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So ... I am probably going to be heading down to TX this month to check out both cities, get an idea of the business vibe in each, and do some personal portfolio work.  

To be honest, my wife and I are of the opinion that the economies of the NE and West Coast are going to crater once the aid is turned off and/or reality hits.  We also don't think NYC is going to recover for a good amount of time (like years), and the ad agency people we have talked to seem to back this up.  Which brings us to TX, and the idea of setting up a 2nd studio location.  Seems like a great state right in terms of doing business.  Many great companies and personalities are moving there and the cost of living appears to be low enough where we would be able to retain our properties here and afford another there.  

First, lets get out the obvious, are both cities open?  Any good cigar lounges I would be able to visit?  

Second, when comparing architecture, which city is more interesting?  

Third, how are the economies in both right now?  

I primarily photograph architecture and my wife food.  She needs access to really good ad agencies, of which Dallas seems to be the much larger hub.  However, I have read that Houston architecture is more cutting edge.  I dont know if that is true, but if Houston is significantly better in terms of architecture, it would effect my leanings.  

Thanks in advance.  

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I lived in Dallas for a while and have spent some time in Houston. That's a nice way to say I am about to give some opinions on both places and they will be biased. 

Dallas is a better scene for ad agencies. You have some of the global and national ones as well as a lot of boutique and smaller agencies that focus more on digital and online ads. 

Architecture is going to be dependent on what you find interesting. Texas, and Dallas in particular, are constantly building and rebuilding. They don't tend to preserve or keep too many older buildings. They tear them down and build up something new. You'll see new buildings, but they are still fairly conservative and not too modern. 

You won't have much public transportation in either city. You will need a car or truck in both. Traffic is bad in both, but worse in Houston. Texas doesn't like to build up, so they build out and most metroplexes sprawl quite a ways out. 

Weather will be similar in both cities, with Houston being more humid. Summer is roughly 7 months out of the year. 

One thing I do love is the people. The people in TX are really friendly, easy going, and helpful. If you have a flat or are trying to do something and having a hard time, people will stop and offer to help or just help you anyways. 

As for cigar lounges, I wasn't really into cigars while I was there, but here are a few I'd recommend. 
Javiers is a good spot, but I think they don't let you bring your own cigar anymore. 

Casa de Montecristo - good lounge and good selection of NC cigars.

Hope that helps. 

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Of course I have never lived in both cities, however after visiting Dallas in late 2018 I appreciated that Fort Worth is only a short distance away and is very much connected to Dallas. That cigar lounge opposite the Cheesecake factory in Fort Worth was a great place to visit!

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Don't know about the ad agencies since I'm retired. However, being retired, I have been able to peruse the cigar lounges of most of the Dallas metroplex. I live in McKinney, so most of my experience has been with north Dallas cigar lounges. There are a LOT! That being said, I have visited the Cigars International store in the Colony, Industrial cigars in Frisco (lot's of high end stogies). Silver Leaf in Ft. Worth (where I herfed with JohnS and his son - Great time!), Chamberlain's in Dallas which is a steak house with cigar smoking and a humidor and there are many more cigar lounges throughout the Dallas area.Then there is the Enfuego cigar lounges in Frisco, McKinney and Rockwall.  I frequent the Cigar Lounge of McKinney, my home base if you will. I buy a couple NC's, sit down in the lounge and have a good time with the homeboys or I read. Dallas is a cigar lover's haven.

We do have the DART rail system, but it's mostly personal vehicle. And it is HOT from mid April to October. November through mid January is temperate and the other two months gets down to the upper 20's. 

My wife and I have been here three years (transplants from the republic of merryland), and I couldn't envision it would be this good. Plus....no state income tax! YaaaaY!

We would welcome you with open arms!

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I live in Houston, but spent Monday-Thursday in Dallas for many months (I'm a consultant).  

I don't think the architecture is particularly interesting in either city, but I would give the nod to the broader DFW area given the stockyards, etc.  You have great food in both cities, but ethnic cuisine is generally better in Houston, as its a much more diverse city.  Dallas has better Japanese options given the large presence of Japanese businesses and executives (Toyota especially).  The economy in Houston is much more centered around energy and healthcare.  Given oil prices, demand drop and all of the other issues right now, Houston is hurting more than Dallas.  The economy in Dallas is more diverse, but there are a lot of companies focused on consumer goods and travel/transport.  

