10 Reasons Why Houston is Perfect for Recent Grads
By Sarah Hunter
Move over, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. CNBC recently voted Houston the best city for young professionals. As if that wasn’t motivation enough, any native Houstonian will also be quick to point out several other reasons why our city is the best place to live, work and build a business. So, if you’re a recent graduate looking for a new place to work, listen up – here are ten reasons to start packing your bags for the City with No Limits
1. Fourth-largest Economy in the Country
Metro Houston’s economy would rank 9th largest in the country if it were a state and 26th in the world if it were a country. Fortunately for us, that kind of economic productivity attracts talent and companies from all over the globe. Houston is home to 24 Fortune Global 2000, 20 Fortune 500 and seven Fortune Global 500 companies. Of the world’s 100 largest non-U.S.-based corporations, 58 have a presence in Houston. It is universally known that Houston is the energy capital of the world. But did you also know that our city is a major hub for a variety of other sectors, including health care, manufacturing, engineering and finance? No matter the industry, Houston is sure to have plenty of opportunities for you to explore your passion in a market of limitless potential. Remember: employment=$$=more tacos.
2. Cost of Living
They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and thanks to the affordable cost of living, your bank account is no exception. With no state income tax, a per capita personal income 13 percent above the national average, and average housing costs 37 percent below those of large metro areas, average living costs are roughly 21 percent below what you’d expect in other large urban areas. This means you can spend less money on rent and buy a whole lot more Starbucks. Score!
3. Arts and Culture
Houston is more than just a great economy – it is one of the few cities with resident companies in drama, ballet, opera and orchestra. Visit the theater district to see world-class productions by the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Ballet – all critically-acclaimed professional music and dance companies whose members have toured the world. Take advantage of Houston’s 500+ institutions devoted to the visual and preforming arts, science and history. And don’t forget, Houston gave the world Beyoncé.
Whether you would enjoy spending an evening at one of Houston’s highly-acclaimed performing arts venues or prefer to spend a night out on the town, you will never find yourself bored on a Saturday night. Get dinner at one of the city’s world-class restaurants before attending a show in the theater district, learn to two-step at a country dance hall, or go bar-hopping in one of the region’s popular areas such as Midtown, Downtown, or Montrose – with 650 bars and clubs there will always be a new place to explore.
5. Festivals and Events
Festival enthusiasts rejoice: Houston’s event calendar has something for every taste. Celebrate Mardi Gras in Galveston, dust off your cowboy boots for the world’s largest rodeo, or kick off summer with tickets to Free Press Summerfest, just to name a few. From the Original Greek Festival to Caribbean-American Heritage Month Festival to Houston Black Heritage Music and Arts Festival and beyond, attendees of the many annual heritage celebrations can experience the beauty and diversity of the cultures that make up the Houston region. There are tons of events to explore year-round, so you will always have something to look forward to.
Houston is the most diverse city in the nation, a fact that enriches not just the culture, but the economy as well: Entrepreneur Magazine just ranked it the #1 city for minority entrepreneurs. Houston also placed fourth in economic opportunities for minorities and fifth for the number of minority-owned firms. The city’s 2000 census noted for the first time that Houston has no racial or ethnic majority. Among the nation’s metropolitan areas, the Houston MSA ranked fourth in the number of Hispanics, seventh in the number of blacks, and seventh in the number of Asians according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. You can also experience Houston’s rich diversity through the numerous mosques, synagogues, Hindu temples, and even a Zoroastrian cultural center spotted across the region We promise, Texas stereotypes don’t apply here: no matter your culture, religion, race or orientation, you can be sure Houstonians will welcome you with open arms.
Ask any native Houstonian what they enjoy most about their city, and this is an answer you are likely to receive. In 2017, Yelp.com listed Houston restaurants as having more than 75 national categories of cuisine, 600 vegan-friendly restaurants, more than 150 farm-to-table restaurants and more than 700 food trucks. Whether you’re looking for a taste of home or you simply have an adventurous palate, Houston offers the best authentic cuisine from around the world. And once you have a taste of our barbecue, you will understand why we host an annual festival in its honor. Bon Appetit!
8. Location and Transportation
Get your travel bags ready, y’all – Houston is your gateway to the world. One of the world’s largest transportation hubs, it is the international gateway to the south/central United States, and all of Latin America. Houston is the only city in Texas with two international airports, and only one of eight such cities nationwide. You can kiss tedious layovers goodbye because the city’s airports offer nonstop service to 109 domestic and 68 international locations, meaning you’re only one stop away from your dream vacation. So, go buy that ticket! What’s stopping you?
Houston has been the energy industry’s innovation hub for many years, and the Texas Medical Center has been at the forefront of the fast-growing biotech sector. The city has also seen a surge in the launch of co-working spaces and accelerators like Station Houston, TMCx, UH’s RED Labs, Rice’s OwlSpark and JLabs. One of Houston’s biggest advantages is our large supply of young talent and strong university systems. Houston has more than 300,000 educated millennials and 240,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workers, along with five nationally-ranked universities and graduate schools.
From 2014 to 2016, Houston-based enterprises received over $7.3 billion in venture capital (VC) and private equity funding, according to PrivCo, a business and financial database – half of which went to industries other than oil and gas. According to a 2017 report by Accenture, high-growth startups received a total of $1.3 billion in venture funding. So, if you plan on catching the third wave of technology innovation, ditch the sky-high cost of living in Silicon Valley and move to Houston – a city ready to invest in you.
10. Sports and Recreation
Burn off stress and lower your blood pressure after work by taking advantage of the 370 developed municipal parks and 220 green spaces (together encompassing 37,851 acres) within Houston city limits. Houston ranks first in total park acreage among U.S. cities with more than one million residents. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy the 200 golf courses and three TopGolf locations in the region; dog lovers can take their fur-baby to one of nine dog parks; cyclists can participate in the annual BP MS150 ride from Houston to Austin and the 300-mile interconnected bikeway network; and tennis players have access to more than 200 tennis courts. If spectating is more your style, there are plenty of opportunities to attend world-class sporting events without ever leaving town. Houston hosted its first Super Bowl in 1974, its second in 2004 and Super Bowl LI in 2017. In 2016, it hosted the NCAA Final Four Basketball Tournament.
Come see why Houston is one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities. Diverse in culture and limitless in opportunity, the region is the perfect fit for recent grads who seek something beyond just a job– Houston is a place you can truly call “home.”
And did I mention we have great tacos?