When someone says “Texas,” what do you imagine? Is it country singer George Strait perched atop an oil derrick in a football field, biting into a brisket sandwich while firing a gun in the air? Well, it’s that and more. Texas is an incredible place, a diverse and dynamic state that draws hundreds of thousands new residents each year. But is it right for you? Here are 53 reasons why you should live in the Lone Star State…
FLOATING THE RIVERS
In Alaska, there are 365,000 miles of rivers and streams, and you’ll get hypothermia if all of them. In Texas, there are fewer rivers, but you can float down many of them in a rubber inner tube with a cooler of cold beverages at the ready. That’s living.
BUYING PINATAS AT THE GROCERY STORE
Due to Texas’ sizable Latino population, there are plenty of Hispanic food markets to be found. Not only does this provide numerous specialty food items, but it also means piñatas are readily available. Tough day at work? Pick up a piñata to bash in the backyard. Guess, what, they’re filled with candy!
IT’S THE SILICON VALLEY OF THE SOUTH
More and more tech companies and entrepreneurs are migrating to the Central Texas area, giving rise to the title of “The Next Silicon Valley.” Drawn by limited regulations and taxes, a highly-educated workforce, and a fantastic quality of life, the Austin area is becoming a major hub for the next generation of tech companies.
LOTS OF ASTRONAUTS
Would you like to become an astronaut, hang out with astronauts, or possibly marry one? Of course you do. Everyone does. To do that, move to Houston to be near the Johnson Space Center, the training center for NASA’s astronaut corps.
If every marriage could be as harmonious as the marriage of Texan and Mexican food there would be no divorce. Tex-Mex is basically Mexican food that’s cooked up by cowboys steeped in southern food traditions. Go heavy on tortillas, be generous with the shredded cheese, serve in large portions, and enjoy. It’s delicious. And it goes great with…
COLD, REFRESHING MARGARITAS
Do you enjoy the nectar of the Tex-Mex gods? Is your idea of perfect cocktail a delicious blend of tequila, cointreau and lime? If so, then let us be the first to invite you to Texas—Margarita Heaven. However, if you answered “no” to those question, rest assured that Texas is also home to a number of “dry counties” for people who don’t like to have a good time. Here’s a map…
THE TAXES ARE LOW
According to Time magazine, Texas collects about $3,500 in taxes from each resident, which includes state and local taxes. Compare that to California’s $4,900 per resident and New York’s $7,400 per resident.
YOU CAN STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS
Despite limited rainfall, much of Texas is awash in wildflowers at certain times of the year. If you can’t find time to witness the splendor firsthand, don’t worry—you’ll see it on Facebook because Texans can’t have a baby or get engaged with taking a bunch of photos in a big patch of bluebonnets.
YOU CAN FINALLY GET A TRUCK
Have you always wanted to buy a big truck, but couldn’t justify it because your job doesn’t require one? No problem, Texas is full of people who work desk jobs, but drive gigantic pickup trucks they use for nothing more than commuting to work and hitting the drive-thru for Sonic Happy Hour. You’ll fit right in.
EAT FRITO PIE
Only in Texas would someone take a bag of Fritos and some homemade chili and decide the two belonged together in a bowl. The result is the best chili ever, something kind of like chili cheese fries, but even better because it crunches.
BECAUSE JERRY JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP
Have you ever placed higher than last place in a fantasy football league? Congrats, you’re qualified to be the next general manager of the Dallas Cowboys. The tough part is going to be convincing him to give up the job.
