11minute read• Graham Lumley • Last update January 2024
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Should You Move to Houston, Texas?
Is it time for a change? If the answer is yes, and you’re looking to relocate to a city that seamlessly blends southern charm with metropolitan allure, then you should definitely consider moving to Houston.
A city of many nicknames, Houston is also often referred to as “The Bayou City,” “H-Town,” “Space City,” and “The 713”. Spanning over 600 square miles and home to over 2.3 million residents, Houston is the country’s fourth-largest city boasting a rich history, a flourishing economy, and a unique blend of modern attractions and natural wonders. It’s a bustling modern-day metropolis with something for everyone, making a move to Houston a compelling choice for anyone seeking a fresh start or a new adventure.
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Understanding the Culture of Houston
Houston’s cultural landscape is as diverse as the city itself, reflecting repetitive patterns of migration and innovation. Historically, many people made the move to Houston, Texas, due to its dominance in the oil and energy sector. Today, it has also become a hub for aerospace and healthcare businesses, and the city’s ability to attract people from all walks of life has created a vibrant blend of traditions and customs.
1. Houston is a Beautifully Diverse City
Houston prides itself on being one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the nation. The community comprises people from various backgrounds, including those with Hispanic, African American, Asian, Middle Eastern, and European roots. The city celebrates its diversity by hosting numerous cultural festivals throughout the year. Examples include the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Japan Festival, and the Houston International Festival.
2. Locals and Visitors Rave About Houston’s Food Culture
If you’re a passionate foodie, the answer to the question, “Should I move to Houston?” is a resounding yes. Home to a burgeoning farm-to-table movement with a growing emphasis on local and sustainable ingredients, the city is a gastronomic paradise with an endless array of eateries, restaurants, bars, and food trucks. Whether you crave Tex-Mex delights, succulent barbecue, spicy Asian fare, or savory Middle Eastern dishes, Houston has it all.
3. Professional Sports in Houston
Moving to Houston, TX, provides plenty of opportunities to embrace sports. Houstonians take their sports seriously. But to locals, sports events are way more than just a game. They’re vibrant social experiences that unite residents, creating an electric atmosphere throughout the city. You can choose from:
Cheering on the Houston Astros baseball team as they swing for the fences at Minute Maid Park.
Taking a seat at the NRG Stadium to support the Houston Texans American football team.
Watching the Houston Rockets basketball team shooting hoops at the Toyota Center.
Getting into soccer by supporting Houston Dynamo or Houston Dash.
4. Enjoy the Art and Music Scene in Houston
The Bayou City is home to a rich tapestry of museums, galleries, public art installations, and festivals that have firmly established Houston as a major art hub in the United States. Meanwhile, music enthusiasts will love the diverse range of live performances. From classical concerts at the Houston Symphony to rock and indie shows at iconic venues like Fitzgerald’s and White Oak Music Hall, there’s always something going on. Plus, the city’s downtown theater district is a vibrant hub for performing arts, Broadway shows, ballet performances, and more.
Essential Things to Know Before Moving to Houston
Before you relocate to Houston, it’s essential to do some background research into the weather, general living costs, and get the low-down on schools in the area. Here’s everything you need to know.
5. Warm Weather in Houston for Most of the Year
Houston has a humid subtropical climate, which means scorching hot summer months with temperatures often reaching the high 90s°F (32-37°C). The humidity adds to the intensity, so being well-prepared for the heat is vital.
While Houston’s winters are relatively mild in terms of temperature (typically 40-60s°F/ 4-15°C), cool fronts and freezes can occasionally take Texans by surprise – and being so close to the Gulf of Mexico, flooding and hurricanes are not outside the realm of possibility. So, a versatile wardrobe is essential!
6. Benefit from a Low Cost of Living in Houston
Though specific costs vary by neighborhood, Houston offers residents an affordable lifestyle with lower costs of living compared to many other places.
Earnings – A major drawcard for those moving to Houston for work is that there’s no state income tax, so your budget for other activities is increased.
