Houston, Texas is the fourth largest city in the US, and it is surrounded by a beautiful green landscape. It is also rich in parks and waterways. It offers many in the categories of food, technology, arts, and culture. There's also plenty of activities and shows to enjoy while you're in the city. There are even multiplex cinemas, and there is no shortage of clubs that play live music.
It is also home to the Houston Space Center, which is known to be a non-profit gateway to the NASA Johnson Space Center. Aside from being rich in technology, the metropolis also takes their health care seriously. As such, it is home to the famous Texas Medical Center, which is the world's largest gathering of healthcare and research facilities.
If you're into sports, then you'll know that this is the hometown of the ever famous Houston Rockets and the Houston Comets. There are also other activities to enjoy, such as golfing, horse racing, auto racing, and other admired pastimes.
There are more things to see and to do once you relocate to Houston, Texas. But before you start packing your bags, there are a few more things to know and understand, such as the weather, their education system, gas prices, and more.
- Houston Weather
- Houston Culture
- Cost of Living in Houston
- Houston's Popular Jobs and Industries
- The Various Neighborhoods of Houston
- Cost of Owning a Car in Houston
- Houston's Public Commute System
- Walking and Biking Around Houston
- Houston's Real Estate
- Sights to See in Houston
- Other things to know about Houston, Texas
What’s the Weather Like in Houston, Texas?
Houston, Texas has a temperate climate, which means that temperatures can sustain tropical vegetation while letting tourists and residents alike to enjoy in many outdoor activities. The city's climate is classified as humid subtropical, and the humidity is greatly felt during the summer. There are days when the sun decides to hide as rains and thunderstorms decide to visit. However, the standard temperature during the hot summer days is 90 °F. Still, temperatures rarely hit 100 °F.
Because of its hot and humid climate, Houston has only 14 measurable snowfalls since the year 1939. As such, you might want to leave the heavy winter gear behind when you move to the city. Even when autumn hits the city, it is still relatively warm as temperatures will only go down to about 80 °F.
After winter, spring will gradually warm the temperature that winter left behind. It is seen that spring season will last from mid-March and it will end in May. During spring, temperatures are still not as hot as you might expect during the summer, but during this time, thunderstorms are seen to be more frequent than any other of the four seasons in the city.
Culture in Houston, Texas
When it comes to culture, Houston has no shortage of it. In fact, it prides itself as a multicultural city. Several festivals and events that take place within the city's borders, such as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Houston Auto Show.
There are also major performing arts that you can marvel and enjoy within the city, such as the Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Houston Ballet, and many others. If you want to go to a more peaceful place, then you can opt to go to The Museum of Fine Arts or the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.
For shopping, you can head down to Houston's Chinatown, or you can stroll towards the Mahatma Gandhi District. These locations are home to many bakeries, shops, and restaurants. Many people even refer to the city as the "dining-out capital of the US." It is also apparent that many Houstonians love their food for its taste and diverse options.
There are so many restaurants in Houston, Texas that you can eat at a different restaurant every day while in the city for years and you might not even visit the same food joint twice. It's difficult to pick a single favorite restaurant in Houston because you might find two, or three, or perhaps even ten favorite food places.
The Culinary Capital of Texas
Houston is known for its authentic TexMex, but that is just one of the many delectable treats you can experience while in the city. There's plenty of restaurants to choose from; in fact, saying there are many food joints might even be an understatement.
This city in the state of Texas is home to over 8,600 restaurants and eating establishments. It is also the location where 600 bars with over 60 cuisines reside. As such, it is no wonder why this city is known as the "Culture and Culinary Capital of Texas."
It has an Abundance of Activities
Aside from eating out every day, you might never run out of things to do while in Houston. There's a great number of theaters, museums, and other attractions. This city is home to 83 museums and cultural sites. There are also 79 performing arts companies which you can start visiting once you relocate to this city.
Houston is one of the few municipalities in the US that offer top-of-the-line, year-round resident companies found in all major performing arts sectors, namely opera, drama, ballet, and symphony.
There's a Lot of Green in Houston
Houston is no mere urban jungle as there are plenty of scenic green spaces to go around. You can head to its downtown area where the city's largest park sits. From here, you can head on to an interconnected bikeway network, if you have a bicycle. There are miles-and-miles of picturesque spaces with tons of green as it is home to two of the ten largest urban public parks found in the US, and these are the George Bush and Cullen Parks.