If you get the chance to marry a woman from Texas you should jump at the chance. Not only are they easy on the eyes, they also…
- Plan their weddings around football schedules
- Are not afraid of possums
- Don’t need a man to open a jar of pickled okra
- Make Wranglers look good
- Have dated or are related to someone named Bubba
- Believe going to Whataburger is an acceptable date
- Know their grandma’s gravy recipe by heart
- Would rather clean a fish they caught than the kitchen
- Have bodies that are 60% sweet tea
- Don’t consider it speeding to drive 15mph over the speed limit
In Texas, the men are rugged cowboys who rarely go bald, and when they get out their guitar at a party people are actually excited to hear them play. It’s incredible. Texas men also…
- Believe a dip of Copenhagen counts as a serving of vegetables
- Will hold the door open for you
- Don’t start growing their Movember mustache until the final week
- Know the difference between cover 3 and cover 2
- Believe men shouldn’t cry, but sometimes do anyway depending on the outcome of a college football game
- Will beg to name their sons after Nolan Ryan
- Have eaten a 72oz steak so they can get it for free
- Have watched shooting stars from a pickup truck bed
- Can throw a tight spiral
You can’t say, “This ain’t my first rodeo” if you’ve never been to a rodeo, and there is no shortage of rodeos in Texas. In fact, Rodeo is the state’s official sport and it’s acceptable to use the word as a verb.
Texas has seen considerable job growth in recent years, especially in oil and gas, tech, manufacturing, and business services. Texas is on pace to add about 248,000 new jobs in 2013, an increase of 2.3%. In fact, between 2009-2011 Texas added 40% of all new jobs in America.
TAXIDERMY = IMMORTALITY
No living creature wants to get shot and killed, but if it happens in Texas there’s a good chance you’ll be mounted on the wall and never forgotten. Many a Texas home is filled with taxidermy. Here’s proof.
It’s cute how in other states people are content to turn a spare bedroom into a “man cave” or the garage into a game room. In Texas, that isn’t nearly enough space. Instead, they build party barns. These large structures often come with a full bar, a stage for live music, a dance floor, a full kitchen, and maybe a mechanical bull or two.
Imagine the time people waste getting out of their car and walking all the way into a store to buy beer. In Texas, you can spare yourself the hassle and go to the local Beer Barn. These drive-thru alcohol dispensaries sell beer, liquor, and even daiquiris fast food-like efficiency.
PEOPLE DON’T MESS WITH TEXANS
Do people mess with you a lot? That’s too bad. Move to Texas and slap one of these stickers on your bumper and people from other states will be all like, “Whooaahh! Let’s not mess with that person. He/she is definitely carrying a concealed weapon and is friends with Texas resident Chuck Norris.” They won’t know “don’t mess with Texas” is just the local anti-littering campaign slogan.
TINY TEXAS HOUSES
Even in Texas, bigger isn’t necessarily better. If you’re looking to save some cash and downsize your carbon footprint, consider one of these Tiny Texas Houses. Made from salvaged materials, these custom built, energy-efficient homes are quickly becoming popular in Texas, an influential force in the small home movement.
GOING TO THE LAKE
There’s only one naturally formed lake of any size in Texas; the rest are all man made. And yet, there are lakes all over the place where you can fish, swim, or cruise around in a party boat. First thing you need to if you move to Texas is make friends with someone who has a lake house.
EAT CHICKEN-FRIED STEAK
If you weren’t lucky enough to grow up eating chicken-fried steak for Sunday breakfast (or dinner), it’s not too late to rectify this injustice. Chicken-fried steak is delicious steak that’s tenderized with an old Coke bottle, battered and fried up like fried chicken, and then topped with country gravy. What could be better? Well, how about the annual Chicken-Fried Steak Festival in Lamesa, Texas.
BLACK GOLD / TEXAS TEA
Texas is experiencing another oil and gas boom, meaning there is a lot of oil and gas money around to be had. There’s a chance oil will be found right in your backyard. Not only will this make you rich, but you can decorate your oil derricks for the holidays like they do in Kilgore, Texas.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS—#1
On Friday night in any town in Texas, the biggest game going on isn’t the bingo game at the at the senior center—it’s the local high school football game, and it doesn’t get any better than in Texas high school football.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS—#2
Football not your thing? Well, when Texas lighting stores struggle with excess inventory, they sometimes hold Friday night lighting sales to attract more business. You can get a great deal on some antique lamps. Look, it’s not the most compelling reason to move to Texas, but you don’t want to sit in the dark, do you?
