A Guide to Being an Official Houstonian
If you want a big city lifestyle with a small town price tag, moving to Houston, TX should be on your to-do list. As the 4th largest city in the nation, It’s filled with affordable attractions, touting six professional sports teams, 19 museums, and is a short drive away from the Gulf of Mexico, making the list of activities seemingly endless.
Moving to Houston
All of those activities are great for tourists, but what if you’re relocating. Well if you’re moving to Houston, your wallet is in luck! In 2015 Forbes named Houston (Woodland Hills & Sugar Land) as the highest income to cost of living ratio, making it the metro with the biggest bang for your buck in the US. There are plenty of neighborhoods to choose from the heart of downtown to the outskirts of the suburbs to fit the lifestyle of you or your family. Make sure you’re looking at more than just housing quality and price, as the neighborhood you live in will probably be where you spend most of your time. Check out the surrounding attractions, food/drink options, and parks to make sure you’ll feel right at home in your new urban life. In addition to picking out a living situation, make sure you’re considering transportation options. Houstonians love their cars and urban sprawl is defined by this metropolitan area. This city is so spread out, it could fit Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, and Detroit inside of its borders. The public transit system isn’t widely used, and because of its sprawling nature, it can be difficult to bike or walk from place to place. Having a vehicle in Houston is near-vital, so be sure to include the costs to ship a car when calculating your moving budget. If your not sure where to start with your moving budget visit Angie’s List. There are lots of great resources, whether you’re looking for a household goods mover or the costs to ship a car to your new hometown.
Lastly, don’t forget that much of the city is being rebuilt from massive flooding in the summer of 2017. Despite the recent tragedy, the city of Houston has come together and found strength in its community. The community values are reassuring, but double check that the area you’re looking to move to is deemed safe, and confirm that your future transit route to work or your child’s school isn’t unavailable due to damage or construction. But be sure not to discount this metro due to the flooding. The community is dedicated to rebuild and improve the neighborhoods that were affected.
Unlike some cities, Houston public schools are not run by one specific district, but rather composed of 19 districts in total. Therefore, when looking for a place to send your child to school, you have quite a few options. Most of the districts are managed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), though there are multiple private school options which the TEA has no jurisdiction over. If you’re looking at sending your child to a public school, be sure to consider the location you’re moving as most public school enrollment is based on your new address. If you’re interested in state-operated charter schools, check out this list. Different charter schools have different specialties and focuses, depending on your child’s needs, but make sure you keep transportation in mind, as it may not be provided by the school. Lastly, if your budget allows then private schools could be a great option for your child, as Houston has hundreds of excellent private primary and secondary schools. When looking at schools, make sure to consider those that have been reviewed by the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TPSAC) to ensure a quality education, since the TEA does not oversee private schools.
If you’re a foodie like me then the best part of moving to a new city is trying all of the new types of food and finding that new go-to hot spot. Houston is no exception when it comes to food culture. But on nearly every “must try” food list, you’ll find two categories: Mexican and BBQ. There are way too many delicious options to name, but Zagat’s lists for best BBQ and Mexican restaurants is a great place to start. But if you’re not a Tex-Mex fan, be rest assured, you’re far from limited to those options. Houston is filled with iconic dishes from all over the globe. No one flavor is missing from this city: so start exploring your new food scene one delicious meal at a time.
No matter what area of the city you choose to settle into, you’ll never cease to find something new. If you want to check out the big attractions right off the bat (like the space center, museums, or the gorgeous parks) this list can help you get started on being a tourist in your new home. Want to find something to do after a long day of moving? Check out this calendar from Houston Press. And once you’ve settled in and are really ready to get to know H-Town, start working your way through the Houston Bucket List…or even better, research and create your own!
This city is one that’s filled with a diverse group of people with a strong sense of community. If moving to Houston is in your future…you’ll be sure to find a wonderful home there.