Houston Texas Newcomers Guide
Welcome to Houston. Houston is a great place to live as it offers cultural diversity, an ever-changing variety of attractions, affordable housing, and strong job growth. The economic atmosphere is strong with the oil and gas industries, strong health care job base and international trade. Those moving to Houston have a great variety to choose from. According to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Houston was ranked the #1Best City to Live. Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States, has been also called «America’s booming opportunity city» by The American Magazine. This is exciting news for those moving in Houston.
Houston has a population of over 2.2 million people and occupies an area of over 600 square miles. Houston is a part of the Houston — Sugar Land — Baytown metropolitan area, which is the sixth largest metropolitan area in the United States.
While Houston is a very large, in fact Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, but Houston still has intimate neighborhoods that seem like small towns. One of the true Texas experiences locals love, is the farmers market at Rice University. Make sure to visit the farmer's market to enjoy great produce and other great treats.
The Neighborhoods in Houston
There are many neighborhoods in Houston to choose from with a variety of positive features.
- Texas 288 South — Texas 288 South includes Pearland, Alvin, Friendswood, Manvell, Angleton, Lake Jackson, and the Brazoport area. This area is very attractive to families as it provides quick access to many major employment centers, entertainment, and many popular destinations in Houston. Being less than fifteen miles from the Texas Medical Center and 20 miles from downtown Houston provides access to many job opportunities.
- West Houston — West Houston boasts of excellent schools, a buffet of business opportunities, and exciting shopping centers. West Houston is known as the «Energy Corridor» because it is home to numerous international energy giants such as BP, Shell, Citgo, and numerous others. Some of the big draws of the West Houston areas are the most well respected public and private schools available. This includes Cypress Fairbanks ISD (Cy-Fair ISD), Katy ISD, Houston ISD, Lamar Consolidated ISD and Spring Branch ISD.
- Clear Lake — Clear Lake is the area for those that love the water. It is just south of downtown Houston and includes such communities as League City, Clear Lake City, Clear Lake Shores, El Lago, Kemah, Nassau Bay, Seabrook, Taylor Lake Village, Webster, Dickinson, Texas City, La Marque and Galveston. Clear Lake is known as the «Boating Capital of Texas.»
- Fort Bend — The Fort Bend area offers something for everyone regardless of income level and lifestyle. With the variety available throughout Fort Bend, it is worthy of consideration when deciding what area to reside in.
- Northeast Houston — Whether you are looking for well-planned communities, traditional neighborhood setting, or trendy apartment living, you will find it in Northeast Houston. All of the school districts boast of their high rankings on state basic skills tests in their reading, writing, and mathematics.
- Northwest Houston — Northwest Houston offers terrific shopping and dining facilities, superb medical facilities. Parents’ options are plenty regarding the many high quality public and private schools. One of the great benefits of residing in Northwest Houston is the easy commute to downtown.
Houston neighborhoods have excellent private and public schools, a plethora of job opportunities, and housing to meet every income level and lifestyle. There are many more people moving to Houston that moving from Houston. Regardless of which neighborhood you decide suits your needs the best, there are many positive factors to consider.
Houston Area Jobs
While the economy has been in a slump and finding jobs has not been an easy task, Houston has much to offer job prospects. It has much to offer those looking for careers in the medical field as the city has numerous medical facilities. It also is home to the «Energy Corridor», has careers in gas and oil, and international trade. With the numerous restaurants, shops, hotels, and tourist attractions, there are jobs in nearly every field. This does not even include the fact that the occasional hurricane boosts the construction industry in Houston.
In a time of economic hardship, any city that is named «America’s booming opportunity city» is bound to attract job seekers. As other areas of the United States become near «ghost towns» many people are turning attention toward Houston. Houston’s economy has a large industrial base including the energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, transportation, and health care sectors and is an industry leader for building oilfield equipment. It is second only to New York City as being home to more Fortune 500 headquarters.
In addition to all of the other industries that seem to flourish in Houston, there are the airports. Houston has three airports: Bush Intercontinental Airport, Ellington Field Airport, and Hobby Airport. These not only offer jobs to the residents, but they also are an inlet for both tourists and businessmen alike. This feeds the Houston businesses and keeps them healthy.
Best Time to Visit Houston
Houston is definitely considered a year-round vacation spot to many, but most people have their preferences as to what is the best time to visit. Those that visit with the intent of attending annual events schedule travel around the events. Most that have the option choose the best time to visit based on the weather of Houston.
Spring and fall seem to be the most well-liked seasons to choose to visit the Houston area. The summer tends to be excruciatingly hot and humid, with occasional violent thunderstorms. In addition to the typical Houston summer weather, there is the factor that Houston is in hurricane region. Spring and summer tend to have very agreeable temperatures and are the most pleasing to visitors. Winter, however, is not bad as temperatures are mild and there is not commonly very harsh weather to contend with.
