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Guest kkazakos

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Guest kkazakos

Hello dear friends,

I would like to ask your views (positive/negative) on the city of Houston.

I have funding (1815$ monthly stipend).

How is life there?

1) crime?

2) people?

3) expensive city?

Everything you say (negative/postitive) will be helpful.

Thank you a lot

sincere regards

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Guest Aggie '05

Well, as much as I do not want to say it, crime has increased substantially since the hurricanes. There are more robberies and assaults. I would suggest finding a nicer, gated community if possible.

Don't get me wrong, Houston is a great place, a little too humid if you ask me, but it is a huge town, 3rd or 4th largest in America. It is a sprawling city, but it does have its historical downtown area. A lot has been renovated in the past 5 or so years. There is a new light rail system that should be useful in your case. Did I mention how humid it gets? There are so many wonderful museums: Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Natural Science Museum, Planetarium, Holocaust Museum, Clayton Genealogical Library...so much. Galveston Island is about an hour drive South of Houston. Austin and San Antonio are about 3 hours to the West, Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW as you will come to call it) is about 4 hours to the North, and Lake Charles Louisiana (for Casinos) is 2 hours to the East.

As for expenses, the food is much more reasonably priced here than anywhere else I have lived. Traditionally the South has the lowest food prices in the country. There are World Markets and the Rice Epicurean Market. Gas has been hanging around $2.20, but just shot up yesterday (Mar. 16) to $2.40. It is hard to give you prices on meals/entertainment for Houston because it is so large and can vary so much. You can always find something fun going on for free and all you have to do is pay for the gas to drive there. There are lots of outdoor music festivals in the spring and summer.

As I said before, do not let the new crime bother you too much, it is still less than Detroit or New York. Houston is a great place. I would have applied if they had my program there. If you have any other questions, vague or specific, please post on here again and I will do my best to answer. (Specific questions are easier.)

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: Go 'Stros!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Compared to many other cities, Houston is very cheap. My one-bedroom apartment in a gated complex cost about $650 per month. A two-bedroom in the same complex was less than $800. In the summer months, air conditioning made my electricity bill higher than I would have wanted, but I made up for it in the winter when I didn't have to run the heat very often. Food and entertainment are also reasonably priced, so your stipend will go a long way. There's always really cheap beer at Valhalla, the grad student pub.

The downside to living in Houston are that it's hot, humid, and the city floods with minimal rainfall. The commuter parking lot at Rice, where you'll be parking as a grad student, becomes a giant ankle-to-shin deep puddle on a fairly regular basis. The roads in Houston are full of potholes, and the highways are perpetually under construction.

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Hi all. I'm very seriously considering moving to Houston to attend the University of Houston. My (recent) experience with Texas is limited, though, and I've spent my whole life living in three Midwestern cities.

So I'm hearing from you that it's not too expensive, which is great (as my stipend is much smaller than $1800/month), but I have a few other questions.

Where is a good place to live for a graduate student at the University of Houston? My top priorities are safety, cost, and proximity. Of course, I'd love to live somewhere that's sort of nice looking, close to a grocery store, a park, a library... I would be probably looking at either studio apartments or two bedroom apartments (for sharing).

Also what is the public transportation like? How accessible is the light rail, and how much is a monthly/annual pass? Are there other modes of public transportation? I presently have use of a car, but I'm not sure if I will when I move.

Thanks! Thoughts are greatly appreciated.

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Guest Aggie '05

Do not get rid of your car that would be the single dumbest move to make at U of H. Houston is too widespread of a city. If you are going to main campus, you will most definately need a car seeing as it is South of Houston proper. UH-Downtown would be a different story, but I'd still keep the car. I don't know about the housing in the area, sorry.

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I agree that a car is very helpful in Houston. The light rail only goes in one line, and I don't know how well-developed the bus system is. Houston isn't a city known for its public transportation. I can't recommend a place to live, but from what I've heard from my friend who graduated from UH, it's better to live a little farther from campus. Great deals are available very close to campus, but the area isn't the safest.

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Guest dym
kkazakos said:
Hello dear friends,

i would like to ask your views (positive/negative) on the city of Houston.

I have funding (1815$ monthly stipend).

How is life there?

1) crime?

2) people?

3) expensive city?

Everything you say (negative/postitive) will be helpful.

