Moving to Houston, TX? Read Our Ultimate Moving Guide
Moving to Houston means you’ll relocate to one of the country’s fastest growing cities with the fourth largest population in the United States, one approaching an astonishing 2.4 million. So, if you enjoy the hustle and bustle of big city life, one with a diverse population, then Houston can be ideal. The city has a thriving business sector with a low cost of living—with all the restaurants, shopping, and other amenities you could want.
This moving guide offers an in-depth look into this booming Texas city. Plus, Suddath has experienced movers in Houston, TX for a seamless relocation.
For the ultimate in urban sophistication, Southern-style, it makes sense to move right into a neighborhood located in the heart of Houston. If you appreciate all the benefits of living in the area but want something a bit more on the outskirts, here are three communities to consider:
- Sugar Land: Developers did an excellent job of community planning. This Houston suburb is culturally diverse with a focus on commerce, including the Imperial Sugar headquarters. Recreational opportunities include going to minor league baseball games—the Sugar Land Skeeters—the Smart Financial Center concert venue, and more.
- The Woodlands: Developed as a bedroom community in 1974, this relaxed master-planned suburb combines residential quality of life with commercial enterprises. The Woodlands contains lush forests, 100+ parks, green belts, and numerous golf courses—along with corporations like Exxon, Anadarko, and more.
- Katy: From historic homes and shops to upscale ones, Katy is another outstanding master-planned Texas community. Located near major employers and just a short jaunt to the Energy Corridor (Interstate 10), this suburb has outstanding restaurants and other amenities that make it a place to call home.
If these descriptions —from big city life to suburban living—appeal to you, then moving to Houston, Texas is likely the right choice.
Getting Around Houston
You can get around town by light-rail train or bus through Houston’s METRO system for $1.25 each way. Discounts are available for students, older adults, and veterans. You can:
You can use a METRO Q® Fare Card to pay, adding money to this reloadable card at plenty of grocery stores, retailers, and gas stations, or online. There’s also an app although you can’t use it if you want to get a discount. If you pay by cash, you’ll need exact change. Plus, the three-hour transfers in any direction will not be available for people who use cash.
When riding the bus, you can use the Next Bus Arrival Texting service. That way, you’ll arrive at the bus stop at the optimal time. METRO trains run on three lines: Red Line, Purple Line, and Green Line, so be sure to go to the correct station. You can use your METRO Q card for train rides or pay for a one-way ticket through cash, credit card, or debit card.
When arriving at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport or William P. Hobby Airport, there will be shuttle services available along with rental car services. Overall, there are plenty of car rental and taxi companies in Houston, and here’s help with parking in downtown Houston. The city is also working to make the area more bikeable.
Single and looking for an active neighborhood?
The Greater Heights area is just four miles away from the city’s business district with plenty of local boutiques, in-demand restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and more. This neighborhood rides the line between an urban environment and a suburban one with easy access to major freeways. Homes are a combination of renovated ones and new buildings.
If you’re looking for something quieter, River Oaks is the city’s first master planned community. Originally intended as a middle-class community, the area contains more exclusive housing that is featured in the Azalea Trail home and garden tour. This neighborhood is located by Afton Oaks, a quiet neighborhood that tends to have two-income families choosing it for its proximity to work and recreation.
For a more funky, eclectic vibe, consider the Montrose neighborhood. If you move here, your neighbors may well be a diverse rainbow of recent college graduates. Thrift shops abound and so does the nightlife.
Although downtown Houston contains mostly commercial real estate, there are high rise apartments and condos. When buying, the pricing can be in the luxury range with renting likely to be more affordable in comparison. Downtown Houston is a wonderfully walkable area with plenty of public transportation getting you there. So, if costs for living downtown are more than you’d budgeted, there are excellent neighborhoods surrounding the area—for example, the Midtown neighborhood.
This section describes just a sampling of places you might decide to live in when moving to Houston. What works best for you will depend upon your lifestyle and budget.
Things to Do for Families
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department oversees a robust system with 366 parks. If you enjoy walking and biking with your family, there are more than 125 miles of trails. So, there’s more than enough for kids to do in the parks alone. Temperatures range from the coldest in January (average low of 45 degrees/high of 63) to the hottest in August (average high of 95/low of 77) so plan outdoor activities accordingly.
