So we had a lot of fun comparing Houston and Chicago last week. After a few days in Phoenix, I decided to try it again.
Phoenix is awesome in a very different way. Great golf courses, weather, scenery…It’s in my top five of places I would live if I were to leave Houston. Like H Town, it is a relatively young city, and is very spread out. So the two have a lot in common.
So here we go…
The two scenes are pretty similar. Championships are rare. The fans are fickle, mainly because there are so many transplants. Phoenix has one title — the Diamondbacks — while Houston has the Rockets’ two. The Suns have been very similar to the Rockets over the years, minus the titles, but lately they have been abysmal. Phoenix has a slight edge in that there is an NHL team, but the Coyotes are terrible and have attendance issues, mainly because of the location in Glendale, and the team might eventually move. The downtown complex for the Suns and Diamondbacks is awesome, so the stadiums are a push. The Cardinals made a nice run two years ago, but have otherwise been mediocre.
The fan bases? When the Cubs visit, there are more Cubs fans that Diamondbacks fans. When the Cowboys come to town? It’s a Dallas crowd. Sound familiar?
Houston has a little more history and one more title.
Phoenix’s downtown is about 15 years behind Houston in development. It’s small, clean and easy to get around. It even has a cute little train that looks just like MetroRail. And the homeless? They all look like disheveled Sam Elliots. There are fewer, and they are less belligerent.
In 20 years, it might look a lot different. But the bar scene, the vibrancy…Big edge to H Town here.
THE BAR SCENE
Downtown Phoenix really doesn’t offer much. It’s mostly hotel bars and bars near the stadiums, and a college bar or two. The best bars are in the neighboring cities. But another big edge to Houston here.
Phoenix has some great authentic Mexican, but hey, this is H Town’s go-to.
They have mountains. We have refineries. They have elevation. We have sea level. Huge win for them.
ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE PEOPLE
If we are just talking downtown, Houston wins. But Phoenix is also Scottsdale, Tempe, Glendale, etc. The women look very California-ish. The men are fit and tanned. We have better food, which leads to less attractive people.
This is not even a debate. Even when it is hot there — the temperatures are higher — it’s nothing compared to Houston. I once played golf in Phoenix in 110 degree weather. It was not bad. Two days later I played in 102 degree weather in Houston humidity. My shirt disintegrated by the eighth hole. I bought another at the turn. It was gone by 17. I sweated off 26 pounds that day. And oh, we have rain. And storms. This isn’t even close.
These are two very different but very cool cities. If we do these rankings 15 years from now, Phoenix might win them all. It’s a California lifestyle at non-California prices. The cost of living in Houston is less, but for what you get, Phoenix is great value. And as a place to visit? I’ll take Phoenix every time. The other categories I was going to include are basically pushes. So Houston emerges with a slight edge.