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What's living in Houston like?
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jld
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May 9, 2004, 03:08 AM
 
I've got a job prospect in Houston, and would like to know what living there is like.

What are housing prices like? Are there any cool neighborhoods? How's the weather? How are the people? What do people do on the weekends or during free time?

I currently live in Seattle, and really like the informal, easy going lifestyle here. Everyone is really friendly don't judge you for what you wear or what car you drive. There are tons of cool bars, indy music, and good restruants around.

I'd appreciate any help you guys could offer.
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davechen
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May 9, 2004, 01:19 PM
 
It's freaking HOT. 6 months out of the year it's a sauna. Housing prices are a lot cheaper than Seattle.

I didn't care for it. It's an ugly land of freeways, road construction and parking lots. There's no zoning in the city, it's a weird patchwork of residential areas then industrial areas.
     
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May 9, 2004, 01:24 PM
 


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JHromadka
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May 9, 2004, 01:32 PM
 
Originally posted by jld:
I've got a job prospect in Houston, and would like to know what living there is like.

What are housing prices like? Are there any cool neighborhoods? How's the weather? How are the people? What do people do on the weekends or during free time?

I currently live in Seattle, and really like the informal, easy going lifestyle here. Everyone is really friendly don't judge you for what you wear or what car you drive. There are tons of cool bars, indy music, and good restruants around.

I'd appreciate any help you guys could offer.
It gets pretty humid being an hour from the Gulf of Mexico. Maybe 1 week of sub-freezing weather a year. Right now it's Spring, so it has been pretty nice lately.

Galleria area is pretty nice, as is most areas along Westheimar and Richmond. Richmond Ave near the Galleria is where most of the clubs are, but there are some in downtown as well. Bars are everywhere. It's pretty informal in Houston as well.
     
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May 9, 2004, 01:53 PM
 
I would think that It would be nice to live near the Johnson Space Center. The heat and humidity is something that I would not like.

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BrunoBruin
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May 9, 2004, 04:50 PM
 
Originally posted by davechen:
It's an ugly land of freeways, road construction and parking lots. There's no zoning in the city, it's a weird patchwork of residential areas then industrial areas.
This is true, and the city is also so spread out that you have to drive miles to get anywhere. But I really like Houston (my parents lived there for many years, and my mom is still there), and I'd live there quite happily, apart from the miserable heat and humidity. If I could afford it, I'd live down in the museum district or Hermann Park, near Rice University; it's not cheap, but it's a nice area and on the light-rail line.

It's too hot there to be very formal, and the people are REALLY nice. For things to do, well, it's one of the biggest cities in the United States, so there's no lack of stuff going on.
     
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May 9, 2004, 04:52 PM
 
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May 9, 2004, 04:55 PM
 
And Houston in 2002 passed LA as the most polluted city in the US.
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chris v
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May 9, 2004, 05:06 PM
 
I lived there for a while in my youth. There are isolated pockets of Houston that are okay, but on the whole, living there is a miserable experience. Everything is 30 miles from everything else. Prepare to spent around 4 hours a day in your car. And yes, it's freaking hot all the time.

To illustrate, I have a friend here in Austin, and ten years ago, his company offered him a $15,000.00 per year raise if he'd transfer to Houston. He told them he'd pay that much to not have to live there, and turned them down.

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jld  (op)
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May 9, 2004, 08:39 PM
 
This is a very uninformed question, so pardon my ignorance, but the two places I've ever lived are Boulder, CO and Seattle, both very politically liberal places, and I hold views in line with those places that I've lived.

Will living in Texas drive me nuts?
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May 9, 2004, 09:24 PM
 
Originally posted by jld:
This is a very uninformed question, so pardon my ignorance, but the two places I've ever lived are Boulder, CO and Seattle, both very politically liberal places, and I hold views in line with those places that I've lived.