The Children’s Museum of Houston is ideal for curious kids who appreciate interactive activities. At the FlowWorks, children learn about the properties of water in fun, age-appropriate ways. In the “How Does It Work?” section, children participate in hands-on activities while, in Unleash Imagination, they can design and build all sorts of gadgets. Here’s information about admissions.
The Space Center in Houston offers kid-friendly exhibits, which is just one reason why this is such a popular place for people to visit. The center is home to more than 400 exhibits, a combination of permanent and traveling ones, and visitors can go on behind-the-scenes tours of the NASA Johnson Space Center.
Performances at the Outdoor Miller Theater include concerts, ballet performances, plays, and more for people of all ages over an eight-month season. Some are specifically intended for children. Options include covered seating and hillside seating; both are free but the first option requires an assigned ticket. If you’d like, you can bring along blankets and food baskets to enjoy a picnic on the hillside before the performance.
Located twenty miles from downtown Houston, the Kemah Boardwalk is 60 acres of amusement park rides, waterfront restaurants, seaside shows, and boutique stores. Rides include the carousel and Ferris wheel as well as the boardwalk bullet and tower. Visitors can visit the rainforest exhibit and stingray reef—even feeding live stingrays. Plus, plenty of festivals and special events add to the fun.
Education in Houston
If you’re new to Texas, here’s how their school systems work. The state contains independent districts with their own taxing authority. Schools, then, are separate from governmental oversight. Sometimes, two or more districts merge; this is known as a “consolidated” district. More than 1,200 Texas school districts currently exist with the Texas Educational Agency (TEA) ranking many of them as “exceptional.” The TEA bases its ratings on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, College Board AP scores, and so forth. When relocating to Houston, Texas, investigate the specific district where your child would attend.
Houston is also home to numerous colleges and universities, including the University of Houston, Rice University, University of Houston-Downtown (HUD) Texas Southern University, Houston Baptist University, University of Houston-Clear Lake, San Jacinto College, and more.
Sports in Houston
This city is home to numerous professional sports teams, including these:
- Houston Astros: This Major League Baseball team won the World Series in 2017. A long-time team in the National League, they’re now in the American League.
- Houston Rockets: This National Basketball Association has won two national championships to date: in 1994 and 1995.
- Houston Texans: Forming in 2002, this is a younger team in the National Football League.
- Houston Dynamo: The city’s Major League Soccer team, they won championships in 2006 and 2007.
- Houston Dash: This team is part of the National Women’s Soccer League winning the 2020 Challenge Cup Championship.
- Houston SaberCats: Competing in Major League Rugby, this team played its first season in 2018.
The city is home to minor league sports teams as well as popular collegiate teams that play a range of sports. These include those from the University of Houston Cougars, Texas Southern University Tigers, Rice University Owls, Houston Baptist University Huskies, and San Jacinto College Gators.
What to Do in Houston
Head to Discovery Green, a 12-acre urban park designed to provide “a village green for our city, a source of health and happiness for our citizens, and a window into the incredible diversity of arts and traditions that enrich life in Houston.” The park hosts more than 600 free events from concerts to movies, yoga classes, and more. You can make this multi-use park part of your life throughout the year; in the winter ice skating is available for a small fee. To add to the picturesque park, park officials change art displays regularly.
To enjoy more natural beauty, stroll through the Houston Botanic Garden and its 132 acres of natural ecosystems, horticultural displays, and walking trails. The Sims Bayou runs through gardens, creating two spaces—the Island and the South Gardens—connected by a bridge.
For an offbeat experience, visit the National Museum of Funeral History. Discover the heritage of the funeral service industry and learn about funerals of our presidents, the history of mourning photography, and more.
If you enjoy participating in outdoor activities, kayak through the Buffalo Bayou, surf at Surfside Beach, take one of the many walking tours in the city, and much more. Explore two cave systems at the National Bridge Caverns. Choose the Discovery Tour where “state-of-the-art lighting illuminates massive, otherworldly formations formed by single drops of water and the slow passage of time” or the Hidden Passages Tour where “shadows dance over delicate formations and mystery awaits in every shadow.”
Swim, fish, bird watch, hike, climb, mountain bike, geocache, picnic, or just relax at Galveston Island State Park. In Houston, there’s never a shortage of activities to enjoy!