Expenses – Prices for groceries, transportation, and healthcare are generally in line with the national average, and the city’s diverse dining scene offers opportunities to indulge in delicious meals without breaking the bank.
Electricity bills – Energy bills can be very low in the winter, but typically high in summer in Houston due to reliance on air conditioning – particularly during the hottest months of July and August. However, reliable energy plans from local suppliers like BKV Energy offer cost-effective solutions. We offer super transparent and affordable fixed-rate electricity plans.
7. Secure a Great Education at Schools in Houston
A wide range of public and private schools cater to various educational approaches and curricula, and the city’s diverse population fosters an inclusive and immersive learning environment. Researching the schools in neighborhoods you’re considering will help you learn more about academic performance, extracurricular offerings, and class sizes, etc. For families looking for college or university programs, there are over 40 higher education options to choose from.
Housing in Houston
Finding the right home is a priority for anyone moving to Houston, Texas. The city’s housing market can be competitive at times, especially in desirable areas. However, with careful research and preparation, it’s possible to find the perfect match.
8. Housing Market Trends in Houston Prove the City is Growing
In recent years, Houston has experienced steady population growth, contributing to a demand for housing. According to Redfin, upwards of 2000 homes exchange hands monthly, and properties can spend as little as 14-20 days on the market. As of June 2023, home prices were up 0.3% year-on-year, selling for a median price of $341K.
9. You Can Rent or Buy in Houston
The decision to rent or buy will depend on various factors, including financial considerations, lifestyle preferences, and long-term plans. Renting is a flexible option for those not quite ready to commit to homeownership and those who prefer to keep their options open. However, buying a Houston home can be a sound investment, provided you’ve fully considered the total costs of homeownership, including property taxes, insurance, and maintenance.
Resources for Home Buyers
The sheer volume of information available can make it difficult for people moving to Houston to know where to begin. Here are a few top tips to get you started:
Reach out to local real estate agents for insights into neighborhoods, beach communities, property values, and negotiation strategies.
Browse housing websites and listings to explore available properties, view photos, and gather information on neighborhood amenities.
Seek pre-approval for a mortgage to strengthen your position when making property offers.
Attend open houses, talk to current homeowners, and get involved in local real estate forums to build a network of local community knowledge and support.
Researching Houston Neighborhoods
From bustling urban enclaves and high-rise apartments to tranquil retreats and sprawling family homes in the suburbs, the Houston housing market offers options for every preference. However, if you’re to settle in the perfect home, you need to understand the distinctions between Inner and Outer Loop neighborhoods and research the most family-friendly areas so you can make an informed decision.
Inner Loop vs. Outer Loop: What’s the Difference?
Houston is divided by a series of freeways, and Inner Loop and Outer Loop descriptors refer to areas inside and beyond the loops.
Inner Loop neighborhoods closest to downtown boast proximity to trendy restaurants, nightlife, and cultural venues, which makes them popular with young urban professionals who prioritize quality time with friends.
Outer Loop neighborhoods are further away from the city center and offer more suburban living. Characterized by larger properties and quieter streets, residents have easy access to parks, schools, and community amenities, making these areas more attractive to families and those seeking a more peaceful life.
10. Popular Inner Loop Neighborhoods are Great for Young Professionals
River Oaks – Known for its upscale and prestigious properties and opulent estates, River Oaks is considered one of the most affluent and sought-after neighborhoods in the city.
The Heights – Epitomized by charming Victorian homes, bungalows, and craftsman-style houses, The Heights offers a small-town feel with local boutiques, coffee shops, and an abundance of parks.
West University – A charming and family-friendly neighborhood named due to its proximity to Rice University, the area exudes a welcoming and small-town atmosphere.
11. Popular Outer Loop Neighborhoods are Perfect for Families
Sugar Land – Known for its top-rated schools, master-planned communities, and family-oriented environment, Sugar Land offers a wide range of housing options, including spacious single-family homes.