Will living in Texas drive me nuts?
Yes. Austin is fairly liberal.
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JHromadka
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May 9, 2004, 11:49 PM
 
Originally posted by jld:
This is a very uninformed question, so pardon my ignorance, but the two places I've ever lived are Boulder, CO and Seattle, both very politically liberal places, and I hold views in line with those places that I've lived.

Will living in Texas drive me nuts?
Well the current governor is Republican, and Bush is of course from Texas as well. However, historically, Texas has had quite a few Democrats. The city leans towards being conservative. I don't want to derail this into getting this topic moved to the sublounge though.

I think living here almost all my life gives me a different perspective than some of the other posters. You do have to drive a lot, but because of no zoning, everything you want is nearby. It takes about 45 min to get from one side of town to the other unless it's rush hour. Whatever you do, don't live anywhere near the Katy Freeway (IH-10 on the West side of town). You got grocery stores a few blocks from the strip clubs, you will never want for a gas station to go to, and we got one of them fancy light rail trains now. Public transportation still sucks though. You like sports? MLB Astros, NFL Texans, NBA Rockets, AHL Aeros, and WNBA Comets.
     
chris v
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May 10, 2004, 07:37 AM
 
Originally posted by jld:
This is a very uninformed question, so pardon my ignorance, but the two places I've ever lived are Boulder, CO and Seattle, both very politically liberal places, and I hold views in line with those places that I've lived.

Will living in Texas drive me nuts?
Houston is full of nuveau riche suburbanites. Central is okay, like the Montrose, but if you go northwest, there's mile after mile of uninterrupted (except for freeways and strip-centers) $1,000,000 home bedroom communities, and my thinking is that these are heavily conservative areas.

Austin is kind of an island.

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May 10, 2004, 09:20 AM
 
I live about 50 miles south of Houston, but we go there a lot for shopping (Central Market, Eatzis, Williams-Sonoma, etc.). Im no big fan of Houston itself, simply because I used to live in the DFW Metroplex area (Bedford, to be exact), and the Metroplex is hard to beat IMHO.

As for politics, does it matter? For all I know, Im surrounded by commies! But if they keep their yard looking nice, their dogs quiet, and dont bother me I dont care what they think. Maybe thats just me.

As for temp, its freaking hot a lot of the time. Of course, I live about 10 minutes form the beach, so its a bit more humid down here compared to Houston, but if you arent used to sweating every once in a while, it will take some time to get used to.

We also have a nasty little pecker known as the mosquito, and we have them *bad* sometimes.

Outside of that, if youve never been to Texas, its *not* full of stump-dumb rednecks and cowboys (thank goodness). Were pretty much all laid back as long as you dont disrespect your Mother, wife or girlfriend in public.

Houston has all kinds of great things to do, places to go, places to hang-out. And I may be biased, but since Ive visited places all over the country, I feel confident when I say that if youre wanting to scope for ladies, you just cant beat Texas girls. And no, they arent *all* bleach blonde bimbos. =)

Oh, and a lot of us *do* have concealed handgun licenses. =)

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May 10, 2004, 10:26 AM
 
I've just left Houston after 3.5 years. I lived downtown just on Hermann Park. It's a nice area that has a lot going for it, the park, museums, cool shops (montrose). there's every kind of restaurant imaginable, and downtown is being redeveloped heavily with new bars, clubs etc. There's great theatre and live music. Townhomes downtown go around 250-400K new. Rental prices I don't know about as we bought a house.

OK, now the downsides: It's seriously hot there, with high humidity, for 6 months of the year. Being outdoors isn't great. I used to have to run at 6am and even then it was 80 degrees. Once you've explored downtown, the space center and galveston, there's not a huge amount without travelling a long way. Austin is cool, and the closest place at 2.5-3 hours. If you want to go anywhere else, you're going to buying airline tickets. I drove to colorado last year and it took a day and a half just to get out of texas. It's a big old state and its flat, brown and empty for most of it.

