Thinking about moving to Houston? As one of the top cities in Texas, Houston is a great place to call home. Families, young professionals, and retirees are all drawn to this Texas city for its urban lifestyle and top employment opportunities—but just like any city, there are always drawbacks to consider. Here are 15 pros and cons of living in Houston.

Pros of Living in Houston

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This Southeast Texas city offers residents several perks, including affordable homes, plenty of fun and exciting things to do, and a wide range of excellent dining options. Here are some of the best things about Bayou City!

Pro: Affordable Texas Living

Though it’s the fourth largest city in the U.S. by population, Houston’s cost of living is only 1% higher than the U.S. average. This means that, compared to other big U.S. cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas, Space City is a relatively affordable place to settle down. The average price of a house in Houston is also only 1% higher than the national average. And since there is no state income tax in Texas, Houston residents can see their money go further!

Pro: Strong Job Market

With a forecast to add 57,000 new jobs in 2024 and an unemployment rate of 4.4%, there are plenty of opportunities to grow your career in Houston’s strong job market. Known as a place for startups and entrepreneurs, this city continues to make its mark as a growing tech hub. You can also find diverse job opportunities in Houston in industries like aerospace, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing. Nicknamed the “Energy Capital of the World,” H-Town is home to employers like Shell, ExxonMobil, and Southwestern Energy. It’s also home to the headquarters of several Fortune 500 companies, including NRG Energy, Inc., Kinder Morgan, Sysco, and several others.

Pro: High-Quality Colleges

Students seeking higher education can attend one of the many excellent colleges and universities in Houston! Explore degrees in physics, accounting, or architecture at the University of Houston, just one of the schools in the University of Houston System. Study computer science, sports medicine and exercise physiology, or anthropology at Rice University, one of the best universities in the nation! Check out programs like animation, business administration, or chemistry at Houston Christian University. Pursue an undergraduate degree in education or engineering, or get a master’s in science at the 150-acre Texas Southern University. Begin a career in healthcare by enrolling in the School of Dentistry, the Cizik School of Nursing, or McGovern Medical School, all at UTHealth Houston. Or find programs in chemical engineering, diplomacy and strategic affairs, or global cybersecurity from the University of St. Thomas.

Pro: The Houston Rodeo

Spanning three weeks, the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo offers your fix of bull riding, contests, and more. Spend the day at the Livestock Show, one of the largest and most esteemed livestock exhibits in the nation. Watch the little ones participate in Mutton Bustin’—a fan favorite—and attend one of the many Horse Shows like the Paint Horse Show or the Quarter Horse Show. Enjoy carnival food favorites like funnel cake and kettle corn, ride the carousel, and play games to win prizes at the Carnival. Try one of 75 award-winning wines while listening to live music from rising Texas performers at the Champion Wine Garden, or take the whole family to learn about agriculture at AGVENTURE. And each night, enjoy performances by music legends such as 50 Cent, the Jonas Brothers, Brad Paisley, and Eric Church.

Pro: Lots of Green Space

Though it’s an urban area, outdoor enthusiasts will find a number of outdoor attractions and activities in the City of Houston! Walk along five miles of trails, admire the natural beauty of the gardens and ponds, or purchase perennial and annual wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees during the Plant Sales at Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. Play with your furry friend, have a picnic, or bike the trails at 160-acre Buffalo Bayou Park. Take the kids for a ride on the Hermann Park Railroad, grab a bite to eat at Ginger Kale, and walk through the McGovern Centennial Gardens at Hermann Park. Watch the kids run through the Mistree, have fun roller skating at The Rink, or get your heart pumping with Fitness in the Park at Discovery Green, located in Downtown Houston. Take a walk and admire the public art at Sam Houston Park. Or spend the day fishing, horseback riding, hiking, and more at nearby Brazos Bend State Park.

