A Dallas native-turned-Chicago resident lived in Dallas for 30 years and said they generally had fond memories of home. But after revisiting recently, they couldn’t believe how much had changed for the worse. Other people chimed in about whether Dallas is a soulless city.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
1: Going Downhill Fast
“Dallas just seems devoid of identity, and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly one reason why,” the original poster says. Compared to other US cities, they say the architecture is awful, there’s no vibrant downtown aspect, and energy is lacking.
2: Get Out of Town
The original poster said it’s telling that almost their entire family and friends have fled the city in recent years, and all seem intent on keeping it that way. “I’ve long thought I’d move my family back to Dallas at some point, but I’m beginning to think that idea is no longer good.”
3: Run by the Rich
“Dallas’ identity is shaped, first and foremost, for and by people with generational wealth looking for places to spend their money and time with like-minded people,” one Dallas resident responds. Our original commenter agreed. “It seems to permeate many aspects of Dallas. It’s a general sense of materialism and superficiality.”
4: Not for Everyone
One Dallas resident says it has always been a pro-business city. “There is plenty to do, but it does require some driving,” they said. “For families, it’s great. For people who want a vibrant downtown scene, you might want to try somewhere else. It’s not for everyone.”
5: Too Spread Out
Another commenter says sprawl is the biggest issue in the Dallas area. “With everyone and everything so spread out, it makes it difficult to just wander around and find amazing things footsteps away from each other like you would in a dense city like Chicago or Boston.”
6: Get Involved
One commenter says there’s a difference between having things happen for you and making things happen for you in the city. “I decided to get involved and look at how I could be part of the community. Now, I have such a deep love and appreciation for this city that it’s Dallas over everything.”
7: Buying Happiness
If you’re traveling to Dallas, get ready to line your wallet. “I’m still confused as to why tourists come to Dallas,” one local said. “It’s only culture is shopping.”
8: Bright Lights, Big City
After growing up in a very rural town, one Texan can see Dallas’s appeal. “Bars with themes, restaurants of any cultural food you can dream of, museums, public parks; people who talk, look, and dress much differently than everyone at home. Any public transportation and public arts are mind-blowing when you grow up in a trailer house in a town with more cattle than people.”
9: Not Your Thing
One commenter disagrees with the original poster, saying it’s not soulless; it’s just not your thing. “Oak Cliff, East Dallas, Park Cities, etc. are all very different places with their own identities and ways.”
10: True City Living
“You can’t live most of your life in the outer ring suburbs and pretend you know what it’s like living in the city,” one commenter says. “I’ve lived in the downtown neighborhoods for a long time now. I can walk to anything. Downtown has a ton going on all the time-I’m honestly baffled by people that still say it’s ‘dead.'”
11: Far From Soulless
Another commenter “agrees 100%” that Dallas is a fantastic place. “Every time someone who lives in some generic ‘burb complains about how ‘soulless’ Dallas is, I have to laugh! There are a ton of local businesses, many of which are walkable, and an incredible number of ‘cultural experiences’ within a 5-minute drive.”
12: Going Through Changes
One commenter says there are two reasons for Dallas being a soulless city: the lack of downtown residences and neighborhood businesses at the street level. They said, “These are changing, but slowly.”
13: Everything’s Better
One person thinks Chicago pales in comparison to Dallas. “For me, the food is better here, the venues are better here, our airports are better, driving is even somehow better here, and the surrounding suburbs are much better here.”
14: It’s up to You
“Dallas is always going to be whatever you make it,” one local says. “Other areas are distinct because of their industries, but we are pretty much transportation, banking, general corporate stuff, etc., so it doesn’t have an obvious defining feature, but it does have a soul.”
15: Soul Searching
“Even Fort Worth has more of a soul,” one commenter says. But fellow Texans were quick to defend that statement. “Even as someone who prefers Dallas, I have nothing bad to say about Fort Worth.”
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