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Going to Houston next week, any suggestions?

Old 08-15-05, 09:12 PM
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Going to Houston next week, any suggestions?

Will be going to Houston for the first time to visit some friends and check out houses (contemplating relocating there). Any suggestions on what places to check out, tourist spots to visit, restaurants to try, etc.

We will be visiting housing developments. Heard houses there are alot cheaper than in the Northeast. Any recommendations with regards to good areas to live in? Also good reputable developers? Have 2 kids so good schools are up there in importance aside from good neighborhood, non-flood zone, etc.

As always, I appreciate all the feedback. Thanks!

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Old 08-15-05, 09:24 PM
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Well Houston is not my favorite place (maybe cause I worked there way to much) so I will only offer a few general items,

Houston is HUGE (even for Texas) and lots of traffic. You will want to get one of those passes for the tollroad (loope)
Housing in general is very cheap in Houston, still a lot of space, typically 1 story ranch homes, tho 2-story is not uncommon.
You will want to look both North and South of Downtown, both have nice areas
Houston is so big, they pretty much have everything. Sports, Arts, resturants (every chain and tons of "family" owned), bars, entertainment, parks, museums, etc, etc.
The one thing I have no idea about is Mass Transit. But this is Texas, we really don't believe in it, so you know don't worry about it.
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Old 08-15-05, 09:31 PM
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I've lived all over the country, and Houston (by far) has the least to do. Luckily, my friends are pretty resourceful. The Astros games are fun, though -- nice stadium and it feels very small.

Other problems with Houston: road construction (but, come on, where is that not a problem?), terrible air quality (most days you can feel the air), no spring or fall (100 degrees to 40 degrees over night), ugly city (of course, the chemical industry has treated me well, so I shouldn't complain), it's far from other cities, no good colleges, the world's nastiest beach, Safe Clear (if you stop on the interstate or get a flat, they are required by law to tow your car within minutes), everyone has a truck that gets less than 15 mpg, no mass transit.

Positives: cheap gas, it's in Texas, plenty of job opportunities, cheap houses, good schools in the suburbs (Katy, the Woodlands, Clear Lake), nice lake.
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Old 08-15-05, 09:58 PM
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I went to Houston a few weeks ago. I would recommend the Houston Museum of Natural Science. They have a Lord of the Rings Exhibit there until the end of the month. We also went to Johnson Space Center. They have good stuff there for both kids and adults. The aquarium downtown was decent but, I was expecting it to be a little better. Our kids had a blast at the Children's Museum of Houston. We seemed to notice more homeless people there than here in Dallas/Ft. Worth. Overall we had a good time.
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Old 08-15-05, 10:35 PM
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Old 08-15-05, 10:54 PM
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I just got back from a 3 month internship in Houston. It's no Austin, but the job opportunities there are great. I find it pretty comparable to the Dallas-Ft Worth area. It lacks zoning, so there will be really nice places right next to really crappy places.

The Houston party scene is pretty decent - check out Midtown (on Gray St just west of downtown) or Rice Village (Kirby and University) if you want to go drinksin. Try New York Pizza if you're in Midtown. Our favorite mexican restaurant we found was Los Cucos...I think there are several of them.

If you want to be near the young scene, look into townhomes just west and north of downtown. A place like the Heights might be good for an affordable house inside the loop. Another decent place inside the loop is Bellaire to the southwest.

If you want to commute, Sugar Land was just rated as one of the best places to live in the U.S. I would look for a place near a bus park and ride.

For families, try an Astros game or go see an event (plays, houston symphony) at the Miller Outdoor Theater which is located in Hermann Park by Rice.
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Old 08-15-05, 11:41 PM
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More info

I did hear about Sugarland. WIll definitely check that out. How are the house prices in that area? Looking to buy a new single detached house (4br,3b,2cg).

Also heard good things about Katy. Will actually be staying there for a day or two.

Any new developments in Bellaire? From what I've heard, its mostly old but pricey houses.

How about Pearland? Shadowcreek Ranch? Are they any good?

We're a family of four, so nightlife is not a factor. Kid-friendly is a plus though. And of course, jobs, which I heard is ok in Houston.
We're moving from NJ. Am fed up with the extreme temperatures. Hate the o pawinter and the hot summer. At least in Houston, only have to deal with one extreme. How hot does it get anyway? during the summer? during the rest of the year?

One big plus is if we sell our home here in Jersey, with the hot real estate market, we'll probably gonna have enough to pay for a modest new home in Houston. I heard the salary is not as good as in the tri-state, but no state tax kinda offsets that somewhat. As long as the job market is pretty good, we'll hopefully find work.

Thanks again and keep the suggestions coming!

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Old 08-16-05, 08:08 AM
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I would recommend moving as close to your job as you can, but since you don't have that lined up yet that won't help you. Be prepared that a job on the other side of town will probably take you 1.5 to 2 hours each way. I don't know a ton about the schools, but my brother lives in Katy and has a nice house for much less than mine and the schools are good. You can get the school rankings according to the results of the TAKS test if you search the internet.

In addition to the other things mentioned, there is an amusement park, Astroworld as well as the port of Kemah where there is a restaurant/entertainment area. There is theatre and all the other things you would expect in one of the largest cities in the country.

It is very hot in summer, but you get seabreeze showers which cool you off for 2 minutes and then make it even more humid. It will feel great in the winter when all your Jersey friends are shoveling out of the snow though. Parts of the town are very ugly and industrial, but I think you can find that anywhere.

Good luck...
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Old 08-16-05, 08:14 AM
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One thing to remember about Katy: It is a rapid-growth so if you live there and work in town, you are in for a bitch of a commute. Sugarland would probably be a better option.
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Old 08-16-05, 08:34 AM
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There are some very nice Art Museums in Houston. And, since there is no zoning in most of the city, you can probably find a house near your job. The Heights was nice when I lived there.

Just don't drink the water.
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Old 08-16-05, 08:42 AM
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Stay way from the Southwest side of town.
Katy has been growing rapidly for the past few years. To me, it is kind of crowded.
In the City of Bellaire, yes the homes are old and pricey but they have there own "strict" law enforcement.

Since you don't like "extreme" temperatures, do you like extreme Humidity?
I have been here about 90% of my life and I am still not use to the heat/humidity.

I haven't been in Sugarland in ages (in the late 80's), but probably be careful on location in Rosenburg and maybe Richmond. Although, there are good areas in Richmond.

There is no State Tax...yet.....There may be one soon..who knows...The Texas Legislature can't decide how they are going to reform the Education System. Right now they have talked about $1 per pack for cigs, I believe, 1% state sales tax and something else.... Apparently the lottery, isn't doing enough!
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Old 08-16-05, 09:53 AM
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If you're working downtown, I would recommend looking at 288 South & Beltway 8 (Towards Cullen). Lot's of new home going up (Lennar, NuHome, Royce, etcs)

We were looking to move in the Katy area (for the cheap housing), but 45+ mile (round trip) to/from work is fucking crazy.

The commute from Sugarland is about the same as Katy.... just less traffic.

Last edited by candyrocket786; 08-16-05 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 08-16-05, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by edstein
I went to Houston a few weeks ago. I would recommend the Houston Museum of Natural Science. They have a Lord of the Rings Exhibit there until the end of the month.
I personally thought the LOTR exhibit was the biggest ripoff in the History of the HMNS. $17 for one ticket just to take a 15-20min tour
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Old 08-16-05, 10:04 AM
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Go see the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir
Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (BAPS)
1150 Brand Lane,
Stafford, TX 77477. USA
Tel: (1-281) 499 7974
Fax: (1-281) 261 7041



And go see the IMAX movie "Mystic India".
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Old 08-16-05, 10:17 AM
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Suggestions:
* Don't go in August
* Bring your "Off with DEET"
* Prepare for traffic
* Prepare to be swarmed by tow trucks if you get a flat



Any reason you are picking Houston as your choice from the Northeast? It's on my pretty short list of places I wouldn't care to live. Plenty other places around here with comparable property values. Is it the type of work you will be seeking is prevalent there?
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Old 08-16-05, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by bhk
Go see the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir
Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (BAPS)
1150 Brand Lane,
Stafford, TX 77477. USA
Tel: (1-281) 499 7974
Fax: (1-281) 261 7041



And go see the IMAX movie "Mystic India".
Hmm... I've never even heard of this movie. I'll have to see if it's playing at other IMAX's.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:56 AM
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I don't know what taxes are like in NJ (high I'm sure), but I lived in Texas most of my life (no state income tax) and then moved to Arizona for 5 years who had a state income tax, and have recently moved back to Texas. I would say overall I pay more in Texas. In addition to high sales tax (8.25 in Dallas where I'm at) you have outrageous property taxes. And while not a tax, home insurance is by far the highest in the county. I went from paying under $500 per year to nearly $2,500 per year for roughly the same coverage.