Thank you a lot

sincere regards

Cliff:

crime: I have seen a lot.

people: friendly, yah, we're from the south

expensive: not at all, almost cheapeast in everything.

weather: it's like hell in summer!!! Winter: very mild.

oh well, been away from houston for 2 years...

conclusion: you can live well on 18xx/month. Go for it!!!

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yes! as a longtime resident of Houston, i have many suggestions: visit Rice Village to shop. Go to the Montrose area (the "gayborhood" and, in my opinion, the best part of Houston) to eat and stroll around (eat at Empire Cafe, Brasil, Barnaby's, etc etc).

You will always need a car in Houston. ALWAYS! So keep that in mind. Make sure you visit some of the museums in the Museum District (very close to Rice campus). I wouldn't go into actual Downtown Houston, and avoid the Galleria area (if anyone suggests you go there, don't bother).

Enjoy!

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You can use the metro for bus based service around MOST of Houston. The only train is an above ground linear line that only services downtown to around the medical center.

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does anyone have more recent advice on Houston? where to live, cost of living, good coffee places?

Hi, I currently live in Houston and I came here two years ago from LA. The cost of living can be as low as $500 dlls for a one bedroom apt, in an so so part of town (over by the 610 west) you can pay about 900-1000 a month for a really nice/ clean/ good managed property one bedrrom apartment (AMLI, Avistele) in the downtown/ river oaks area and its also an 8dlls max cab ride from anywhere you would want to go out to at night. I think the best areas to live are montrose/ river oaks. washington. Some places charge up to $1,300 (midtown) a month but its really unecessary and they aren't any nicer that the ones that are 300-400 dlls cheaper. All rent here includes trash water and parking. So it can really range depending on what you want. You probably want to stay away from areas south of town by the Hobby airport or the Reliant Center.

Good coffee places you've got Epicure cafe and Inversion Coffee.

Let me know if you're curious about anything else! Going somewhere new can be crazy, I came here without knowing anything about the city or anyone that lived here and found everything out the hard way so i'd be glad to help!

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I am thinking about going to Uni. of Houston for my PhD this fall. Can anyone inform me about the life in Houston this year? What are the on- or off-campus options for PhD students at UH? How much do the rents cost? Where in the city would you recommend me to live (I have not a car)? When should I apply for accommodation? Where can I find a roommate if I need one? How much money can be enough for all expenses (including rent, food, gas, etc.) on a monthly base?

Many thanks in advance :)

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I am thinking about going to Uni. of Houston for my PhD this fall. Can anyone inform me about the life in Houston this year? What are the on- or off-campus options for PhD students at UH? How much do the rents cost? Where in the city would you recommend me to live (I have not a car)? When should I apply for accommodation? Where can I find a roommate if I need one? How much money can be enough for all expenses (including rent, food, gas, etc.) on a monthly base?

Many thanks in advance :)

Sorry I dont have a lot of advice, but I went there for interviews (and am going to UH in the fall, yay!) and while on the campus tour my tour guides said that there are on-campus apts/dorms for grad students, but they are like $1,000+. From everyone else here it sounds like you can find a lot more apts for cheaper off campus. Hope that helps!

I had a question myself for anyone who knows: if I am going to UH, where are some good apts that are close to school but not terrifyingly scary? Thanks!

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Hey guys,

I've been living in Houston for quite a while and did my undergrad at U of H (yay!). I however, did not live near or in campus because I have family in Houston anyway. Honestly right around UH and TSU (they are within miles of each other) apts are not very great (safety) but if you spread out maybe 5-10 miles or so its much better I think. I would look at apartmentratings.com for apts in the 77054 or 77030 zipcode and read reviews. Students tend to live in those zipcodes since the Texas Medical Center and other schools (UT, Rice, etc) are all in the same area. What I think tends to happen is out-of-state/city students usually come in live near campus because they know nowhere else but then after a few months, once familiar with the city, they move farther out to safer places.

Public transportation is not really good in Houston but there are buses that go to the UH area. Also some apts will have shuttle services that drop off and pick up students for like $1 a ride. But at some point you will need a car especially if you want to take advantage of the city and go beyond the campus.

But cost of living is cheap and the city is very diverse :D.

