Life in Houston.
March 3, 2006 9:28 AM   Subscribe

A dear friend of mine (female, single, Italian, outgoing, mid-30's) has been offered an excellent job in Houston. She has only visited the city twice, for business, and she's wondering if she'll adapt well. More inside.
posted by matteo to Society & Culture (40 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: She speaks flawless English, has lived in London for a few years in the past, she now lives in Milan. She's worried about culture shock for a non-Texan and non-Houstonian, essentially: she'll have the opportunity to travel back to Italy several times a year (part of her job offer) and she'll travel a lot, but she'll be based in Houston for a few years.

She's politically very progressive (but, let's say, diplomatic about her views -- she has a lot of tact), she's just worried she won't fit in Houston and essentially as a non-Texan and non-American will get bored out of her mind when she's not working. She's a reader, loves to go out, and as I said she's very outgoing.

Any ideas?
posted by matteo at 9:33 AM on March 3, 2006

Response by poster: (I have visited Houston only once, so I can't really help her)
posted by matteo at 9:33 AM on March 3, 2006

Response by poster: she also lived in Barcelona for 1 year.

posted by matteo at 9:36 AM on March 3, 2006

Houston sucks for two reasons: it's ugly and the weather is horrible.

That said, it's like other big southern cities: there are cool things to do if you look for them. There's a liberal area in Houston called the Montrose District that is pretty interesting. She'll have to work to find people/places that are cool, but they're definitely out there. As far as being a foreigner, it doesn't seem like she's looking to make buddies with Joe Bob Rancher, so I think she'll be just fine.
posted by youcancallmeal at 9:42 AM on March 3, 2006

Houston is a big enough city that she should be able to find a niche. There's no question that it'll take some adjusting for her, and not just because of the political and cultural climate. The fact that it just sprawls all over the place, with little of it being walkable and little/no sense of neighborhoods, will force her to find new ways to just get through the day.

If she can deal with the day-to-day stuff, she can look at the rest of it as an opportunity for some informal anthropological study. And there are things to enjoy about Houston, though I don't know if there's enough to warrant actually living there.

Disclaimer: I'm a non-Texan living in Austin. I don't think I'd live anywhere else in the state, and I really dislike Houston.
posted by adamrice at 9:46 AM on March 3, 2006

I moved to Houston from Austin a little over a year ago, and love it here. It's more culturally diverse than Austin, and I find that there's a lot less of the "if you're not from Texas, you aint shit" attitude here. People in general seem friendlier too.

I find the weather nicer than Austin (we actually get rain, for one thing). Most of the people I've seen complain about Houston gripe about the traffic - but if you pick where you live carefully, that's not an issue. I'm 2.4 miles from work (straight down Westheimer) and it takes me 10 minutes to get to the office and home in the evenings.
posted by mrbill at 9:56 AM on March 3, 2006

I'm also in Austin....
Houston is my second favorite Texas city. If I stay around the Rice/Montrose area I like it; when I venture into the sprawl I hate it.

Houston seems to support the arts, especially visual art and theatre/opera, more than other Texas cities. It has the best museums in Texas.

I have met some wonderful, creative, generous, warm people in Houston. Your friend will have no problem meeting great people there.
posted by zonkout at 10:01 AM on March 3, 2006

I'm sorry to say but Houston will be quite a change.

1. Trucks, cowboy hats, BIGGER everything (parking spaces, billboards, assholes)
2. It is an experiment in complete chaotic sprawl. There are no zoning laws in Houston, generally speaking. It just keeps going and going as the city vanishes into indutrial wastelands that circle the city.
3. Decent shopping district. Big mall, boutique stores.
4. Chinatown is pretty nice. It sprawls like the rest of the city, way toward the West, it's like 20 strip mall/plazas filled with nothing but noodles, tasty soups, and chinese banks.. I recommend Tan Tan for late night eating, which is possibly Vietnamese.
5. The Rothko Chapel is in Houston, which is ok. Not exactly Milan.
6. The museums are completes wastes of time. The thing to keep in mind about Houston is it is Oiltown, Earth. When you want an oil tanker, you go to Houston. This sets the tone for the entire city. So the "Natural History" Museum is really an enormous Oil Industry Museum. "See, dinosaurs make oil!" Ditto with the art museums, cracker jack surrounded by concrete.
7. The TexMex is pretty good.

