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"Thinking Houston? Think again"


Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012
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Danny
Houston, TX

First of all I am not writing this review to Bag on Houston. I am hoping that it will help some people not make the same mistake we did. Like Many others due to the recession we decided to leave San Diego after 15 years to Houston for a lower cost of living and a heathier economy. Now I have also lived all over the country Boston, Denver, Phoenix and Southern California. Houston definitely has a better economy but thats it. We have been here 3 months and we hate it with a passion. It is by far the Ugliest place I have ever lived and it is not a place for outdoor people. There are good restaurants so if you like to hang out at home all the time and just go out to eat you may like it. But now I know why Houston is one of the fattest cities in America. Our allergies are the worst they have ever been in our lives. Also do your research Houston is one of the cloudiest cities in America. If you live outside the loop Housing is cheap but inside the loop its really ridiculous what you pay to be in a decent neighborhood and the rent is high. I currently live in the heights and I pay $1800 for a 900 square foot 2 bedroom 1 bath house and that was a good deal here. I am only saving $300 from the same size house I had in gorgeous San Diego. The last thing I will touch on is the Crime. Like I said I have lived in Major cities all over but have never seen so much crime. Everyone has had there car broken into and there are shootings and Robberies everyday. All this and we havn't even hit summer which everyone tells me is hell. We are looking to move as soon as we can. Just do your do diligence. You only live once and the quality of your life is important.

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Sarah

re: - 11/12/2013
I agree with you Danny! I know this post is kind of old, but I am weighing the pros and cons of moving back to Chicago from Houston. I HATE Houston with a passion. I am actually shocked by all of the blogs that praise living in Houston. There is nothing to do except go out to eat and if you're religious, go to church! I can't get out of here fast enough. The economy is great, but that's it. I know that people complain about the cold and snow in Chicago, but at least there are fun things to do in the snow! Kids can go sledding, build snowmen, have snowball fights go skiiing, etc... Although Houston is beautiful in the winter, what is there to do really? And in the summer, you have two options- go swimming or stay inside. Sorry for all the negative comments, but I have had a really bad experience living down here being from the midwest. The people and culture are so incredibly different. Cost of living should not be the only consideration when moving to a new city!!


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Sharon

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 7/27/2012
I was born and bred a Houstonian - actually grew up in a little town west of Houston, so Ive seen it change a lot. You know what I can't wait for? To move away from Houston because of it being overrun by Yankees who think they know better and who bring their failed policies with them! You wanna go back home? DO IT. I want my Texas back.


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John

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 2/23/2012
I bag on Houston constantly and I feel like your review is spon on. I've live in Houston all my life and have travelled extensively - Houston is a place where jobs are plentiful but is socially inept. People are not in Houston for the culture or spring fed lakes (because there are none). They live in Houston for a materially rich life, which does not equal a happiness. Yes, you can own a home, commute an hour to everything (stree management?), own lots of stuff, pay nearly the highest auto insurance rate in the country - but is this a life? Desiree sounds like she speaks one language and has never left the country. The suburbs are a different kind of hell and Houston has been rated the worst city for pedestrians and manual modes of transportation (I am a cyclist). Cycling in Houston is one of survival and necessity if you want to stay in shap, not pleasure. People are fat because the effort and opportunity it takes to do anything healthy is too high and infrequent. The environment was based on economic efficiency - use and spend on cars, gas, things you don't need at a high rate, not about an environment meant to further human interaction or beauty. It's no wonder why creativity happens where people are happy and there are free exchange of ideas. Houston is a dumb place - literally and figurively.


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Desiree

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 2/8/2012
Danny, Your apartment is so high because you live in Yuppy land downtown (used to be trashy not many years ago). Go downtown in any big city and you will see crime. I lived in Houston for 25 years and I loved it. Just moved to Colorado a year ago. In Houston we lived in a very nice neighborhood in the suburbs in a beautiful house (half the price in CO) our children when to great schools, never heard a shooting or no one broke into our cars. There are outdoors activities you can do: you can go swimming every day, buy a house with a pool, go to the beach, go water skiing to any of the lakes. People go cycling all the times, there are all sorts of 5K or 10K, go dirt biking, we have festivals every week going on. Great theaters also great golf courses. Move to Woodlands, Sugarland, Kingwood, Katy (Cinco Ranch), West University, Friendswood, League City close to the sea, Memorial, Coles crossing subdivision is pretty. Cost of living in Houston is 13% lower than the US cost of living and unemployment is 8%. You don't have to be fat if you don't want to...lol but Houston has the best restaurants. I really don't know were you live that you hear shootings everyday but be realistic there are shootings in bad areas of San Diego, Arizona, Denver, etc. You have to live in a good area of town anywhere you go. I think you just miss San Diego and that is why everything is negative in Houston to you. We hated moving to Colorado in the beginning... old houses and ridiculously expensive, missed all the big city shopping and things to do, southern hospitality, etc. Now I like living here...I think you have to do what is best for you but please don't bash Houston based on your choices and opinions. Good Luck ;)