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Hi all,

I've lived in Houston in the Texas Medical Center the past 15 months. It's a little pricey to live in the area but in my opinion it's worth it, at least when you're first starting your degree. The apartment complexes tend to be gated, well kept, very nice looking outside and inside, relatively safe and you'll most likely have other graduate students and young professionals living in the same complex. I HATE HATE HATE Houston traffic so it's absolutely worth it to me that I can walk to work and the MetroRail station. Sure, the rail only goes in a line from Reliant Stadium to Downtown, but that works for what I need! It costs $1.25 to ride (but most people just sneak on with the rush of people without paying, shh...) and it will take you to easy walking distance of anything in the Medical Center including UTHSC-Houston GSBS and Public Health buildings, a plethora of hospitals and clinics, Baylor College of Medicine and the Metro bus transit center. There are a few places to choose from to eat which is great if you go to school or work in the area. Stuff like Subway, Salata, Chipotle, sushi, mediterranean, Tacos-a-go-go (you must try!), and you can also go to any of the hospitals' cafeterias. It's also just a short train ride to Hermann Park, the zoo, museums, a japanese garden and great jogging trails.

You'll definitely need a car, though, since Houston is HUGE and I'm sure you'll want to do more than just go to class and the park once in a while. There's tons to do all the time, from music concerts and bars/clubs to free plays in the outdoor theatre at the park. My personal favourites lately have been going to Rice Village for cupcakes, frozen yogurt or ice cream and going to the Japanese arcade!

I love the apartment complex I live in, but since I live alone and don't make much at my job it's starting to run me down a little. I certainly recommend getting a roommate if possible. Not only will it help financially, but it'll give you someone to explore places with and vent to once in a while.

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 You must have a car. I wouldn't live around UH since it's not in the greatest area. I always felt safe on campus, but I wouldn't want to live in some of the apartments right near campus. Houston is a cheap city, with cheap housing and cheap gas. The best thing about Houston: the food. Man do I miss that food. People are friendly. Cons: Traffic sucks and so does the humidity.

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Houston is the only city in which I ever broken a lease in order to get the hell out. :angry:

Sorry.

I can see how it would really suit some people, but I am a pretty liberal, outdoorsy person, and I had a number of beefs. I lived in the Museum District (renting a quite nice townhouse with several others).

Cost of living is very low in Houston, which is good. This includes, rent, food, gas, etc. It also has amazing Mexican food and barbecue. Houston has some public transit, but is really only doable with a car, I would say. i never really felt unsafe, although I wouldn't do downtown proper at night without at least a small group of people.

Downs: It took me an hour, ONE WAY, to get to a park that didn't have a golf course in it. This park was flat as a pancake. I went stir crazy. The pollution is also pretty bad and had a tendency to kick up my asthma.

Traffic does suck. A half hour commute in rush hour is considered short. Every city has its quirky relationship to the laws of traffic. In Houston, people very politely don't block the intersection on a yellow or red light, make sure to drive the speed limit on Sunday mornings (really, they drove noticeably slower), but didn't have any problem turning illegally into the far lane EVERY time or --while stopped at a red light-- opening the door to dump trash by the side of the road. Further, heavy constant rain causes frequent flooding on many major roads (because Houston is cleverly built in a bayou), including freeway offramps (usually in hurricane season). This is considered an acceptable excuse not to go to work. My car once floated down a street. It was also once ticketed when parked in front of my own house.

You will be assumed to be Protestant. Even at your place of business.

I had a hard time getting a recycling bin at all, and curbside recycling of glass (because what college age person needs to recycle bottles?) was unavailable.

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I've lived in Houston in the Texas Medical Center the past 15 months. It's a little pricey to live in the area but in my opinion it's worth it, at least when you're first starting your degree. The apartment complexes tend to be gated, well kept, very nice looking outside and inside, relatively safe and you'll most likely have other graduate students and young professionals living in the same complex. I HATE HATE HATE Houston traffic so it's absolutely worth it to me that I can walk to work and the MetroRail station.

I am thinking this would be a good area for me to start out--it's pretty close to Rice, and although I don't know yet if my husband will be working somewhere along the MetroRail line, that would be awesome if he could commute via it. One question about Houston traffic: I'm originally from SoCal, and I used to have a 35-minute commute (only 15 miles; this is why Californians give distances in time, not miles!), so I know traffic; will Houston be worse than this?

