Jul 14, 2023 - Culture

A Dallas resident's perspective on Chicago

A photo of the riverwalk in Chicago

Not the Trinity River. Photo: Tasha “Not Homesick” Tsiaperas/Axios

The population shift south is putting the Dallas region on the path to becoming the third largest metro in the country, supplanting Chicago.

  • But can Dallas really compete with the culture, history and experience of living in Chicago?

Driving the news: The Dallas metro is starting to get more recognition nationally. The bustling and delicious Dallas dining scene has caught the attention of the New York Times.

  • And Freakonomics Radio aired two episodes on why everyone is moving to Dallas — well, Frisco.

State of play: Even with Chicago's population losses, the city proper still has more people than Dallas. Dallas and Fort Worth's combined 2.3 million residents fall short of Chicago's nearly 2.7 million.

Details: The cost of living in Dallas is 16% lower than in Chicago, per Forbes' calculator.

  • But Chicago has better green space access, with 98% of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park. Just 73% of Dallasites and 61% of Fort Worth residents are within a 10-minute walk to a park.
  • And Chicago residents can get away with not having a car because of the excellent train system that runs through the city and to the suburbs.

Reality check: Loving a city is not always about calculations or comparisons. It's about the experiences. Here's what we noticed during a recent visit:

  • Chicago has a street festival in at least one of its neighborhoods pretty much every weekend during the summer.
  • Pedestrians boldly walk across the middle of a street using a crosswalk and the cars actually stop.
  • There are beaches. 🏖️

What we did: Visited Millennium Park. There was a gospel festival during our trip and plenty of handprints left on the Bean.

The bottom line: The high in Chicago today is in the mid-80s, the same as the low in Dallas. Make of that what you will.

  • Check back in November, though.

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