Pro: The Houston Museum District

Spread over four walkable zones, spend the day visiting 20 museums in the Houston Museum District! Explore history, art, and more across several cultural backgrounds at the Czech Center Museum Houston, the Houston Museum of African American Culture, and Asia Society Texas. Listen to testimonies from Holocaust survivors who became Houston residents and learn about human rights at Holocaust Museum Houston. Attend the First Fridays Reading Series, sign up for a writers workshop, or take part in The Inprint Book Club at Inprint. See photographs from world-renowned photographers or sign up for courses and workshops at the Houston Center for Photography. Admire collections like American Painting & Sculpture and European Art, take a class at Glassell School of Art, or attend events at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH). See Contemporary and Modern art pieces on display and find events and programs for all ages at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Look at art collections including Medieval and Byzantine Art and Surrealism, purchase books at the Menil Collection Bookstore, or spend time outside in the Menil Green Spaces at The Menil Collection.

Pro: Vibrant Performing Arts

More than just rodeos and museums, H-Town offers a rich, unique performing arts scene. Support the non-profit organization Performing Arts Houston by attending shows, educational programming, and more. Attend shows and performances at one of the many theaters spread across 17 blocks of Downtown Houston in the Theater District. See touring Broadway shows like Peter Pan, Mama Mia, and Funny Girl at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Listen to the Houston Symphony perform classical music, family-friendly pieces, and more at Jones Hall. See ballet productions like Mayerling and the annual production of The Nutcracker by the Houston Ballet, or attend performances by the Houston Grand Opera at the Wortham Theater Center. Enjoy plays like Jane Eyre and Dial M for Murder, or sign the kids up for camps like Alley Play Makers and Teen Acting: Monologues at Alley Theatre. Get tickets to see touring performers at 713 Music Hall, or gather for outdoor performances at Lynn Wyatt Square.

Pro: Tons of Family Activities in Houston

Spend the day as a family with kid-friendly activities in Houston! Visit the training base for NASA astronauts and the site of mission control with a tram ride to NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), see spacesuits and astronaut apparel at the Spacesuit Collection exhibit, and touch a Mars rock in the Mission Mars exhibit at Space Center Houston. Watch the kids paint their own pottery at The Mad Potter. Learn about wildlife at the Galapagos Islands exhibit, see gorillas and red river hogs at the African Forest, and sign the kids up for Camp Zoofari at the Houston Zoo. Feed a stingray, talk to a macaw, and hold a python at the Houston Interactive Aquarium & Animal Preserve. Spend a day in Houston’s Museum District exploring interactive exhibits like the Matter Factory, Invention Connection, and SECRET Spy Game at the Children’s Museum of Houston. Learn about the major organs of the human body, pollutants, and more at The Health Museum. Or see butterflies up close and experience their habitat in the Cockrell Butterfly Center and check out replicas of dinosaurs in the Morian Hall of Paleontology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Pro: Fun Festivals & Events

Not only are there fun attractions to keep Houston residents busy, but there are also exciting festivals and events throughout the year! Listen to jazz performances from incredible musicians while sipping craft cocktails at the Sugar Land Jazz Festival. Run a full or half marathon and support the Run for Reason program at the annual Chevron Houston Marathon. If you’re a barbecue lover, enjoy dishes from over 30 BBQ joints and local pitmasters at the Houston Barbecue Festival. Partake in the Cosplay Contest, play tabletop games, and more at the annual Comicpalooza. Celebrate July 4th with live entertainment and a musically choreographed fireworks show at Freedom Over Texas. And every August through September, support the Houston Food Bank by sampling food from a wide variety of top Houston restaurants during Houston Restaurant Weeks.

Pro: Houston Sports Teams

One of the great things about Houston is the professional sports scene! Take the family out for America’s pastime and watch the Houston Astros (MLB) hit a home run at Minute Maid Park. Cheer on the Houston Rockets (NBA) as they shoot three-pointers at the Toyota Center. If you’re a Houston soccer fan, get tickets to Houston Dynamo FC (MLS) and Houston Dash (NWSL) matches at Shell Energy Stadium. Support Houston’s rugby team, the Houston SaberCats (MLR), as they score points at SaberCats Stadium. Or root for the Houston Texans (NFL) as they run the field and score touchdowns at NRG Stadium.