The median list price for homes for sale in Texas is about $190,000, and what you get for the money is comparably better than what you get in other large states. Outside of major metropolitan areas, land is even less expensive, and there’s plenty of space to spread out.
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and tacos are the most delicious food, then tacos for breakfast is the most obvious meal ever. So how come the rest of the country hasn’t embraced this like Texas has? From hole-in-the-wall taco stands to gas station minimarts, the breakfast taco is readily available all over Texas. And they’re magically delicious.
THERE’S THE BEEF
Beef is everywhere in Texas. It’s on the menu, it’s what’s for dinner, and it roams the land. Texas is home to 14.3% of all cattle produced in the United States, more than double that of any other state. In fact, there is one ranch in Texas that’s bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island. A good burger or a great steak is always close at hand, as are a pair of longhorns for the grill of the car. And if beef isn’t your favorite form of protein, the state is home to the largest population of white-tail deer in the country.
Born in Abbot Texas, Willie Nelson’s is one of the most iconic Texans around, and pretty accurate representation of the inherent contradictions within Texas’ borders. The country music singer-songwriter is a liberal activist with arrests for marijuana possession, and he also hangs with Toby Keith, sticks up for farmers, and gets in trouble with the IRS for not paying his taxes. A little something for everyone.
Whether you went to a Big 12, Big 10, or SEC university, odds are you’ve watched your college team get its ass handed to it by a team from Texas. Home to the Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M Aggies, Baylor Bears, Texas Tech Red Raiders, TCU Horned Frogs, and plenty more, the state of Texas produces the best college football in the country. The tailgating ain’t bad either.
If there’s ever an economic collapse and money becomes worthless, queso will become the currency of Texas. This delicious dip is everywhere and queso is worth its weight in gold.
JOIN THE CIRCUS
Even if you’re not an acrobat or bearded woman, there are hundreds of other jobs in the circus. For reasons not entirely clear, Texas has a large circus presence. There’s the Lone Star Circus Banquiste, the Hertzberg Circus Museum, and various aerial arts performance groups and schools.
LIVE MUSIC CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
Austin, Texas is “The Live Music Capital of the World, ” a city that’s home Austin City Limits, various music festivals, and dozens of live performances each day. Beyond that, the rest of the state is no slouch. Home to countless music venues and clubs, honky-tonks and operas, and everything in between. No matter what type of music you like, Texas has it, even if you can’t stand country western.
CHICKEN $#!% BINGO
When people say, Texas has it all, what they really mean is “Texas has it all, including a form of bingo that requires a chicken to bring its digestion to completion. To join the fun you’ll have to head to Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon, an establishment that’s won titles like one of the 20 Worst Bars In America and also a place on the list of 20 Great Bars To Throw Up In.
WALK IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF DINOSAURS
In most states, the closest you’ll get to a Jurassic Park experience is hiring someone in a Barney costume to perform at a kid’s birthday. In Texas, you can walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs at Dinosaur Valley State Park.
Back in the 1920s, one innovative Texan allegedly looked at a slice of white bread and imagined something greater. This culinary hero devised a thicker piece of toast, more capable of sopping up gravy and BBQ sauce. He spread butter on this bread, fried it up in a pan, and gifted it to the world. Once that was completed, this fine person went on to invent the onion ring. People, can’t you see that Texas is a land of heroes.
The beer ’round here is Shiner, and it’s as fine a brew as you’ll find in America. Made by Spoetzl, the oldest independent brewery in Texas, Shiner is an iconic Texas beer that’s been mentioned in songs by the likes of Robert Earl Keen, Pat Green, Jason Aldean, and more. It also tastes really good and pairs perfectly with barbecue.
Regardless of whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, everyone can agree there’s nothing boring about Texas politicians. The state has kept politics interesting with the likes of Rep. Charlie Wilson, presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, Gov. Ann Richards, Rep. Ron Paul, President Lyndon B. Johnson, and plenty of other characters.
In addition to beer, the Czech immigrants who settled in central Texas also brought the state kolaches. These soft pastries of yeasted dough are filled with sweet or savory fillings, and they make a great afternoon snack. Also, a box of them can be substituted for a dozen roses for when you want to let someone know that you care.