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Phil

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 2/8/2012
Danny, I'm not sure if you've explored other areas of Texas yet but I, like you, found that Houston; strong economy, low cost of living was great for many, but also didn't work for me. Being from the west coast also, I'd check out Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth....not perfect however, much, much happier. just sayin'.


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David

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 2/21/2012
I moved here two years ago from Ohio and I highly disagree. I love Houston. You can find a nice one bedroom apartment for about $525-$800. It all depends what you are use to. And if you don't mind living alittle outside the city there are huge nice homes and great neighborhoods for sale at great prices. And the crime seemed worse in Ohio. Like any major city you just have to be smart about where you are going at night.


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Eunice

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 9/13/2012
I agree with Marco's review above, if you chose to move from someplace like San Diego for a better cost of living such as Houston, DEAL with it. I'm a native Texan, and though Houston is not my first choice in Texas, Id rather live in Texas than in sunny california the rest of my life. Out here (Orange County), everyone is a skinny//neurotic/healthFREAK who actually PAYS to get a 'spray' sun tan. Out here, you drive a Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, but you live in a tiny house that costs 5 times as much as it would in Houston just so you can be close to the beach. All your income goes to just paying for your housing. My husband and I were lucky we were able to buy a tiny bedroom condo for $400K in Huntington Beach (2 miles from the beach), but we never go to the beach as we can't stand fighting the tourists. You say you like to do things outdoors, well, so does everyone else, so when you go hiking, biking, or running, you better get use to the human traffic. and Crime? it's the same everywhere and Ive lived in several places in the Country. Like Sharon said below who is also a native Texan, I'd tell you to 'get the heck' out of my State, we don't care for loud mouth Yankees, nor those So.Cal spray-tanned/gym rats who are neurotic about working out. You don't deserve to enjoy Texas low cost of Living. I personally can't wait to get out of Southern California and finally go home-Sweet-home to the Great State of Texas.


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Guy

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 6/23/2012
You should have done a little research before you moved here. The towns surrounding Houston are beautiful and family-oriented with low crime and great housing. I live in Katy (25 minutes from downtown) and I am always amazed at how many people I see jogging or riding bikes here. Houston is a great city with lots to offer and a great economy, but living near downtown is probably not so great. Try Katy, Sugarland, The Woodlands, Cypress. I'm just saying....maybe do a little research before you move someplace and then decide you hate it.


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Ann

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 5/9/2012
I agree with Danny 100%. I've been living here for 10 years now and can't wait to move. First, yes the job market is very good, housing cheap, the cost of living is cheap but if you and have an active lifestyle and love the outdoors this is not theplace for you. The weather is horrible from April to November its too hot to do anything outdoors and if you wait for the evening the mosquitos will eat you. It is one of the uglies cities I've ever seen, the schools are ok, when people say great schools I ask compared to what? Texas standard? The lakes and beach are nasty the water is brown. The festivals are ok all you do is eat, people are fat, thats why they love the festivals, the museums and zoo are nice but how many times can you go. Restaurants are good that's all people do here shop and eat and crime yes there's a lot of it. It's hard to find festivals, clubs with descent people.


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Karen

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 1/8/2014
I have to disagree with you on the depiction of Houston. I lived in the Heights for four years where my rent for a 1100 SF house was $800 a month. The rest of the 20 years have been in Montrose, which is one of the more expensive neighborhoods due to ongoing gentrification (just on the cusp of downtown). The suburbs suck and I'd never live there with the cookie-cutter homes and strip malls. I rent a duplex built in 1920--three bedrooms, spacious dining, kitchen and living room--1500 SF for $1500 a month. It's rich in culture. Top-notch museums, contemporary arts scene, amazing music scene, the Orange Show, the art car museum and parades, countless meet-up groups for all interests, and weekly cultural festivals (like our infamous Gay Pride parade) are just a few examples. I know most of my neighbors and we always say hello and look out for each other. Summer weather is hell, but you learn to adjust. It sounds like you're unaware of any of these deep cultural opportunities--and made no effort to do so. Pick up a copy of the Houston Press and you'll see many events, including intimate nightclubs (for example, the Continental Club) featuring live music by local and national/international bands. Sounds like you haven't made any effort to meet people or take advantage of any goings-on I mention here. The rent you pay for where you live is over-priced and probably was the result of not doing any due diligence (or "do diligence"--sic). My suggestion is to leave your house/office and explore. Or quit your job and move back to (no sarcasm here) Southern California. We don't want you if you're to lazy to integrate and instead whine.


