I remember it like it was yesterday, but six years ago I was new to Houston. I’d finished grad school and was offered a job here. When I told my friends and family in New Jersey I was moving, they all said the same thing…”Texas?!?!?” I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but one year in, I celebrated my first Texas-versary by buying my first pair of cowboy boots.
Since then, my love for Houston has grown and grown and I’m happy to call Houston home. Still, Houston is a big city and it can be intimidating for newcomers. Here are 5 tips from a transplant for those who are new to Houston.
Check out the food scene.
If you’re new to Houston, you might not know it yet, but this city’s food game is legit. Depending on whether you’re an eat to live kinda person or a live to eat person (I’m the latter), the food scene might be your favorite aspect of the city. There’s so much to explore and it can be hard to pick where to start. You may want to start with some good ol’ Texas barbecue at Killen’s down in Pearland. Depending on where you’re coming from, it might be a bit of a drive, but you’ll need to get used to that. If you’re up north, you can try CorkScrew BBQ. Prepare for lines on the weekends at either place, but I promise you it’s worth the wait. You might not have guessed it, but the dining options in Houston are vast and diverse. If you’re looking for adventure, pick a country and hop on Google and search [Country] food Houston.
Still not sure? Try the Houston Food Truck Park downtown for lots of options in one spot.
When I moved to Houston, I didn’t know a soul aside from my then boyfriend. We broke up six months later. But from the start, I made friends I can’t picture my life without. Don’t worry, there’s a butt for every seat. No matter your interests, you’ll find a compatible friend. Into curling? Houston has a curling club. Seriously. I’ve considered checking it out. If you’re not sure where to start, try volunteering at the Houston Food Bank, SPCA, or other charity that calls you. Or you can try meetup.com to get to know other transplants.
Explore the green space.
Depending on what you’re used to, Houston can have a bit of an industrial feel. But there are lots of beautiful green spaces to take advantage of if you know where to look. Buffalo Bayou Park is my personal favorite. If you need some relief from the heat while you’re there, be sure to check out the Buffalo Bayou Cistern underground. Right now, there is an art installation which is one of the coolest things the city has to offer. Hermann Park is another must see. You can also check out Discovery Green, the new Levy Park and the tried and true Gerald D. Hines Waterwall. And if you’re looking for some outdoor entertainment, go for Blanket Bingo or a movie under the stars at Market Square Park or catch a performance at Miller Outdoor Theater.
Take in the culture.
Despite what our friends to the north might tell you, Houston has tons to offer by way of culture. The obvious place to start is the museum district, which is home to 19 museums. You can also make your way downtown to check out what Houston’s ballet, symphony, and Hobby Center for the Performing Arts have going on. Or try an intimate concert venue like White Oak Music Hall in the Heights. While you’re there, stop by the beer can house for something a bit nontraditional.
Are you free on the second Saturday of the month? If the answer is yes, and you’re wanting to check out the local art scene, head over to Silver Street Studios to wander the open studios. Most are the artists are friendly and are happy to chat!
Check out the local brews.
New microbreweries have been popping up left and right over the last few years in Houston. St. Arnold’s started it all, so you should definitely pay them a visit. My personal favorite is Buffalo Bayou Brewery. I look forward to their anniversary and Christmas in July parties every year.
Want to try several local brews at one stop? Try Premium Draft or the Hay Merchant. Bonus: If you try something you really like you can bring home a growler with your favorite new brew!
It’s never easy being the new kid on the block, but Houston is so friendly and has so much to offer, no matter who you are. So if you’re new to Houston, don’t be shy. Jump right in! What are your Houston must-dos?
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