My personal reaction to Houston is manic hives, but maybe around Rice University you can meet some nice people.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 10:01 AM on March 3, 2006

Oh, and there is no downtown Houston in the cultural sense. It's a lot of chain eaterys and skyscrapers that shut down at night.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 10:03 AM on March 3, 2006

Response by poster: thanks everybody -- also: the Houston Symphony had some kick-ass music directors in the past (Fricsay, Barbirolli, Previn). is it sucky now?
posted by matteo at 10:09 AM on March 3, 2006

Houston is a wonderful city, one of the fastest growing in the US, and surprisingly liberal (just stay out of the suburbs)
posted by petsounds at 10:31 AM on March 3, 2006

Does she drive? Unfortunately you can't get to most places easily if you don't have a car. There's been a push for better mass transit for years but there's also been a lot of opposition, so it's far behind where it could be.

The summers are hot and muggy, May-Sept most times, however every building is air-conditioned. If she exercises outside, she'll need to learn to very careful about her water intake.

She's better off trying to find a place to live close to where she'll be working. The past few years has seen a big increase in development of condos and other living areas in town, which is a major change. If she hates sitting in traffic she should avoid living in outlying suburbs if she's going to be working in town.

If she's outgoing she should haven't any trouble meeting people. It's a large city with a diverse population, it's not all rednecks and good ol' boys.

This is a good board for her to check out regarding places to live and things to do.
posted by beowulf573 at 10:32 AM on March 3, 2006

I definitely concur with the recommendation to live in the Rice / Montrose area, or somewhere nearby. Basically, southwest to west Houston, inside Loop 610. To be clear, Montrose itself is the area around Montrose Blvd north of about Highway 59, but I'd say anywhere north of the area around Rice would be livable for her. I lived in Houston for 7 years until recently, and for someone liberal, that is probably the only place they'll fit in. That's where I lived, at least, and I loved it. I know there are other Italians at Rice (academics, of course; postdocs and such) that I knew when I was there, in about the same age range, and presumably there is some kind of Italian community that she could find. Hermann Park is nearby, and a reasonable amount of art museums and such, lots of restaurants, etc. Houston can change dramatically from one neighborhood to the next, though. There is a Metro rail line that runs from Southwest Houston (Astrodome / Medical Center / Rice / Museum District) to downtown, too, which she might like to live near if she's pro-mass-transit. It's not too easy to get around without a car in Houston, but it can be done. I hope that's helpful.
posted by colibius at 10:37 AM on March 3, 2006

Having spent considerable time in Milan and some time in Houston:

I would give nearly anything to live in Milan. In my humble opinion, Houston sucks -- the weather is miserable and, all due respect to Texans, the culture sucks compared to Italy. As far as America goes, you could do worse than Houston in terms of culture. But compared to Italy, yuck.

Obviously, opinions differ, but for me, I can think of few worse moves than leaving Italy to go to Houston.
posted by JekPorkins at 10:43 AM on March 3, 2006

Speaking as a Euro ex-pat, the US is generally cheaper than Europe, but often it is a cultural desert.


1. Ugly city-scape, huge freeways
2. Anonymous malls, huge parking lots
3. Not walkable at all, a vehicle is required
4. Crap tv, radio and newspapers
5. Lack of a public sphere for political discussion
6. Bad fashions and fashion sense (especially noticeable when coming from Milan, maybe)
7. No local shops (i.e. no delis, bakers, green grocers, butchers local markets)
8. Lack of bookshops/cafes/pavement life
9. Bad coffee
10. Lack of theatre/film/art/fashion/dance etc.

1. Very friendly people
2. Better drivers
3. Money goes further, e.g in terms of rent, bigger houses/apartments/gardens
4. Generally cheap cost of living, e.g. grocery bills
5. Tex-Mex
6. Barbeque
7. Cheap travel to Mexico, Central and South America; cheap flights to Asia (Japan, China, etc.)
posted by carter at 10:47 AM on March 3, 2006

P.S. I've been to Houston - at least, to Rice for a few days - so some of these remarks do apply to Houston a bit.
posted by carter at 10:49 AM on March 3, 2006

P.P.S. - and I can't compare Houston w/ Milan, but I can compare it w/ Rome. In the latter case, it's no contest.
posted by carter at 10:53 AM on March 3, 2006

I live near Houston (in Galveston, specifically) and I am in the city several times a month. My partner and I moved here from San Diego about four years ago.

Whether or not your friend will fit in or feel at home depends as much on her as it does on Houston. If she approaches the community with an open mind, she'll find some warm and wonderful people here and lots of things to do.

