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Houston. The very name instantly brings to mind the rich history of the Wild West and the futuristic tone of the Space Race. As one of the largest cities in the nation in both area (9th) and population (4th), Houston offers an unparalleled blend of history, art, modern and technology, sunshine, beach life, champion professional sports teams and excellent educational institutions.
Home to more than 2.3 million people across 655 square miles, Houston is also home to Bush International Airport, providing access to destinations around the nation and globe. With one of the lower costs of living for such a highly populated city, Houston combines affordable living and high quality of life with world-class amenities.
Houston Culture and Museums
Houston has the rare distinction of having four residential professional companies in the arts of ballet, opera, symphony and theater. Additionally, Houston is home to six unique cultural districts, including one of the nation’s largest museum districts. In fact, there are 20 museums within walking distance of each other!
The Children’s Museum in Houston has been named as one of the best in the nation. The city also has an outstanding zoo. Another treasure of Houston is found in the Menil Collection, home to the private collection of John and Dominique de Menil. With a vast range of eras represented, the Menil Collection is one of the finest privately assembled collections in the country. The de Menils opened the museum in June of 1987 desiring to share their collection with the world. The Health Museum; an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, allows visitors to explore health sciences and the workings of the human body.
Theater and Music
Theater in Houston ranges from Broadway shows to repertory productions at Alley Theater, to the modern, outside-the-box offerings of Catastrophic Theatre. Concerts featuring megastars are often held at the Toyota Center. Mid-sized facilities, such as the renowned House of Blues, host incredible acts in a more intimate setting. Any night of the week, you can find incredible musicians, both established and up-and-coming, as well as singer-songwriters, at one of the many mid-sized and smaller musical venues.
In addition to musical acts and theatrical offerings, the nightlife in Houston has something for everyone. From DJs in high-energy dance clubs to honkytonks, from sports bars to wine bars to microbreweries, the nightlife options are endless.
Featuring more than 10,000 restaurants and representing cuisine from more than 70 countries and regions, the food scene in Houston is one of the best in the nation. As a result of the amazing options, residents of Houston dine out more than residents in any other city (4.1 times per week on average, as opposed to the national average of 3.1). The average cost per meal is also lower than the national average – another way Houston’s cost of living makes it such a phenomenal place to call home. According to Zomato.com, there are more than 300 food trucks, 20 farm-to-table restaurants and over 100 vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants.
As of 2017, the housing market in Houston holds strong. With an increase in inventory (3.9 month supply), a decrease in average days on market (61) and an average price increase of less than 4%, Houston homeowners find houses are in the sweet spot of affordable, yet sellable. The average sell price, according to the Houston Association of Realtors, is $285,858 – that’s up 2.7% over a year ago. Townhomes and condominiums have also seen a surge in sales, with a 5.8% increase over October 2016. The rental market has increased markedly, at 13.6%.
Whether you are moving to Houston to raise a family or continue in your own educational pursuits, opportunities abound. Across several independent school districts, as well as private schools, primary education is a primary focus of the city. The Houston Independent School District is the seventh largest district in the United States and serves more than 200,000 students. In addition to a focus on academic excellence and opportunities, top-level athletic and other extracurricular activities abound in Houston. Additionally, the HISD offers the ability to apply for magnet specialty schools through their school choice program. The magnet schools offer focuses on college readiness; science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics emphasis; gifted programs; fine arts; and language programs.
Houston also offers an abundance of higher education opportunities. Boasting one of the country’s top schools, Rice University is one of 14 major secondary institutions. Others include the University of Houston, University of St. Thomas, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Southern, and Sam Houston State. Additionally, there are community colleges along with trade schools and online universities for
Houston Travel & Highlights
If you’re seeking adventures outside the Houston city limits, you’re in luck. Day trips and outings just a few minutes away from downtown are plentiful. The largest urban wilderness preserve in the country, Armand Bayou Nature Center, features hiking trails, as well as guided pontoon and canoe tours along the 2,500 acres. More than 370 different species of animals call this place home.
Another close destination, Galveston Island, is home to several attractions, including Moody Gardens and Moody Mansion, Bishop’s Palace and unparalleled bird watching. Other unique opportunities include the National Museum of Funeral History and, of course, NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
If you are a sports enthusiast, Houston is the city for you! Featuring professional teams in football, baseball, basketball and soccer, it truly is a town for every fan. Having won the 2017 World Series, the Astros become the city’s third professional team to win a championship, joining soccer’s Dynamos and basketball’s Rockets. In addition to professional sports, minor league teams, semi-pro teams and collegiate teams provide spectator entertainment beyond the major sports: roller derby, rugby, women’s basketball, women’s football and other sporting events abound.