There are so many wonderful things we have found to do with kids in Dallas in just a few weeks / months of living here. If you’re wondering if Dallas is a good place to live with a family, and what people do here with kids, I’m going to share why we moved, what we love so far, and what our day to day life looks like. I’ll update this post over time as well.
Our background before moving to dallas with a kid
We moved to the North Dallas area after living in Oregon (Portland) for about 5 years. Before that, I lived in San Francisco and Baltimore.
Quickly, the cities we lived in prior to the Dallas area
Previously, my husband and I always moved for jobs. We were both in different tech jobs which drew us to large cities. We loved San Francisco, but knew when we started a family the daily life there, long hours expected of working at a tech company, and commute to work (4 miles to the office took about an hour with public transportation), would make it difficult to stay.
Never mind the fact that San Francisco housing was almost 1 million dollars for a really tiny little 1 floor house in a 3 floor house. It just wasn’t going to work for how much space we desire to take up as human beings.
Why we moved from Portland to Dallas
The pandemic really hit the PNW area really hard. People were not socializing, even after 2 years of the pandemic.
Yes, it was for safety, but after 2 years of no kids birthday parties, nothing indoors we could go to when it rained, and a growing toddler who liked being outside, the time came for us to look for somewhere sunny in the winter.
So below are the things we thought would be better for our family time living in Dallas. We were open to any city with these qualities, but after a quick visit here for a week, we were sold. These are our favorite parts…
A place where life “feels normal” after the pandemic
Dallas bounced back much sooner than other parts of the country. As of Winter / Spring 2022, PDX is finally not requiring masks, but I think it’s going to take a while for the implications of social distancing to die down.
For instance, simple kids activities that we’re doing in Dallas aren’t open or weren’t available as of a couple months ago in Portland. Like visiting fire stations…
A house with more outdoor space for bbq time
I run this food blog and need outdoor space for my smoker recipes and grill recipes. I pretty much had it with this past winter when it was snowing in Portland, Oregon when I was filming my smoked leg of lamb recipe.
It takes the smoker longer to heat up in the cold. And it’s not fun filming videos with equipment on icy patios. No thank you!
See how to use the aloe vera plant for sunburn relief…
More outdoor family time for kids activities
Also because Portland is wet half of the year, there’s really not a lot of outdoor play time for kids in the winter, especially. Everything is wet, cold, and it’s dark early.
Living in Portland was fine as my kiddo was a baby, and mostly inside anyways, but as my son became a toddler and wanted to enjoy basketball outside, etc., it was so disappointing to stay in for 7-10 days at a time.
Dallas has a ton of amazing playgrounds for kids
Similar to above, in the winter we were never getting to parks.
Because there was a lot of rain on the weekends anyways.
Or it was cold.
This was really sad for my toddler because we also didn’t have access to indoor play places.
First, in PDX there aren’t a ton of indoor play places other than an arcade we went to in the area. And also, due to the pandemic, new ones weren’t opening and there was really only 1 “okay” indoor play place. We were too scared to go there given how locked down Oregon was.
My kiddo went to a great daycare, but they weren’t going outside much during the day because of the rain, too. It was such a bummer.
A house with offices inside
My husband and I both work remotely and while we did have 2 offices in our house in PDX, they were technically bedrooms. So we had less bedrooms.
In North Dallas, our house has 2 offices outside of 4-5 bedrooms. That seems to be readily available here, if you get a house over 300 or 400 sq ft.
More fun kids activities
Now I’m going to drill deeper into some of our favorite reasons Dallas is great for having a family.
As mentioned before, the playgrounds are phenomenal here, I need to write an entire post on the best playgrounds in North Dallas, Texas area. This includes Plano, Frisco, McKinney, and Allen to name a few cities.
I’m not talking about standard playgrounds! There are so many that have themes, like a space themed playground in Allen that is shaped like a rocket ship. My kid’s imagination went wild there.
Many of the outdoor play areas in North Dallas have two playgrounds on site, one for toddlers and crawlers with smaller slides and activities that are safer for them. And one for older kids. This is great, because every age can explore.
See this portable potty for cars – for bringing to parks without public restrooms.