The Woodlands– Situated north of Houston and surrounded by nature and forests, The Woodlands boasts excellent schools, numerous parks, and a variety of shopping and entertainment options.
Katy – This rapidly growing suburban area is favored for its good schools, affordable housing options, and community-oriented atmosphere.
Best Neighborhoods for Families
Bellaire – Renowned for its strong sense of community and excellent schools, Bellaire is an excellent choice for families with kids of all ages.
Pearland – Located south of Houston, Pearland offers suburban living close to top-notch schools and excellent shopping and dining.
Kingwood – Favored for its beautiful parks, recreational facilities, and small-town ambiance, Kingwood is well-known as a family-friendly community.
Houston’s Job Market
Why move to Houston, TX, for work? The city’s robust economy is driven by multiple industries, making it an attractive destination for job seekers, entrepreneurs, and business owners alike. The city is home to a plethora of Fortune 500 companies (second in volume only to New York) and a thriving job market that has long been a magnet for professionals moving to Houston in search of exciting new career opportunities.
12. There are Several Growing Industries in Houston
It’s a well-known fact that Houston’s economy has always been closely tied to the energy industry. The strong presence in oil, gas, and petrochemicals ensures energy services will always play a key role. However, the local economy has also witnessed rapid growth in the following sectors:
Healthcare – The city is home to numerous hospitals, research institutions, and medical centers.
Technology – From startups to established tech companies, Houston’s reputation for innovation and research attracts software development, cybersecurity, and data analytics professionals.
Aerospace– Home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center and numerous aerospace companies, Houston offers many jobs that appeal to engineers, scientists, and aviation specialists.
Top Employers in Houston
The top 100 employers in Houston account for nearly 600,000 regional workers. Here are a few of the biggest employers:
Shell Oil Company
The Texas Medical Center
Career Opportunities in Houston
Whether you’re an experienced professional, recent graduate, or aspiring entrepreneur, Houston offers numerous paths to success. Aside from the industries we’ve already mentioned, the city’s strategic location and its status as a global business center open doors for professionals involved in international trade, logistics, and finance. Retail giants like Kroger and Walmart employ upwards of 10,000 locals.
Transportation in Houston
With a comprehensive public transportation network, bike-friendly initiatives, and ongoing urban development, Houston stands out as a beacon of convenience compared to other big Texan cities like Austin and Dallas.
13. Access to Public Transportation and Commuting in Houston
Houston’s METRO (Metropolitan Transit Authority) plays a crucial role in the city’s accessibility. The METRO system includes buses and commuter services, providing extensive coverage throughout the city and surrounding areas. Meanwhile, the light rail system connects major parts of the city and has been credited with reducing car use and traffic congestion in key areas – especially at rush hour. Park and Ride services cater to suburban commuters, offering convenient parking facilities near freeway entrances with express bus routes into the city center.
14. Miles and Miles of Trails for Biking in Houston
Biking enthusiasts and environmentally-conscious residents find the city incredibly accommodating of two-wheeled travel. The Bayou Greenways provide cyclists with over 150 miles of scenic paths, and the addition of bike lanes and dedicated bike routes in key neighborhoods enhances safety and convenience for cyclists.
Healthcare in Houston
It’s recommended that anyone moving to Houston carefully research healthcare providers, clinics, and hospitals in potential neighborhoods to ensure access to quality care. More specifically, you should consider the proximity of medical facilities to your potential residence and the availability of any specialized care you might need.
15. High Quality Medical Institutions in Houston
With a robust network of medical institutions, cutting-edge research facilities, and a commitment to quality patient care, Houston has earned its reputation as a leading healthcare destination in the United States. The list of top institutions includes:
Texas Medical Center (TMC)
Houston Methodist Hospital
Memorial Hermann Health System
Health Insurance in Texas
Before you move to Houston, it’s essential you check your existing health insurance plan or explore new coverage options to make sure you’re covered. Like in any other state, health insurance is available through employer-sponsored plans, private insurance providers, and government programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The average cost of health insurance across all tiers in Texas sits below the national average at $469 per month, a decrease of 6% year-on-year.