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Katherine

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 11/2/2012
You have obviously never visited nor lived in Detroit. I'm from Houston and would love to move back. I thought a urban exciting downtown would expand in MI, it didn't. Now I'm stuck in Detroit where multiple shootings happen with in the hour and long to move back to Houston. If your going to bag on "uppity" yankee's and terrible crime, try living on the other side.


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mary

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 4/22/2014
Sorry for necroing this thread but I just had to comment. I moved to Houston in June of 2013 after my husband died so I could be closer to my son so he could help take care of me. I am disabled. And that is where my nightmare begins....and ends. We lived in California (YaY San Fran) for many years and I was on Medicaid. That is the only help we have EVER received and we only got on Medicaid when my husband was diagnosed with cirrhosis (which is how he died) and could no longer work. We worked hard our entire lives before that and never asked for help.. Anyway...I digress. So I moved to Houston. I bought a beautiful home with the life insurance money (it was my husbands dying request) and applied for Medicaid. I was floored when I was denied because apparently in Texas you have to be ON Social Security (my application is in) AND receiving Medicare to qualify for Medicaid. The process to get on SS can take literally years and to make matters worse there is a 2 year waiting period for Medicare once you finally get approved. This is ridiculous and I have no idea what other disabled people who arent yet on Social Security do but here is what I was forced to do: I left. Lucky for me I had that option. Oh and BTW. I am back on Medicaid. The exact same program that Texas says I do not qualify for. So to all of you people telling us to leave: some of us do. I hope you all have a nice life with your litter strewn, filthy, crime infested, pollution filled (the recycling program there is shameful), poor excuse for a "city". Im back in a place where the people actually care what their city looks like and strive for a healthy, clean and happy population.


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krystal

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 6/4/2013
I am from Houston, TX and lived there until I was 22. My family is till in Houston until today. I've been living in Nashville for 6 years now and it's way better. Houston is ugly compared to other cities like nashville. No matter how many new homes you put up it will never look as good. I can live in a lower income area and till see the lake and mountains with out going an hour out the city. The people are waaaaayyyyyy more friendly. Most people who don't travel or never been outside of Texas get offended when you tell the truth. I've been to many different states and I tell you Houston is not the top of the list. I get way better paying jobs her and I actually see all the seasons of the year. Fall is so beautiful here. Houston doesn't have a Fall. OH, and I Love the mountains. For the price of housing in houston for less crime I get more modern and spacious living. I'm glad I left Houston and saw how life really is better when you don't have to worry about your safety constantly. I pay $700 for an apartement that would be $1,200 in Katy, Woodlands, Pearland and Sugarland. I agree life is too short don't waste it in a city where you can't enjoy nature.....


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Doug

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 7/12/2013
Let's see...you moved down here to sponge off of our economy? Cool. Please leave. Now...let's address the b.s.: Cloudiest city: not true. Crime rates: lower than any comparable city. Sorry, Boston is higher and smaller. Denver is smaller. Phoenix is way smaller. SoCal is far worse. Cost: Not much different than comparable cities. Actually, nevermind...Houston is terrible and dangerous and expensive...avoid it like the plague. We get tired of people moving down here to sponge off of our economy and low taxes who then decide to whine and moan all the time but never leave.


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Jim

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 6/26/2012
Very accurate and well said! I do hope others pay attention to you words.