Houston Area Attractions
The list of Houston area attractions seems to be endless. There are so many choices that it is difficult to decide what to do first. It would be nearly impossible to create a complete list as it is changing all the time, but here are some of the attractions available to residents and visitors to the Houston area.
- The Galleria — The Galleria is one of the largest shopping malls in the nation. There is over 2.4 million square feet of shops, not to mention offices, theaters, restaurants, two hotels, and an indoor skating rink. This is a shopping heaven.
- Space Center Houston — Space Center Houston is the place to learn all there is to know about the history of human space travel. You can see a large collection of artifacts, watch films, and attend live presentations.
- Downtown Aquarium — There is great family fun at the Downtown Aquarium. You can see sea creatures that are big, small, common and unusual.
- Houston Zoo — This 55 acre zoo is home to over 500 species of animals. This includes the inhabitants of the Tropical Bird House and one of the nation’s largest collections of venomous snakes.
- Houston Glass Studio — At the Houston Glass Studio you can attend glass blowing demonstrations and view an exhibition.
- Lynchburg Ferry — The ferry dock is located only 10 miles from the city and allows you to experience a piece of history. The Lynchburg Ferry was important in Texas’ fight for independence in 1836. Although the ride is short, the scenery is beautiful.
- Market Square Historic District – Market Square Historic District is the centerpiece of downtown Houston and has been for more than 150 years.
- Memorial Park — Memorial Park offers over 1400 acres of recreation. This includes biking and hiking trails along the bayou and the humongous Memorial Park Golf Course.
- Museums — There is a long list of museums to choose from in Houston, TX. There is the Museum of Fine Arts, the Health Museum, the National Museum of Funeral History, and the Houston Museum of Natural Science to name a few.
The Houston downtown corridor itself has magnificent glass-metal towers and is a must see for those visiting the Houston area. Institutions, museums, galleries, theatres and entertainment, restaurants and malls are the focal point of downtown.
The list could go on in a seemingly endless parade of potential attractions. These attractions are not only appealing to tourists visiting Houston, but also to those that reside in the Houston area. The culture, history, and family fun opportunities are hard to miss while you are in the Houston area.
Houston’s Noteworthy Events
If this is not enough, there are a number of annual events in Houston. Some of the most mention-worthy months to visit Houston are:
- January — The Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon and EP5K take place in January and are well-known to sell out.
- March — Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail both hold annual events in March.
- April — The Shell Houston Open, River Oaks International Tennis Tournament, and the Houston International Festival are all annually scheduled in April.
- September — If you visit Houston in September you may choose to attend the Traders Village Annual Bluegrass Festival or the Houston Hot Sauce Festival.
- October — Popular Houston events in October include the Texas Renaissance Festival, Houston Women’s Festival, and Wings Over Houston.
Tips for Moving In and Out of Houston
When it comes time to move in and out of the Houston Texas area, there is much to consider. While many people look to find cheap Houston movers, there are many other things to consider besides price alone. You must make sure that the moving services that you employ are also conscientious and responsible. This is very crucial to a smooth and easy moving experience. There are many things to account for while you are selecting from the moving companies in Houston.
First of all, you must consider the location that you will need services. Houston moving could lead you to Tx movers that service different areas. There are Katy movers, Sugarland movers, Humble movers, and Kingwood movers just to name a few. While Houston moving companies may say that they service all of these areas, it is wise to ensure that the one you select is truly familiar with the area you need serviced. This can make your transition much smoother.
Another consideration is the services provided. Not all moving companies in Houston provide all services. If you will be living in the area and need storage services, it is important to determine ahead of time if Houston moving and storage facilities are both available. This is why it is important to use a Houston company for the job.
Finally, you should always obtain written and complete moving company quotes. Beware of any Houston company that hesitates to give firm moving estimates. When the moving company requests very little information and does not provide an estimate in writing, you should be careful that you do not experience any unexpected and unpleasant surprises. Be sure to discuss any special needs that your family may have regarding the move. If you have any particularly fragile items, oversized items, or anything that you think may require special treatment you should be certain to mention this when obtaining the estimate.
Moving to any new city is a little unnerving and can be intimidating, but be assured that Houston has much to offer. Not only is it a major hub for jobs, but it is also a terrific place to raise a family. There are great public and private schools, wonderful events, and outstanding entertainment facilities to provide much fun and excitement for the whole family. There are both common and upscale neighborhoods as well. Whatever it is that you are looking for, Houston is sure to have it. With a little research, you can find exactly the neighborhood and job that your family needs.