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18 Things to Know About Living in Houston

Moving to Houston? The fourth-largest city in the U.S. is one of the fastest-growing and most diverse areas in the nation. Enjoy sunny weather, professional sports, extensive culture, and endless things to do in The Bayou City. Here are 18 things to know about living in Houston!

Find Affordable Living in H-Town

Aerial view of Houston skyline on a sunny day. Photo via Instagram user @intownliving

Photo via @intownliving

Living in Houston doesn’t have to carry a big price tag—in fact, the cost of living in Houston is 6% lower than the national average! Whether you’re downtown or in the suburbs, residents can find safe, affordable housing in Houston with a median housing price of $140,300—24% less than the national average. Renters living in Houston can also enjoy affordable options with a median rent price of 5% below the national average. Plus, Texas is one of nine states without income tax, meaning life in Houston is even more affordable!

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Join Houston’s Booming Job Market

Ground view of Houston downtown skyscrapers gleaming in the sun on a clear day. Photo via Instagram user @shotsbyrayray

Photo via @shotsbyrayray

As one of the best cities for startups and best cities for entrepreneurs, it’s no wonder why Houston has over 8,200 tech-related firms and about 4,600 energy industry firms. The “energy capital of the world” is home to major players like ConocoPhillips, Kinder Morgan, Weatherford International, and Phillips 66. Besides energy, residents can easily find jobs in Houston industries like business, biotechnology, aeronautics, and more. This “Texaplex” city offers Houstonians plenty of quality job opportunities in fast-growing Houston startups like Solugen or Kare. And with programs that support entrepreneurs and technological innovations, the Texas Medical Center offers positions researching biodesign and cancer therapeutics. See how Houston got its nickname as Space City by working for NASA at the Johnson Space Center.

Study at Ranked Universities in Houston

Front view of the MD Anderson Library, green spaces, sidewalks, and an outdoor sculpture at the University of Houston. Photo via Instagram user @uhadvamb

Photo via @uhadvamb

With 14 major universities and colleges in Houston, young professionals can find their dream career path. Earn your degree at Rice University, which ranks fifth in the nation for best value colleges with majors like computer sciences, biochemistry, economics, exercise science, kinesiology, and a world-class undergraduate teaching program. Find ample lab opportunities and the second-best nursing-anesthesia specialization in the country at one of the top 25 best medical schools, the Baylor College of Medicine. Immerse yourself in the medical field at the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHealth) or the famous Texas Medical Center (TMC). Prepare for a career at NASA with the only Space Architecture program in the world at the University of Houston—or join the athletics program to follow in the footsteps of the 64 UH alum who medaled in the Olympics.

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Live in a Unique Neighborhood Infrastructure

To understand Houston neighborhoods, you first need to know “The Loop.” Interstate 610 circles vibrant Downtown Houston, with some of the best neighborhoods in Houston creating this Inner Loop neighborhood. In the heart of the city, residents can pick from luxury apartments, condos with beautiful skyline views, or Tudor, Georgian, and Modern-style homes. Houston’s Montrose ranks as one of the hippest neighborhoods in America, and is great for singles and young professionals looking to hang out at cafes or browse local art from Archway Gallery. East End is perfect for artists and change-makers who want to enjoy the designated cultural district. Consider settling down in the Outer Loop’s suburbs like quaint Pearland, community-oriented Sugar Land, or scenic Cypress. Rated as the third-best neighborhood to raise a family in Houston, Clear Lake has older single-family homes, luxury townhomes, and condos available, while one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Houston, The Woodlands, offers everything from modest ranches to huge Federal-style estates.

Get Around Town with Houston Transportation

Want a fast track to your Downtown Houston job? Although Houston traffic is infamous because of its car-centric infrastructure and its effect on the local air quality, the city no longer has the most congested freeway in Texas. The Houston Metro addressed traffic in Houston with carpooling incentives and toll express lanes for a faster commute. Residents can skip the trouble altogether and use the Houston Metro bus routes and other modes of public transport. Once you make it downtown, ride the Houston Metro Rail or take the downtown tunnels for easy access to Midtown parks and Space City’s cultural districts. Love out-of-town travel? Book a flight with one of the two Houston airports! Start your international vacation at George Bush Intercontinental Airportranked number one in the U.S. for international flights. Or fly domestically with the William P. Hobby Airport.

