Ten Reasons to Make Houston Your Home

Houston gets a lot of bad press. Frankly, it breaks my little heart the way people beat up on us. The weather’s lousy, they say. We’re in a swamp. Everybody has guns. Mosquitoes are the size of parakeets. Crime is on the rise. It takes forever to get anywhere. It’s too hot to live.

Blah, blah. Come up with something more original, would you?

Those lucky enough to call Houston home know the truth. Yeah, it’s humid. Yeah, it’s hot. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Many of these complaints are “somewhat” accurate. But these are characteristics of almost all large US cities and the weather is just part of life in the South. And despite all these negatives, Houston is an incredibly diverse city that has many unique perks to offer its residents. I think it’s time to set the record straight.

1. Hot, humid temperatures are good for the skin.

Yeah, it’s true. You might think moisture is the enemy. If you have curly hair, it is. To an extent. But warm humid air is actually good for your skin–and your lungs! It’s just one of the reasons why us Texas girls are known for our looks!

2. Public transportation is coming.

Many Houstonians are enjoying the convenience of the light rail and there are more lines in the works. Over the coming decades, the light rail system should expand considerably, making it possible for more residents to avoid the freeways AND make the city a little greener. And as far as the traffic is concerned: if traffic is an issue, urban living is not the best choice. Traffic is inevitable in all US cities and if you live close to your workplace, you can cut your commute down considerably.

3. Sustainability.

Lots of people criticize Houston for its smog problems and air quality. However, there are some very exciting sustainability projects in Houston that could be the beginning of a new future for this city. Discovery Green is one of the largest eco-friendly developments in Houston, a beautiful park that serves as a cultural center and an inspiration for all things green living. And, local colleges and universities, such as Rice University, have lots of green projects underway.

4. Education.

The Houston public school system catches a lot of flack. But aren’t urban schools known for their struggles? The fact is the the Houston area has some of the best-ranked individual high schools and elementary schools in the country (River Oaks Elementary, Clear Creek High School). Don’t even get me started on the private schools. And, the university-level education options in Houston are stellar. Rice University is one of the nation’s leading universities and the University of Houston is a solid undergraduate school with some truly stellar graduate programs, including a Tier 1 law school and a top ranked MFA creative writing program.

5. Culture and the Arts

Houston’s culture and arts scene is one of its best-kept secrets. People breezing through to escape the heat don’t get to experience our theater district, which is the second largest in the nation, or our museum district, which boasts some of the largest museums in the country. They don’t get to visit the artists markets in the Heights, or the Shepherd School of Music, or the Houston Symphony. They don’t get to experience the quirkiness of Montrose. And they are seriously missing out.

6. Sports

Texans are known for football. Houston has that and then some. Houston is a sports lover’s heaven. The Houston Texans are on the rise with a devoted fan base in tow. The Houston Rockets have already staked their claim. And the Houston Astros have hosted some of the greatest pitchers in MLB history. This says nothing of local collegiate athletics at U of H and Rice. You’ll never want for a team to support no matter what time of year.

7. Food.

Houston. Has. Killer. Restaurants. And don’t let anyone tell you differently. Sure, there are chains of plenty. But there are thousands of privately owned restaurants in Houston, from casual to upscale, offering all kinds of cuisine.

8. Shopping.

Houston shopping is epic enough to permanently scar your credit history. Ha, just kidding…sort of. Between the Galleria, the River Oaks Shopping Center, Rice Village and more, Houston has more great places to shop than you can shake a stick at. From Neiman’s to Saks to Cartier, we have it all and then some. And there are plenty of boutique shops, antique stores, and thrift stores for the more adventurous, eclectic shopper.

9. Affordability.

One of the biggest draws Houston has to offer is affordability. You can live extremely well for a fraction of the cost of living in other major U.S. cities. Legendary urban areas such as L.A., San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego and–yes–even Austin cannot touch the cost of living in Houston. You can live in a beautiful loft in downtown Houston for as little as $1000 per month. You can live in a charming restored bungalow in Houston’s funkiest neighborhood for as little as $250k. When it comes to living, Houston gives you a lot of bang for your buck.

10. Economy.

Oh, that dirty, dirty word. That word we all say at least once a day lately. How terrible it is. How there’s no jobs. Blah, blah. Certainly, I don’t want to make light of the very serious economic struggles people are up against during these times. And, there are definitely people and industries in Houston that have taken a hit. But over all, Houston’s economy remains strong. Young professionals can find jobs here. Mature professionals have a chance of starting over here. Houston has more Fortune 500 companies than almost any city in the country and that kind of corporate presence means JOBS. If what you need more than anything is a job, whether you’re fresh out of college or starting over, Houston is probably your best bet.

So there you have it, folks. And that’s only TEN reasons to live in Houston. Trust me, there are many, many more. Maybe I’ll do ten more on Friday? What are you favorite things about Houston?

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