The absolute worst time to rent an apartment in Houston is September. August is also not great. If you start your search anytime before then, you should find that you have a much easier time finding a place to live that you can be happy with.
A great way to get ahead of the competition in Houston is to make sure that you're calling landlords instead of emailing them. It is easy to ignore or miss an email, and landlords tend to get dozens or even hundreds after they post a new suite for rent. If you get them on the phone, you can have a conversation that might never take place if you rely solely on email.
Houston is a major metropolitan center that was designed with the car in mind. However, the freeway system has not kept pace with population growth, and the traffic conditions in Houston are now less than optimal. To avoid sitting in your car for hours, try the METROrail system when possible. This light rail system has proven a reliable and fast alternative to the existing METRO bus system in the city.
In a city the size of Houston, there is no end to your entertainment options. Taking in an Astros, Texans or Rockets game is a great way to experience the locals passion for their sports. A thriving downtown theatre district appeals to culture buffs. For shopping, the Houston Galleria is the biggest mall in the state. For the best food in a food-centric city, head to the West side of Houston to sample cuisine from around the world.
For anyone with an interested in space exploration, Houston is a fascinating city. Space Center Houston is the visitor’s area affiliated with NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Films, exhibits and tours give you a first-hand experience that can't be replicated anywhere else in the country. The Downtown Aquarium is also a major draw, with more than 400 different types of creatures on exhibit. For people who enjoy carnival rides, games, and the amusement park experience, there is the Kemah Boardwalk. The campus of Rice University is one of the most scenic universities in the south, and also well worth a visit.
When it comes to people who know food, it is typically unanimous that Oxheart is the best in the city. It is a small restaurant with a hip vibe where you can always be sure to find something adventurous made from fresh local ingredients. If you're looking for something a little more laid back, the Killen’s Barbecue with it's legendary Texas BBQ flavours should be right up your alley. Lovers of Creole foods will also lover Brennan’s of Houston. Underbelly is another great place, as the chef combines all the influences that he feels contribute to the culinary history of Houston, and comes up with a menu that feels completely at home in this Texas city.
The Anvil Bar & Refuge is certainly recognized for it's fantastic cocktail menu. Poison Girl is a nearly legendary hipster hangout. Public Services is an upscale, bottle-service type bar, providing definitely one of the most elegant nights out in town. If you're a wine drinker, you shouldn’t have a hard time remembering the name of the best wine bar in the city, as it is simply called “Wine”. La Carafe is a very romantic bar that is perfect for a date night. If you want to try a variety of craft beers, you should head the Hay Merchant, as it clearly offers one of the broadest varieties of beer in the city.
The most acclaimed theatre in the city is definitely the Alley Theatre, which counts Tony Awards among it's accolades. Downtown Houston is home to a theatre district where you can see everything from new plays to Broadway musicals. The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston is one of the finest museums of it's type in the country. It is the cornerstone of the museum district in Houston, and has a regular series of educational programs and films in addition to it's gallery spaces. There are also loads of great places to listen to live music in Houston, with places like Numbers, House of Blues and Fitzgerald’s all being great places to catch a concert.
Houston’s love of BBQ extends to it's event calendar, and the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest takes place every February. WorldFest: Houston International Film Festival draws filmmaker talent from across the planet to the city. The city also hosts a massive Fourth of July event each year known as the Freedom Over Texas Festival. From a cultural point of view, the Houston Shakespeare Festival runs in August, and has nearly half a million audience members attend each year. Houston also loves it's beer, and Big Brew Houston is a weeklong beer festival that takes place at the end of October. With more than a thousand beers featured each year, even the most dedicated beer lover should be able to drink his fill.
Houston is home to the largest mall in a state where bigger is always better. The Houston Galleria is an enormous mall that features almost every store you have ever seen in a traditional indoor shopping mall. It also has attractions such as the indoor skating rink. If outlet shopping is your idea of a good time, then you need to pay a visit to the Conroe Outlet Center in Houston for some truly outrageous deals. If you're more interested in seeing what you can find in small local shops, then you should head to Rice Village, the area of town around Rice University. The eclectic mix of stores ensures that there is something to suit all tastes in this character-filled part of town.
Houston is home to several professional sports teams. The Houston Texans compete in the NFL, and brought NFL back to the city in 2002 after the departure of the Oilers. The Rockets are the city’s NBA franchise, and the Astros compete in Major League Baseball. Rodeo is a hugely important sport in Texas, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a time-honoured tradition. The Shell Houston Open is one of the most important non-major golf tournaments on the PGA tour, and always attracts the best in the game. Over the past several years it has become an even more important tournament, as it has become the last event before the Masters. A win gives golfers a chance to get on the course at the most prestigious major, while also winning a very large purse.
Hermann Park is a large urban park at roughly 455 acres. Many of the city’s attractions including a theatre, a golf course, and the zoo are housed within the massive park. There are a lot of great opportunities to get out on the water near Houston. The Armand and Buffalo Bayous are excellent places to canoe or kayak. You can even fish right in the city, at places like Collins Park. If you head just out of the city, Lake Livingston is an excellent fishing spot. Another great way to get outdoors and see the country in Houston is to engage with the cowboy culture and take a ride. The Cypress Trails Stable is a great place to get set up to go exploring Texas by horseback.