I’ve spent the last week and a half in Houston, as well as several weekends over the past 9 months. Observations:
Yes, I still have the urge to call it
There is generally more free WiFi than in Orlando. Similarly, there seems to be more people taking advantage of said free WiFi.
A public library in Houston is indistinguishable from a public library in Orlando.
Houston seems to have more homeless than Orlando, but they seem to be better off than the ones in Orlando. I spent quite a bit of time walking around Houston and passed a number of obviously homeless people, but I didn’t get panhandled once. A number of homeless queued up to get into the public library that I frequented, and all were well-behaved, and spent their time reading in corners.
The public bus systems, Houston Metro and Orlando Lynx, are similar in cleanliness. But, Houston’s seemed to provide better coverage and more useful schedules, as well as is a little cheaper. (Lynx has annoyingly bad coverage and useless schedules.)
It’s hard to find good Italian food in Houston that isn’t insanely overpriced.
Houston hates pedestrians. If you don’t have an SUV you are a second-class citizen. The sidewalks are horrible, unmaintained, and in many cases dangerous to walkers and cyclists. The drivers seem to range from oblivious to hostile as far as pedestrians are concerned.
It’s generally more expensive to eat in Houston than in Orlando, but the food is also a little better. There are more places that don’t suck and fewer places that do.
A trip to the movies in Houston is more expensive than in Orlando, but of equivalent quality. The number of IMAXes used to be a selling point, but now that there’s one in north Orlando it’s a closer tie.
Houston may not have quite the number of Rails-to-Trails that we have in Orlando, but they do have some nice bayous.
Both Orlando and Houston have their pretty parts and their ugly parts. Houston has a slightly prettier downtown skyline, but not by much.