City Guide / Houston

Is Houston, Texas, a nice place to live? Here are 12 pros & cons to consider

By Landing | May 29, 2024
A woman walking her dog on the Buffalo Bayou trails in Houston, Texas

Considering a move to the Greater Houston area? You’ve come to the right place. Here, you can learn about the pros and cons of living in Houston, Texas.

Everything is bigger in Texas—including population growth. In 2023, nearly half a million new residents began to call the Lone Star State home, which was the largest population spike in the U.S. that year.

Of that crowd, 140,000 of them headed to Houston. That’s the equivalent of one new resident arriving every 4 minutes. But what about living in Houston, Texas, attracts people in droves? The family-friendly attitude, infamous Tex-Mex, and a booming economy are just a few reasons.

Like any big city experiencing quick growth, stressed infrastructure means a move to Houston might not be everybody’s favorite rodeo. If you’re considering a move to the Gulf Coast metropolis, here are all the pros and cons of living in Houston.

6 Pros of Living in Houston, TX

What is Houston, Texas, like? Picture this: You spend the afternoon kayaking on the bayou before hitting an outdoor concert with your friends and a cooler full of local brews and freshly made burritos. Those are three good reasons to move to Houston. Here are six more:

1. Lower Cost of Living

The cost of living in Houston is 2% higher than the state average but still 6% lower than the national average. Compared to other big cities across the nation, you can expect to save money on housing, healthcare, and transport. And if you’re looking for city life on a budget, Houston is considerably cheaper than its neighbors, Austin and Dallas.

Plus, one good thing about Houston and its year-round warm weather is an abundance of free outdoor activities. You can picnic at Buffalo Bayou Park, spend a day at the beach on Galveston Island, or catch a free show at the Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park. And when the summer weather gets intense, dip into the Menil Collection or Sawyer Yards.

2. A Diverse Metropolis

Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. While it’s historically a Black and Hispanic city, you’ll find communities of people from all over Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. As you explore the Bayou City, you’ll see the diversity in its vibrant neighborhoods take form in its unique fusion restaurants and museums dedicated to Black arts, to name a few.

Multicultural cities have a long list of benefits. Diversity means exposure to new ideas and cultures, which can deepen empathy and expand your worldview. Likewise, it makes Houston a good place to live for young professionals. Living in a diverse city means you’re more likely to find workplaces that are inclusive and open-minded.

3. Lots of Sports to Watch

Houson is the place to live for sports fans. For many, tailgating year-round for your favorite teams is a lifestyle. And if you’re new to the city, cozying up with fellow sports fans is a great way to make friends.

Houston is represented by the three most popular sports—the NFL’s Texans, the MLB’s Astros, and the NBA’s Rockets—and four Division 1 collegiate teams. Plus, rodeo fans can get their fill at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

The good weather also keeps Houstonians active. Check out the Houston Sports & Social Club to join a local league like volleyball, softball, or dodgeball.

4. Ample Arts and Recreation

Lots of people visit Houston to experience the Johnson Space Center (NASA’s headquarters). After all, it is the Space City. But once you cross that off your bucket list, there’s an abundance of recreational activities to keep you entertained.

Start your day dropping in for a fitness class at Memorial Park Conservancy, one of the world’s biggest green spaces. Then, head over to nearby Montrose, Houston’s trendy gay neighborhood, for a caffeine fix and shopping. In the evening, you can explore natural science, fine arts, and Black history in the Museum District and top it off with a live country music performance. Whatever you choose to explore, the Houston, Texas, lifestyle offers something for everyone.

5. A Food Haven

One of the benefits of living in Houston is that you can experience the world’s cuisines without leaving Harris County. In the Bayou City, you’ll find award-winning chefs, restaurants, and casual food trucks dotted around the city.

There are premium barbecue joints, mouth-watering authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants, and plenty of steak houses. There are also premium oyster bars, Chinese banquet halls, and creative fusions (like Indian-Portuguese and Viet-Cajun). Trust us. We could go on and on. And if you’re craving it, you’ll find it.

6. Substantial Professional Opportunities

Lots of people have to choose a new home for business or pleasure. Luckily, Houston has them both. Despite being the “Energy Capital of the World,” the local job scene is much more than oil, gas, and energy corporations.

Some analysts hypothesize that Houston will add roughly 57,600 new jobs throughout 2024. Although that’s half of the previous year, it’s still a good job market for professionals in the energy, manufacturing, and healthcare markets. And there’s good news for entrepreneurs. A 2024 study by The Credit Review ranked Houston among the 25 best places to start a small business.

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6 Cons of Life in Houston

You might have to deal with a lot of growing pains as the city’s rapid growth spreads its infrastructure thin. If you really want to know what living in Houston is like, here are six downsides to consider:

1. Lack of Public Transportation

Houston is a car city. If you need to get from one side to another, expect to spend a lot of time in your vehicle navigating a congested freeway system. For non-car owners, the Park and Ride shuttles people in from the suburbs to switch to the MetroRail, which serves downtown Houston.

2. Traffic

It’s worth repeating: Houston is a city built for cars. Although the MetroRail and Park and Ride are available for folks without a car, most Houston residents own a set of wheels. And like many other sprawling American cities, you should expect a lot of time stuck in traffic. According to TomTom Traffic, a 6-mile commute means 130 hours in the car annually, and half of that is in bumper-to-bumper traffic. That’s not just lost time. It also means more money spent on fuel and car maintenance and a large carbon footprint.

But Houston can be walkable if you choose your neighborhood wisely. Before signing a lease on a new home, carefully consider amenities, lifestyle choices, and your proximity to work to avoid long car trips. Consider remote or hybrid work opportunities to avoid peak rush hours entirely.

3. Crime Rate is Rather High

One of the pros and cons of moving to Houston is the crime rate. Houston is dangerous compared to other large metropolitan cities. It outpaces New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago in both violent and property crimes. But local law enforcement consistently makes large strides in improving safety after crime peaked during the pandemic. In 2023, crime fell. There are notable decreases in violent crimes, robbery, and theft.

Whether Houston is safe or not changes from neighborhood to neighborhood. Although there are exceptions, the southside tends to be less safe, so do some research before choosing a place.

4. Heat and Humidity

Houston’s average annual humidity is 75%. The muggy climate can be stifling for people who aren’t used to it, especially if you come from a dry climate. You can also expect to deal with masses of mosquitos—and big ones at that! Be sure to stock up on bug spray and citronella candles.

For many people, the hot and humid summers are a worthwhile tradeoff for Houston’s pleasant winter weather. The highs in December through February don’t typically stay above the low 60s.

5. Tropical Storms

Hurricanes, cyclones, and other tropical storms come with living along the Gulf Coast. Hurricane season typically lasts from June through November. If you’re planning on living in the metro area, Harris County authorities strongly recommend flood insurance.

Overall, H-Town weather is unpredictable. In the spring, summer, and fall, it’s not uncommon to have a pleasantly warm, clear day immediately followed by a thundering storm and a torrential downpour. Sometimes, sunny skies and heavy rainfall occur simultaneously.

6. High Sales Tax in Texas

You’ll have to pay 8.25% in tax on most purchases—one of the higher sales tax rates in the country. However, if you’re a resident, you’ll save on state income tax.

Living in Houston, TX, with Landing

Now that you know all the pros and cons of Houston, it’s time to make your move. Landing is here to help you move to this Texas town.

Whether your perfect apartment means plenty of amenities or proximity to great BBQ joints, Landing has fully-furnished apartments with flexible leasing options in Houston. You pack the cowboy boots and we’ll lead you to the trough.