Although you can just sit and relax on one of the many park benches sprawled across its many parks, Houston has no shortage when it comes to outdoor activities. You can take part in Zumba classes, and you can even ogle at free performances when you down to the Miller Outdoor Theatre. There's also water sports that you can try out, such as kayaking, boating, fishing, and more.
Comes with Plenty of Music
There's also plenty of music and lively festivals to go around while you're in Houston. There's also lots of shopping to do, and fashion shows even like to present the latest trends in the many locations within the city.
It is A Sports Town
Houston, Texas has already played host to some of the nation's largest sporting events such as the NBA Finals and the Super Bowl. Many Houstonians cheer for their home teams such as the Rockets at the Toyota Center, the Texans at the NRG Stadium, the Astros at Minute Maid Park, and every team in between.
The Cost of Living in Houston
As mentioned in a previous section, Houston is the fourth largest city in the nation, but it is also the biggest town in Texas. It is home to over 2 million people, and it is also the largest city in the South regarding population and size. With these things in mind, you might be wondering as to what would be the cost of living in this metropolis.
Houston Home Prices
According to the US Census Bureau, the average rate of homeownership in this city in the state of Texas between the years 2009 and 2013 is 45.4%. This percentage is below the Texas average, which is found to be at 63.3%. As such, prices for purchasing homes in Houston are on a steady rise. A one bedroom abode might net you to shell out more than $187,500. If you're planning to purchase a 4-bedroom house, then prepare to spend approximately $440,000.
What It’s Like if you are Renting an Apartment in Houston?
If you're not ready to be bogged down by paying a mortgage in Houston, then you might want to opt for renting an apartment or condo first. You can expect to pay the average price of $1,020 a month for a studio-type apartment in Houston. For a few dollars more, you might be lucky to find a one-bedroom place in an establishment for $1,026. The figure rises when you opt for more rooms and more living space. For instance, if you plan on renting a 2-bedroom apartment, then the average price of the rent is $1,369 per month.
Cost of Utilities
Once you've acquired a place to stay, whether you've purchased a house or found a place to rent, then you now want to keep up with your utility bills. As per numbeo.com, paying the basic package of utilities of a 915-square foot apartment in Houston, Texas will make you shell out $157.07 per month on average. The basic package includes heating, water, electricity, and garbage.
For comparison's sake, the figure mentioned above is just 16 cents below the national average. Therefore, if you want to add Internet costs to the list, then the cost of utilities jumps to around $201.16 per month. However, even with the additional cost of paying for an Internet connection, the new figure is still 8% below the national average.
Taxes in Houston
Residents of Houston have to pay a sales tax of 8.25% as a combination of county, state, and city rates. This is considered to be pretty steep, but before you grit your teeth together, there's a silver lining because Texas has no state income tax. Still, you're still required to pay your federal income taxes that are withheld with each paycheck. Nonetheless, you won't owe local or state income taxes when April arrives.
Houston's Popular Jobs and Industries
Many of the highest-paying jobs in Houston, Texas are located in the health care sector. In fact, according to a Business Journals analysis, eight out of the top ten jobs found in the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan statistical area are found to be in the medical field. The information was acquired from a 2012 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There is, however, one job position that earns higher in Houston than many of the other cities in the nation, and that is chief executive. Being a chief executive in this Texas city makes you have the second highest rank regarding annual salary, and No. 10 in a national scale.
According to Business Journals, here are the highest-paying occupation in Houston, Texas:
- Chief Executives
- Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- Internists, General
- Family and General Practitioners
- Dentists, General
- Architectural and Engineering Managers
- Nurse Anesthetists
- Physicians and Surgeons, All Other
The items on the list above are ranked by highest paid occupations down to the lowest. You can check out the entire list by clicking here.
As for the major industries that have high average annual salaries in Houston, here is a short list acquired from a longer list of Business Journals:
- Engineering and Architecture
- Life, Social Science, and Physical
- Mathematical and Computer
- Business and Finance
- Healthcare and Technical
- Education, Library, and Training
- Community and Social Service
- Arts, Entertainment, Design, Sports, and Media
The Various Neighborhoods of Houston
Houston, Texas is a gigantic city, and it is home to many neighborhoods. These neighborhoods can be broken down into several management districts, and they are:
- East Downtown
- East End
- Memorial City
- Southeast Houston
- Southwest Management District
- Spring Branch
- Upper Kirby
If you're searching around for the best neighborhoods to move in Houston, Area Vibes listed them down (in no particular order):
- Rice Military
- River Oaks
- Greater Heights
- Greater Memorial
- West University
One neighborhood to note is Rice, and it is quite a large neighborhood. It is home to over 16,000 residents, and the prestigious Rice University is also located here. This Houston neighborhood is also home to the Houston Zoo and Hermann Park.
