Life in Houston
Houston has a reputation for exploding growth, innovative change and free-spiritedness. Got four minutes? Get a taste of Houston here. Short on time? Read on!
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and one of the most diverse. Rice University is situated between the largest medical center in the world and one of the best museum districts in the country. The city has an abundance of green space, plays host to many international festivals and events, and is home to two airports, making travel easy and convenient. Often called the Bayou City and Space City, Houston is a center for the visual and performing arts, an international business hub and home to the second-busiest port in the United States. Our landscape is abundantly green, sprinkled with parks and traversed by many bayous and waterways. The centrally located Rice campus offers easy access to the exciting pulse of Houston!
Arts and Culture
Just a block from campus, you’ll find Houston’s impressive Museum District. The tree-lined district features 16 museums of national and international importance, exhibiting art, nature, science, medicine and history. Craving the theater? You’ll find a wealth of options. Houston is one of the few U.S. cities with internationally recognized resident companies in all four major performing arts: The Alley Theatre, the Houston Ballet, the Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Symphony.
More than 7 million people live in the Houston area, and annual events reflect the city’s growing internationalism. Activities include the Fiestas Patrias, the Houston International Festival, and the Juneteenth Blues Festival. Houstonians also celebrate at the Italian Festival, Greek Festival, Oktoberfest, Czech Fest, Jewish Festival, Slavic Heritage Days and more.
Whether you’re looking for all-American fare or want to try great Tex-Mex, authentic Thai or Middle Eastern cuisine, you'll be able to satisfy your appetite at one of Houston's more than 10,000 restaurants. Each August, Houstonians can experience the best of each restaurant during our month-long Restaurant Weeks Celebration!
A true-blue sports fan? Professional teams in Houston include Astros baseball, Rockets basketball, Texans football, and Dynamo and Dash soccer.
More than 300 municipal parks and 120 open spaces are at your disposal, providing venues for jogging, cycling, in-line skating, swimming, tennis, golf, baseball and basketball, to name a few. Adjacent to campus, Hermann Park offers more than 50 acres of picnic grounds, a zoo, a golf course and Miller Outdoor Theater. Discovery Green in downtown Houston boasts a lake, bandstands and venues for public performances, children's areas, and other places to relax.
When you feel the need to get out of the city, the beaches of Galveston Island are only an hour away and are a great place to sit and read on a sunny, breezy day. An hour from Rice is Brazos Bend State Park, which offers camping, five lakes and miles of nature trails. Within three hours of campus, you can float on the Guadalupe River, camp in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, visit the Alamo in historic San Antonio, or attend Austin City Limits or SXSW in Austin, the state's capital.
Houston has two major airports: Hobby Airport and Bush Intercontinental. If you don’t have a car, an airport shuttle to the Texas Medical Center is an affordable alternative. The neighborhoods near Rice are pedestrian-friendly. Metro’s light rail makes commuting downtown or to Reliant Park a snap, and an efficient network of buses makes it possible to be car-free.
Cost of Living
Houston has the third lowest living costs among the most populous U.S. metro areas, according to the C2ER Cost of Living Index for Q2 2023. Houston's living costs are 5.8 percent below the nationwide average and 28.8 percent below the average of the nation's most populous metropolitan areas. Wondering how we stack up against your home? Use this Cost of Living calculator here to find out!
Learn more about Houston:
Learn more about Rice University: