A 5-Minute Newcomer's Guide to Living in Houston

Jul 6, 2017

A 5-Minute Newcomer’s Guide to Living in Houston

With more than 2 million residents and nearly 700 square miles of space, there’s no doubt Houston is big. But in this sprawling city, “big” doesn’t just describe size.

Houston is also big on culture. On innovation. On opportunity.

It’s a city that offers a little something for everyone, no matter your age, gender, interests, or income. In Houston, anyone can find their place.

Are you considering moving to H-town? Here’s a down-and-dirty guide to get you acquainted with this historic Texas city.

Top Houston Neighborhoods

Nailing down the right neighborhood may seem a little overwhelming to a new Houstonite. After all, you can drive for hours and still be in the city limits.

For sure, it’s a big area, and there are hundreds of neighborhoods, communities, and suburbs to choose from. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your budget, your preferred location, the importance of school districts and commute times, and dozens of other factors.

To help narrow down your choices, here are a few of the city’s most popular neighborhoods at the moment:

The Woodlands

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Though The Woodlands is easily one of the city’s most popular suburbs, it certainly doesn’t feel suburban. The community boasts big-city amenities: a mall, restaurants, a canal, and top-notch schools – plus, dozens of businesses are headquartered in the area. You can live, work, and play all in the same place.

Katy

On the West side of town is Katy, a massive, master-planned community with tons of amenities and grade-A schools. The Cinco Ranch neighborhood has been particularly popular with families over the past few years.

Spring Branch

Spring Branch—not to be confused with Spring, another popular Houston community—is a family favorite, with tons of real estate in both the luxury and more affordable price ranges. It also boasts great schools and super easy access to downtown, Uptown, the Energy Corridor and more.

Montrose

An eclectic area with loads of restaurants, a bustling nightlife, and safe, walkable streets, Montrose is a great fit for all household sizes and budgets. You’ll find everything from quaint cottages to expansive mansions and everything in between.

The Heights

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A tried-and-true favorite, The Heights is a haven for young people—singles and families alike. Boasting historic real estate with vintage charm, as well as tons of restaurants, bars, theaters, mom-and-pop shops, and even a historic district, it’s a neighborhood just brimming with culture.

Memorial

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A great mix of urban and suburban feels, Memorial is a top choice for families. With its good schools, an easy commute to the city and plenty of local dining and entertainment, there’s no shortage of demand for Memorial—particularly from young parents.

Cost of Living in Houston

The cost of living in Houston is actually below the national average, both in general and on individual stats like housing, utilities, and transportation. The average studio apartment runs about $880, the median home value is about $235,000, and the utilities average about $159 per month (though they may be higher in the summer when A/C usage starts to climb). If your budget is strapped, keep in mind that Texas has no state income taxes, so if you’re moving from somewhere that had them, you’re going to save extra on your weekly paychecks because of this. That’ll give you a little wiggle room in your budget when home shopping.

Things to Do in Houston

See an Astros game.

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One of the city’s many professional sports teams, the ‘Stros are top draw in H-town. They play at Minute Maid Park (and throughout the country) from April through October.

Visit a brewery.

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Houston is home to dozens of big-name and craft breweries, including Karbach, St. Arnold’s, 8th Wonder, and Buffalo Bayou.

Head to the NASA space center.

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You can’t live in Houston (let alone visit it) without stopping by NASA Space Center. With exhibits, camps, tours, and opportunities to meet real-life astronauts, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Go to the rodeo.

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Every year, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo comes to town, bringing some of the nation’s top performing acts with it. It—and its corresponding carnival—is a can’t-miss event for any resident.

Check out the museums.

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There are dozens of museums and art galleries in Houston. Some of the top ones include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Children’s Museum, the Museum of Natural Science, and the Holocaust Museum.

Head to H-town

Are you considering a moving to Houston? Check out our Houston home listings now.