- Download our Moving to Houston Guide (PDF)
People planning to move to Houston often have all sorts of questions, particularly about schools and the best areas to live. Read on for the most frequently asked questions about living in Houston.
What is the weather like in Houston?
Summers in Houston can be intense for new arrivals with temperatures frequently reaching highs of 100°F (40°C). Houston also suffers through a heavy hurricane season from June to November which can lead to flooding. Other than summer, the weather in Houston is quite temperate. Winters are pleasantly mild and snowfall is rare.
What are the best public school districts in Houston?
Houston has several school districts, each with several elementary, middle and high school options. Many locals will insist that only certain districts are acceptable. That said, it is essential to keep in mind that certain schools in reputable districts may have poor performance records, and certain schools in districts with a less than perfect reputation may have exceptional performance records. For this reason, it’s highly advisable for new arrivals to do their research on districts in general, but also take the time to evaluate individual schools.
Is healthcare accessible in Houston?
Houston is known for its excellent healthcare system. Many patients travel to Houston to receive specialist treatments. If a resident feels like they aren't receiving the care they need, they'll have no shortage of second opinions. Unfortunately, like in the rest of the USA, healthcare can be exorbitantly expensive. New arrivals are advised to get medical insurance as soon as they arrive in the country.
Can I rely on public transport while in Houston?
Sadly, one of the biggest drawbacks of life in Houston is the distinct lack of accessible public transport. Though the city does have a bus system and the METRORail, neither of these services the city effectively. This is due to the city being so large and spread out. Taxis and ride-hailing apps like Uber are popular in the city, however.
Many residents end up renting or buying their own car, as driving is the easiest way of navigating the city. New arrivals should try to avoid driving in rush hour though, as the city is notorious for its heavy traffic.
What is the cost of living in Houston?
The cost of living in NYC, LA and Chicago are significantly higher than living in Houston. The primary reason the cost of living in Houston is lower is that accommodation prices in the city are affordable. Obviously, some options will be cheaper or pricier than others depending on the level of luxury and the size of the space one will be renting, but the price of accommodation is generally below the national average.
Additionally, petrol is cheap in this Texan energy capital. Food is also priced lower than the national average.
What are the best neighbourhoods to live in?
A difficult question that begs a difficult answer. Different neighbourhoods are 'best' for different people, depending on priorities, the desired proximity to certain places and budget.
For the young, single professional, it might be best to live somewhere in central Houston. Expat families may be more suited to living just outside central Houston in one of the many areas known for high levels of safety and exemplary schools.
What do expats say about life in Houston?
"The Woodlands has the best of both worlds in my opinion. Great restaurants, bars, social atmosphere, people really careful of the quality of food, lots of bike paths and trails, very woodsy so it reminds me of Canada a bit. People seem very happy here and have a great quality of life. Taxes are very low in the Woodlands as well, comparatively speaking.
"The inner city is the cool funky place to live. There are some great public schools in the city if your kids are not going to private. Your money goes further as you go out. Traffic is not fun, so I would look at your commute for sure." Rea more about Janice's expat experience in Houston in her interview.
►See Working in Houston for info on finding a job.
Are you an expat living in Houston?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Houston. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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