One of the first things you might think about when you apply to grad school (or after you decide to go) is where the heck you are going to live in city that you may or may not have been to before. UH is located in what few non-Texans realize is the fourth largest city in the United States: Houston. Despite the rumors (or perhaps lack of information in general) about Houston, I have found this city to be full of gems (Menil Collection, Hermann Park, great food, etc.). Yes, you have to get in a car to get to all of these places, but if you are willing to look openly past the concrete and the smog, you can find a depth of culture and excitement. I digress, what I really want to talk about is the neighborhood that I moved into this summer: the Houston Heights.
The Heights is a great option. It has a small town neighborhood feel even though its smack dab in the middle of the city. Heights Blvd runs down the center of the neighborhood with a tree-lined esplanade complete with a running trail. While you can go for a stroll amongst a variety of New Orleans-style homes (think great balconies and porch swings), you are also a hop, skip, and a jump away from great bars, coffee shops, and restaurants (or all three in one.) Apparently, the Heights was one of Houston’s first suburbs, which is funny to think about because now it is prime “inside the loop” Houston territory. If you are a Loop Snob like me, then you try your hardest not to go anywhere outside the loop because everything you ever need can be found inside it. I make exceptions for City Centre, eating in the Ghandi District, and $6 morning movies at AMC 30. (Okay, I actually go outside the loop a lot!)
I rent a one bedroom apartment in a four-plex so it has got the privacy and affordability of an apartment, but feels like a house. And best of all, it’s a quick 12 minute commute to UH! There are many great neighborhoods and suburbs to live in Houston, but I would definitely recommend the Heights.