Soak Up Bayou City’s Sun All Year Long

A family of three walks through geometric golden metal sculptures with intricate patterns in the setting sunlight underneath the shade of trees along the sidewalk. Photo via Instagram user @discoverygreen

Photo via @discoverygreen

If you’re looking for fun in the sun, you’ll love Houston’s weather! H-Town residents enjoy over 200 days of sunshine a year and winters that rarely dip below 40 degrees. Plus, “Bayou City” offers plenty of outdoor recreation along the many slow, wetland rivers winding through the metro. While these rivers add a calm vibe to the bustling city, they can overflow during hurricane season, from June to November. So, though most of the city’s 45 inches of annual rainfall actually happen during hurricane season, residents try to avoid areas that historically flood, and take preventative measures by floodproofing their homes. These warm days and slow or stagnant rivers are amazing to experience, but be sure to bring good bug spray with you!

Take a Walk in Houston Parks

A woman sits on the grass of Buffalo Bayou Park and looks out over the river, trees, and Houston skyline on a partly cloudy day. Photo via Instagram user @myrandaharper

Photo via @myrandaharper

Bike down the stretch of patches, boat ten miles of stream, or walk down Buffalo Bayou with your four-legged friend in Downtown Houston. Attend regular Screen on the Green movies or Toddler Tuesdays at one of the best parks in Downtown Houston, Discovery Green. Have your fill of food truck eats around the Picnic Loop after exploring the rest of Memorial Park. Go swimming or chow down on Cajun-style foods during the Annual Crawfish Jam Festival at nearby Sylvan Beach. Spend an afternoon fishing, kayaking, and hiking at Sheldon Lake State Park, just 15 minutes from Downtown Houston. Visit Tranquility Park to commemorate the Apollo 11 landing. Enjoy the Houston Japanese Garden, art installations, and golfing at Herrman Park. Go horseback riding, kayaking, fishing, or camping at Lake Houston Wilderness Park. Feel the rainforest air while you walk through tropical foliage at the Cockrell Butterfly Center in the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Or try new hobbies like botanic yoga and indigo dying at the Houston Botanical Garden.

Saddle Up at the Houston Rodeo

What is Houston famous for? The biggest rodeo in the world! The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo hosts three weeks of competitive bull riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, and more. Attend the 19-day Super Series or the one-day-only Super Shootout. Compete alongside 200 teams in the Bar-B-Que Contest to make the best smoky Texas BBQ. Admire the best-groomed livestock and horses at animal-judging events. Jam out to Rodeo Houston’s nightly concerts by country music legends like Tim McGraw and Keith Urban. See unique, skilled events like the Ag Robotics Contest for kids or the Tractor Technician race for adults. Catch some tricks at the Extreme Dog Show and learn more about animal rescues. Teach your kids all about agriculture and let them try their hand at Mutton Bustin’ (competitive sheep riding) at AGVENTURE. Or snack on turkey legs, cotton candy, and funnel cakes from The Junction Carnival.

Celebrate at Local Houston Festivals

For fun things to do in Houston, order meals from over 250 participating restaurants during Houston Restaurant Weeks, a month-long sampling of Houston’s local eateries. Plus, you can feel good knowing the event fundraises for the Houston Food Bank! Honor the lives of passed loved ones with performances from traditional Mexican dance groups, Afro Cubano musicians, and more at the Dia de los Muertos Festival in Houston. Get revved up for the Houston Auto Show, a four-day event at the NRG Center that’s perfect for classic car lovers. Watch intricately decorated cars drag down the main street at Houston Art Car Parade. Buy handmade crafts and artwork, listen to live musicians, or eat your fill from local food trucks at the Bayou City Art Festival in Memorial Park. Celebrate Pride month with live performances, music, and a rooftop after-party at the Houston Pride festival!

Explore the Houston Museum District

Vistors of the MFA Houston walk through an orange, woven floating walkway made of all fabrics in a bright white room full of windows. Photo via Instagram user @mfahouston

Photo via @mfahouston

The Houston Museum District is a true urban feat, with 19 unique Houston museums across four walkable areas of Downtown Houston. See experimental works like the Overlapping Territories project or multi-sensory artwork like The Tender Interval at DiverseWorks. Wander through classical oil paintings and sculptures at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Visit a wide variety of exhibits like: Virtual Realities: The Art of M.C. Escher, Incomparable Impressionism, and the annual local Eye on Houston: High School Documentary Photography showcase. Read diary entries written by young people during the Holocaust, educate yourself on human rights activists, and view paintings in the Samuel Bak Gallery at the Holocaust Museum Houston. Let your kids test their agility in a challenge course or expand their minds in interactive exhibits about physics, math, chemistry, and more at Children’s Museum Houston.