One thing many people don't realize is that Houston is very ethnically diverse. The Texas Medical Center -- arguably the largest medical complex in the world -- attracts medical professionals and patients from all over the world to work here or receive care here. There is a big international community, including a sizable presence of Vietnamese, Indians, Pakistanis, Latin Americans, and more. The oil industry also brings in a surprisingly cosmopolitan group: For example, my neighbors work in the industry; he is originally from Alberta, and she is originally from Chile.

Culturally, Houston has some wonderful museums, particularly the Museum of Fine Arts. The Houston Grand Opera is internationally recognized for innovative programming and world premieres of new works -- it's not Italy, it's not New York, but for any place else in the US, it's great. There is also a good amount of live theater at the big venues downtown. Foreign movies and art films play at the Angelika and in River Oaks and even in some of the multiplexes.

It's true that much of the city is ugly, or at least unaesthetic. Parts of it are lovely and tree-lined. In that respect, it's like a Texas version of Los Angeles: Lots of crowded freeways, you have to have a car to get most places, smog days, lots of heavy industry, some truly shabby neighborhoods, and also some beautiful (and wealthy) areas as well.

Politically, don't assume that Houston is monolithically conservative. It runs the gamut from Tom Delay to Sheila Jackson Lee, and everything in-between. Houston has elected lesbians Democrats to citywide offices. Houston has also elected Christian evangelicals. Whatever you're looking for, you will probably find like-minded folk -- but that doesn't mean that your views are in the majority or the minority. It's diverse.

The main thing that I like about Houston is that the people are especially warm-hearted and giving. Just look at the way Houstonians welcomed the Katrina and Rita evacuees. Their were traffic jams for blocks with cars lining up to drop off donations. Millions of dollars were raised locally for hurricane relief, tsunami relief, and many other good causes.

Houston is unpretentious, and it isn't always classy. At times, it's an entertainining tabloid: Number one in strip joints and in boob jobs! Famous for bizarre murders! (Andrea Yates, Clara Harris...) But boring, it's not.
posted by Robert Angelo at 10:56 AM on March 3, 2006

Response by poster: Does she drive?

yes, thankfully.

thanks for the all the advice, this is truly excellent!
posted by matteo at 11:04 AM on March 3, 2006

as someone who has spent a decent amount of time in both milan and houston, i would say that houston would be a big adjustment for her. i always stayed in houston in the Rice University area, which is not considered downtown, but my favorite neighborhood. It was in the early 90s' when i travelled a dozen times with my father who had business there in the span of two years. So it has probably changed quite a bit. anyway:

main problemss:

weather: the weather is brutal...'the swamp' i think they call it with affection. it is so unbelivably humid in teh summer, and very uncomfortable. houston summers really suck, and you cant get by without airconditioning in the car and in the office-home. nothing like milan, which are milder and not as humid. even new jersey seems like arizona after you visit houston.

the diversity: houston is a very diverse city...many many mexicans and blacks, which are more scarce in milan. and there is still such a feeling of class struggle. as one native houstonian put it to me, 'the difference between teh blacks from teh north and the south are that here in the south, the blacks know their place.' okay, i ran across still so many rednecks. lots of poor working people everywhere. i went to a livestock show as well. be prepared for a lot of country flavour: cowboy-boot outlets. pickup trucks. diners.

the food: the food is generally centered on fast food. the alternative is that you have mexican for 'fresh' food. when i would visit in the late 90s', there was like one health food store to get bio stuff in, and you had to drive a bit out of the city. it was not very progressive for fresh produce or biologico.

the landscape: for pleasure, houstonians go down to galvaston bay, which is like a shitty version of mardi gras in LA, but the water is as brown as mud. also it's also saturated with texas A&M college students who are there to study farming, so you can imagine it's not so stimulating.

the culture: the museums are not so great.

the sprawl: houston has so much space for the suburbs and is really spread over a large area. i always had a rental care while there, so it was no problem, but the transportation is much worse than milan. big big suburbs.

the good: great bookstores in the rice university area, great restaurants there, too...and aside from rednecks, people are just so nice and pleasant and inviting...the light is so nice in houston as well. you get a sense of a large-ish city but also retain courtesy and kindness. personally, i prefered houston much much more than dallas, which seemed to me more like portland or seattle...a bit cold. houston has character and lovliness, but a difficult place to live for a european...houston is just so completely adverse to milan...and europe in general. i think there will definitely be culture shock because she will have to get used to simultaneously american culture, southern culture, and then the mix of ethnicities that are not so apparent in italy.
posted by naxosaxur at 11:07 AM on March 3, 2006