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Lisa

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 11/27/2013
Wow. I was born and raised in upstate NY until 2009 When my husband and our daughter moved to Atlanta, Ga. I fell in love with it. Can't imagine leaving it. We have never thought of going back to NY. We do have a wonderful opportunity to relocate to Houston from here, but after reading all of these comments about "Yankees" and "get out of my state," I'm reassured that what I heard before was not a rumor. Many, if not most, "born and bred Texans" are arrogant and look down their noses at people who were not born there. What a shame. Many people who were born there think it's a horrible place to live. Other people move there and love it but are made to feel unwelcome. I will surely have to talk to my husband before we move our now extended family to a place where my children may not feel liked because they aren't a member of the "born and bred" club. Very sad. :(


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Shannon

re: Thinking Houston? Think again - 1/26/2012 - 8/11/2014
I couldn't agree with you more, Danny. This place is the worst place I have ever lived in. I have lived in Florida, NYC, LA and San Diego. Let's see... which is worst? The weather? The crime? The people? Ok. If you like hot and humid. If you don't mind your car getting broken into or a home invasion. If you like fat people, that are two faced, religious hypocrites and think that having a big house and carrying a Coach bag is the most important thing in the world. Then Come ON Down!!!! I have never met so many uneducated people in my life. There is nothing to do but eat. And boy, you will see a lot of eaters here. Roads and traffic are horrendous. Pros? Cost of living is good outside "The Loop". But you will be shunned by people outside of it. ("The Loop" is a highway around the city) Ummmmm, if you like Rodeos, they make a very big deal over it. Oh and hope that the football team is doing well because the Texan fans get very angry when they are losing. I know. Don't worry, Texas. I don't like and I am getting out.


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More Houston, Texas SperlingViews

Mike
Houston, TX

Arm pit of Texas - 5/18/2014

Houston traffic is horrible and the summer weather is suffocating. !00+ temps with 99% humidity. Crimes are a major problem, as well as air pollution and the school system is one of the worst in the nation. I would not live if I didn’t have to but right now I don’t have any options. The job market and housing market here are very good. There is lot of city parks for outdoor activities. Churches are prevalent and there is one on just about every corner, as well as panhandlers on each of these corners I personally wouldn’t pick Houston for a place to raise a family however; there are worse places in the US, just not many.

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Frank
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Abby
Grayson, GA

Should we move to Houston Area? Help! - 3/30/2014

For a little background I spent most of my childhood in Nigeria and the UK. I traveled extensively due to my parents' work but settled in the UK 12 years ago at 15. Now I'm married and my hubbs and I want to move to the US are for year round hot weather and a better quality of life. We expect to move in November this year. Up till recently we were seriously considering Grayson/ John's Creek GA and San Diego/Orange County/ Santa Barbara CA, places we know quite well. Recently several US- based family members suggested Texas so we started researching Houston and the surrounding areas and are becoming more and more certain this area would work better for us in terms of our businesses and what on paper seems to be an incredible standard of living compared to what we would have elsewhere especially now we are starting a family. We grew up in places with extreme heat and humidity so we feel we can adapt to that. What we would really like to know is about day to day life in the Suburbs, particularly Friendswood, Pearland and Sugarland. Our social group is currently very cosmopolitan and we don't want to live in an area where races excessively self- segregate. We'd also like to know how bad traffic really is into Houston from these areas. Is there much xenophobia? Are people generally friendly, (especially young couples with children)? Are CofE (Episcopalian) churches popular? How easy is it to get affordable organic food? Are there small farms in the area? What sports and outdoor activities are most popular? Any info. on day to day life from someone who lives in the mentioned areas would be greatly appreciated!

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Abby
Grayson, GA

Should we move to Houston Area? Help! - 3/30/2014

For a little background I spent most of my childhood in Nigeria and the UK. I traveled extensively due to my parents' work but settled in the UK 12 years ago at 15. Now I'm married and my hubbs and I want to move to the US are for year round hot weather and a better quality of life. We expect to move in November this year. Up till recently we were seriously considering Grayson/ John's Creek GA and San Diego/Orange County/ Santa Barbara CA, places we know quite well. Recently several US- based family members suggested Texas so we started researching Houston and the surrounding areas and are becoming more and more certain this area would work better for us in terms of our businesses and what on paper seems to be an incredible standard of living compared to what we would have elsewhere especially now we are starting a family. We grew up in places with extreme heat and humidity so we feel we can adapt to that. What we would really like to know is about day to day life in the Suburbs, particularly Friendswood, Pearland and Sugarland. Our social group is currently very cosmopolitan and we don't want to live in an area where races excessively self- segregate. We'd also like to know how bad traffic really is into Houston from these areas. Is there much xenophobia? Are people generally friendly, (especially young couples with children)? Are CofE (Episcopalian) churches popular? How easy is it to get affordable organic food? Are there small farms in the area? What sports and outdoor activities are most popular? Any info. on day to day life from someone who lives in the mentioned areas would be greatly appreciated!

