The Best Thing About Brownsville?
Brownsville is at the southernmost point on the mainland of the U.S. (Key West is an island). It sits on the border next to Matamoros, Mexico. The population is majority Mexican-American and the vibe of the city is as much/more Mexican than American. The vibe of the city is chill and extremely friendly and working class. Most locals speak Spanish and not shockingly the most popular food/restaurant type is Mexican. Newcomers are often turned off by the overwhelming Mexican culture but for locals there is a warmth and tightness to the city they don’t find elsewhere.
Notes on living in Brownsville from a local: I live in Harlingen and I work in Brownsville. Depending on where you want to live I think the homes are a little nicer and a little less expensive in Harlingen. I commute 30 minutes, which isn't bad. As far as needing to speak Spanish, I've lived here 12 years and haven't had a need. In my work I come into contact with people from Mexico every day, but most people are bilingual, at least anyone in any kind of professional position. we moved here from Charleston South Carolina and and we like it here. You're obviously not going to get everything you can get in a large area but you can get quite a lot here.
The Worst Thing About Brownsville?
Brownsville has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation and is ranked the 2nd poorest urban area in the U.S. As a port city Brownsville’s economy depends a fair bit on export/import for city revenue. SpaceX became the city’s largest private employer in 2021/2022 following an investment of $430 million on operations and looks to maintain that position for years to come. That could change things for the city but it would be a mistake to move here without a job.
A local comments on the poverty here: As someone from the area this has been the truth for a long, long time. I still have vivid memories of helping my mother and some Catholic charity she was a part of go down on the weekends to pass out food. Once you experience real poverty, even from the outside (we weren't rich or anything but we could eat three meals a day), you can't dismiss it (unless of course you are a sociopath or something). Cameron Park (where my grandfather is from) has been the poorest "perpetual poverty community" from its inception.
Lifestyle of Brownsville
The lifestyle of Brownsville is driven by the traditions of Mexican culture. If you stroll around Brownsville you’ll see countless Mexican “zarapes” (blankets/ponchos), tons of taquerias and on the right days of the year you can experience the Charro Days Fiesta. A four-day festival that celebrates the mixed cultures of the twin cities, attended by 50,000 people from both sides of the border. There’s a parade, dancing, music, fireworks and amazing Mexican food throughout the event. Some of this energy permeates the culture and lifestyle of Brownsville all year long.
Check out the upcoming happenings in Brownsville if you want to understand the social lifestyle a bit better: https://visitbtx.com/happeninginbtx/
Why You Should Move Here Now?
For most people Brownsville is a culturally interesting port of last resort where they can start over at extremely low costs. If you have a job, say at SpaceX, and are excited to start seriously saving money then Brownsville could make sense for you.