out the auto show and ride the Texas Star Ferris wheel. Say hello to Big Tex, the fair’s mascot, too! Not only is this 55-foot-tall icon a sight to see, but it was even recently rebuilt after an electrical fire burned down the old one in 2012.

10. RED RIVER SHOOTOUT.

Red River Shootout
Photo by advencap

Dallas plays host to one of the biggest college football games of the year: the Red River Rivalry (also called Red River Showdown or Red River Shootout) between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners. This game is one of college football’s biggest rivalries, beginning seven years before Oklahoma was even a state in 1900. Texas is currently leading the series with 60 wins to Oklahoma’s 44.

11. HELLO, AMERICA’S SWEETHEARTS.

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders
Photo by USAG-Humphreys

Of course, moving to Dallas means rooting for the Dallas Cowboys pro football team. But you can’t have Cowboys football without America’s Sweethearts, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. The cheerleaders were originally introduced as a team of girls and boys—called CowBelles & Beaux—from local high schools in 1960. Now, however, the all-female team of cheerleaders are the most recognizable among their NFL cheerleading counterparts. They also have a TV show, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, on CMT, and they’ve entertained more American troops overseas than any other group in the past 25 years.

12. DALLAS IS SET TO GROW EVEN MORE.

Dallas, Texas Growth
Photo by Luis Tamayo

Now’s the time to get into the Dallas-Fort Worth area. While some people consider anything north of I-635 to not be Dallas, the area’s suburbs, like Frisco and McKinney, are some of the fastest-growing in the country. If you’re looking to start a family or move your family into these suburbs, get in while the market’s hot!

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If you’re moving to Dallas and need storage space to help with the transition, view Storage.com’s directory of storage units in Dallas, Texas, to find, compare, and rent self storage in the area.

All images have either been provided by a listed organization or are licensed under the Creative Commons license.