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Do you want to live in a suburban area or closer to the city? Where will you be working/going to school because driving is a must?
There are lots of good places in different areas. For suburbs I love Sugar Land, which is lovely and where I grew up. But if you’re downtown, near the medical center, or different univeristies then there are probably small or large apartment buildings or townhomes nearby.
I’m not sure about houses and pricing closer to the city. Best bet for a house is probably one of the many suburbs just pick one closest to where you’ll be most of the time (try looking at Fort Bend County, Katy, the Woodlands, or Pearland – that’s pretty much clockwise around the outskirts of the city).
Remember Houston is huge and spreadout, so think about how to best utilize your time and commute when picking a place to live. Let me know if you have any other questions.
All these other folks seem to have done a better job than I can answering this question. I’m only making recommendations as a traveller. I haven’t actually lived there. I have heard, though, that the northside, around Spring and the Woodlands is really nice. And I personally like visiting the Montrose neighborhood, because it has a nice feeling and there are art museums close by.
It’s a nice place to live, as well. Very funky with interesting people. I don’t live in Montrose per se, but in Upper Kirby, which is near Montrose. Personally, I prefer being inside the loop, especially with gas prices the way they are now.
But if you live outside the Loop and work downtown, Houston has some fairly good park and ride service where you park your car in a parking lot and take a bus in. Fairly inexpensive (sometimes employers cover part or all of the cost) and, while it doesn’t cut down on commute time, it does give you some time to read or take a little nap.
These are really great answers. As a student, I have lived in the Medical Center and Montrose, both of which I adored. Now I live in the Woodlands. I would also recommend the Heights. All of these areas have their own personalities and if you just drove through one, you’d immediately know if it was a fit for you!
Of course the obvious answer used to be ‘it depends on where you work and if you want to live close to where you work’. But nowadays, with the cost of fuel being waht it is, UNLESS you have a home based business, it’s becoming more imperitive to live close to where you work.
Those factors notwithstanding, and considering the fact that Houston sorta has 5 ‘centers’ (i.e. the Galleria, the Medical Center, Downtown, Greenspoint and…uhhh..some other one :-), I personally the best place to live is along Highway 290 (the highway that goes N.W. to Austin) because it’s close to Loop 610, Beltway 8. Those two major arties can get you to I-10, I-45 or H59 fairly easily.
Yeah, traffice is bad sometimes but you can say that about anyplace nowadays so…what else is new?
Houston isn’t an ‘all night’ city like NY or maybe L.A. or some other places, and in some ways it’s not real cultural (unless you’re in that upper-crust crowd) but if you look beneath the surface you can find just about anything you want..somewhere.
One thing that a lot of people might find surprising is that it’s a VERY cross-cultural city. For example, I was noticing with amazement tonight that in my salsa class of about 16 people (pretty much divided evenly between guys and gals) 4 of the girls were from other countries..i.e. three from Russian, and 1 from Romania (or Hungary or someplace). I find that pretty interesting.
It can be an all-night city if you know where to go. Also, we have things like street fairs, art festivals, a yearly international festival, art car parades, and a year rodeo that are by no means reserved for the upper crust. The museums are interesting and affordable. We have a lot of theaters here of all types. We have five professional sports teams, one of which is about to win the World Series! In addition, this is a very green city with a lot of land set aside for parks.
And yes, it is very cross-cultural. Partly because there are three major universities here, there is a medical center here that has worldwide fame, and Houston is an international center for the oil industry.
If you are progressive and have an alternative lifestyle, then Montrose is the best area to live. If you like older homes with a historical feel, then The Heights is a great place. If you are the young, professional type without children, then Midtown or Donwtown are nice areas. If you like arts & culture and the academic environment, then The Museum District and Rice areas are great. If you are elite, a CEO, and have maids then Royal Oaks & Memorial Drive (outside of the loop) are great.
If you like to be near shops, restaurants, and live in upscale condos, then the Galleria are is great. If you are a parent like me who wants a great school district, a community with lots of amenities, and a great place for families, then I recommend Katy.