Well, it rains less in Dallas than Portland, at least during the winter while we’ve been here! On those days, we check out something like Cheeky Monkey’s or Dino Kids. I highly recommend any of these places. Indoor slides, trampolines, etc. There are so many activities to do even when it’s raining.
Events for kids in Dallas
Especially during Spring Break, you can find things to do with kids in Dallas. You don’t really need to wonder what to do in Dallas TX with family, because Facebook is always popping up new ideas. There are plenty of events going on in Downtown McKinney on the weekends, for example.
Here’s something we checked out – you have to see Professor Pop if he’s playing an event near you. It was one of my favorite things to do with toddlers Dallas has to offer so far. My ears are still recovering from the kids screaming from joy!
The food is great in North Dallas, too!
Full disclosure, we haven’t actually had a need to go into downtown Dallas for food, because North Dallas has some amazing food spots!
I’ll be sharing my favorite restaurants in Plano, where to eat in Allen, best spots for food in McKinney, and more. But I have not been disappointed at all!
Portland lunch restaurants and the best Portland restaurants were good while they were good. But sadly, a lot of my favorite places to eat in PDX closed down during the pandemic.
The choice to move to Dallas with a family was a big one for us. My husband and I had no problem packing up and moving when it was just us two. But with a kid, we really want this to be our final move.
Take a visit before you move
We told her we were considering moving, literately called a realtor on NYE, and she met us during our initial visit, so we could get a feel for the area and what type of homes we would get. We hadn’t promised to move and she took out time on the weekend to tour us. We were sold, obviously!!
We really needed to figure out for sure: is Texas a good place to raise a family during our trip, and she helped navigate it all for us, showing us different Dallas area homes.
There are a ton of great road trips from Dallas!
Check out this guide to visiting Magnolia Silos.
See ya in Texas (maybe?)
I hope you’ve found info that’s helpful if you’re wondering “is Dallas good place to live with kids” and feel free to ping me on Instagram if you have questions @sipbitego.
You can see my Life In Dallas Channel on YouTube
And if you’re a foodie like me, check out Sip Bite Go channel on YouTube and explore my recipe collection here on Sip Bite Go.
Dallas Area Guides
- Best restaurants in Plano
- Best restaurants in Allen TX
- Life in Dallas
- Plano, TX foodie spots: North Italia Menu / Toulouse
- McKinney, TX foodie spots: Stix Icehouse Menu
- Frisco, TX foodie spot: see favorites from the Tupelo Honey Menu
- Pumpkin Nights
- Visit Waco to see Magnolia Market
New recipes and foodie guides….
- Tri tip (it’s so good!)
- Chicken enchiladas with homemade enchilada sauce
- Homemade pizza
- Smoked wings
- Traeger pizza
- Pan grilled chicken
- Bacon wrapped hot dogs
- Potato side dishes
- Pasta side dishes
- Baked brisket
- Sous vide frozen steak
- Cooked chicken temp guide
- Jalapeno ranch sauce
- Sous vide pork chops
- Coulotte steak
- GUIDE: How to make hamburger patties
- GUIDE: Aerogarden
- Best restaurants in Portland
- Blackstone griddle recipes
Grill and smoker recipes…
- Grilled chicken wings
- Smoked pizza
- Smoked chicken
- Smoked tri tip
- Traeger pulled pork
- Grilled shrimp
- Smoked turkey breast
- Smoked chicken wings
- Smoked ham
- Flank steak marinade
- Skirt steak marinade
- Smoked mac and cheese
- Smoked chicken breast
- Grilled broccoli
- Smoked queso
Meat thermometer recommendations
Every home chef needs a reliable meat thermometer to cook food perfectly.
On Sip Bite Go, you’ll often see me using:
- Meater thermometer – a fancy wireless thermometer that connects to a phone app – gifted to me from a Traeger partnership.
- ThermoPro digital thermometer – which has a wire that connects the thermometer to a display box outside the oven/grill.
It’s like being psychic! The great thing about either of the thermometers above is that I don’t have to take the food out of the oven to know the temperature.
How to use ‘em… What I do is stick the digital thermometer in steak, pork, chicken, whatever… Then put the food in the oven, on the smoker, or grill.
While the meat cooks, it reads the temperature so I know exactly what temp meat is as it’s cooking. Without having to take it out and check. It’s really difficult to overcook food when you know exactly what temp it is inside!
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