Dining, Nightlife, and the Arts
Houston eateries encompass a wide range of cuisines and dining environments. Here are just a few to try:
- Feges BBQ Spring Branch: Feast on BBQ and much more with an extensive menu that includes brisket and pulled pork alongside unexpected dishes: spiced cracklins, Moroccan-spiced carrots, pimento mac and cheese, and more.
- Xin Chao: This modern Vietnam restaurant received a prestigious James Beard Award nomination, offering a mixture of Vietnam cuisine with Texas and Gulf coast culinary dishes. One example: lemongrass-buttermilk fried chicken with pandan rice.
- Pizaro’s Pizza Napoletana: Certified as authentic by the Vera Pizza Napoletana organization, you can order the classics or get more creative in your order. Consider the Calabrese with fresh mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, pepperoni, and soppressata.
- Turner’s: Fans of fish and seafood will appreciate this restaurant with its range of delicious choices. Turner’s is known for its lobster bisque, raw bar options, and, for the ultimate in splurging, caviar service.
Numerous Houston neighborhoods are known for vibrant nightlife. As just a few examples, the Trash Panda Drinking Club in the center of Houston offers a relaxed atmosphere for “friends, wanderers, and adventurers to share a drink together as equals.” Trash Panda offers cocktails like a Bubblegum Martini with gin, lime, hibiscus, and “bubblegum broth” and quirky bar food such as quesabirria.
At the Patterson Park Patio Bar, you can take in eye-catching views of downtown Houston while cheering on sports teams on televisions located indoors and out. The bar has been described as a playground for adults with a menu of craft beers and unique cocktails, including Thai chili margaritas and Fantasma drinks made with Ghost tequila.
Julep won the city’s first national James Beard Award, offering dozens of cocktails, including ones that add unique Southern touches to traditional favorites. One example: Tepache Julep with sous vide pineapple.
When moving to Houston, Texas, you’re relocating to an internationally known city for performing and visual arts. The city has major ballet, opera, symphony, and theater companies, including—but not limited to—the downtown Theater District. Here’s more information about the arts in Houston.
Shopping in Houston
The Galleria features close to 400 stores—along with a grand ice rink. Stores include Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Montblanc, Gucci, Versace, and more. Also, shop at the hippest boutiques around in this shopping extravaganza.
Houston Premium Outlets, located in the Cypress suburb, offers designer goods at a discount at 120 brand name stores. These include Brooks Brothers, Harry & David, Michael Kors, and more.
In Uptown Park, you can stroll through more than 50 shops plus enjoy time in restaurants, bars, and spas. Shops range from Longoria Collection to Baker Furniture, the University of Texas Co-op, Crave Cupcakes, and more.
Houston truly is a shopping haven with these three examples a small percentage of what’s available.
Important Houston Links
Once you move to Houston, you’ll need to take care of the nuts and bolts of living in a new place. Here are links to help you get settled in:
- Driver’s licenses: If you’re relocating to Houston, Texas from another state, you’ll need to get a driver’s license. Many times, you can take care of this online and, once you have one, a driver’s license stays current for eight years. You can find guidelines from the Texas Department of Public Safety. If you need to go to an office, make an appointment.
- Voter registration: In Harris County, you must register at least 30 days before an election to vote in it. Here is information about voter registration. Find more information about voting here.
- Trash pickup: Houston’s Solid Waste Management Department handles trash pickup and provides a map to help you find your service days. Here are specifics about recycling.
- Emergency preparedness: In Houston, the Office of Emergency Preparedness oversees all four phases: preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.
- Here is a link to City of Houston utilities along with important phone numbers and how to report outages.
Are You Moving to Houston, Texas? Our Houston Movers Can Help!
When you’re looking at moving companies in Houston, please contact us for a free moving quote. Suddath’s Houston movers can provide everything you need for a smooth move: packing, loading, transporting, unpacking, storage units, and more.
Our moving company also provides choices with a flexible menu of moving services. When you’re relocating to Houston, Texas, you can have our experienced movers handle everything or you can pick the specific services you need. In each case, we’ll leverage our 100-plus years of overall moving experience and more than 40 years in Houston to provide you with a stress-free move. So, whether you’re making a local, long-distance, or international relocation, our movers in Houston, TX are happy to help.