Katy is not country. I live in a planned community with pools, tennis courts, a fitness center, a park, and other amenities. With the new West Park Tollway near my house, it only takes 30 minutes to get donwtown as well. So, taking I-10 is old news.
I think Houston is a great city and you can’t go wrong compare to other major USA cities. I moved here from the east coast and the cost of living is great here. I love the fact that I could get great schools, low crime, arts & culture, lots of shopping, a low cost of living, and a diversity all in the same city.
jersey village, just northwest of the big city. the elementary and high schools are in the subdivision, and the jr high is just ten minutes away. about 20 minutes from downtown (a little longer with 5 oclock traffic of course) and very close to lots of stuff, especially taking beltway 8 to get to I10 (10-15 mins) or to get to 45 or 59 (other direction from 10). also about half an hour from the big intercontinental airport, which is great not having to make a huge commute. its also got a range of prices/sizes for houses, so theres an older (not old) part thatll be a little cheaper than the newer part which also has bigger houses. its got a lot of good points no matter what stage you are at in life.
All of these are good answers, especially about shortening your commute. But I have a cautionary note:
A lot of the “cultural” stuff disappears as you go further away from the city, especially past the Beltway. There, you will find traditional “hometown” stuff like little league and cookie cutter neighborhoods and low crime and good public schools, but no museums, little political diversity, none of the fantastic restaurants you will find inside the loop, less diversity.
Good public and private schools can definitely be found closer in, even a few fanstastic public schools and world-class private schools.
Rice University / The Medical center / Memorial / West University / Meyerland are all great places to live with kids, and offer varying costs of living.
If you don’t have kids and want to have a life, stick to the city: Rice / Theater District / Montrose / Heights / Galleria
If we were younger, we’d be in the Rice Village area, or near the Medical Center, or in Seabrook. Have you checked the Houston Info Architecture Forum? Great place to check out about neighborhoods.
I live in the Galleria District and I enjoy it. The traffic can be bad, but you get that pretty much anywhere in Houston (and I don’t usually mind it).
It all depends on what you like. Its crazy because each part of Houston is different. I’m Houston born and raised, lived on the southeast side most of my life got older and moved to the southwest side. If you like a more fast paced enviroment, southwest or downtown Houston is the place you want to live. You can find beautiful scenary and peaceful relaxation spots in Pearland, Sugarland, Katy and some other places.
As far as trying to avoid traffic its pointless. But what ever you do and where ever you move, STAYTHEHELLAWAYFROMTHE I-10 FREEWAY. Even though Katy is a nice place to be I couldn’t move there, because the commute involves this freeway.
It depends on what’s important to you. When I was single, I lived in Uptown-Galleria area and it’s great there for single folks. There’s lots to do nearby, trendy restaurants, great shopping, live music, trees, etc. Also it seems traffic in the city is not near as bad as the burbs. Unfortunately, rent is higher and you have to be fairly well off to buy a nice home.
Now I’m married and a homeowner in Katy. Katy is sort of Generica. Everything is very family oriented, and very little is open 24 hours like in Houston, grocery stores don’t seem to cater to the epicurean types (except maybe HEB on South Fry), night life is practically non-existent, most of the restaurants are chain restaurants, traffic is terrible—particularly Fry Rd. If you have to drive into town to work I’d recommend taking Metro from the Park and Ride—the buses are very nice and run every 15 minutes. North of I-10, trees in the new subdivisions are practically non-existent. However, you CAN buy a nice home for under $150,000 and if you enjoy shopping at Wal-Mart, Kohls, Home Depot, Mills Malls, etc, you will be in heaven (but watch out for the “killer” soccer moms). :-) I will say that the offerings at nearby Bear Creek (Hwy6/Clay area) are more interesting. So, if you need to live near Katy, I’d recommend the Bear Creek area—real estate is cheap and the neighborhoods are established, lots of ethnic restaurants, stores, etc. Schools are still Katy ISD if that’s important to you. Of course traffic on Hwy 6 is a “bear” too.
Personally, I’d prefer to live in town (or in the Texas Hill Country), but right now Katy is home. Don’t get me wrong, it’s OK here and I’m happy for the most part, but it wouldn’t be my first choice.
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