Also, another option I was considering is the Rice Village Apartments, although it seems pretty expensive for what you get (I currently live in a one bedroom about the same size as the one bedrooms there, and I can't do that again, so I'm looking at their 1 bed + study, which goes for $1025+). It seems like a bit further from campus, you can get a nice 2 bedroom in the $800-900 range; since I'll have a car (and I'm hoping to get a bike as well), that seems like it would be feasible. Does that price range sound about right? How is parking on campus for grad students?

What I'd really like is a walkable neighborhood, with a grocery store, restaurants, coffee shops, and a neighborhood pub or two within a 10-minute walk. Is there a neighborhood (that is, say, within a 15 minute drive of Rice) like that? I'm looking for an area with other grad students/young professionals. Oh, and in the area, are there any good pubs/bars in the area that have a good selection of beer (esp. stouts and porters)?

Finally, one last question: I am assuming that in Houston, like most cities, there are apartment openings year-round. Since most Rice undergrads live on campus, I'm assuming I don't need to worry about getting an apartment before summer, even very close to campus? Is this a correct assumption? I will be traveling for 3 weeks in July and returning to SoCal in early August; my plan was to already have a place rented and then arrive around Aug 15th and move in immediately. However...given that I will definitely not able to visit Houston to look at places after late June/early July, will that be a problem? In other words, if I come in May or June, will there be many openings yet for August, or will I have to do this over the web?

Thanks in advance for all help!

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bump...any help would be greatly appreciated!

I am thinking this would be a good area for me to start out. One question about Houston traffic: I'm originally from SoCal, and I used to have a 40-minute commute, 15-mile commute (this is why Californians give distances in time, not miles!), so I know traffic; will Houston be worse than this?

Also, another option I was considering is the Rice Village Apartments, although it seems pretty expensive for what you get (I currently live in a one bedroom about the same size as the one bedrooms there, and I can't do that again, so I'm looking at their 1 bed + study, which goes for $1025+). It seems like a bit further from campus, you can get a nice 2 bedroom or 1 bed+study/den in the $800-900 range; since I'll have a car (and I'm hoping to get a bike as well), that seems like it would be feasible (note: I willing be moving to Houston with my SO, so it would just be the two of us in the apartment). Does that price range sound about right? How is parking on campus for grad students?

What I'd really like is a walkable neighborhood, with a grocery store, restaurants, coffee shops, and a neighborhood pub or two within a 10-minute walk. Is there a neighborhood (that is, say, within a 15 minute drive of Rice) like that? I'm looking for an area with other grad students/young professionals. Oh, and in the area, are there any good pubs/bars in the area that have a good selection of beer (esp. stouts and porters)?

Finally, one last question: I am assuming that in Houston, like most cities, there are apartment openings year-round. Since most Rice undergrads live on campus, I'm assuming I don't need to worry about getting an apartment before summer, even very close to campus? Is this a correct assumption? I will be traveling for 3 weeks in July and returning to SoCal in early August; my plan was to already have a place rented and then arrive around Aug 15th and move in immediately. However...given that I will definitely not able to visit Houston to look at places after late June/early July, will that be a problem? In other words, if I come in May or June, will there be many openings yet for August, or will I have to do this over the web?

Thanks in advance for all help!

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...so I know traffic; will Houston be worse than this?

Yes, Houston traffic is rough, but it probably won't be much different than what you already experience, maybe a little bit better if you plan to live in the Med Center (TMC). Most people live outside of the 610 loop, so rush hour traffic is worse on roads leading to and including 610 and 59.

Does that price range sound about right? How is parking on campus for grad students?

Yes, $900 is on-par, and actually reasonable, for a 1bdrm apartment in the TMC. Anything cheaper and you risk being in an unsafe neighborhood. Also, parking in the TMC is terrible. It's expensive and very competitive. I did not go to RIce but I've known Rice students who biked. Check with the school about parking, they may have special parking/parking rates for grad students. Oh, and be sure to lock up your bike, people WILL steal it!

What I'd really like is a walkable neighborhood, with a grocery store, restaurants, coffee shops, and a neighborhood pub or two within a 10-minute walk. Is there a neighborhood (that is, say, within a 15 minute drive of Rice)

are there any good pubs/bars in the area that have a good selection of beer (esp. stouts and porters)?

