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The Best Places to Live in Texas 2019

By: Justin Chaplin
May 15, 2019

Photo by Carlos Delgado on Unsplash

Thinking of moving to Texas? You're not alone. The Lone Star State is hotter than ever, and for good reason. Offering a strong job market, lower cost of living, and high quality of life, it's no wonder why Texas has one of the highest population growth rates in the U.S.

If you've decided to move to Texas and are not sure of which city to live in, prepare for a difficult choice. Being the largest state in the U.S., there is no shortage of places to choose from. Don’t know where to start? Put the worries to rest, as we're here to help. These are the best places to live in Texas, and some insight into why they are so great.

Austin

  • Population: 947,897
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,430
  • Median Household Income: $66,697
  • Walk score: 40
  • Transit Score: 34
  • Bike Score: 51

If you're a recent college graduate and looking for trendy cities to move to, Austin is usually on every list out there. The city that's been dubbed the live music capital of the world has some top tier nightlife which is a huge draw for young adults. One part of the city particularly stands out in this regard - the famous Sixth Street. This iconic street is lit up at night with neon signs. Expect a rowdy crowd looking to party, tons of drink specials, and a huge selection of live music venues.

It’s not only the entertainment that makes Austin so special. Money.com ranked Austin the number one big city in the nation, and it's largely due to its strong economy and job market. The unemployment rate is low and opportunities are high. In fact, Austin's job market growth is predicted to hit 43% over the next decade. It's a great time to move to Austin, and the future is clearly bright. Despite relatively higher rent prices compared to the other big Texas cities, the median income is also higher so it keeps pace.

The nightlife is one aspect of it, but the entertainment options don't stop there. Austin prides itself on its festivals and its residents will celebrate music any chance they can. South by Southwest is one of the big ones, and it brings together two of Austin's biggest industries: Music and Tech.

If you're wanting to celebrate one of Austin's more interesting quirks, try Bat Fest. This festival brings together food and music vendors to watch 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats fly out from under Congress Ave Bridge.

Houston

  • Population: 2,304,388
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,020
  • Median Household Income: $47,793
  • Walk score: 49
  • Transit Score: 37
  • Bike Score: 48

Compared to Austin, Houston is massive. In fact, Houston is the 4th largest city in the United States. With this population, you can expect to see tons of diversity across the city, which in turn creates an eclectic food scene that Houston foodies live for. The city hosts a number of food festivals throughout the year, and the cuisines come from all over the map. You'll see a barbecue festival one weekend and an African food fest the next. If you love trying foods from different cultures, you'll be in heaven in Houston.

Another huge draw for Houston is its museum district. This area breathes Houston culture and is the crown jewel of the city. Home to 19 museums and the Houston Zoo, this 9-mile district celebrates a number of cultures and art forms. It's a huge tourist attraction, as well as a large driver of Houston's economy.

One important thing to note about the city is how dense it is. When you think of big cities, you might be enamored of the idea of walking or biking everywhere. In Houston, you'll almost definitely need a car. The area is very spread out, and public transportation (while getting better) still needs improvement. The commute times and traffic are known to be rough, but for the fastest growing job markets in the US, it's worth it.

Dallas

  • Population: 1,317,942
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,120
  • Median Household Income: $47,243
  • Walk score: 46
  • Transit Score: 40
  • Bike Score: 46

Dallas is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, commonly referred to as DFW. The Metroplex is home to 13 different counties, with Dallas being the center of it all. The city is the economic center of Texas and is home to tons of big business and Fortune 500 companies. The corporate-friendly city provides some of the best job opportunities in the state. The two leading industries are tech and finance. Although job opportunities are abundant, the market is fiercely competitive. In fact, Forbes named it the most competitive job market in the United States. If you are moving here, make sure to have a job lined up beforehand.

Although smaller than Houston, Dallas is still a huge city and brings comparable diversity. Similar to Houston, this creates a wonderful restaurant scene that features a variety of cuisines. You'll find this diverse food scene on full display during the Texas State Fair hosted in Dallas. Of course, everything is bigger in Texas, and the state fair is no different. It was named the 7th best in the country.

Great job market, diverse food scene, large population... how do you choose between Dallas and Houston? The main differences come in the job industries. If you specialize in Oil and Gas, Houston will have better opportunities for you. Interested in banking and finance? Dallas is the place to be. Your sports fandom may play a role in this decision as well. Both are massive sports cities and each has six professional teams. Sports are huge in both cities and may play a role in deciding where you want to live.

San Antonio

  • Population: 1,492,494
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,070
  • Median Household Income: $49,268
  • Walk score: 38
  • Transit Score: 36
  • Bike Score: 42

San Antonio offers a slower lifestyle and really celebrates Texas culture. Texans have always been known to be friendly people, but San Antonians really embody Texas hospitality. The community vibe is real in San Antonio, and locals take pride in it. Although still a big city, San Antonio captures that small town feel.