STATE FAIR OF TEXAS
When other state fairs excitedly serve up some odd deep-fried offering, it’s probably ten years after it was first introduced at the State Fair of Texas. This annual event draws hundreds of thousands of people to Dallas, and is known as the “Fried Food Capital of Texas.” At this year’s fair, there was deep-fried Nutella, deep-fried grilled cheese, a deep-fried chocolate chip burrito, and so much more.
“Y’all” is one of the greatest words in the English language and if you move to Texas you can say it and nobody will suddenly suspect you are married to you cousin. A contraction of you-all, y’all fills the a terrible void in the English language, and keeps you from sounding like a douche by saying “you guys.” It’s the best way invented to preserve the singular/plural distinction of you and you-all. Plus, without it you can’t say “all y’all” now can you?
Yes, a third of all leprosy cases each year in the United States are the result of contact with infected armadillos. And yes, Armadillo corpses litter the roadways from Galveston to Odessa, but they’re basically large rodents wearing armor and they’re adorable. Pretty much the closest thing we have to an actual ninja turtle.
Don’t worry, these aren’t the actual eggs of an armadillo. These “armadillo eggs” are the ultimate tailgating food and the 8th wonder of the world. They’re made by stuffing a jalapeño pepper with a mixture of cheese, roll in uncooked sausage, and then crust with breadcrumbs or panko before frying or baking. Get the recipe for them from Homesick Texan, as well as the recipe for every other Texas culinary delight.
THE GHOST OF PATRICK SWAYZE
Beloved actor Patrick Swayze was born in Houston, so it’s possible his handsome ghost still roams the Lone Star State. Only way to be sure is to take a pottery class and wait and see if he shows up. If he does, please thank him for his performances in The Outsiders, Dirty Dancing, Roadhouse, and that SNL skit with Chris Farley where they’re both trying out to be Chippendales dancers.
No other state boasts the musical pedigree of Texas. This musical incubator hatched George Strait, Bob Wills, Milton Brown, Janis Joplin, Willie Nelson, Buddy Holly, ZZ Top, T-Bone Walker, Leadbelly, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Don Williams, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Townes Van Zandt, Spoon, Roy Orbison, The Black Angels, Selena Quintanilla, Geto Boys, UGK, Ghostland Observatory, Okkervil River, Kenny Rogers, Big Mama Thornton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Waylon Jennings, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
BLUE BELL ICE CREAM
To taste Blue Bell Ice Cream is to know true love.
NEVER FEEL SELF-CONSCIOUS IN A COWBOY HAT
In most states, cowboy hats are reserved for Halloween costumes or male strippers. In Texas, they’re as common as blue jeans. Perhaps you don’t have the confidence to pull off a cowboy hat in Los Angeles or New York, but it just kind of goes with the scenery down in Texas.
Not everyone is beautiful in Texas, but most people there are. Texas does produce the most beautiful people in the world. Case in point: Beyoncé. Top that Delaware.
Texas is home to over 2,000 barbecue joints, so good brisket and ribs are never far away. Texas barbecue is heavy on the beef, as opposed to other states which use more pork. There are some regional differences within Texas, which provides a great excuse to travel around the state to try them all.
GOOD ODDS OF BECOMING PRESIDENT
Four of the last eleven U.S. presidents were born or lived in Texas, so your odds go up considerably if you reside in the Lone Star State.
STARS: BOTH BIG AND BRIGHT
The stars at night / Are big and bright / Deep in the heart of Texas
If you’re driving late at night to get to Amarillo by morning, the view the night sky will be breathtaking.
The world is running out of helium, meaning the days of party balloons are numbered. However, Texas is home to the Federal Helium Reserve, a vast underground storehouse of this fun gas.
Whataburger is the best fast food burger chain in America. Absolutely the best. To suggest otherwise in Texas could result in violence. However, if you’re a Californian who believes that In-N-Out Burger is the best then remain calm because Texas is now home 20 of them.