If you’re considering moving to Houston, you may be wondering what sets the city apart. As the fourth-largest city in the U.S.A, and the most populous in Texas, Houston offers plenty regarding diversity, cuisine, and entertainment as well as affordable living costs, ample job opportunities, and green-energy initiatives.
In this post, we’ll explore these features as well as some of the city’s unique features and attractions that make it a great place to call home.
- Houston is a diverse and dynamic city with a thriving job market, affordable cost of living, and plenty of attractions and amenities.
- Visitors and residents can enjoy many landmarks and attractions in Houston, including museums, parks, and historic sites.
- Houston’s subtropical climate brings hot and humid summers and mild winters with some thunderstorms in the summer and occasional freezes in the winter.
- Houston offers a variety of transportation options, including buses, light rail, and commuter trains.
- The major industries in Houston include energy, healthcare, and aerospace, offering various high-paying job opportunities.
- The Houston area’s housing market offers various neighborhoods with different features and amenities.
Landmarks and Attractions
As the fourth-largest city in the U.S.A, Houston has landmarks and attractions that draw millions of visitors annually. From the iconic Space Center Houston to the breathtaking Buffalo Bayou Park, Houston has something for everyone.
Top Tourist Attractions
Space Center Houston is one of Houston’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s the official visitor center for NASA’s Johnson Space Center. It is home to over 400 space artifacts, including moon rocks and space capsules. You can also take a tram tour of the space center, see astronauts train for space missions, and even touch a moon rock.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is another popular destination for tourists. It features a variety of exhibits, including a 60-foot dinosaur skeleton, a planetarium, and a butterfly center. Visitors can also explore the Cockrell Butterfly Center, which houses exotic butterflies from around the world.
For animal lovers, the Houston Zoo is a must-visit destination. The zoo is home to over 6,000 animals of 600 species, including elephants, giraffes, and lions. Visitors can also attend animal encounters, watch animal feedings, and take the Hermann Park Railroad train to avoid driving to the zoo.
Houston has several historic landmarks, including the San Jacinto Monument and the Astrodome. The San Jacinto Monument commemorates the Battle of San Jacinto, a decisive battle in the Texas Revolution. Houstonians often climb to the top of the monument for a breathtaking view of Houston and the surrounding area.
The Astrodome, once known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” is a historic stadium that opened in 1965. It was the first domed stadium in the world and was home to professional sports teams like the Houston Astros and the Houston Oilers. Today, the Astrodome is closed to the public, but visitors can still view it outside and learn about its history.
Outdoor Recreational Areas
Houston has several outdoor recreational areas such as Buffalo Bayou Park and Memorial Park. Buffalo Bayou Park is a 160-acre park that offers hiking and biking trails, a dog park, and a skate park. It also features the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, an underground reservoir that has been turned into an art installation.
Memorial Park is a 1,500-acre park with biking and hiking trails, a golf course, and a swimming pool. It’s also home to the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, which features exhibits on local wildlife and plants. So whether you’re looking for a tranquil escape or an active day with tasty BBQ outdoors, Houston’s parks have something for everyone.
Houston’s climate is subtropical, characterized by hot and humid summers and mild winters. The city receives about 50 inches of rain annually, with the wettest months being May through October. Summers can be sweat-inducing, with average highs in the mid-90s (°F) and high humidity levels. Winters are generally mild, with average mid-60s (°F) highs and occasional freezes.
Houston’s weather is fairly consistent year-round, but there are some seasonal changes to be aware of. Summers can bring thunderstorms and the occasional flash flood, while winters are mild but can still drop to freezing temperatures.
For those planning a trip to Houston, the best times to visit are spring and fall when temperatures are pleasant and crowds are lower.
Tips for Dealing with Extreme Weather Events
While Houston’s weather is overall mild, extreme weather events such as hurricanes and floods can occur. It’s essential to stay informed and take precautions when necessary. Some tips for dealing with extreme weather events in Houston include:
- Stay tuned to local news and weather updates
- Keep a disaster supply kit on hand
- Make a plan with your family and friends in case of an emergency
- Know your evacuation routes and follow evacuation orders if necessary
- Invest in flood insurance if you live in a flood-prone area
Cost of Living
Houston, also known as the Bayou City or Space City, offers a thriving job market, a diverse community, and a relatively low cost of living compared to other major U.S. cities. Moving to Houston can provide an affordable yet exciting lifestyle with plenty of opportunities to explore.
Comparison with Other Major U.S. Cities
Houston’s job market and diverse attractions make it an appealing destination for those looking for a more affordable big city experience in the United States. With housing costs among the lowest in the country, Houston offers a cost-effective option without sacrificing quality of life.
In fact, Houston’s overall living costs are 34.1% below the average for large metro areas, and its housing costs are 17.9% below the national average and 89.0% lower than the average for other major metros.
Even compared to other major cities, excluding New York City and San Francisco, Houston’s housing costs are still 62.7% below the major metro average.
Key Expenses Analysis
Let’s look at some of the key expenses for Houston residents and how they compare to the national average:
- Housing: The median home price in Houston is around $258,055, lower than the national median of $467,700. Renting an apartment in Houston is also relatively affordable, with a one-bedroom apartment in Houston averaging around $1,334 a month.
- Transportation: Houston has an extensive highway system, but the city’s public transportation system, METRO, provides affordable and efficient commuter options. Based on a few trip calculations by us (i.e., work, recreation, etc.), you’d likely spend about $63.75 monthly (minimum) for metro transport.