Rice Village has great pubs (O'Neill's and Gingerman to name a couple), coffee shops and eateries. It starts at the corner of Kirby and University blvd. There is also a fancy new HEB just north of there, a Randalls southwest of the village on Holcombe, and jogging/bike trail along the Bray's bayou that transverses the TMC. Houston has plenty of coffee shops and restaurants, you'd be sure to find a few you'll love.

if I come in May or June, will there be many openings yet for August, or will I have to do this over the web?

Apartment openings are year-round, but that may be more competitive for apartments closer to rice. Medical and professional students swipe up apartments in the TMC before each semester so if you cannot visit until late summer, you might consider using an apartment locator. They can go a look at apartments for you, plus they are free to you and will have plenty of information about specific apartments and neighborhoods.

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Yes, $900 is on-par, and actually reasonable, for a 1bdrm apartment in the TMC. Anything cheaper and you risk being in an unsafe neighborhood. Also, parking in the TMC is terrible. It's expensive and very competitive.

Thanks for your help! Just one more question about unsafe neighborhoods. Right now, I'm considering apartments in the area bounded by the 288 (eastern boundary), 610 (southern boundary), Bellaire (western boundary), and Westheimer Rd (northern boundary). That would include neighborhoods like: West University Place, Southside Place, Sunset Terrace, Bellaire, Astrodome, Medical Center, Braeswood Place, Meyerland, and Upper Kirby. Are all of those safe, or is it on a block-by-block basis? Also, I have been looking at one apartment just outside of the boundaries above, just east of 288 and north of Old Spanish Trail, in the MacGregor area; is that a safe area?

Thanks!

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Many of them are safe, but certain blocks are not. You really have to look at individual apartments/neighborhoods.

Northeast of the TMC is the museum district and it is full of fairly expensive lofts and condos. Many apartment complexes in the southeastern corner (near 288 and 610) are pretty nice and have apartment shuttles that take you to back-and-forth to the TMC. I would be careful looking at apartments between the Astrodome and Alameda Rd. though, some are rather sketchy. East of 288 is the third ward and many neighborhoods there also very sketchy. I wouldn't recommend that area for a new Houstonian. I don't know about many apartments on the west side, but if you find something in Meyerland or Bellaire there is plenty of shopping and food nearby. Check-out the online apartment reviews, they're usually pretty accurate.

I hope that helps!

Edited by jetty016

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Many of them are safe, but certain blocks are not. You really have to look at individual apartments/neighborhoods.

Northeast of the TMC is the museum district and it is full of fairly expensive lofts and condos. Many apartment complexes in the southeastern corner (near 288 and 610) are pretty nice and have apartment shuttles that take you to back-and-forth to the TMC. I would be careful looking at apartments between the Astrodome and Alameda Rd. though, some are rather sketchy. East of 288 is the third ward and many neighborhoods there also very sketchy. I wouldn't recommend that area for a new Houstonian. I don't know about many apartments on the west side, but if you find something in Meyerland or Bellaire there is plenty of shopping and food nearby. Check-out the online apartment reviews, they're usually pretty accurate.

I hope that helps!

That was really helpful, thanks! I probably can't afford to live in the museum district or TMC proper, but I also don't want to live in a sketchy neighborhood. I've lived in big cities my whole life, but always in the suburbs (although during college, the suburb I lived in seems like the equivalent of TMC). So when I go there, I'll be sure to check out individual apartment complexes.

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anyone can give some ideas, opinions that is Houston a suitable city for studying counseling psychology? what's the atmosphere there?

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Hi all!

I'm an incoming doctoral student at UTSPH and am now starting to search for apartments. I have been consulting with an apartment locator, and saw some properties on a recent visit to Houston. However, I have been cross-checking options suggested/viewed with reviews online (including apartmentratings.com). For many apartments, especially those closest to the TMC, the rating are the pits!! It is a little unnerving. I try to take what I read with a grain of salt but am sure there is some truth to what's written -- especially if a number of folks are saying the same thing.

So, for folks familiar with Houston and the TMC area, are there any apartment complexes you might suggest? Ideally I'd like to be close to campus, but am willing to commute a bit, as long as it's in the Inner Loop.

Since I'll be in Houston for a number of years, I'd really hope to stay put in the same place for a longer period than not.

Thanks!

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