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Linda
South Glens Falls, NY

If your moving may I suggest a TOP Realtor - 2/22/2014

If you are relocating to Houston, Tx metroplex or just moving in general in this area then I would suggest a TOP notch Realtor who can help with your transition be it renting, buying or interstate to the area. She is rated one of the very BEST. Samantha Starling-Realtor of Vanderbilt Homes, Houston, Texas

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Jennifer
Houston, TX

Houston's Quality of Life - 2/19/2014

I have lived in Houston and Dallas, TX; and travel extensively for work, so I've spent years in both NYC and Denver. I love the quality of life that I get in Houston. The bang for my buck is second to none. Sure, the weather is at times horrendous, but at least we don't have the bitter cold of the northern areas. The restaurants, museums, theatre, golf courses, and green space is second to only NYC in my opinion. But, the cost of living here wins, hands down.

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Therese
Houston, TX

Cost of Living - 12/25/2013

Cost of Living is lower in texas that most states.

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Fazio
Houston, TX

Houston Weather - 12/13/2013

If you like humidity, you will really like Houston weather, get instantly wet as soon as you walk out the door, it's free, unlimited humidity 24 hours a day. personally, I love it, of course its taken me 20 years to say that, at first, it felt like a hot sauna was following me. Now it's great. Oh and by the way, it's far better than living where it snows. LOVE HOUSTON WEATHER!

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Teresa
Houston, TX

Affordable, Fun and Diverse Houston! - 11/28/2013

I moved around all over the world as a child and teen due to my father's employment. When we returned to the U.S., I went to college and graduate school in New York and Indiana. I've lived in Raleigh, North Carolina Chicago for work. I settled in Houston and bought a home. I've been living here for 5 years, both in Montrose and in the outer loop. This is what I can tell you from Houston, from the perspective of someone who has traveled a lot: this city is a little too hot in the summer and there are insects that you will need repellant or chemical yard barriers for. BUT, it is also friendly, very green (lots of parks, huge trees and lakes - what a lot of people don't know about), has several good universities, is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the nation, is huge in the arts - theatre, music, art schools and venues/galleries. It has restaurants - including many vegetarian and vegan options - galore. It is a fun city and, very importantly, you won't have to settle for a four-story walk-up with no washer and dryer in the unit! You can be a homeowner here. Say good-bye to your slumlord. For singles, you'll find great nightlife, an active cycling and fitness scene. For families, you'll find free, accessible places to go with your kids. Too many activities to mention on any given weekend and the best children's museum in the country. Houston is an active, fun, very affordable city. You won't have to work to live. You'll work and still have time left over to enjoy this city. I LOVE HTOWN! Will never leave.

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dan
Houston, TX

A good fit for some, but not me - 9/3/2013

Houston has much to offer with it's Museum District, theatrical venues, great medical institutions, abundance of cheap food and easy winters. There are very nice neighborhoods, such as Montrose, Heights, Rice, Memorial Park--all in the 610 loop, but they are very expensive to buy into (even very modest homes with small yards), with property taxes well in excess of 3% of their values. I came to this town to escape the Midwestern winters and get better employment. The heat and humidity are formidable even for a hot weather person like myself and to be comfortable for the long summer means big electricity bills, but the winters are very easy to take. It feels tropical here for about 8 months out of the year and many plants are green all year long. Much medical research goes on as Houston is one of the leaders along those lines. The people tend to be friendlier than what I'm used to in the Midwest and the international flavor of the town is nice. On the other hand... the traffic is super bad and Houston drivers are the worst I've ever seen, with accidents all the time. I've never seen a place with so many seedy neighborhoods pervasively scattered all over the huge metropolis. If you add up the attractive areas that include the Museum district, Heights, Montrose, Rice Village, Kirby, Memorial Park and Galleria you have about 20% of Houston. The rest of Houston is either mediocre or just plain trashy. In proportion to other large cities, it is a very ugly place built by planners and architects with horrible taste, guided by greed and ignorance in typical Texas fashion. Dogs run loose all over except the best neighborhoods, sometimes in packs and dogbites are very common here. If you can afford to live where you'd like there, it could be a good life. Even If I did get a better job there, it wouldn't pay well enough to finance a home in any neighborhood I'd want to live in that is less than 40 minutes from work. That ain't quality of life in my book.

