Our better-than-fair city

June 1st, 2008

Kiplinger.com just publish its top-10 list of the Best Cities to Live, Work and Play:

Our approach this year to picking the ten best cities in which to live and work was simple: Look for places with strong economies and abundant jobs, then demand reasonable living costs and plenty of fun things to do. When we ran the numbers, some of the names that popped up made us do a double take at first. So we hit the road to meet movers, shakers and regular folks, experience the ambience and take in the sights.

Their number 1 pick? Houston.

It’s the city of big plans and no rules, beat-the-heat tunnels and loop-the-loop highways, world-class museums and wiry cowboys, humidity that demands an ice-cold martini and the biggest damn liquor store on the planet. How could you not love Houston?

This will surprise no one who lives in or near the city. It’s a great place, inside the loop or outside.

The liquor store mentioned above is Spec’s. I knew it was a large store, but the world’s largest? The article refers to the midtown location, which has 80,000 square feet of booze but also has an awesome deli and selection of rare and imported foods. Their selection of single malt Scotch is killer too. The Spec’s in Clear Lake is also a large store — it occupies what used to be an entire grocery store. In square footage, it has got to be close to the size of the midtown location, but the difference is that it’s not as densely packed with bottles and boxes as midtown.

2 Responses to “Our better-than-fair city”

  1. John Says:

    Yay us! yay us!

    OK, I think these surveys are kind of dumb – there’s no way to really set priorities for different factors that make sense to any significant number of people. If you hate to drive and want to live without a car, Houston stinks. If you hate winter, Houston’s heat is OK; if you hate humidity, no dice. Etc. Plus, I’ve seen at least one where they rank Sugar Land higher than Houston – by including Houston’s cultural amenities as benefits – but it makes no sense to split up metro areas that way. (Having options from Midtown to Sugar Land is a strength of the whole region). Never mind the attempt to rank cultural life by counting things – Houston’s great, but if your life revolves around cutting edge art galleries, it doesn’t matter how many museums we have, you’re going to prefer NYC.

    But if they’re gonna do it, let’s hear it for our ranking!

  2. Jim Says:

    Yup, you can certainly argue with the criteria in any survey, and I’d be willing to bet that Kiplinger’s criteria change every year. You can also choose the criteria to fit your favorite city, or not to — if your criteria included the availability of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Houston wouldn’t even make the first cut. That said, the Kiplinger criteria were certainly reasonable: a strong economy, abundant jobs, reasonable living costs, and plenty of fun things to do. Considering that Houston often gets bad press by appearing on lists such as “fattest city” or “most polluted city”, it’s nice to see surveys like this one to balance the accounting.