Houston is an amazing city in both its size, humidity, booming economy, and diversified culture. There are an estimated 30,000 new people moving to Houston every single day, and that means a lot of people who don’t know anything about our wonderful city. So if you are a new Houstonian or are considering becoming one, and are reading this right now, don’t stop! We have a list of everything that you need to know about H-town and more to get you up to speed!
10. The Energy Capital of America
If Houston is to be known for anything in contemporary history, it is its production of energy. Houston is the energy capital of America and, in fact, produces so much energy, that the whole state of Texas is on its own power grid, separate from the rest of the U.S. Houston is also the home base for almost all large energy corporations, and serves as the site of BP’s North American Headquarters, in addition to Exxon Mobile, Conoco-Phillips, and Marathon Oil. And people wonder why our economy is growing so large…
9. No Zoning Laws
This is a recurring theme as a very frequently asked question, and the answer is no, there are no zoning laws in the city limits of Houston. Individual neighborhoods and their respective neighborhood associations can develop by-laws and guidelines for building codes and restrictions. However, land that is owned by the City of Houston, or privately owned can be developed anyway the owner sees fit. So yes, there very well could be a fast food joint springing up at the end of your block. At least it’s within walking distance right?
8. The Streets Change Names
In Houston, our streets are weird. Driving around town, you may notice it, especially if you have used or frequently use a GPS system while driving. Don’t panic if you get lost, you just have to accept it along with the headache as well. What do we mean exactly? Let’s use Bammel North Houston Road, AKA North Houston Rosslyn, AKA Bingle Road, AKA Voss Road, AKA Hillcroft Avenue as an example. Yes, you did read that correctly, this street goes through five different name changes along its route. It starts well north of FM 1960 (which also changes to Highway 6 and Addicks in certain places) as Bammel North Houston that connects to T.C. Jester (but not the one farther south inside the Loop 610). It then changes to North Houston Rosslyn (but not the Rosslyn that also turns into T.C. Jester… just bear with us here), after Tomball Parkway. At the intersection of Little York, North Houston Rosslyn turns into Bingle Road and takes you through the Spring Branch district, until you cross under I-10 where it changes its name to Voss. Voss takes you through Memorial and after crossing over Westheimer, Voss decides it doesn’t like this name either and changes it to Hillcroft. P.S., we’re just as confused as you.
7. Downtown Parking Rates Change
If you live in one of the suburban communities in which we are the exclusive builders, then chances are you commute into the city every day. Or if you are just a good patron of the arts, or like to watch the Astros or Rockets games, you’ve parked downtown before. What you may or may not have noticed is that free parking doesn’t exist. It’s a myth like the Loch Ness monster: people may claim to have witnessed it, but let’s be real here: they’re lying. At least it doesn’t exist before 6 p.m., especially on game days; you can find lots charging up to $30 to $40 or more for Astros and Rockets games.
6. Public Transportation Isn’t Really a “Thing” Here
This kind of goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyways: Detroit is no longer the motor city. We’ve taken the title, even if we’re the only ones who call ourselves that. Why? Simple: almost everyone drives their own cars. This is also why traffic is so bad. Public transportation hasn’t really developed in Houston like in other major cities. Houston has recently developed the light rail train to carry commuters around the inner loop areas, and the Metro bus system has it’s benefits, but is unreliable more times than not.
5. No State Taxes!
Texas does not have a state income tax, which is pretty cool when you think about it. More money in the consumers’ pockets means more money they can circulate through our economy. There is a trade-off, especially those that are buying, or have bought, a new high-performance Chesmar Home: our property taxes are higher.
4. The Air Conditioning Capital of the World
Houston is known throughout the popular culture of America for predominantly one thing: our humidity. Let’s face it, from about March through mid- to late-October, Houston is hot, hot, hot, and our humidity makes things worse. Houston is a hot, sweaty place, built where Buffalo Bayou empties into Galveston Bay, and has sprawled out to cover the area between the Trinity and Brazos Rivers. With all of this water, Houston is not only hot, but super humid. In the 1950’s a revolutionary technology called Air Conditioning was invented and it quickly became a necessity here in the Bayou City. Without the miracle of A/C, we’d probably all just melt like the Wicked Witch.
3. The Renaissance City
The City of Houston is home to a Theater District that is second only to New York City in terms of the quality of theater production and the quantity of seats available. The Houston Grand Opera, not to mention the Houston Symphony Orchestra and the Houston Ballet, all of which are world-renowned, showcase some of the finest and most talented performers in their respective fields. Houston is also home to a large Museum District with plenty of art and science museums, public art, and sculpture. Just drive around town and you can see murals painted on the sides of entire buildings, and sculptures can be found in most parks and green spaces.
2. Sports, Sports, and More Sports
Athleticism abounds in this city, as well as fan support for the various teams. At a glance Houston is home to five major professional sports teams: the Dynamo, Dash, Texans, Rockets, and Astros; and one minor league team, the Sugarland Skeeters. The two-time MLS Cup champion Dynamo and the back-to-back NBA champion Rockets are the biggest attractions, followed closely by the Texans NFL team and the Astros MLB team. The Houston Dash are a new addition and are a Women’s Major League Soccer team.
1. Space City Baby!
The first word spoken in space was “Houston”. Houston is the home of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA. Throughout NASA’s history, the human race has undergone incredible scientific achievement and landmark exploration. Seriously, we put a man on the moon on July 20, 1969. Nowadays, the lunar missions have been cancelled, but we are leading the way in the robotic exploration of the planet Mars, along with maintaining the International Space Station, the various space telescopes, and deep space research.
Houston is a remarkable city, with such a booming economy, vibrant intellectual and artistic culture, plenty of sports teams, and is located only 45 minutes away from Galveston’s beaches and the Gulf of Mexico. It is a place for families to raise their children, for students to learn at two world-class universities, Rice University and the University of Houston. The finest medical research laboratories and hospitals are located in the Medical Center on the south side of downtown, and its public and private grade schools rank among the top tier in the nation. Houston is truly an awesome place to live and work, and our high-performance Chesmar Homes will make your lives all the more exciting.
Take a trip to the Houston Zoo: one of the only places outside of China to see the Red Panda!
Take a tour of the Saint Arnold Brewing Company: Texas’ Oldest Craft Brewery!
Houston Symphony Orchestra photo courtesy of Stephanie Stout.