If you’re planning to move to Houston, get ready to live large.
The biggest city in a state known for its size, Houston is home to several big oil companies, as well as the world’s largest medical center – the Texas Medical Center – and NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. True to its agricultural roots, it also hosts the biggest livestock show in the world, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, according to the city’s website.
In 2012, Forbes named Houston the coolest U.S. city. The city snagged the distinction because of its job growth – more than double the U.S. average, according to the Houston MSA Regional Economic Update – along with its large number of young residents, its robust nightlife and its lax building rules, which lead to an eclectic “zoning-free mashup of a streetscape.”
Houston has something for everyone – from swanky downtown lofts to charming Victorians to sprawling suburban ranch homes. One thing to keep in mind: Houston is known for its traffic – it’s one of the 20 most congested U.S. metro areas, according to the Traffic Scorecard from traffic information company INRX. Therefore, real estate agents often advise newcomers to look for a place near work. However, some house hunters on a budget choose to live farther from the urban core to get more housing for their money.
Here are five major areas in Houston that represent an array of neighborhoods to suit newcomers of various life stages, personalities and budgets:
Once you’ve picked a place to live, there’s plenty to explore in your new city. Here’s a sampling of what Houston has to offer:
And, if you want even more ideas for exploring your new city, TripAdvisor.com supplies a list of 158 things to do in Houston.For example, you can check out historical hearses at the National Museum of Funeral History, cool off at the 64-foot Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park – a sculptural fountain near The Galleria – or leap as high as you want at the Cosmic Jump Indoor Trampoline Park.
John Egan is editor in chief at SpareFoot, the online marketplace where you can find and reserve a self-storage unit with comparison shopping tools that show real-time availability and exclusive deals.
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