This area of north central and central Texas is a transition between the plains of the West Texas Panhandle and the Pineywoods of East Texas. There are patches of woodland running in a north and south direction and the land is gently rolling to hilly. These strips of treed areas that cross the prairie grassland give the region the name “cross timbers”. Blackland Prairie is another name for this area where the soil is rich, fertile, and black. Settlers have plowed much of the region for farms, but conservation biologists are trying to restore some of the original prairies that wildlife depend upon for survival.
Just 30 miles apart, Dallas and Fort Worth are as different as a Beemer-driving yuppie and a rancher in a Dodge dually pick-up. Dallas is the proverbial city slicker, and Fort Worth its country cousin. Together the two cities create a giant megalopolis of six million people known as the Metroplex.
As the ninth-largest city and part of the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the nation, Dallas has a population of approximately 1.2 million. This dynamic city prides itself on its friendly people, entrepreneurial spirit, flair for style and innovation, mild climate, excellent accessibility, and outstanding quality of life which make it attractive as a retirement destination.
Climate: Dallas has hot summers, but winters are generally mild, and spring and autumn bring pleasant weather to the area.
Cost of living: The cost of living in Dallas is equal to the Texas average and, surprisingly for a large metropolitan area, 9% less than the national average. While the median home value in Dallas is more expensive than the Texas average, it is still 29.4% less than the national average.
Colleges and Universities: The list of colleges and universities in Dallas is long, so retirees should have no problem finding a lifelong learning program to match their interests. Texas Woman’s University, the University of North Texas at Dallas, and the Dallas County Community College (which has seven campuses located throughout the area) are a few that retirees might research for continuing education opportunities.
Transportation: The world’s third busiest airport, DFW International Airport, is located in Dallas, and Love Field Airport is conveniently located 10 minutes from downtown. Dallas has one of the fastest-growing light rail systems in the nation, as well as the free McKinney Avenue Trolley.
Travel and tourism: Outsiders think of flashy TV-show millionaires and heroic/criminal football players, big hair, big egos and big guns when they think of “the Big D”. But an upscale ethos in this town million makes for a great dining scene, epic shopping (can you say “Neiman Marcus”?), and the history of JFK’s assassination. Dallas is the No. 1 visitor and leisure destination in Texas and offers the largest urban arts district in the nation, 13 entertainment districts and much more.
Fort Worth, with a population of 741,206 residents, is located in North Central Texas. It is a big Texas town that still has its twang, a far more user-friendly size than Dallas, not to mention greener and cleaner. Ft. Worth defines itself as a cultural gateway into the American West. It was established in 1849 as an Army outpost on a bluff overlooking the Trinity River, and today it is still proud of its Western heritage.
Climate: Fort Worth has hot summers, with average annual precipitation of 34.01 inches.
Cost of living: The cost of living in Fort Worth is very affordable, slightly less than the Texas average, and 10% less than the national average. Retirees will find their dollar goes farther in Ft. Worth where the median home costs 5.9% less than the Texas average and a significant 43.7% less than the national average.
Colleges and Universities: Texas Christian University would be a great source for retirees to find educational enrichment courses, as would Tarrant County College and Texas Wesleyan.
Transportation: The T is Fort Worth’s Transportation Authority, and it offers bus services in and around the Fort Worth area. DFW International is the major facility for air service. Amtrak operates passenger train routes.
Travel and tourism: Retirees can enjoy a distinctive mix of “Cowboys and Culture” in Fort Worth. Here you can see a mini cattle drive in the morning and a rodeo on Saturday night. In the Cultural District, Fort Worth boasts an unmistakable mix of preserved Western heritage and unrivaled artistic offerings. The Stockyards National Historic District and the 35-block Sundance Square are other interesting areas for retirees to explore.
The Lone Star state can claim the largest “Arlington” of the fifteen U.S. cities, towns and villages across the nation that bear the same name. Arlington, with a population of more than 365,000, is located precisely midway between Dallas (“The Big D”) and Fort Worth (“Cowtown”), and is spread across 100 square miles.
Climate: Arlington has one of the hottest climates in the United States during the summer months, but winters are generally mild.
Cost of living: The cost of living in Arlington is 5.5% greater than the Texas average, but 4% less than the national average. Housing costs run 23.4% less than the national average.
Colleges and Universities: The University of Texas Arlington is the flagship institution of higher learning, and Everest College and Tarrant County College are also likely to have continuing education classes of interest to retirees.
Transportation: Arlington is the crossroads of seven major interstate highways and 10 miles from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the world’s third busiest airport. Unfortunately, Arlington is the largest city in the United States not served by a comprehensive public transportation system.
Travel and tourism: There is much to do here for sports-minded retirees, since Arlington is home to the Texas Rangers’ Ballpark, Cowboys Stadium, and the International Bowling Campus. Brainiacs will appreciate visiting the headquarters for American Mensa, and doting grandparents will delight their family with trips to the theme parks Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor.