It may be a landlocked city, but Dallas prides itself on being no more than 4 hours away from just about any location on North America. Listed fourth on the Forbes list of fastest growing cities, it’s a business-friendly hub of wealth that serves as home for 18 Fortune 500 companies. As part of the Texas Miracle economic boom, Dallas, with its extremely diverse population of 4.5 million, is slotted to expand by another million or so more by 2020. 

Dallas-Fort Worth is a twin-city metropolitan area, with downtown Dallas just one-sixth of the conglomeration making up the North Texas powerhouse. The Dallas/Fort Worth Airport is the fourth largest in the world and in area could cover Manhattan. The Dallas Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers and Stars, as well as FC Dallas, provide professional football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer fans a home team. At the college level, every year the city hosts the Red River Rivalry between the University of Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma University Sooners. After sports, Dallas is a truly Southern town, with shopping, music, arts, entertainment and food — restaurants and a renowned farmers’ market — to satisfy even the most discerning and demanding shoppers. For the bookworms, the Dallas Public Library System is one of the largest in the country.

Think Dallas, and oil usually comes to mind. The city, however, is much more diverse than that. While it does maintain definite ties to the energy industry, companies headquartered here specialize in commerce, finance, distribution, logistics, technology and computers, defense, medical research, healthcare and other support services like law and accounting. Shifting oil prices do affect the Dallas-Fort Worth area but not at the levels other cities, like Houston, experience. All the “ma’ams” and “sirs” must pay off because no fewer than 18 of the top wealth holders on Forbes magazine’s list of richest billionaires reside here, second only to New York City. Companies headquartered here are instantly recognizable: Southwest Airlines, Texas Instruments, ExxonMobil, Alliance Data Systems, JCPenney, American Airlines, RadioShack, Frito-Lay and GameStop to list a few. Too, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School receives more than $400 million a year for medical research.

Dallas is a big city with a somewhat big-city cost of living, about 7% above the national average, with housing and utilities — air conditioning and water — as much as 20% more. It’s been a leader in the housing crisis recovery. One-bedroom apartments in City Center cost about $1,100 per month. Outside that area, however, the price goes down to about $750 or so, making living much more affordable. The city has a light rail system that allows commuters to park and ride, but a car makes life more livable. Dallas is booming with opportunity for those with the means to grab it.

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