The most populous city in Texas and fourth-most populous in the United States, Houston is one of the friendliest, most welcoming cities in the country. It’s also the most ethnically diverse with a robust economy, great sports teams and an impressive food scene. Founded by land speculators in 1836, the city is named after General Sam Houston, who won Texas its independence from Mexico during the Battle of San Jacinto. Throughout its history, Houston grew into a regional trading center. A growing port and railroad industry, the oil boom and several other factors fueled the city’s rapid growth. The global city is also strong in regard to medicine, research, art, and culture. Whether you’re planning a trip or move to Houston, you’ll find plenty of reasons to fall in love.
What Makes Houston Great
- Food: Houston is home to some of the best restaurants in the country, including barbeque. Be prepared to put on a few pounds.
- Home-grown stars: Several celebrities are from Houston, including Beyoncé, Patrick Swayze, Renee Zellweger, Dennis and Randy Quaid, and George W. Bush.
- Professional sports teams: With the exception of the National Hockey League, Houston has sports teams for every major professional league. Teams include the Astros (baseball), Rockets (basketball), Texans (football), Dynamo (men’s soccer), Dash (women’s soccer), and SaberCats (rugby).
- Affordability: Living in Houston is more affordable than other major metropolitan areas thanks to less expensive housing prices, competitive energy costs, and no state income tax.
- Education: Houston’s large school districts offer students a multitude of resources. Several top-rated universities are also in the area and offer Texas residents deep discounts on tuition.
Houston has humid subtropical weather with mild winters and long, hot, humid summers. The area receives an average rainfall of 53 inches annually, but you won’t have to use a heater during the winter as average highs are in the 50s. Summer temperatures usually reach 90°F or higher, making it perfect pool weather.
Houston’s waterways carve out the city’s 80-plus neighborhoods and suburbs. The “Loop” (Loop 610) is a highway that residents use to label destinations. Neighborhoods include:
- Garden Oak / Oak Forest (GOOF): Located just outside the Loop, GOOF gives you suburban living without having to move outside city limits. The trendy area features ranch-style homes, brick residences and bungalows on larger plots.
- Cypress: Filled with tree-lined streets, high-ranking school districts and new developments, Cypress has one of the hottest markets in the city.
- West U: An Inner Loop neighborhood, West U is a more affluent neighborhood that consists of stately houses, manicured lawns, and great schools.
- Second Ward: Located in the heart of Houston, near Buffalo Bayou on the East End, Second Ward has undergone several renovation and redevelopment projects. A 20-year plan will add more parks and trails.
- Clear Lake: A master-planned suburb originally created for Johnson Space Center employees, Clear Lake is a tight-knit community that attracts young families and empty-nesters.
- Spring Ranch: Offering the conveniences of city life with more square footage, Spring Ranch on the west side offers new builds and mid-century, ranch-style homes that are more affordable than those in the Inner Loop.
- Hobby: Clustered around the Hobby Airport in southeast Houston, Hobby is filled with older homes with more affordable price tags.
Average Housing Costs
At the time of publication, average home listing prices in Houston are around $280,000. Median rent prices are around $1,600 per month.
Things to Do in Houston
- Go to the rodeo: The annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a kick for all who attend. It offers concerts, a large carnival, rodeo competitions, and the famous barbeque cook-off.
- See the origins of America’s space exploration efforts: While residents can’t visit NASA, they can tour the Johnson Space Center’s Space Center Houston. The center explores the history of the space program and features hundreds of space artifacts and exhibits, including the largest collection of moon rocks and lunar samples for public viewing.
- Go on an underground tunnel tour: While Houston doesn’t have a large-scale subway system, it is home to one of the world’s most extensive pedestrian tunnels. Join a tour to explore this other side of the city.
- Museum hop: Houston’s Museum District has 19 museums within a 12-block radius. The city also has its own zoo and aquarium.
- Watch a live show: The revitalized Theater District gives you access to a number of incredible shows.
Considering moving to this larger-than-life city? Check out the employment opportunities at Solairus.