Rain Dear asked in TravelUnited StatesHouston · 1 decade ago

I'm moving to Houston from the Chicago suburbs... What are some differences I can expect?

I'll be moving to Houston from the Chicago suburbs within the next month, and I'm curious about what differences I should be prepared for between the two regions. So far I've thought of four: cockroaches, humidity, flash floods, and hurricanes. Should I be concerned about any other weather-related or geographical differences? Should I be prepared for any kind of culture shock? Thanks!

12 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    I LOVE Chicago! I am sorry you are going to be leaving that great city but Houston has much to recommend it as well. Here's what you can expect ( I am a native Houstonian).

    The night life here is much more laid back than Chicago. People dress up, but not like they do in Chi Town. Jeans are acceptable almost everywhere with the exception of some of the really expensive restaurants. Jeans, a cute top and some heels will take you just about anywhere.

    The people here are much, much more open and friendly. Peolpe smile and say hello to strangers on the street. If you aren't used to it, it can be unsettling.

    Flooding does happen here and quite often as we are in the sub-tropics. Use common sense. If you can't see the curb because it is covered with water, do NOT drive through it. We have many underpasses which are much lower than they appear to be and every time it rains the news stations air photos of stranded motorists who thought they could drive through it.

    Hurricanes aren't really an issue as we usually have more than enough warning to take care of anything. Unless you are living near the coast, it is highly unlikely that you would need to evacuate. Just be certain to take the news casters suggestions seriously and you will be fine.

    Houston is an incredibly diverse city. You will find a mix of Big Oil money, soccer moms, yuppies, hipsters and hippies. You can find a community you will be happy in no matter what type of person you are. We also have thriving international communities here and access to their fabulous cuisines and arts.

    Houston has no public transport. This is a big one to get used to if you are used to the great system Chicago has. Allegedly we have buses and a very, very, VERY limited rail system but the truth is, they are useless. A simple 5 mile trip by bus can take over an hour. I am serious. Until something major happens, you just have to avoid Metro.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Let's see... what differences can you expect.

    We don't talk funny here. Ask for a Coke or a soda, not a pop.

    Cockroaches are everywhere, but what we have is different. They are called tree roaches and they fly. They're between an inch and inch and a half long. Different altogether. They're harmless and run away when the light is on.

    Flash floods? No. Minor street flooding? Yes. Not a big deal. Even during Tropical Storm Allison the flooding wasn't city wide and some parts had 30 inches (I had 8, and I didn't flood out). The bayous can overflow, but it is rare when it goes into people's yards. Hurricanes? I was here for Alicia in 1983. It formed quickly just a few hundred miles offshore and came north. Damage was citywide, but not severe. We were without power for three days. We survived in style because we were prepared. I was also prepared for Hurricane Rita in 2005. Didn't even lose power, but my wife's family up in the Conroe area had it worse. Just be prepared.

    Humidity? I've been in Chicago in summertime. It gets humid there too. Not quite as bad as Houston but bad enough. Don't worry, everything here is air conditioned. The worst you have to suffer through is the walk from a building to your car. Be sure you have a car. We're so spread out you'll need it.

    Oh, welcome to Houston. Give us a try and you'll be sure to like it here!

    Source(s): Did boot camp and was stationed in Great Lakes, spent a lot of time in Chicago
  • 1 decade ago

    To reinforce on the other comments.

    The humidity can be a killer; but so what if being sweaty is a part of life? Short-sleeves on many January days can make up for it.

    Have trashy neighbors? You will always be battling cockroaches. Otherwise, you may never even see one.

    There's many neighborhoods in Houston that have never flooded in their 100 years of existance. Other's - not so lucky, Fortunately, FEMA has flood maps on the web to give you the areas of concern. Note that I lived 15 years about 100' from a bayou and never had more than about 6" of water rise in the street.

    I would say no on the culture shock (unles you end up next to some transplanted Cajuns). I have run into many persons that have relocated from Chicago - and they all say they had to get away from that cold wind blowing in off the lake.

  • 1 decade ago

    I don't know about cockroaches. Flash flooding in areas that are well documented to avoid in a hard rain and humidity, a fact of life and hurricanes a possibility on the Gulf coast, true. Culture shock, hmm. We have a very diverse community of culture here. More of a pleasure, I find.

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  • 1 decade ago

    And if you like snow, you will be disappointed. I read that Houston has a measurable snow fall on an average of once every 13 years. And I think ours was just 2 years ago. On Christmas. (Houston had more snow that December than New Jersey. But NJ caught up by far later.) I only wore my "heavy" jacket for about a week last year. I had a windbreaker that I kept in the car just in case. As mentioned, you could be wearing short sleeves in January and February.

    The heat and humidity will get you during the summer. But we have air conditioning. If you like to be outside, you might want to avoid 11AM to 5PM.

    You just have to play it smart during our heavy rains. Find a restaurant or bar and relax for an hour or two. The street flooding has gone down and you can make it where you need to go.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think you've heard too many stereotypical stories about Houston! Houston isn't any more full of cockroaches than Chicago is too windy to live in. I've seen more cockroaches while visiting New York City than I've seen here!

    It is humid, and hurricanes come through, but they're not that bad. And Houstonians recover quickly!

    We do like to drive fast, though...

  • 1 decade ago

    I am a native Houstionian. It is an international community with a lot of diffrent cultures living here. It is hot, muggy in the summer and can be cold as heck in the winter.

    Over all I think it is going to be pretty much the same, I know chicago has traffic, so does houston.

    hurricans are a menice, Rita was the first and only hurricane I left the city for and have lived here for 45 yrs. I have never seen a tornado (personaly) never had my house flooded. However it happens and fast.

    Here is a link for you to look at.

    welcome to texas and houston!!! ( in advance)

  • 1 decade ago

    Let's see - any place can have cockroaches! You don't have them at all in Chicago? Use an exterminator and you'll have none. They come home with you in the paper bags that you carry your groceries in, and EVERY city has grocery stores. Yes, it's humid, but I've lived here most of my life and have NEVER been trapped in a flash flood and have ridden out only two serious hurricanes: Carla when I was a child and Rita (which turned out to be worse in East TX than it was here). You are near the sea level, there are no commuter trains, and Oprah doesn't tape her show here! We are very civilized creatures here in Texas. You need to read a Fodor's or quit watching television for your travel education.

  • 1 decade ago

    The biggest changes you wouldn't expect without research are the fact that people who have cars generally dont use public transport at all since it can take 3-4 times longer and I've heard it isnt that great (I was born and grew up here and I've used it less than I can count on one hand). If you have a car, all I can say is that people here drive "differently" from people in other places and that southern hospitality generally doesnt apply to the road.

    Source(s): 18 years of living in houston
  • 1 decade ago

    roaches are not a worry most places...long as your clean and exterminate regularly...Humidity will be top of your list...here in Houston we dont have "flash floods" per se....what we tend to have is street flooding from heavy rains...you will quickly learn what locations are susceptible....Having never been to Chicago I can not advise much on anything else...have many friends who have been there and love it.

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