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Vicki
Houston, TX

Very, Very, Very, Very, Very Hot! Very, very, very - 8/14/2013

The weather - or specifically the lack thereof - is not for the faint of heart. If you are not a fan of extremely hot, humid weather that lasts forever, then do not move here. After what has seemed like an eternity, I am getting out of dodge for much cooler weather. A place with actual seasons.

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Marianne
Houston, TX

Finally I get it!! - 7/14/2013

I've lived in Houston for 30+ years ... and I finally get it. I was one of those people who complained about EVERYTHING ... but basically - it wasn't New York. And seriously, you can take the girl out of New York but you can't take the New York out of the girl! My work takes me on the road Monday through Thursday. There are other great cities around the country ... but I have to confess - I've fallen in love with Houston. We have the Texas Medical Center (which is beyond awesome), Rice University, the University of Houston, southern hospitality and we have Food! No city in this country can touch the amazing international offerings of Houston. And most of all - we have humility ... we take the slams and insults lightly because we know this is one of the country's greatest cities. You don't like Houston? Move elsewhere. It's the beauty of America - it's a free country. We love Houston - we are happy in Houston and we really would prefer you return and/or move to a place that is more to your liking. We're pretty tolerant BUT we're handing out lollipops and Whoopass ... and we're all out of lollipops!

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Texas Rancher

Houston for Work - 7/9/2013

Very amazing reading everyone's reviews. I lived in Texas before, besides having terribly hot spring-summers, it also lacks the "culture" factor many discussed here. Right now I live in Brooklyn, and have heard on the news of people getting "knifed down" because of a smart phone. I guess crime is everywhere, so hearing about people getting their cars broken into sounds pretty normal to me. Heck! I even witnessed people being struck with violence on the subway stations, and I have gotten scare. Can't wait to finish college and move to Houston or Dallas. Having lived on the East Coast has been an eye opener, who said San Diego was expensive? Try NYC for once. Many argue that Houston or Dallas lack sophistication, but I'd tell New York has it all when it comes to things to do but you better make serious money to afford the opera, theathre, arts and all that.

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Nil
Derry, NH

Looking for input about moving to Houston with six - 6/28/2013

Hello All, My husband and I have had enough of New England. Although we have all four seasons here, they are not all equal length of time. Yes, the fall is the best: Less bugs, cool enough but not cold, great colors all around and awesome for hiking..... BUT, it only lasts a couple of months with lots of rain in between so doing outdoor activities become the same amount as anywhere else with heat. Unless: if you are willing to ruff it out like anywhere else. The longest time period is winter, which we NEVER put away our winter clothes. You never know NE weather, and you ALWAYS need a sweatshirt handy. We are not well off, so winter activities are very hard for our family to be a part of. Skiing or snowboarding is arm and a leg unless if you have just one child. Most of soccer or lacrosse games get cancelled or cannot be rescheduled because the fields are soaked and kids can't play. To attend indoor facilities... again, good for a one child family. Heating our four bedroom house and taxes, plus mortgage takes most of our income away. We love our back yard, but due to lots of trees and the ponds, wet lands all around the area we live in (being in NE) the mosquitoes are all over to eat you alive. Bottom line, living 40 minutes away from Boston or the beach is great but you have to be making at least $150K a year to help family stay active and enjoy any time. Violent crime is not much heard of but there are so many teens doing drugs because they are bored. We don't want our kids to join this band wagon of teens and to keep them all in activities isn't financially possible. I have lived all over the world being a military brat. I've also lived in many states within the nation. My husband is from Santa Barbara. We are both aware of goodness and uglyness of all areas, no matter where you live. Houston is where we would like to relocate for mostly financial reasons but we are both concern about schools and activities for our children. We wish to make this move for our children, to be able to provide the best for them. Reading through so many reviews.... I am concerned and would like make sure we do all our homework prior to the move. Could anyone provide some input or opinion? Thanks!

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Katie

You see what you want to see - 4/3/2013

I'm getting tired of this unfounded claim that all suburbia is all-white. We live in Katy and my kids' elem school (largest in the district right now) is 48.56% white. Yes a big number I guess but not even the majority. The other 52% is African American, bi-racial, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, you name it. Just because the school is rated as exemplary-performing, or "economically disadvantaged" students are only 14.72%, doesn't mean it's all-white. And furthermore most of my so-called all-white suburbia mom friends have pretty progressive views. In fact many fellow crunchy types I interact with online in other states are constantly bemoaning how their *blue* states force agendas down their throats with mandating vaccines and public schooling/indoctrinating and outlawing things like homebirth and other options that ought to be no-brainer individual choices--NOT an issue in Houston, or 'burbs. As for fast food/chain joints, these do line the freeways and main roads for passers-through, and that's exactly how we view them; anyone who has lived here a month knows that. Please either research the meaning of "homogenous," or the numbers behind your claims.