It's certainly not going to be as liberal as you're used to in Seattle. Texas has a reputation and it's pretty deserved. And just don't get me started on driving in Houston. gotta have the worst drivers outside of Africa.

I think a lot will depend on the things you're into. I like doing a lot of outdoorsy stuff (hiking, climbing, kayaking, etc) and there's not much of that for a long way. If you're more of an indoors person you might be fine. Depending on where you're working, I'd say look downtown for somewhere to live, and if you're into wierd and wonderful check out the montrose area.

Good luck.

J.
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winwintoo
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May 10, 2004, 10:37 AM
 
Originally posted by jld:
This is a very uninformed question, so pardon my ignorance, but the two places I've ever lived are Boulder, CO and Seattle, both very politically liberal places, and I hold views in line with those places that I've lived.

Will living in Texas drive me nuts?

Hey, I've visited Houston a couple of times to stay with my brother - his house is for sale btw - and since he and SIL were at work during day, I had to rely on cabs to get around. I could give you cab driver Juan's phone number - for a $20 cab ride around Houston, he could sure fill you in and entertain you at the same time.

I like it down there, but then I'm from Saskatchewan so what do I know.

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May 10, 2004, 11:11 AM
 
one redeeming factor-- it is within six hours of New Orleans, which is about the second-coolest city in the US, after San Francisco.

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djohnson
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May 10, 2004, 12:03 PM
 
Texas is great! Oh and did anyone mention it is humid? I dont know how humid it gets in Seattle, but if you haven't been in 100+F with 90% humidity, then you havent lived!
     
The Mick
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May 10, 2004, 01:50 PM
 
I grew up in Houston, have visited numerous times since then, and frankly I think Houston blows. I've been to Seattle and I now live in Colorado, and there's just no comparison. Houston is huge, dirty, ugly, polluted and just too damn hot and humid. Hell, I grew up there and I still can't stand it.

Housing is dirt cheap, but they nail you pretty good on property taxes, and property values don't improve very quickly. There's no personal state income tax, but sales taxes are high to compensate. Houston is the 4th largest city in the US behind only NY, LA and Chicago. Consequently they have all the big city problems, especially crime rates which are absolutely awful and dreadful traffic.

All in all, the nice people and cheap houses are just not enough to offset the other significant downsides for me.

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May 10, 2004, 03:45 PM
 
I've worked in Houston twice for a couple weeks at a time. Once in the summer (104 degrees and I didn't have a car), and once in the winter, which was great because it was like 60 and back home they were having a blizzard. So I guess the weather works both ways. I can't really think of anything good about living there. As others have said, everything is spread out, everyone lives in the suburbs and commutes in. Granted I'm not a resident, but this is my impression of trying to live and work in the city: The downtown area is mostly a bunch of office buildings with no stores and very few restaurants, and everything except one complex in the entertainment district closes at 5. It seems that everything is designed for the office worker who comes in at 9, does whatever they do on their lunch break, and goes home at 5. If you need something that doesn't fit into that lifestyle, it's not available downtown. I guess you're supposed to do it on your way home to the burbs.

The last time I was there was in December when they were getting ready to host the Super Bowl and were in the middle of some downtown-revitalizing projects. It looked like they were trying to create a little nightlife on this one strip, there were some new bars and stuff. Still not much though, and as I said, I can't think why anyone would want to live there as opposed to pretty much any other major city. I was working in Seattle the week before I was in Houston, and it was so enjoyable. Quite the contrast. If you like the lifestyle there, I doubt you'll find it in Houston.
     
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May 10, 2004, 07:48 PM
 
Originally posted by JHromadka:
Right now it's Spring, so it has been pretty nice lately.
Pretty nice lately... as in when you're not having flood and tornado warnings? (My mom's in Donna right now.)
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May 10, 2004, 08:30 PM
 
If you're thinking of living there, why not hop a flight and spend a long weekend. Rent a car and drive around, try out the nightlife and shopping. Look around the areas you might like to live. Get a feel for the place.

