City Guide of Houston, Texas
History: Houston is a big city founded by two small-town brothers Augustus C. and John K. Allen who initiated the survey and map of the site after they bought the land for just $1.40 per acre back in 1836. They named the town Houston after one of the most famous political figures of Texas, Sam Houston. Ten years later, Texas became the 28th state. Soon followed the creation of the Texas Medical Center, Museum of Fine Arts, University of Houston, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Rockets, and more. Today, the vibrant town has grown to become the fourth largest city in the United States, making it a diverse home for over two-million people.
Location: The 10,000 mile stretch of “Greater Houston” is centered around Harris County, the most populated county in Texas. The city is also a part of: Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller Counties.
Commutes: The most popular commute in Houston is via car. Luckily, downtown has plenty of parking, and commuters have multiple options to choose from when driving to their destination. Common highways include: I-69, Interstate 610, Fort Bend Tollway, and Sam Houston Tollway. Although depending on location, you may be able to take alternative backroads. The privileged residents of Harris County can even commute through light metro or a Park N’ Ride bus which drives to surrounding areas. If traffic isn’t your thing, downtown Houston, the Galleria, and the Museum District are easily walkable.
Culture: With such a thriving population, Houston is diverse in nature and rich in culture. There is no question why it landed on Travel + Leisure’s “best of” list of America’s Favorite Cities. The city streets are bustling with award-winning food, professional arts; ballet, opera, and theater, sports, as well as parks. Not to mention it is home to the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical complex in the world.
Acting as the legislative body, the Houston City Council serves to enact ordinances and resolutions in the area. Mayor Sylvester Turner, along with eleven council members in districts A-K, and five members at large sign all motions.
Phone: (832) 393-1100
Address: City Hall Annex, 900 Bagby, Houston 77002
The Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, is responsible for the overall well-being of the city. This includes setting the annual budget for approval and signing all motions that pass through City Council. To contact the Mayor or schedule an appearance see the information below.
Phone: (713) 837-0311
Address: City of Houston, P.O. Box 1562, Houston, TX 77251
Chamber of Commerce
Serving the Houston community since 1949, the Chamber of Commerce is located right in the heart of the metropolitan area. The organization aims to invest all of their energy into building up community development programs and improving the economic status of local businesses.
Phone: (713) 666-1521
Address: 12 Greenway Plaza, Suite 1100, Houston, TX 77046
Overview: The wide range of educational opportunities is a huge draw for residents of Houston as it is home to many esteemed institutions. College students have their choice of forty distinct universities and community colleges, as well as several graduate schools of higher learning. With 24 districts, the city has well over 200 public schools for elementary, middle, and high school students. This is not including state-operated charter and private institutions. All in all, about 13,000 teachers and 210,000 students are situated within the 312 square miles of Houston.
School Districts: There are a variety of school districts within the limits of Houston, Texas. The Houston Independent School District is the largest of them all comprised of over 200,000 students. In other surrounding areas students are generally “zoned” to a specific school or limited to a school district based upon their location. Friendswood, Katy, Pearland, Clear Creek and Tomball are known to be some of the best districts in the Houston area. As they all thoroughly prepare students for future studies and can provide more individualized education when compared to some of the larger school districts.
Houston Independent School District
Spring Branch Independent School District
Alief Independent School District
Galena Park Independent School District
North Forest Independent School District
Klein Independent School District
Katy Independent School District
Spring Independent School District
Tomball Independent School District
Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District
Crosby Independent School District
Humble Independent School District
Sheldon Independent School District
New Caney Independent School District
Aldine Independent School District
Huffman Independent School District
Conroe Independent School District
Cleveland Independent School District
Dayton Independent School District
Fort Bend Independent School District
Lamar Consolidated Independent School District
Clear Creek Independent School District
Pasadena Independent School District
Channel View Independent School District
Goose Creek Independent School District
Most of Houston’s top-rated elementary schools fall within the Katy Independent School District. The prestigious district was given the highest possible rating by the Texas Education Agency and is home to the number one elementary school in the city; Fred and Patti Shafer Elementary School. Bonnie Holland, Woodcreek, Odessa Kilpatrick, Stanley C. Stanley, and Tom Wilson are also notable schools.
There are many public schools in Houston which offer “zoned” admission based upon the students’ location. If private school is more of interest there are a diverse mix of institutions to choose from including subjects of STEM all the way to the Fine Arts. These schools are spread throughout many districts, but a student can opt for “school choice,” and apply for admission. Cornerstone Academy in the Spring Branch Independent School District was awarded best middle school of the 2018 school year, earning them an A+ grade from the school board. Other prominent middle schools include: Fort Settlement, Project Chrysalis, Tays Junior High, and Creekside Park Middle.
Houston boasts approximately 33 A+ graded high schools. These schools range in a variety of different districts from Clear Creek, Alief, Fort Bend, Katy, Humble, Spring Branch, Tomball, Cypress-Fairbanks, Clear Creek, all the way to Pearland. For 2018, the Debakey High School for Health Professions, located within the Houston Independent School District, was rated second in the entire state of Texas.