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Michael
Houston, TX

There's some good, but be aware of the negatives. - 3/1/2013

Now look, I am not some damn yankee that you provincial Texans claim that I am. In fact, I was born here in Houston. Yes, we all know that the benefits are a lack of blizzards in the winter, great theatre and museums, and lower cost of living. But there are several drawbacks living here. The climate is hot and humid during the summer, even reaching triple digits, but of course, the climate is subjective. But the bugs and mosquitos are all over during summer months, and that is the most irritating part of humid weather, feeling that a mosquito will bite you any minute. This is not what I would call a pedestrian friendly city. Only a few places such as Downtown, Montrose, and the few major city parks, are what I call walkable to the population. Otherwise, you sure as hell need a car, even going for a few blocks for groceries, going to convenience store, and such. Worse of all, there is a lack of decent public transportation for a city this size (Isn't it 2013 already?) as there is only one line of rail built and the other planned rails are either not built yet or built very sluggishly. People don't want expansion, I don't know why! (This is in contrast of the "can do" attitudes that the city claims, or at least used to claim) Which brings me to traffic. Yes, sure, every major city has a rush hour. But Houston has the worst traffic in Texas (7th in America as of now), even worse than DFW (although you can't call Dallas a pedestrian mecca either). Despite widening freeways (especially IH-10), the traffic is still prevalent. It's even prevalent on non-peak hours and weekends especially since the suburbs have bumper-to-bumper traffic nowadays. I'm afraid it will get worse if METRO does not act now. Also the drivers can be aggressive and stupid(even more than in places like, say, Chicago). Big pickups doing 95 mph on the freeway like they own the road. I can go 80 mph on 59 and still be tailgated. I mean, what's wrong with these people? They can speed but not even follow basic traffic laws? The people here, well, it's really a mix. Not exactly Southern Hospitality as you can find in places like Nashville. The people in Clear Lake area are laid back (at least to me), and the working class neighborhoods are fine. However, several neighborhoods, even the nice ones, are already growing in crime. One can point to the immigration to this area, but unfortunately, most of the crime is done by U.S.-born people (from shootings for sneakers, throwing babies in plastic bags, eating them, and crazy crimes you can think of. You thought that you were in Florida). It's sad considering that it wasn't that way (or that bad) when I lived in the 90s. Also the southern rap attitude can get really irritating, especially if rap is starting to welcome subpar artists that can only repeat a few words. Swangers? Please. Shocking that I also see non-gangster people (supposedly) wear these "Screwston"-type hats and even act gangster (having an affinity for the culture). The gangster culture can get old. Also, the suburbs (especially Cypress, Katy, The Woodlands, Spring) can be filled with the stereotypical, homogeneous, religious (holier than thou), racist, homophobic, Caucasian, Republican/Tea Party-voting, gun-toting, douchy Texans everyone loves to hate/make fun of (I mean Sarah Palin visited the Chick-Fil-A in the Woodlands and that gun control segment with Piers Morgan and Alex Jones took place in the Tactical Firearms in Katy-that crowd in the latter was full of angry white trash while the crowd in the former are filled with such drones). They make up a huge majority of the population (contrasting Houston's reputation for diversity), and rich does not eliminate these "white trash" attitudes, especially if you work for Big Oil. And do you wonder why there are a lack of minorities (not including white washed ones) in the Northside suburbs? Not places I recommend for newcomers; actually, move there so that we can drive these nuts out of the country. ;-) But enough megachurches! Stop using religion for money, especially if you're Joel Osteen who decided to buy The Summit and turn it into your damn Lakewood Church. Wouldn't that money for the construction of these things (and the pastor's Escalade) go to somewhere else like charity and helping people out? Okay, it's opinion, but it's too tacky, especially if it's next to a sex shop thanks to the no zoning laws that exist in the city. But, no more megachurches; let them go to their nice community church if they want to where they actually care about Thy Neighbor. The populace, at times, can act uneducated. Sure there are some great institutions of higher education such as Rice University and U of H, but the percentage of people with college-degrees seems to be low for a major metro area. Airheads, crackheads do exist. And the aforementioned people in the suburbs "don't need no education" as they can learn their thinking from Fox News. They even get their news from the likes of Rush Limbaugh! And they think that it is a normal thing to do so! Also they are obsessed with redneck classic rock music and that stupid Walton & Johnson show. That is sad considering KUHF, KUHT, and KPFT (Public Radio) has a good presence in the area (or at least the Inner Loop, another part I used to live in) and provides good information, programming, and intelligent conversation. It is true the people in the Inner Loop (University Place, Med Center, Bellaire) tend to be more educated, more liberal, and somewhat more diverse (I felt it at my old elementary school, Roberts Elementary), but the suburbs are filled with stereotypical hicks. I mean, Wow. Yes, I know they are not Houston city limits (but some suburban areas are annexed by Houston), but people live there in droves and cause traffic! It's good though that Houston does not have a problem electing the first openly gay mayor, Annise Parker. Hopefully, politically, the tide will turn (TX still has a long way to go to reach 50% Democratic, form 41%), and Texas will actually have progressive people. It doesn't even have to throw away its frontier roots, but the bigotry will stop. Houston was a fine place to live in (lower crimes, friendly people, clean for a big city) when I was a kid in the 1990s. It wasn't all riff-raff compared to other cities, even with a population boom in the 70s and 80s. But crime is relatively high compared to major cities, some people feel distressed in service, and it is dirtier now (roads, billboards, more grime). I thought with the recent population boom due to a healthy economy, there would be more high-rises (come on, Houston does not get hit by earthquakes, and New York, the city of skyscrapers, gets hit by hurricanes, too) and public transportation and it would look more futuristic, you know, like Dubai, the city that thrived overnight. But it may have a long way to go if the citizens do not really want progress (considering their attitudes toward red light cameras, new rail, high rises, etc). But at least we have the Houston Texans, better than the Dallas Cowboys, ha. And museums are actually pretty good. NASA's there. Discovery Green looks good, and so does the Dynamo and the new stadium. Even the Rockets are doing better. But can we get by without oil? Can we evolve into a futuristic, energetic city or will it be a pit for East Texas provincial bums? Can Houston finally get international recognition (like NY, LA, SF), considering it has lots of people from other countries? Can we evolve? Can we accept new ideas from other regions rather than dismiss these people as "Yankees"? Can it be safe and livable as places like New York or even Toronto? It can happen, if they don't stick with the status quo since this town has potential. We need to stop tearing down old buildings for a crappy fast food joint. Enough fast food joints, bring in the healthy food! Enough McMansions, who needs a 3500 square foot and a school full of homogeneous people? I know living in the Loop is expensive, but it is worth a damn compared to the suburbs. Houston has potential, it "can do." But we must not be backward in thinking or have an angry impulse over constructive criticism, instead, we need to improve our city. Or else we could fall behind. This coming from a native Houstonian, and good luck to out-of-staters who hope to find their way in this idiosyncratic (but different from say San Francisco) city!