Hmm. My memories of Houston are strictly based on a summer program I did at Houston Ballet *mumble* years ago, but:

- humid
- mucho smog
- I vauguely remember some convience store near the Rice dorms we stayed in as being off-limits to us teens as it was "always getting robbed", so I formed the impression of 'high-crime' as well. But that could have just been a way to keep us twerps under control.
- bloody fucking fantastic support for the arts in comparision to Dallas. Ol' Ben Stevenson has moved to Dallas, but he built up an impressive company while he was there & I see that Christopher Bruce & Trey McIntyre are still around as resident choreographers.

So my impression was 'Dallas with more classical culture.'

I'd try to avoid political discussions until you feel out the other person's view, but I tend to do that anywhere I go. ma direi che vale doppia per una progressiva in Texas ;)
posted by romakimmy at 11:16 AM on March 3, 2006

Thinking about it, I would ask her if she likes travelling. If she does, then it will at least be interesting, and possibly fun, especially as an 'excellent' job should allow her to live quite comfortably, at least in material terms. A lot of Europeans and Americans share a common fascination with the folks on the other side of the Atlantic, and if she does have this fascination, then there are worse ways to indulge it than to have a good job and a visa all sorted out when you arrive.

Plus, she's not confined to Houston. Again if it's a good job she should be able to take trips all over the US ($150-$300 per ticket) - e.g. New York, San Fran - check out the National Parks (Grand Canyon! Rocky Mountains! Yellowstone! etc.), take road trips, and do all that other good stuff.

However if she likes her home comforts, and hates travelling, there's a good chance that she'll be miserable, I think.
posted by carter at 11:25 AM on March 3, 2006

Does she drive?

yes, thankfully.

I'm not sure if you all y'all in milan drive a bit calmer than down here, but oh dear...I'm picturing my Italian friends driving in Texas and they're all getting pulled over...

posted by romakimmy at 11:25 AM on March 3, 2006

matteo, have you looked at Kuffner's blog? It's mostly political, but it's centered in Houston and often has entries about city life.

Others have noted the fact that Houston is bereft of zoning laws. I've always found it interesting that zoning there is kind of controlled by the toilet restrictions, which are laws about how many toilets can be installed in certain areas. This has the effect of controlling multi-family buildings, large businesses, etc. I've not heard of any other city like that.
posted by forrest at 11:26 AM on March 3, 2006

I live here and while it isn't perfect, it is better than many places I've lived. The arts scene is better than average. The museums are not world class, I will give you, but we get progressive, new exhibits on a regular basis. There are lots of comedy clubs and the music scene isn't bad, if you like the Texas' brand of music. Yes, it's humid, hot and sticky in the summer, but it never gets very cold. There are beautiful places around Houston and the beach isn't far either. Any ethnicity of food can be found. The cost of living is well below most places of this size. Most of all though, I have found so many friendly people here. Even the rednecks will be polite most of the time. The bottom line is that Houston is what is it is. It's not pretentious and doesn't try to convince you it's anything but an overgrown oil town. Even though I'm pretty liberal, I do find that very refreshing.
posted by renyoj at 11:31 AM on March 3, 2006

also: only starbucks or coffee lounges to take coffee, nowhere for apertif, no macelleria, no panificio, no pescheria, no profumeria...she'll have to get used to eating some processed foods, as fresh food rots so much quicker in the humidity. also, she'll need to do most of her food shopping at the supermarket, and maybe if she catches the odd farmers' market...the food culture in italy is so completely different.

for clothing, instead of boutiques, she'll have to go to the department stores, and this might be too impersonal for her or make her feel alienated. the quality of clothing is generally much cheaper, and ultimately, her innate milanese fashion-sense will die a thousand little deaths living in the south... :)
posted by naxosaxur at 11:32 AM on March 3, 2006

naxosaxur, there are lots of nice boutiques in the Loop. They aren't very cheap, but there is no lack of fashionable clothing if you have the money. Chloe Dao, who is currently on Project Runway, has a nice boutique in Rice village.
posted by renyoj at 11:51 AM on March 3, 2006