I personally like Dallas better than Houston and will likely move there in the future.

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I live in Dallas and echo a ton of what Eldude and others have said but can't stress enough how humid Houston is.  It's worth mentioning is that Houston's massive compared to Dallas.  I go for work quite a bit and I never seem to know what part of Houston I'm in.  For comparison, I live close to downtown Dallas and it's never more than a 15 minute drive wherever I need to go.  Additionally, the taxes are quite high in Dallas, but it reflects in the overall quality and upkeep of public land and roads.  Unfortunately, the high tax does not equate to a solid public school system and private is typically the route families take if they live inside the suburbs.  I'm not quite sure what taxes are in Houston, but the overall quality of the city doesn't seem to compare to DFW.  As for restaurants, the food scene in Dallas has exploded over the past five years.  New trendy restaurants are opening in and around Uptown every month it seems.

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Thanks all for the responses.  I pretty much was thinking Dallas would be the better choice given our , concentration of world class ad firms, and dry heat.  

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4 hours ago, PaulPower said:

Austin


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Austin is indeed the best place to live if you're interested in outdoors or a different vibe.  I would move there and get a house on Lake Travis if I could.

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First, Austin is just not big enough.  With my wife's and my type of work we need to live in a large hub to make it work, otherwise we would probably have to be a generalist (to some extent at least) to survive.  I have no desire to photograph anything other than architectura, interior design and product design.  My wife too photographs only food and beverage, and makes most of her money from packaging, of which only large advertising agencies do. 

Second, and not to get too political, but we're both libertarians/conservatives.  Although I know any large city is more then likely more to the left then the right, I dont think we could handle Austin.  

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1 hour ago, Kitchen said:

First, Austin is just not big enough.  With my wife's and my type of work we need to live in a large hub to make it work, otherwise we would probably have to be a generalist (to some extent at least) to survive.  I have no desire to photograph anything other than architectura, interior design and product design.  My wife too photographs only food and beverage, and makes most of her money from packaging, of which only large advertising agencies do. 

Second, and not to get too political, but we're both libertarians/conservatives.  Although I know any large city is more then likely more to the left then the right, I dont think we could handle Austin.  

I have family in Austin and been visiting often since mid 80's (old airport) and it's not what it use to be.   Major traffic like a nightmare and for sure a left lean vs the rest of the great state.  I think there's probably enough work, but the traffic 1st and culture 2nd is enough to make it sour.  Circuit of the Americas and amazing BBQ soften the blow LOL.

 

 

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10 hours ago, Kitchen said:

Thanks all for the responses.  I pretty much was thinking Dallas would be the better choice given our , concentration of world class ad firms, and dry heat.  

Not much dry heat in Dallas. Dallas can be less humid but currently:

Location: Dallas Love Field

80 °F. Feels Like: 84 °F
Forecast: 97 / 76 °F

Current Time: Aug 5, 2020 at 11:49:33 pm

Latest Report: Aug 5, 2020 at 10:53 pm

Visibility: 10 mi

Pressure: 29.94 "Hg

Humidity: 76%

Dew Point: 72 °F

 

 

Location: Houston Hobby Airport

83 °F.  Feels Like: 89 °F
Forecast: 92 / 78 °F

Current Time: Aug 5, 2020 at 11:50:55 pm

Latest Report: Aug 5, 2020 at 10:53 pm

Visibility: 10 mi

Pressure: 29.97 "Hg

Humidity: 72%

Dew Point: 73 °F

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First, Austin is just not big enough.  With my wife's and my type of work we need to live in a large hub to make it work, otherwise we would probably have to be a generalist (to some extent at least) to survive.  I have no desire to photograph anything other than architectura, interior design and product design.  My wife too photographs only food and beverage, and makes most of her money from packaging, of which only large advertising agencies do. 

Second, and not to get too political, but we're both libertarians/conservatives.  Although I know any large city is more then likely more to the left then the right, I dont think we could handle Austin.  

Food photography is way better served by Austin. As for architecture, Dallas is MCMansion central. Also, I work in advertising, and I challenge the notion that you must live in the town where the agencies are to do your work. Especially with remote work, this is a very antiquated notion. Now, I don’t know the specifics of your guys career, but I think you’d be fine working two hours away from Dallas. It’s true that the traffic has gotten worse, but it’s still small City and you can get around a lot faster than Dallas or Houston. Your quality of life will be much greater and the music and barbecue seen her so much better. If you think Austin is all liberals, you’re wrong. Also, can you only live where everyone is the same politically as you?