Students starting from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade have multiple options when it comes to private schools in the Houston area. There are schools based upon future military, montessori, international, special needs, and almost every single religion. Not to mention the inclusion of independent institutions which offer preparation for future interest in areas like math, technology, engineering, science, and english. In total there are about 66 private schools. All of which require an application for admission in order to attend and students are still not guaranteed acceptance after doing so.
Overview: From apartments, to condominiums, to residential units, Houston has all you need for a much lower cost than other populous cities. Housing costs are 39.6% below average to be exact. Essentially there is something for everyone–whether you’re a college student or family of four. In addition, each county also has affordable housing options that offers assistance to residents looking for low-cost units. There are multiple up and coming neighborhoods that are known for their excellent reputation when it comes to types of housing available. For families, Sugar Land is the place to be as the town hosts family friendly events year-round. For younger adults or college kids, Spring Branch is a good fit and for the commuter, Midtown is a quick, walkable distance away from city life.
Housing: In 80-110 words, write a short overview about each type of housing option available in the city. Examples of housing options are listed below:
Single Family Homes
The amount of single family homes for sale and rent are continually growing to accommodate Houston’s large population of families. Because of this, it is extremely easy to find homes in a multitude of different neighborhoods. Prices vary based upon location, size of home, and age of home.
Houston apartments usually range between studio apartments to a three bedroom, but occasionally upscale properties may offer more room. Prices greatly vary based upon location and size. Many times rent/purchase will come with pool, gym, etc., access. Camden Plaza, Residences at Gramercy Apartments, and One Park Place are high-rated options in downtown Houston.
Houston high-rise condos offer luxury living for prospective tenants. The city is actually ranked 7th in the United States for the number of new high rise development. Many properties are currently available while others are still in the development process. The growth is centered around downtown Houston, more specifically The Galleria, The Energy Corridor, and The Medical Center.
There are newly constructed high rise buildings, apartments, and homes going up left and right. With over 1,000 different communities, options are endless. If construction sites are more your speed, the suburb area of Houston might allow for a larger and cheaper lot space.
Homes with History
If suburban living or downtown chaos isn’t your thing, the Historic District of Houston might be the perfect fit. It is still in close proximity to everything you need, but with genuine uniqueness and character you want in a home.
If home is where the water is, Houston has listings spanned over several different counties Compared to somewhere near the city or in the suburbs, there are not many listing options to choose from. Thus, the cost of living will be increased based upon location. Ask yourself this, who wouldn’t want the best view of Lake Houston, Lake Livingston, or Clear Lake right from your own backyard?
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Overview: With everything you could ever want in close proximity, there is no shortage of things to do in Houston. The streets are filled to the brim with nationally recognized restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.
- For the learner, there are countless museums such as the NASA Space Center, Houston Museum District, and the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
- For the adventurer, enjoy hiking, biking, water sports, horseback riding, balloon rides and more!
- For the family, the Houston Children’s Museum attracts visitors all over the world with its one of a kind, hands-on experience. Fast Track Amusements is the go-to family entertainment center made up of everything from go karts to arcade games.
Retail & Entertainment
Parks & Recreation
Take in nature at some of Houston’s finest parks. Lush gardens, trails, and scenic views await you at McGovern Centennial Gardens, Hermann Park, Buffalo Bayou Park, Discovery Green, and more.
The city is loaded with some of the best shopping malls and plazas. With over 400 stores, there is no wonder why The Galleria Mall attracts over 26 million people each year. In total, there are 13 different malls in addition to established plazas, resale, and locally owned stores.
Art & Culture
Art lovers will undoubtedly fall for all the exhibits and museums Houston has to offer. From art museums; Contemporary Arts Museum, to science museums; The Health Museum, Houston has something for everyone to enjoy. Just take a stroll down the heart of the Museum District.
Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean you have to. At night time Houston comes alive and bars, clubs, and pubs boom. Nightlife districts include Downtown, Midtown, Montrose, Washington Avenue, and Rice Village.
Houston has a great mix of fine dining, quick eats, and everything in between. Many of the city’s restaurants were nominated for a James Beard Award including Xochi, Anvil Bar and Refuge, Aqui, H-town Restaurant Group, and eight others.
Overview: Each neighborhood of Houston offers residents something special. Although there are many, a few of the best options with a inviting environment, stable population, and fair pricing include the following:
For millennials: Midtown is truly urban living. It is close to all of the universities and provides extensive public transportation. Downtown Houston is located in the heart of the city, perfect for commuters and nightlife fanatics. Greater Third Ward, Washington Avenue, and Montrose are also popular neighborhoods for younger residents.
For a family: Kingwood is known as the best neighborhood for families due to its conveniently located parks, low unemployment rate and stable population. The luxe University Place has the highest home value in the entire Houston area. On the other hand, Westbranch is one of the most affordable neighborhoods.
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