(Born and raised in Houston, have been living in Austin for the past 6 years.) I think the first few weeks are going to suck for her. The smog, weather, sprawl, traffic, heat, ugly architecture, lack of a thriving downtown--all the cons that people have mentioned are what she's going to notice first. She'll probably think she's landed in some sort of American urban blight. Buuuut, then she'll go out exploring, and find great pockets of culture, arts, entertainment, good food, shopping, etc. The place is very ethnically diverse, and I think she'll be pleased by the variety of food and culture available. Most people are unpretentious, just good ol' plain folk, though you do run into the occasional snooty rich person. Whenever I go back to Houston, I think "what a huge waste." But it feels much less full of itself than Austin, and I settle into its way of life soon enough.
posted by lychee at 11:54 AM on March 3, 2006

I just want to say that I've lived in both Houston and Austin and for the most part, the posts here have nailed Houston quite accurately, particularly in regard to how it compares with Austin and Dallas. This forum is marvelous.
posted by carterk at 12:08 PM on March 3, 2006

Oh- and the one thing I'd add is that Houston seems to be one of those places that you either love or hate. It's true that I know more of the latter than the former, but the Houstonophiles I know couldn't be more adamant in their defense of the city. Seattle (where I live now) is a much nicer place but doesn't produce the same kind of passionate defenders. Maybe because it doesn't need them?
posted by carterk at 12:12 PM on March 3, 2006

All I'll add is that if the job pays well enough (150-200K+ a year), she'll live like fucking royalty. In Houston, your money goes farther, and if there's one thing Houston can do, it's make people with money feel riiiiiight at home.

And whoever said the museums in Houston weren't much good, you must be stuck on classical art. Because the modern stuff is pretty good. (Menil + Rothko Chapel is a treasure.)
posted by deadfather at 12:28 PM on March 3, 2006

It has the best museums in Texas.

The gift shop at the Kimball in Ft. Worth has more culture than all of Harris county.

And yes, unless you live in hipster Montrose, stay out of Houston.

She's worried about culture shock for a non-Texan and non-Houstonian, essentially: she'll have the opportunity to travel back to Italy several times a year (part of her job offer) and she'll travel a lot, but she'll be based in Houston for a few years.

She's politically very progressive (but, let's say, diplomatic about her views -- she has a lot of tact), she's just worried she won't fit in Houston and essentially as a non-Texan and non-American will get bored out of her mind when she's not working.

If she is worried about it now, then I doubt sitting in I-10/I-45 traffic will make her feel she made the right choice :)
posted by ernie at 2:01 PM on March 3, 2006

If it helps or not, but my father quit a six figure paying job because he didn't want to live in Houston (he'd visited many times).
posted by Atreides at 2:12 PM on March 3, 2006

I grew up in Houston and get a crash course in its culture each time I come back from college. Yes, the traffic is insane. Yes, it sprawls. Yes, it has a lot of smog. No, I probably will not live there after I graduate.
But, as people have said, the Rice/Montrose area is pretty great. And it's a better place to live in than visit for sure.
Some responses to previous posts:
For those who said the food focuses on fast food, that's not necessarily true-- there are tons and tons of restaurants stuck in every corner. As in any city, there is a wide range between gourmet and cheap Chinese, but Houston definitely has the options. We weren't the fattest city in America for nothing-- our restaurants per capita had something to do with it.
For fresh food, there are stores like Central Market that get a wide variety of produce, and there are farmers markets in driving distance. Many more health stores have sprung up, as well.
Montrose also has upscale coffee shops, or at least a wide variety of non-Starbucks coffee shops.
The Symphony still takes in its fair amount of guest artists and is doing well for itself... last year it got some slack for doing the Lord of the Rings symphony, but it did sell out every performance.
Houston is one of those cities where it is easy to sit around and do nothing, but with a little research there are plenty of hidden pockets of culture.
posted by cynthia_rose at 2:35 PM on March 3, 2006

But it feels much less full of itself than Austin

YES. Perfect description. The only things I miss about Austin are a couple of favorite "hole in the wall" food places.

And yes, MeFi is awesome - I got an email a few months back from another MeFite who had just moved into a new house and checked the "People Near You" section - she's literally two blocks away!
posted by mrbill at 3:14 PM on March 3, 2006

Houston is a very large and supremely diverse (culturally, ideologically, and economically) city. It is a mixed bag like all cities. Your friend will be able to be happy here but she'd need to put in work to find groups and events she wants to be a part of. If this doesn't suit her personality, she's probably best staying elsewhere.

