Houston, Texas

The Big Heart

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What's it like to live in Houston?

What are the pros and cons of living in urban Houston?

Pro: cheap to live close to the city, best/most varied food of any city except possibly NYC, some of the close-in neighborhoods are easy to get around on foot/bike/public transportation, easy to drive around despite the traffic, lots of green space and parks, clean/mostly doesn't smell like shit by the standards of most big cities, young and diverse population, lots of museums and stuff like that, great weather for a good portion of the year, good mix of feeling like a big city while also having some space for yourself.

Cons: sprawl, even in the loop most neighborhoods are not walkable/public transportation-able, lack of natural scenery/outdoors activities beyond city parks, lacks major historical significance, lacks major cultural significance, miserably hot in the summer (although you get used to it), pretty bad traffic (not as bad as any major East Coast city though… complaints about Houston's traffic are way overblown unless you're living way out in the 'burbs), and lots of Houston residents don't particularly wanna be here and will talk mad shit about it (as you've seen in this thread).

What are the pros and cons of living in urban Houston?

Housing is actually one of the big pluses in Houston, you can live in a better apartment/house in a nicer neighborhood than you could in most other cities for the same money, and a lot of the housing is pretty recent construction. There are a lot of mixed feelings on some of the recent construction (a lot of people must love it cause they keep building and building and building, while a lot of other people think it's soulless yuppie garbage), and I can't say I'm in favor of all the cookie-cutter apartment/condo complexes that are springing up by the dozen, but they are certainly comfortable and spacious places to live.

Having a car is nearly mandatory in Houston, although one of my roommates is a graduate student and has used his car maybe three times in the past year, so it's definitely possible to get by without driving very often (unless you live somewhere that's not near a grocery store/other essentials). The metrorail system has expanded recently too and has gone from "complete laughingstock" to "bad", and if you live near a stop it's decently useful. I live near a stop and use it once or twice a week on average when I'm home, and I know people who use it to commute. The bus system has been overhauled in the last year or two and is apparently better, but I haven't ridden a Houston bus in a few years now and it sucked when I used to ride it, so I can't really speak for that.

Houston, despite being the 4th-largest city in the US, is not what I'd call a "famous" or "world-class" city, unless you're really into energy/chemicals/shipping/healthcare. Despite being one of the fastest-growing cities in the US (with a relatively young population too), it's not really anyone's idea of a cool, trendy, or sexy place to live either… But it's pretty damn fun anyway, and I love the hell out of it.

And it's not Dallas.

What is it like to live in Houston, TX?

There are four things I always tell people about Houston:

Houston is a great place to live but a crappy place to visit. Houston has never had the geography or climate to attract people, so Houston has drawn its massive population from making a space where people can create a good life, which depends not on tourist attractions but on all the things that casual passers-through (even frequent business travelers) miss. I’ve lived in London as well and I find it to be the exact opposite—London is a delightful place to visit but a hard place to live. Lots of factors go into making Houston a great place to live: friendly locals, whether someone has lived in Houston their whole life or just a few years, they always make you feel welcome and are happy you’re there; low cost of living and low taxes; great diversity of people and cuisines (see point 4); there is a focus on life and work—people know you’ve come to Houston to make a living, which means both work and life outside of work—if you do your job well people will not get caught up in displays of how long you can stay in the office, because you should go spend time with family and friends; and there’s enough to go around in Houston in terms of prosperity and access to desirable things that people are nice to each other and it’s easy to get what you want, which is probably more fajitas from that restaurant in the strip mall that you found the other day that you would never have known about as a tourist.

What is it like to live in Houston, TX?

The city has every possible modern amenity while also being extremely affordable. No other major city has as low of a cost of living as Houston.

Being a major city, Houston has many job opportunities in many many fields.

There is a vibrant arts area, a huge museum district, and all of the major sports.

The road systems are some of the best around which is necessary because it is a commuter city where everyone drives. You will have to drive everywhere you want to go. Some like this, some don’t.

There are major suburbs that are some of the nicest in the country encircling Houston where many live while commuting.

Our winters are extremely mild, like maybe 3–4 days a year where it is in the 30s. On the flip side it is really really hot and humid in the summer. But we are also an extremely air conditioned city.

Houston is the most ethnically diverse city in the United States of America. All cultures live and work together in Houston.

Thanks to being the most diverse, Houston has the best food in the world…..yes the world. Why? Because we have delicious seafood from the Gulf, amazing steaks from Texas, the best BBQ around, tasty cajun food compliments of Louisiana transplants, simply amazing mexican food thanks to the 2 million Mexicans, and many cultural foods.

The REAL Pros and Cons of Living in Houston