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Ava
Houston, TX

eh - 3/1/2013

meh

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Katie
Spring, TX

Hosuton - 2/6/2013

Houston rocks

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Thomas
Houston, TX

Houston - 10/27/2012

Good fast way to compare cities

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Amy
Katy, TX

Avoid it if you can - 10/23/2012

Houston is absolutely nothing like NYC, spoken like a true tourist!. NYC is a melting pot of people from all over the world, and with that comes the diversity in food and neighborhood culture. Houston has limited culture. There are Mexicans, Middle Eastern and Asian and these 3 main groups own all the retail businesses. I have yet to eat in an authentic Italian restaurant owned and cooked by Italians. I have yet to see any European culture here. The white people have a sense of entitlement. They think they are better than all the transplants regardless of where you moved from. We were relocated here from NY and I can't get over how horrible people treat me. They think that because I am from NY I am rude and uncultured, without even giving me the opportunity to prove otherwise, People are shocked to learn that I have a master's degree, as if Texans are the only people who value their education. There is very little to do other than drink and eat here. I thought we would be in the center of arts, museums, plays, live performances, but unless you think Rodeo is a fine art, you will be disappointed. The museums and aquarium are very small for a large city, and we have only been to 3 plays, all ok, but very limited venues. I have been here for 17 months and can't wait until we are transferred anywhere on the east coast. I am eager to see beautiful beaches and mountains!

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