Connect with Houston’s Diverse Arts Scene

A rock sculpture of a female archer grabbing an arrow from her back sling, surrounded by trees, shrubs, and pink flowers at golden hour. Photo via Instagram user @evrentrx

Photo via @evrentrx

View movies like Star Wars and Black Panther on the big screen while the Houston Symphony performs the soundtrack. Support your community’s teens as they showcase their art, music, and dance skills at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Watch shows like Turandot and Giving Voice at the Houston Grand Opera. Dive into dramas like Romeo and Juliet, marvel at the elegant architecture, and enjoy performances from the Houston International Dance Coalition at Wortham Center for the Performing Arts. Celebrate your local community’s murals at the Houston Graffiti Park. Get lost inside an orange carnival-style maze—the Orange Show Monument—in Smither Park. Visit hidden gem in Houston, Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, to enjoy echoing concerts and bold art installations in the former drinking reservoir. Marvel at the 50,000 recycled cans used to decorate the Beer Can House. Or walk among metal animals and planes at the Eclectic Menagerie Park sculpture garden.

Shop in Houston ‘Til You Drop

A group of girls and women in white outfits walk the sidewalks of Houston's River Oaks District on a sunny day in the summer with trees and flowers in the periphery. Photo via Instagram user @rodistrict

Photo via @rodistrict

Houston goes big—and shopping is no exception. Explore the six miles of shopping sprawled across the Houston Underground Mall, which also offers Space City residents climate-controlled access to office buildings and even the Houston Theater District. Opt for open-air shopping instead, and find high-end boutiques, wine bars, artisan chocolate, and more at Uptown Park. Find cool things to do inside Texas’ largest shopping center, complete with over 500 stores and eateries, a full-sized ice rink, and escape room, at The Galleria. If luxury brands are more your style, spend a day shopping at designer stores like Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, and more in the sleek River Oaks District. Stop inside Project Runway-winning designer Chloe Dao’s shop, Dao Chloe Dao, in Houston’s historical shopping district, Rice Village—or explore Houston’s first walkable garden district.

Go Wild for Houston Sports Teams

Houston Astros player number 11 prepares to swing his bat while he waits for the pitch as a blurred out crowd watches. Photo via Instagram user @astrosbaseball

Photo via @astrosbaseball

Houston is one of the country’s top 20 sports cities. Root for H-Town’s six professional teams and dozens of minor league or college teams. Take your friends out to the ball game to see the Houston Astros (MLB) in action at Minute Maid Park. Catch the Houston Rockets (NBA) at the Toyota Center. Support Houston’s Division I college basketball teams, the Houston Cougars men’s and women’s teams, at the University of Houston. Get your chants ready for the Houston Texans (NFL), too! If you’re in the mood for soccer, check out Houston Dynamo FC (MLS) and Houston Dash (NWSL) at PNC Stadium. Learn the rules of rugby while watching newly-founded major league team Houston SaberCats (MLR) play in AVEVA Stadium.

Have Out-of-this-World Family Fun

An interior shot of the Houston Space Center with a huge poster of earth, a screen showing the Mars rover, and many exhibits in the center of the room. Photo via Instagram user @spacecenterhou

Photo via @spacecenterhou

There is no shortage of Houston family activities to pick from that are both fun and educational. See spacecraft from past NASA missions, experience a virtual reality spacewalk, or ask a NASA astronaut your questions at Space Center Houston. Feed live stingrays, enjoy carnival rides, and order seafood at Kemah Boardwalk. Book close encounters with sloths, Galápagos giant tortoises, sea lions, and more at the Houston Zoo. Let your kids participate in over 350 activities at the H-E-B Children’s Festival. Take a train through the 200,000-gallon shark tank at the Downtown Aquarium. Find even more Houston attractions for families at the Downtown Aquarium like a Ferris wheel, carousel, and lighthouse dive ride. Watch family theatre shows and see some kid-friendly musicals in Houston at Express Children’s Theatre and Main Street Theater.