- Food: Houston is famous for its diverse food scene, ranging from Tex-Mex to Cajun cuisine. The average meal cost in Houston is $11.
- Electricity Rates: Houston residents can expect to pay an average monthly residential electricity bill of $148.00, with an average residential electricity rate of 12.36¢ per kWh, making it one of the more affordable expenses in the city.
Houston’s public transportation system provides different modes of transportation, including buses, light rail, and commuter trains. Although it is less comprehensive than some other large cities in the U.S., the city offers many options for those who want to save money on transportation.
Here is an overview of Houston’s main public transportation systems, including the pros and cons of each.
Modes of Transportation
Houston’s public transportation system offers a few transport methods, but the biggest ones are:
- Buses: Houston has an extensive bus network operated by METRO, or “Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County.” Buses are affordable, with a one-way fare costing $1.25, and offer several routes covering different city areas.
- Light Rail: Houston’s light rail system, called METRORail, is a popular mode of transportation, particularly for commuters. The light rail operates three lines that cover downtown Houston, the Texas Medical Center, and NRG Park. The fare for a one-way trip on the light rail is also $1.25.
Pros & Cons
- Buses: Buses are an affordable mode of transportation with several routes covering different city areas. However, they can be subject to traffic congestion, resulting in delays.
- Light Rail: The light rail is a convenient mode of transportation not affected by traffic congestion. However, it has limited coverage and does not serve all city areas. Overall, it can be a good option for those traveling downtown or to the Texas Medical Center.
Houston is known for its robust economy, diverse industries, and thriving job market. This section will dive into the city’s major industries and employers, job prospects and salaries, and tips for job seekers.
Major Industries and Employers
Major industries, including energy, healthcare, and aerospace, drive Houston’s economy. Houston houses some of the world’s largest energy companies (fortune 500 companies included), such as BP America and ConocoPhillips, and a growing healthcare industry, including the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world.
In addition, Houston is home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, which employs thousands of workers in the aerospace industry.
Job Prospects and Salaries
The job market in Houston is generally strong with many opportunities across various industries. According to Payscale, the average annual salary is about $77k.
Regarding high-paying jobs, some of the most lucrative industries in Houston include oil and gas, healthcare, and technology. For example, petroleum engineers and geoscientists are among the highest-paid professionals in the city, with median salaries well above $100,000.
Healthcare professionals, such as doctors and nurses, can earn high salaries in Houston, as can those in the technology sector such as software developers and IT managers.
Pointers for Job Seekers
If you’re looking to break into Houston’s job market, there are several things to remember. First, it’s essential to network and make connections in your industry of choice. Houston has a strong business community.
Attending networking events or joining professional organizations can be a great way to meet people and learn about job opportunities.
In addition, it’s essential to have a strong resume and cover letter that highlight your skills and experience. And know that several employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes, making it crucial to include keywords that match the job description.
Finally, it’s worth considering getting additional education or training in a high-demand field. Houston’s fastest-growing industries, healthcare and technology, require specialized skills and knowledge. Pursuing further education or certification can give you an edge in the job market.
Houston’s robust and diverse housing market offers many options for potential homebuyers. Houston has something for you whether you’re looking for a spacious family home, an apartment in the city, or a townhouse in a quiet suburban neighborhood.
In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the housing market in Houston and offer some tips on how to find the right home for you and save on energy costs.
Housing Prices and Trends
Houston’s housing market has remained strong over the years, offering a variety of homes for different budgets. Compared to other major cities in the US, Houston’s housing is relatively affordable, with a median home price of around $258,055.
However, prices, like any housing market, can vary significantly based on the neighborhood, square footage, and amenities.
Comparison of Different Neighborhoods
Houston has various neighborhoods to suit different preferences and lifestyles. The most popular neighborhoods for families include Katy, Sugar Land, and The Woodlands, which offer top-rated schools, safe communities, and easy access to amenities.
For those who prefer to be closer to the action, the Montrose and Midtown areas provide a more urban lifestyle with trendy restaurants, coffee shops, and an exciting nightlife. Other popular areas include the Heights, River Oaks, and West University.
Finding the Right Home
When searching for a home in Houston, it’s essential to consider your budget, lifestyle, and priorities. Determine your must-haves and deal-breakers such as proximity to schools, public transportation, or green spaces.
A reliable and knowledgeable real estate agent well-versed in the Houston market is also crucial to effectively navigating the home buying or renting process. Be prepared to act fast, as the housing market in Houston can move quickly, especially in desirable neighborhoods.
Overall, Houston’s housing market offers a variety of options for potential homebuyers, with affordable prices and diverse neighborhoods. By researching, knowing your priorities, and working with a knowledgeable real estate agent, you can find the right home for you in Houston.
Lowering Your Energy Costs
Houston residents have been turning to solar energy to power their homes, and it’s easy to see why. The city’s abundant sunlight makes it a prime spot for solar panel installation. In fact, Houston is one of the top cities in the US for green energy usage, according to the EPA.
Not only is solar energy environmentally friendly, but it can also offer a significant return on investment for homeowners in Houston. With tax credits and lower electricity bills, solar energy panels are an attractive option for those looking to save money while reducing their carbon footprint.
Another way to save on energy costs in Houston is to ensure your home is well insulated. With hot and humid summers, keeping cool can be a major expense. By adding insulation, sealing air leaks, and using energy-efficient windows and doors, you can reduce your energy usage and save money on your utility bills.