 

 

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1 hour ago, PaulPower said:

Food photography is way better served by Austin. As for architecture, Dallas is MCMansion central. Also, I work in advertising, and I challenge the notion that you must live in the town where the agencies are to do your work. Especially with remote work, this is a very antiquated notion. Now, I don’t know the specifics of your guys career, but I think you’d be fine working two hours away from Dallas. It’s true that the traffic has gotten worse, but it’s still small City and you can get around a lot faster than Dallas or Houston. Your quality of life will be much greater and the music and barbecue seen her so much better. If you think Austin is all liberals, you’re wrong. Also, can you only live where everyone is the same politically as you?

 

 

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No, of course not; we live in Philly now, so  ... .  I am just making generalizations.  

Insofar as not being in Dallas, well, my wife would find it easier to network with the Richards Group (and such) in person.  Nothing beats shaking hands with someone over a drink regardless of how old fashion you think it is.  Many of my contemporaries feel this way and most are not making a living at photography like we do.   Not to mention it is easier to make it to Chicago from Dallas then Austin.  

I know being a coulle of hours away from where you work is possible, which is what we do now living in Philly and working in NYC, but regardless, just like NYC is to Philly, I feel Dallas to Austin is just far enough away to be annoying.  

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That drive does suck. Texas has made you “every part of life” thing hard; they can’t even pass a plastic bag ban in Austin because the state over turned it. Either way, visit. It beautiful and fun

 

 

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6 minutes ago, PaulPower said:

That drive does suck. Texas has made you “every part of life” thing hard; they can’t even pass a plastic bag ban in Austin because the state over turned it. Either way, visit. It beautiful and fun

 

 

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I probably will.  Houston is now out of the question since the economy does not really jove with what we do.  I read a famous architect once say that he could not sell a angle in Dallas if his life depended on it.  Makes me not have a great opinion on Dallas architecture.  

Alas, such is the nature of art.  A conservative artist is non-extent; they are merely technicians of prior artist accomplishments.  I am a libertarian really, just one that is extremely fiscally conservative.  

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Been living in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for 10 years now. Lived in Deep Ellum (just outside downtown Dallas) for 5 years, moved to the burbs (Bedford) for 3.5 years, now back in Dallas for the past 1.5 years. 

Dallas property taxes are high, roads continue to suck, schools are generally well below what I would call acceptable for educational purposes and massively underfunded. The Dallas police force is also severely understaffed by about 300 officers. One of my neighbors is a recent grad of the DPD academy and said they were trying to recruit even more because of the need. We moved back to Dallas for my wife's job, she needed to be within 20 minutes of the office. I have no problem commuting. 

The Deep Ellum part of Dallas is going to be where you'll find more culture, more food, more hipster stuff, and in general more night life as well. The restaurant scene in Deep Ellum has exploded over the past 10 years for the better. When I first lived there, there were maybe 4 or 5 restaurants, now many, many more. Uptown Dallas, tries to be the high society scene and vastly overpriced. I actually prefer Fort Worth or Cowtown as it is known, more of what I actually think Texas is, but just my own opinion. There are some lakes around Dallas for more outdoorsy things, White Rock Lake has some trails and offers outdoor areas for picnics and such. 

Houston, visited many times. Not bad to visit, but traffic is much, much, worse than DFW. At least in DFW there are several ways to get around if there's a traffic jam, not so much in Houston, and definitely NOT in Austin. Austin traffic sucks....all day, haven't been to Austin and not come to a dead stop at some point on the Interstate. I would never live in Austin or its suburbs. Very fun to visit though! Houston to me was a lot like Dallas, but much, much more humid with worse traffic. That's not to say there are not very nice parts of Houston, just visit the Woodlands, you'll see some VERY nice parts to Houston. 

In general, I think Dallas is a bigger hub for many more things in Texas, the DFW metroplex is around 7 million people, and with 2 international airports (DFW and Love Field) you can get to pretty much anywhere you want to go. And as others have said, it keeps growing. DFW has changed a ton in the past 10 years and expanded greatly. 

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