Snack On Houston BBQ & Tex-Mex

Close-up shot of birria tacos sizzling on a grill. Photo via Instagram user @jqstexmexbbq

Photo via @jqstexmexbbq

After trying the city’s famous BBQ and Tex-Mex spots, you’ll understand why Houstonians are known for dining out more times a week than any other major U.S. city’s residents. Take a Sunday pit-master class to learn how to smoke a full brisket or place a to-go order of the Texas Trinity (brisket, pork ribs, and sausage) at Truth BBQ. Cater your party with Jalapeño Coleslaw and Charro Pinto Beans from Blood Bros BQQ. Try the Dry Rub Pork Ribs with Smoked Duck & Sausage Jambalaya on the side at Pinkerton’s Barbecue. Pick up Fried Okra and a Kitchen Sink Sandwich at family-owned, Southern-style Gatlin’s BBQ. Share a Texas Two-Step Sandwich or Boudin Links with the family from Roegels Barbecue Co. Sample meats, sides, and broths at classic Houston Korean BBQ spot, Gen Korean BBQ. Stop by the Dripped Birria food truck for mouth-watering Birria tacos and Birria ramen. Devour street tacos and Tortas from Taconmadre. Or dine on high-quality, creative dishes inspired by the indigenous foods of Oaxaca, Mexico at Xochi.

Savor Houston’s Top-Tier Cuisine

There’s a whole culinary globe to taste in Houston, which explains why it’s one of the best foodie cities in the U.S. Enjoy a classic Houston brunch at the breakfast klub, famous for its chicken and waffles. Make a reservation at one of the best date spots in Houston at Nobie’s, a fresh eatery that plays vinyl records all day and serves a constantly-evolving menu with seasonal, local ingredients. Have a romantic night of wine and Sicilian Scampi with Orange Honey Salad at the upscale Italian eatery, Da Marco. Reserve a table for Duck Duck Soup or a Beef Bulgogi Bibimbap Bowl at MasterChef winner Christina Ha’s modern Vietnamese restaurant, The Blind Goat. Taste two cuisines in one at the Viet-Cajun restaurant, Crawfish & Noodles, with specials like Chim Cuc (deep-fried quail) and Cajun Clams. If you’re looking for vibrant dishes from all over India like Kalonji Lamb Chops Curry or Onion Cheese Paratha, try Pondicher. Or for varied global cuisine, order Caribbean Braised Oxtails or Norwegian Smoked Salmon Latkes from Traveler’s Table.

Get a Cold One at a Houston Brewery

Are you really living in Texas if you don’t try the state’s best craft beers? Watch the Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. staff create unique concoctions at their immersive brewing experience. Compare European beers like Heat Shields are for Sissies or Mir Cognac Party with experimental American brews like Rocket Park or Scout at True Anomaly Brewing Co. Sip drinks like the Horseshoe—a German-style pilsner brewed just for Texas BBQs—from the beer garden at low-key Houston brewery Karbach Brewing. Stop before an Astros game for a cool, hoppy West Coast IPA or a dry, roasted Red Ale at 8th Wonder Brewery. Ever had beer straight from the tank? If not, Holler Brewing Co is your next stop! Enjoy regular pop-up chefs, house-made root beer, and endless small-batch brews of flavors like the light, crisp Slow Clap IPA. Or visit the oldest craft brewery in Texas and one of the best breweries in Houston, TX, for upscale bar food and a German-brewed Lawnmower Ale or malt-flavored Amber Ale at Saint Arnold Brewing Company.

Have a Blast in Houston’s Nightlife

Looking for things to do in Houston at night? Houston nightlife has something for everyone! Start your night appreciating the Houston sunset at the highest open-air rooftop bar in the city, Z on 23. Ride a mechanical bull, play Giant Jenga, and stomp your heart out during free dance lessons at Stampede Houston. Stay casual when entering Houston Watch Co., a history-focused speakeasy that will throw you back in time. Laugh at local comedy line-ups all night long with Cruiser cold-brewed coffee on tap at The Secret Group. Catch a professional drag show four nights a week at Houston’s only gay piano bar, Micheal’s Outpost. Head downtown for a grunge, emo, punk, or rock show at a 1920s warehouse-turned-concert venue, Warehouse Live. Kick the soccer ball around or try your hand at arcade games at Pitch 25 Beer Park. After all the other Houston clubs close, dance on the neon-lit dance floor and enjoy a full bar and energetic Afrobeats from 2 a.m. to sunrise at Cloud 9 No Stress.

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Considering a move to Houston? Extra Space Storage has convenient locations across the Houston metro to help with your transition. Find a storage unit near you!

 

overlooking downtown Houston, Tx from a city park
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