The city also offers a lower cost of living compared to the other big Texas cities. While the job market isn't as robust, it's been growing which has also resulted in substantial population growth. If you have a military background, there will likely be tons of career opportunities here. San Antonio is a big military city, and military/defense is one of it's leading industries.

San Antonio has a large Hispanic and Mexican population. The Mexican and Latin America food options here are endless and are the star of San Antonio's food scene. You'll find plenty of great places to eat near one of San Antonio's prized attractions, the River Walk. The River Walk runs through downtown and is lined with tons of restaurants, bars, and shops. The waterfront walkways are perfect for a scenic morning jog or for a lively night out. The unique attraction hosts many community events, festivals, and cultural celebrations.

Plano

  • Population: 286,047
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,440
  • Median Household Income: $88,398
  • Walk score: 39
  • Transit Score: 17
  • Bike Score: 48

Plano is located north of Dallas and is part of the DFW metroplex. You'll find plenty of young families living here, with many residents traveling 20 miles to Downtown Dallas for their daily commute. While Dallas is home to more young professionals, Plano is a hotspot for those leaving the city to raise a family. Although there’s a strong population of commuters, Plano is becoming an increasingly hot job market as well.

But why is the city such a draw for families? Simply put, people here are just happy. So much in fact that WalletHub named Plano the happiest city in the United States. This ranking was based on high scores in emotional and physical well-being, income and employment, and community and environment. The job market in the area is growing, and the opportunities in Dallas are at your fingertips as well.

Plano has many pristine parks and open green areas, but nothing compares to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve.  With miles of walking trails surrounded by beautiful nature, it's a great way to escape the mostly-urban metroplex.

Downtown Plano is the main city center and source of entertainment. Here you'll find plenty of beloved restaurants with food from a number of different cultures. Although not nearly as lively as Dallas, Downtown Plano has a solid nightlife scene. This city has a ton going for it and is in a prime location that easily connects you to all the amenities Dallas has to offer.

El Paso

  • Population: 683,088
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $830
  • Median Household Income: $43,200
  • Walk score: 41
  • Transit Score: 31
  • Bike Score: 39

El Paso is located as far west as you can go in the state of Texas. The city borders Mexico, and the two are separated by the Rio Grande River. Being so close to the border, El Paso takes on plenty of Mexican influences and has some to-die-for Mexican food. This city is a great place to live, but keep in mind that the other large Texas cities are super far away. The closest large Texas city is San Antonio, and even that is almost an 8-hour drive away. Don't be alarmed, El Paso has a ton of great things going for it.

First of all, the city is a huge family town. Constantly named one of the safest cities in America, it makes sense why families are drawn here. The low crime rate pairs with a pretty large city that offers tons of things to do. Not to mention, the cost of living in El Paso is very affordable. The main attraction of the city is Downtown El Paso, which has different districts that all take on their own unique look and feel. The area hosts a number of great restaurants. The Mexican food often takes center stage, but you'll also find unique local coffee shops, upscale New American restaurants, and lively sports bars.

El Paso is in the middle of the desert. Most Texas cities are in a similar climate, but El Paso weather, in particular, can get pretty extreme. Summers can get really hot, and with low humidity, it'll be a very dry heat. Between the months of June and September, be prepared for monsoons and flash floods. There isn't much rain in El Paso, but when it does rain it can quickly lead to flash floods. If moving to this city, be sure to look into flood insurance!

Denton

  • Population: 133,803
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,060
  • Median Household Income: $54,528
  • Walk score: 33
  • Transit Score: N/A
  • Bike Score: N/A

Denton is another city located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro. This city is a charming small town in an ideal location. Similar to Plano, the city sees tons of its residents making the short commute to Dallas, Fort Worth or other cities in the metro for their jobs. Denton is the home to the University of North Texas, so you get a fun blend of college students, young professionals, and families. Outside of the areas near the campus, you'll find a relaxing, laid-back vibe with tons of friendly people.

However, if you're seeking out the lively parts of town, most of them will be in the areas that are popular with college students. The Downtown Denton Square, commonly referred to as "The Square," is the place to be for shopping, eating, and nightlife. The Square surrounds the Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum, one of Denton's most historic and picturesque buildings. Along the streets of The Square, you'll find tons of unique locally-made goods, and tons of Dentonites enjoying the many festivals and community events hosted in this area.

The convenient location will allow you to be a short drive to some of Texas's top destinations. If you are looking for that small town feel and community atmosphere, but still want to be close enough to head to Dallas for a night out, Denton is a great choice for you.

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