Houston is not a city that pushes activities on you. There is not that sense one gets in some cities of a unified ideal or lifestyle. It is a city of more privately focused working people. If you don't look it can appear quite bleak, but if you look a bit deeper you find that everything under the sun goes on in Houston. I guess I'm saying the common culture of Houston tends to be smaller group and more neutral than other cities I've been in.

As such Houston does not tend to come off as a young and hip city. In Texas that is certainly Austin. Again, your friend's personality should make the call.

Some basic pro's:
-Very affordable city. Low cost of living and no state income tax. Money goes a long way.
-Mild winters. Getting down to freezing is very rare and most of the "winter" is spent in the 50-70 range.
-Diversity of food. The "fast food" people above surprised me. Houston has more restaurants than any other city I've been in.
-Diversity of people. Houston is really stunning here.
-Events. There is always something going on.
-Medical care. Houston is one of the very top cities in the world for medicine.

Some basic con's:
-Summers will be unpleasant if you've never lived that far south. Temperatures in the upper 90's with humidity in the same range will make you feel like you're in a sauna.
-Sprawl. From the ~ center Houston goes out something more than 20 miles in any direction. It's perfectly flat and nearly endless. If you routinely getting outdoors to go hiking, in the water, etc, is a part of your friend then this will be bad.
-The traffic and/or commute in Houston can be rough.
-Air. Houston is up there with LA for bad air quality.

In summary, Houston can be a very enjoyable city to live in if it basically fits your friends wants and she makes some good decisions about where to live. It definitely isn't a supreme city for progressive culture, but I think it has elements that could feed that side of her.
posted by rudyfink at 5:25 PM on March 3, 2006

I relocated to Houston from New Orleans six months ago. My previous experience was living from the age of 0 to the age of 21 in the San Francisco area. Every city has positives and negatives. A lack of interesting things to do is not a drawback of Houston. There are far more interesting things to do here than time to do them, no matter what your interests. This is the fourth largest city in the United States and every unusual or esoteric interest has some representation.

For example. I am interested in psychology. One of my favorite activities in New Orleans was hanging out with the Jung Society folks. They met once every two or three weeks. In Houston the Jung Society has their own building and it is open seven days a week and there is something going on there every night.

The traffic sucks. A good reliable car is a necessity. It is also important that you have a comfortable home that you enjoy staying in so that you can avoid the traffic a good bit of the time. When I first moved to New Orleans I was never home, and being never home in Houston could stress a person to their wits' end real quick.

My own most difficult adjustment is social. This is a go-go-go, no-bullshit commerce-oriented city. Slacking is not approved of in any form by anybody worth getting to know. This is great for consumers--in a store or a restaurant snotty service does not exist. Everybody is warm, personable and anxious to help you get your money's worth. It is very hard for me to adjust my personality to fit into that. When I was talking about this with my boss, I told him I felt like I had to block off time in my calendar to relax, and he said, "exactly", which I thought was pretty damn creepy at the time, but that is just the way this place works.

There are plenty of political progressives. We have a pacifica radio station, which even cities as large as Chicago do not have.
posted by bukvich at 6:31 AM on March 4, 2006

I moved to Houston after college for work an was not too excited about it, but after living there for 3 years, I came to love it and regard it as my adopted home town.

1. Politics: withing the city, it is EXTREMELY liberal, especially in the Montrose District. Yes, it is frustrating to live in a liberal pocket in one of the reddest of the red states, but it feels pretty blue when you stick to your neighborhood. There are very, very, very few cowboy hats inside the loop. Maybe ironic ones.
2. Art: great art scene. The musuems, especially the menil collection, is not a waste of time. Great support to artists. Always cool art stuff happening.
3. Food: Excellent restaurants, cheap.
4. Expenses: Houston is super-cheap. I wish I were in a positon to buy property now.
5. Shopping: Great boutiques, supermall for all the high end basics.

Houston is a great place to live but not a great place to visit. You have to spend some time there to really get to know it for what it is.
posted by lalalana at 6:56 AM on March 4, 2006

I'm late to this thread, but I only have a single point to offer, which was raised some years ago by a single woman I knew who was relocating to Houston:

"Like any city, Houston has its good points and its bad points," she said. "But what makes it unique is a far higher concentration of single rocket scientists than you find anywhere else."
posted by paulsc at 7:33 AM on March 4, 2006

Response by poster: thanks everybody , again
posted by matteo at 2:53 PM on March 4, 2006

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