Costs, but might save you money on your decision in the long run.

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May 10, 2004, 08:49 PM
 
Originally posted by jld:
I've got a job prospect in Houston, and would like to know what living there is like.
its not Retro is it?
     
jld  (op)
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May 10, 2004, 10:14 PM
 
Originally posted by fireside:
its not Retro is it?
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zigzag
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May 10, 2004, 11:26 PM
 
No comparison to Seattle. The only advantage I can think of is warmer and more varied weather during the winter, but the price you pay is much more heat and humidity. No natural beauty or outdoor recreation to speak of. Lower cost of living, perhaps. And if you're into high culture - art, opera, etc. - it's well ahead of Seattle.

Living in town - Montrose, Rice, West U. - is as close to Seattle as you'll get. Just about everything else, including around NASA, is pretty bland suburbia.
     
spacefreak
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May 10, 2004, 11:28 PM
 
Originally posted by jld:
This is a very uninformed question, so pardon my ignorance, but the two places I've ever lived are Boulder, CO and Seattle, both very politically liberal places, and I hold views in line with those places that I've lived.

Will living in Texas drive me nuts?
Diversity is a good thing. Is it that important to always be around others who all think the same - to the point of discouraging you from relocating to a place where others may have different views?
     
zigzag
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May 11, 2004, 12:17 AM
 
Originally posted by jld:
This is a very uninformed question, so pardon my ignorance, but the two places I've ever lived are Boulder, CO and Seattle, both very politically liberal places, and I hold views in line with those places that I've lived.

Will living in Texas drive me nuts?
Houston is a pretty open-minded place if you live in town, but it definitely ain't Boulder. You'll be able to find like-minded people, but it'll take more effort.

Sounds like you'd do well to pay a visit before committing.
     
spacefreak
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May 11, 2004, 01:25 PM
 
Originally posted by zigzag:
Houston is a pretty open-minded place if you live in town, but it definitely ain't Boulder. You'll be able to find like-minded people, but it'll take more effort.

Sounds like you'd do well to pay a visit before committing.
Just walk up to random strangers and ask them how they feel about Iraq, abortion, and Bush. Throw in the gay marriage issue as well.

If you're satisfied by their views, you can then leave the airport parking garage and look around the city. If you're not satisfied (because they may think differently than you), simply hop on the next plane back to Seattle.
     
djohnson
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May 11, 2004, 01:34 PM
 
Originally posted by spacefreak:
Just walk up to random strangers and ask them how they feel about Iraq, abortion, and Bush. Throw in the gay marriage issue as well.

If you're satisfied by their views, you can then leave the airport parking garage and look around the city. If you're not satisfied (because they may think differently than you), simply hop on the next plane back to Seattle.
Ask this in Texas and you know what the answer will be!
     
zigzag
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May 11, 2004, 02:21 PM
 
Originally posted by spacefreak:
Just walk up to random strangers and ask them how they feel about Iraq, abortion, and Bush. Throw in the gay marriage issue as well.

If you're satisfied by their views, you can then leave the airport parking garage and look around the city. If you're not satisfied (because they may think differently than you), simply hop on the next plane back to Seattle.
I agree that it's good to expose one's self to differing views and lifestyles - I've lived in a wide variety of places myself - but there's a point at which it can interfere with one's ability to enjoy life day-to-day. I'm not going to tell someone that they owe it to themselves to live somewhere where they feel politically or culturally alienated. Houston's a pretty diverse and cosmopolitan place but it's not for everybody. Neither are Boulder or Seattle, for that matter.
     
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Feb 26, 2006, 08:56 PM
 
Houston is one of the most boring, ugliest places i've been, i don't like it at all... the environment is boring, there's not much scenery, people here are weird. I travel a lot so maybe thats why I think its very boring there... it's definetly not a place i would even want to live in, let alone visit ever again.
     
   
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