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Moving to Houston, Texas: Everything You Need to Know

Houston is one of the main cities in Texas and the ninth-largest city in the United States. The metropolis is bustling with activities and people from diverse walks of life. It ranks fourth as one of the most populated cities in the United States.

The city boasts a brotherhood spirit within its neighborhoods and is also famous for its diverse food space. Here's a deep dive guide of what to know when relocating to Houston, Texas.

Living in Houston

Living in Houston is relatively affordable compared to other large cities in the U.S. Houston's cost of living is significantly below the country's average value. That pours into the apartment and home expenses in the city, with the prices 11.5% lower than the U.S. average.

However, if you want to be a homeowner here, you may want to hurry up as real estate prices are expected to rise as the city continues to grow. Rental prices vary depending on neighborhood preferences, with the best affordable options around South Park and Greater Fifth Ward. High-end rentals locations include Midtown and Neartown.

Some of the best neighborhoods in Houston include:

  • West University is one of the more luxurious neighborhoods in Houston; living here almost feels like living in another city within the city. The area offers perfect family residential living with top-education centers and assured safety with one of the nation's lowest crime rates. Rice University, Hermann Park, and Rice Village hopping Center are some major attractions in this area.
  • The Heights is one of the gorgeous areas in Houston, with enchanting landscapes and bungalows that look as though they come from another era. The Heights offers a retreat from the busy nature of commercial spaces in Houston.
  • Spring Branch neighborhood is one of the largest in Houston, which means more room for real estate prospects. The community existed before Houston and was predominantly home to Germans. Now, it is one of the most diverse areas in Houston and boasts its privacy away from the main parts of the city.
  • In River Oaks, Houston has one of the most costly neighborhoods in the whole country. The area has tight building guidelines with minimum zoning allowed.
  • Memorial Park is well-suited for people looking for contemporary urban suburb living with privacy prioritized. The neighborhood has a posh atmosphere with great schools and the Galleria Park as a centerpiece.

Employment in Houston

The oil and gas industries are the hotspot industries for job opportunities in Houston. However, there is career potential for any professionals shifting into the city.

Go through the Fortune 500 companies list, and at least 24 call Houston the center of their operations. To boot, the Texas Medical Center—considered the largest medical campus worldwide—owns no less than 50 stations, all providing ample job opportunities. Aerospace enthusiasts will also love the numerous employment opportunities on offer from NASA's Johnson Space Center.

Still, it’s important to note that Houston's unemployment rate is 0.6% higher than the U.S. average. Despite this, the annual income rates for those with jobs are better than in most American metropolis areas.

That makes it a profitable area to live for its affordable lifestyle and rewarding jobs. The city is slowly decreasing its unemployment rate after an increase during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Education in Houston

For families with kids, living in Houston offers many opportunities for quality education. Options include around 200 private schools, charter schools, and school districts. The Houston Independent School District is the seventh-largest in the U.S. and offers all levels of education, including daycares, preschools, vocational high schools, and universities.

Climate Conditions in Houston

The weather in Houston fluctuates quite a bit, but the city remains mostly cloudy and wet all year long. Summers here usually see high temperatures, while winters aren’t too cold.

Houston sees more tourism during two phases of the year: from March to May and September to November. Chilly weather associated with winter rains or snow may start around November to February, so these months don’t see as many out-of-town visitors.

As stated earlier, Houston is a wet city to live in as it receives rainfall consistently all around the year, but the most rainfall occurs in June.

Houston's worst cases of dangerous weather occur through floods during the high rainfall periods. Hurricanes are also an occasional issue, with the last hurricane affecting the city in 2017.

The Food Space in Houston

In recent years, Houston has become a haven for foodies the world over. Houston chefs prepare delicious meals with unique flavors and presentation. Plus, you can find cuisine from all cultures, from Mexican and Ethiopian to Vietnamese and Texas BBQ.

Many attest to the food culture of Houston as a representation of the cultural diversity currently in the city. Houston is close to the Gulf of Mexico and possesses two extensive international standard airports. At one point, Houston was famous for Tex-Mex cuisine and the best Mexican street tacos.

The food scene features high-end eat-out spaces such as the Oxheart and affordable food trucks all over the city. Here are some standout meals to eat in Houston:

  • Breakfast tacos like the Tex-Mex is served in food spots like Brothers Taco House, Alamo Tamales, and Villa Arcos.
  • Delicious tamales can be found as a special menu item at all sorts of Mexican restaurants around the city
  • Viet-Cajun Crawfish a representation of the large Vietnamese population residing in Houston
  • Pho, another Vietnamese inspired cuisine meal
  • Banh Mi, a Vietnamese-based sandwich
  • BBQ is a signature of the Texas state and proudly lives in Houston. Some BBQ hotspots include the Burns Original BBQ, Ray's BBQ Shack, and Blood Bros BBQ.

The drinking culture is also on the rise, with craft breweries and cocktail bars serving up beverages for eager drink enthusiasts. Here are the best breweries in Houston.

  • The Spindle Tap Brewery is practically the poster child of craft beer in Houston.
  • Ingenious Brewing is one of the best breweries recreating New American styles.
  • Lone Pint Brewery is famous for creating Yellow Rose, one of the first standout IPAs in the Houston brewery scene.
  • Baa Baa Brewhouse is a small-scale brewery with carefully crafted fruit-themed IPAs.

Commuting in Houston

As Houston is highly populated, commuting around the city can often be frustrating, so keep this in mind after you move here and start driving to work. The average commute time in Houston is close to half an hour, a bit higher than the country's average.

Options that may decrease long commutes such as walking, cycling, and use of public transportation are still less preferred. The majority of Houstonians see having a car as a necessity.

The walkability and cycling scores of the city are low but better compared to the public transport system's score. The city is constantly striving to make more areas in Houston safer for people to walk. Infrastructure development hopes to include walking and cycling areas to reduce the commute time in the city.

While the bus system leaves room for improvement, it is slowly gaining popularity as the city officials make positive changes to make the buses quicker and reliable.

The City of Nicknames

Two of the most popular nicknames for Houston are Space City and Bayou City. The names come from the presence of NASA's Johnson Space Center and the ten waterways in Houston.

Art and Sports in Houston

The millennial world thrives on creativity and a bold need for expression through art. As such, Houston city is home to many art institutions that suit different disciplines. The city has loads of museums and hosts epic theatres as well.

In Houston, expect a host of premium symphonies, operas, and ballet shows from outstanding theatre troupes. Some standout theatres include the Wortham Center, the Hobby Centers, and Alley Theatre. Events such as the Houston Ballet, Houston Symphony, and Da Camera of Houston provide mesmerizing displays of the city’s artistic scene.

Sports in Houston

Houston is home to some of the most prolific professional sports teams. Baseball teams in Houston include Houston Astros and the Texans, with impressive stadiums that brim with good energy on matchdays.

One of the NBA heavyweights in Houston Rockets and soccer teams in Dynamo and the Dash also offers plenty of amazement in the court and stadiums for sports enthusiasts.

If you’re planning a move to one of the greatest cities in Texas, contact the moving and storage experts at SMARTBOX to get a free quote! We provide local and long-distance moving services, as well as portable storage options so you can pack your storage unit at your own pace. Need help loading and unloading your SMARTBOX? We also provide moving labor services through our partners at HireAHelper and Global Van Lines. You can even add a moving trailer to your portable storage box rental for full-service options at an affordable rate.