Education in Houston
The city’s education system is well-known for its dedication to excellence, which fosters innovation and prepares students for real-world success. With a wide array of public and private schools, esteemed universities, and several specialized programs, Houston offers a wealth of educational opportunities for students of all ages.
16. Send Your Children to Houston’s Public Schools
The public school system in Houston is one of the largest in the country. The student population in the Houston Independent School District (HISD) reflects the city’s multicultural community, providing students with opportunities to learn and grow in a richly diverse environment.
Several magnet schools focus on specific subjects, such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), performing arts, and language immersion programs. Plus, there is an extensive range of extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and academic clubs. The list of top-rated public schools in Houston includes:
Carnegie Vanguard High School
DeBakey High School for Health Professions
T.H. Rogers School
17. Houston Also Offers Great Private Schools
Private schools in Houston vary in educational philosophies, religious affiliations, and academic offerings. From international and all-girls schools to Montessori and Christian academies, most can cater to students’ unique learning needs with specialized programs, small class sizes, and individualized attention. Most Houston private schools strongly emphasize college and university preparation and have a rigorous curriculum.
18. Many Options for Higher Education at Houston’s Universities and Colleges
Houston is home to several prestigious universities and colleges, attracting students not just from across the nation but all around the globe. Prime examples include:
With its rich cultural scene, bustling shopping districts, and a wide array of outdoor activities, Houston stands out as a vibrant metropolis that rivals other Texan cities in terms of recreational activities. Nestled in the heart of Texas, the city and surrounding areas are playgrounds of diverse activities and experiences, offering something for everyone to enjoy.
19. Plenty of Outdoor Activities in Houston
The city’s temperate climate and ample green spaces make it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. From leisurely park strolls and water activities to adrenaline-pumping adventures, there’s no shortage of things to see and do. A few examples include:
Parks – Hermann Park, Memorial Park, and Buffalo Bayou Park are among the most popular spots, providing picturesque settings for outdoor relaxation.
Water activities – Buffalo Bayou is a 52-mile-long waterway offering opportunities to kayak, canoe, and stand-up paddleboard.
Walking trails – Houston Arboretum and Nature Center is an oasis of picturesque pathways and wildlife exhibits, offering a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.
20. Hide from the Heat at Houston’s Museums and Cultural Centers
There’s an array of world-class museums housing impressive collections of both classic and contemporary works. Some examples include:
There’s also a strong sense of science and exploration in Houston. As the official visitor center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Space Center Houston promises an immersive and fun educational experience. Meanwhile, the Museum of Natural Science is home to an extensive collection of exhibits and educational programs exploring various scientific disciplines and historical periods.
21. Find Everything You Need at Houston’s Shopping Centers
Houston’s cosmopolitan flair is reflected in its shopping experiences. With a mix of trendy boutiques, high-street stores, and eclectic markets, top spots for shopping include:
Houston Flea Market
22. Some of the Country’s Best Dining Lies in Houston
Houston’s culinary scene is a melting pot of flavors reflecting the city’s diverse population and love of good food. Of course, no visit to Houston would be complete without sampling Tex-Mex, and there’s also a veritable treasure trove of barbeque joints, steak houses, bistros, gastropubs, and bakeries. Plus, there’s a heap of fusion options encompassing Vietnamese and Chinese dishes. If you can’t decide what you’re in the mood for, heading down to the Houston Food Halls for a browse is a great option. Otherwise, these popular neighborhoods are well-known for top-quality dining experiences:
Your New Life in Houston
A move to Houston offers newcomers the chance to embrace endless opportunities for personal and professional growth while immersing themselves in a welcoming community that celebrates diversity and fosters creativity. Houston promises a fulfilling and exciting new chapter in your life, whatever your career aspirations, culinary preferences, or hobbies.
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