Are you moving to Houston, Texas? If so, you probably know a few of the pros and cons of living in Houston, but since it’s such a huge city in a huge state, you may have missed something. Here are a few things you absolutely need to know before you move.
Houston is Big and Growing
With over 2.3 million people, Houston is the biggest city in the south in terms of population, and the sixth biggest in the country. It’s not growing too fast though. From 2010 to 2020, Houston’s population grew a healthy 9.8 percent, a little slower than the average for Texas and the country as a whole.
Where to Live in Houston
Houston has thousands of great neighborhoods, but here a few areas to keep in mind:
- Downtown – Downtown living may be expensive, but residents have the most access to transportation choices, restaurants, theatres, as well as the sports arenas for the Houston Rockets and Astros.
- The Heights – Just north of downtown, the Heights is a diverse collection of old neighborhoods that includes many historic 19th century homes as well as green spaces and boutiques.
- Montrose – Also called Neartown, Montrose is known as a hip and quirky area, with art galleries, gay bars, and various eateries. It’s home to the world-famous Rothko Chapel.
- River Oaks – River Oaks is one of the richest neighborhoods in the country, with expensive homes, upscale shopping areas and luxury spas.
Houston is a Big Business City
Houston has a huge and growing economy, and is home to 24 Fortune 500 companies, including Sysco. In 2021, MNI named Houston as the top manufacturing city in the United States, with 3,504 manufacturing companies and over 254,000 manufacturing employees. It’s also a huge economic center for the oil and gas industries, with behemoths such as ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, ConocoPhillips and more having their headquarters in the area. Health care is big too. The largest medical complex in the entire world is Texas Medical Center in Houston, which employs over 100,000 people at various facilities.
Dining & Diversity
According to US News, “In Houston, dining is a pastime, and the region pleases palates with more than 11,000 restaurants. Houston has everything from award-winning establishments to barbecue joints like Gatlin’s BBQ. The metro area also offers a variety of international cuisine ranging from Ethiopian to Indian.”
Why does Houston have such a huge variety of restaurants? According to an analysis by WalletHub, Houston is the most diverse city in the United States. Naturally, that makes for a lot of different styles of cuisine. The two biggest cultural enclaves are Chinatown and the Mahatma Gandhi District, which are of course both full of restaurants, but the city’s wide array of food options are scattered widely throughout the metro area.
Getting Around – You Will Probably Need A Car
Houston is very much a car city, but there is some mass transit available. METRO operates three train lines. The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County runs a light-rail system in the urban sectors, plus several Park & Ride bus routes for surrounding suburbs.
The average commute time in Houston is just over 30 minutes. That may seem high, but it’s only 3 minutes more than the national average, which isn’t too bad for such a large and busy metro area.
Much of the commuting takes place on interstate 610, which forms a 38 mile “inner loop” around the core of the city. Locals often identify places in relation to the loop – inside the loop, outside the loop, just north of the loop, etc. If you’re moving to Houston, take a good look at a map so you’ll know what to do with all these loop references. To complicate matters, this is just the innermost of three Houston beltways. There is also Beltway 8, also known as the Sam Houston Parkway, which joins with the Sam Houston Tollway to form an 88 mile loop around the city. And there is an even larger beltway being built, called Texas Highway 99.
When you feel more like flying, Houston has two major airports. George Bush Intercontinental Airport is an international hub and one of the country’s busiest airports. The William P. Hobby Airport is smaller but also has international flights.
The Outdoors are Big Too
Houston has more acreage dedicated to parks and green space than any other metro area in the United States, totaling over 56,000 acres. There are literally hundreds of parks in the area, including the 7,800-acre George Bush Park. Bikers love to bike along the water at Buffalo Bayou, as well as many other bike trails. Houston is also a mecca for water sports, with access to rivers, lakes, bays and Gulf beaches. You need a car to live in Houston, but you might also want a boat.
Stuff to Do
The Houston area is full of attractions. The Museum of Fine Art and the Houston Zoo both attract lots of tourists and locals, as do various family-friendly activities including free concerts at Miller Outdoor Theatre and Discovery Green. Other major attractions include Johnson Space Center and the Children’s Museum of Houston. Shoppers flock to Green Street, Highland Village, Rice Village, the Galleria, and the new River Oaks District.
The Houston area is home to several professional sports teams. This includes the Houston Texans (NFL), the Houston Astros (MLB), the Houston Dynamo (MLS) and the Houston Rockets (NBA). College sports are big too, with five Division I programs located in the area.
The Price is Right
For such a big city, the cost of living in Housing is better than you’d expect. In 2020 the median home value was $319,000, and the average rent was $1101 a month. Property taxes are a bit high in Texas generally, but remember that there is no state income tax.
Every year US News analyzes 150 metro areas for their “Best Places to Live” special. Out of 150 areas, Houston ranked an impressive #39 in 2021. It has also topped many lists of best cities for paycheck worth and job creation.
Trust Firefighting’s Finest Moving & Storage for Your Move to the Houston Area
If you’re ready to pack up and move to Houston, Texas, it’s time to call Firefighting’s Finest Moving & Storage. We are dedicated to providing efficient, safe, and professional commercial and home moving services, as the moving partner you can rely on. Founded in 2001 by two off-duty firefighters, we’ve grown to serve not only the Dallas/Fort Worth area, but also Houston and Austin as well. A locally-owned-and-operated business, we exceed all state and federal requirements for a moving company and can handle all of your moving needs. Call 844-715-6625 or visit our website for an estimate.