So don't hang your hat on no state income tax, doubt you will really see any difference in your pocket.

Someone posted there is nothing to do in Houston??? Hey I dislike Houston as much as anyone, but you can't say there is nothing to do in Houston. It is one of the largest cities in the US (a quick Google shows it's population is 4th with over 2 mil). Houston like any other top 10 city literally has anything you can want. It will not be a problem finding something to do in Houston.
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Old 08-16-05, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Sdallnct

Someone posted there is nothing to do in Houston??? Hey I dislike Houston as much as anyone, but you can't say there is nothing to do in Houston. It is one of the largest cities in the US (a quick Google shows it's population is 4th with over 2 mil). Houston like any other top 10 city literally has anything you can want. It will not be a problem finding something to do in Houston.
Well.. there's always something to do in Houston....it's just a bitch to get there.
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Old 08-16-05, 11:16 AM
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stay in the a/c, frigging hot and humid
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Old 08-16-05, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by bigsoos
stay in the a/c, frigging hot and humid
Not that Hot (well I'm use to Dallas and Phoenix), but it is damm humid! On par with Florida.
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Old 08-16-05, 12:12 PM
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Old 08-16-05, 04:11 PM
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wonderful housing in The Woodlands
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Old 08-16-05, 04:16 PM
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That Mystic India movie isn't playing anywhere near Chicago
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Old 08-16-05, 08:18 PM
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Wow, there's some bad advice on here.

1) Working across down does not take 2 hours to commute. You can get all the way to Victoria from downtown in two hours, including traffic. I work and live on opposite sides of the city, and it takes 30-40 minutes with traffic.

2) The Southwest is a good place to live. I would recommend staying either South (Clear lake, sugar land, friendswood, etc) or west (Katy, woodlands). The east side of the city is very industrialized and ugly. There are also several sections of the east side that have been linked to increased instances of cancer (though I have not looked at the research to validate those claims). Those areas mentioned above also have the best schools districts. The Heights is not a good place to live. Since it's in the loop, it's very over priced for new construction (2Br townhomes in the 300s), and the neighborhoods are socioeconomically mixed, inherently leading to a high crime rate (many of the houses there are built like vaults with no windows on the bottom floor).

3) Housing prices and taxes depend heavily on where you live. Taxes and insurance are much higher in Harris County (Houston) than in Galveston County or Brazoria County. If you want to live inside the loop (near downtown), a 4Br home will run in the $400s in a decent neighborhood. If you move to Clearlake, that same house drops to $200.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:20 PM
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I agree with Matta about the bad advice - Houston is built for traffic and you can get around the city even in rush hour. The only area I found really unacceptable was I-10 from downtown to Katy. To me, that area is HOV or nothing. However, they are doing a massive expansion of I-10. Lots of my co-workers do the park and ride (buses go fast in the HOV) from places like Katy and even north up to Kingwood.

I still reccomend the Heights as a place to look if you want to live in the loop. They are building a lot of actual houses there, and pretty nice ones. They can be had for a little over $300K. That's not too bad inside the loop. Like Matta said, there are literal shacks nearby, but that is the case in a lot of Houston.

The trend in Bellaire is to buy an old, not great house, knock it down and build a nice house on the property. We're talking $200K for the land and then building a $300k-$900k home on it.

My wife is a teacher so we've been asking about schools. That's why I reccomend Bellaire and Suger Land. The area just west of Sugar Land has great schools, too (can't remember the name!).

Honestly, I thought I wouldn't like Houston. It's a nice city with friendly people, good eats and definately anything you'd want to do. I didn't find the heat to be any worse than Austin or Dallas. My conclusion is that Houston has a bad rap.
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