Pro: Great Food Scene

Known for its diverse food scene, Houston is one of the top food cities in the nation! For some of the best brunch in Houston, order the Watermelon Salad, Boudin Benedict, or Croissant French Toast from Lucille’s. Chow down on Not My Momma’s Biscuits!, the Fried Catfish & Fried Shrimp Combo, or an H-Town Hot Sandwich paired with Creamed Corn and Collard Greens from Gatlin’s Fins & Feathers. Looking for Vietnamese food in Houston? Dig in to the Lucky Whole Snapper, Vietnamese Chicken Curry, or Mom’s Eggrolls at The Blind Goat from MasterChef Winner, Christine Ha. Enjoy BBQ favorites like the Smoked Brisket Burger or The Wrangler Grazing Board while listening to live music at J-Bar-M Barbecue. Try the Hearth Roasted Octopus, Pan Roasted Mahi, or Hushpuppies while saving room for a piece of Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake from State of Grace. And for a modern take on Mexican favorites, order the Pescado En Mole Amarillo, Enchiladas, or Tacos Dorados De Papa with a Hugo Rita from Hugo’s.

Cons of Living in Houston

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Even though there are plenty of pros to living in Houston, there are still some disadvantages to think about. Here are the cons of moving to Houston.

Con: High Crime Rate

Like many major cities in the U.S., Houston faces high levels of crime. In fact, the crime rate is 146% higher than the national average. That said, it’s important to keep in mind that this statistic stacks Houston against towns and cities that are significantly smaller. Areas with large populations tend to have more crime than areas that aren’t as densely populated—and Houston is not only one of the largest cities in Texas, but one of the largest in the country. As a point of reference, the nearby (and smaller) city of San Antonio has a crime rate that is 156% higher than the national average and 10% higher than Houston. Additionally, to help reduce crime and keep Houston residents safe, the City of Houston has launched many campaigns like One Safe Houston, various youth outreach programs, and Keep Houston SAFE.

Con: Hot Houston Weather & Hurricane Season

If you’re going to live in Houston, you need to prepare for a hot, humid summer season. Located in Southeast Texas, Houston’s average temperature during the summer is in the 90s, with humidity levels reaching 98%. Because of its location in the Galveston Bay Area, Houston also experiences hurricane season, which can extend from mid-summer to late fall. Residents should prepare for hurricane season by taking the time to gather necessary supplies and familiarizing themselves with evacuation routes. And when it comes to combatting the heat, you don’t have to let high summer temperatures keep you indoors! Instead, watch the kids run through one of the city’s many spraygrounds or take a day trip to soak up the sun at one the best beaches near Houston, like Sylvan Beach Park, Stewart Beach, or Surfside Beach.

Con: One of the Buggiest Cities

Due to its hot, humid summers, the City of Houston ranks among the cities with the most bugs. With summer temperatures in the 90s, early onset of June bugs and other pests like ants, spiders, and mosquitoes are inevitable. To help prevent finding pests and bugs in your Houston home, make sure to seal off any cracks, don’t let standing water accumulate, and install screen windows and doors if you don’t already have them. You can also use non-toxic pesticides or make your own DIY pesticide with vinegar. If you’ve exhausted all of your DIY pest control options, consider hiring a Houston pest control company.

Con: Bad Traffic

Traffic in Houston is known to be bad due to multiple factors, such as rapid growth, road construction, and vast suburban areas. Even though Houston does have public transportation like the METRORail, METRORapid, and local buses, most of these options are concentrated around Downtown Houston, so those traveling from the suburbs typically have to rely on their own vehicles. Roadways are often very busy, as residents either have to pay tolls or use toll-free roadways. That said, those who frequently need to drive on toll roads can use programs like EZ TAG to help save money. If your car breaks down due to mechanical failure, you can take advantage of Tow and Go, a government-funded program that works to help keep roadways clear so traffic can keep moving. The city is also actively working on a Transportation Improvement Program to clean up H-Town’s highways and transit options.


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