Rice is even considered to be the most desirable place to live in all of Houston, as per Area Vibes. There are a lot of restaurants, bars, arts, and activities to do and visit that are all within close distance from living areas. The location even poses a higher chance of letting you attain a high paying job. However, it is seen that the cost of living in this neighborhood is a bit higher than other districts in the city.
Education System in Houston
Since Houston is a large city, there's no shortage when it comes to choosing your preferred educational facility. There are over 60 school districts found in the Greater Houston area alone, and this area has a great number of private, public, and parochial schools.
When you're about to move to Houston, then you need to choose the right school for your kids. Consider several factors before finalizing that a particular educational institution is "the one." Some of these factors include the distance from school from home, the school's budget, and its curriculum. You should also consider the type of teaching environment to see if it fits your children's needs.
You should always take note that school attendance is required for students found within the ages of six and 18. Like in many areas in the greater US, schools in Houston are divided into three levels, them being:
- Pre-K to Grade 5
- Grade 6 to 8 (or middle school)
- Grade 9 to 12 (or high school)
Many schools in Houston, Texas primarily teach lessons in English, except foreign-language international schools.
Cost of Owning a Car in Houston
Are you planning to buy a new automobile in Houston, or you already have a vehicle to call your own but want to know the various rates that surround the many facets of cars in Houston? Then it might be challenging and tricky, especially if you're on a tight budget.
According to a study by bankrate.com with regards to the total car ownership rates that compared all 50 states, Texas is found in the middle of the group. The state has an annual out-of-pocket cost of about $3,078. This figure does not include depreciation, by the way.
When looking at costs for gasoline, vehicle taxes, and other related fees, they are lower than the national average, and this does assist in lowering the total expenses for all of Houston. However, the study didn't factor in certain considerations, like the length of transit.
Car Insurance Rates in Houston
It is required to have car insurance coverage in the US, and Houston is no exception to that rule. As such, if you still don't have auto insurance, then you might be searching around for information about policies for your vehicle right about now.
According to Quote Wizard, the average rates of auto insurance in Houston is higher than the national and state averages. The total average cost of acquiring car insurance in Houston is $1,467 for men, and it's $1,533 for women. For comparison's sake, the average cost of vehicle insurance in the state of Texas is $905.64 per year, while the national average is $866.31.
A couple of factors that cause the prices of auto insurance to surge in this metropolis are bad driving and high vehicle theft rate in certain areas. However, prices can still vary depending on the number of insurance claims that are filed in a particular zip code.
Gas Prices in Houston
Like many other cities in the US, gas prices in Houston, Texas are reasonable enough. Many of the gas stations charge $1.95 for a gallon of regular gas, $2.18 for Midgrade gas, $2.40 for Premium, and $2.03 for diesel.
Houston's Public Commute System
If you don't want to take your auto around the city, then you can choose one of the various methods of public transportation in the city. You can start with the city's METRORail, and it offers a convenient and accessible service to help you reach your destinations. When using the METRORail, know that it connects NRG Park and Downtown Houston. There are also two additional lines that connect the BBVA Compass Stadium and the Theater District. It also has stops located in the eastern areas of downtown.
Aside from the METRORail, Houston also has a bus system in place. There is a local service and a Park & Ride service. The former runs mostly on the streets of Houston, and it stops at about every other corner when following its route. For the Park & Ride service, it is more advantageous to take this for long-distance as compared to taking the local bus. The one-way fare for the local bus is $1.25, whereas the one-way for the Park & Ride service is $2 to $4.50 (depending on the distance).
If you want to take a trip to anywhere in downtown, the city of Houston has authorized all taxis to have a flat rate of $6. This figure will apply to anywhere within the city's Central Business District, and it is bounded by the Interstate 10, Interstate 45, and US 59.
There is a 30-day unlimited pass to the city's METRORail system which does cost $90, but it does offer excellent value for money, especially if you're going to travel a lot between various destinations around the city.
Walking and Biking Around Houston
If you want to look at the sights of Houston on a more personal level, then you can opt to travel with your two feet. According to walkscore.com, it has a Walk Score of 48, which means it's relatively decent enough to walk around.
Walking and taking public transport are not the only options as the city also has a low-cost bike share program. Known as the B-Cycle Program, it started back in the year 2013, and it allows members to rent a bicycle free-of-charge for the first hour of use. There will be a $2 fee for each additional half hour of use.
Houston's Real Estate
Houston has a booming real-estate market, and it was even reported to be on the first of Forbes' "Top 10 Healthiest Housing Markets" list. There are many factors as to why many would want to move in this Texas city, especially when you consider the many things to do and see while you're in the metropolis.
Houston has been seen to have the lowest home inventory in a span of 13 years. It means that homes are being taken left-and-right in the city as the number of properties has been on the decline since 1999.
The city's property sales have also jumped significantly from previous years. Condos, apartments, and homes are being sold in record-breaking numbers. In fact, condos and townhouses have their sales figures skyrocket on a year-over-year basis.
So if you're planning to move to Houston, Texas, then perhaps one of the primary things you should do is to get a home or apartment to stay because you might have a difficult time later on if you set this task aside for later.
Sights to See in Houston
There are a lot of things to experience in Houston, and if you're just visiting the city, then you might want to plan ahead for your next trip because you won't experience it all in just a few days. Here are a few great examples of what to see and do while you're in the city.
Space Center Houston
The Space Center Houston is one of the must-see landmarks whenever you're in the city. It is the official visitor center of the famous NASA Johnson Space Center. It . It is a large complex, filled with exhibits and replicas of different shuttle carrier aircrafts and heavenly bodies.
While you're in the Space Center Houston, you can also visit its Visitor Center, wherein you can find a replica of Skylab, which is America's first space station. You can even touch (but don't grab) a piece of rock that came from the moon.
The Houston Zoo is set on 55 acres of land found in Hermann Park. It is also one of the city's most visited attractions. This zoo is home to over 6,000 indigenous and exotic animals that come from around the globe. It even has an education center and a children's petting zoo.
Some of the highlights of the Houston Zoo are taking a look at marine life up close in its aquarium, watching sea lions frolic around, taking a glimpse of otters swimming, and feeding the giraffes.
Buffalo Bayou Park
Houston, Texas has no shortage of green sceneries, and Buffalo Bayou Park is a must-visit for anyone, residents and tourists alike.
It is a gorgeous green-space sitting atop 160 acres of land. It is the home of walking and biking trails, and there is also a dog park so you can even take Fido along with you. There are also plenty of sculptures to marvel, and many large trees with lots of shade to relax if you want a place to cool down from the hot weather.
You can even rent some water equipment such as kayaks and canoes if you want to tour the park while on its lakes.
19th Street in The Heights
If you're a fan of collecting vintage décor, old knickknacks, and shopping around for retro-style clothing, then you might not want to miss out on visiting 19th Street in The Heights.
This area is definitely a "blast from the past," and you can find a lot of vintage items here, such as footwear, jeweler, antique gadgets, and even evening gowns with a retro-style design. This location is also a great place to shop if you want to purchase souvenirs.
The Houston Livestock Show and Radio
The Houston Livestock Show and Radio is the city's largest annual event, and it 19 days of fun-filled excitement. It comes to the city in either February or March every year, and there are tons of activities to enjoy here that are fit for the entire family.
There are plenty of carnival rides, food stands, and games on the grounds, or you can head towards the rodeo events to see cowboys showing off their various skills. When the sun drops and the moon stays up in the sky for the night, you might even catch some of the biggest names in the music industry performing their hit songs on stage.
Other things to know about Houston, Texas
There's no Zoning
Houston is home to many, but it is not home to zoning. Some might even joke that it is a "no zoning zone." Therefore, don't be too surprised if there are areas that contain multiple types of establishments cramped in one block.
Not Affected by Recession
On 2008, there was an economic detour called the Recession wherein many economies plummeted, but not Houston, Texas. During this time, the city continued to create new jobs and its economy still thrived. One of the reasons for its thriving economy is because the metropolis is home to many oil companies, which include ExxonMobil, Shell Oil, and Halliburton. Furthermore, Houston also has the world's largest medical center, which is the Texas Medical. Other large business enterprises that help bring the city's economy to all-time highs are HP, Continental Airlines, and AT&T.
Despite Houston, Texas being considered as the underdog city for many years in the state of Texas, it is now steadily thriving and continuously getting the recognition it deserves. With its flourishing tourism, food, museums, culture, neighborhoods, arts, jobs, and other elements that make up the city, it is now considered to be one of the best places to live in the US.
Before moving to Houston, let this be your guide to help you get started in your new life in "H-Town." The information posted here is just but a tiny idea on what you can experience in this metropolis as there's a whole lot of stuff to do, a ton of food to eat, and many new people to meet.