When Houston, Texas, dubbed itself Space City, it was referring to its connection to the stars (via nearby NASA's Johnson Space Center, built in 1961). But the nickname could just as well refer to the enormous amount of earthbound space the town occupies within the city limits, much less the metro area's sprawl. The Houston Metro area is bigger than the state of New Jersey, so don't plan on seeing it all in one trip.
Houston's attractions and immense size also bring a certain magnificence: The city is headquarters to 22 companies on the Fortune 500 list and its port is ranked first in foreign tonnage and second in the U.S. in total tonnage.
Oil money and corporate largesse enable Houston to have professional resident companies in all four areas of the performing arts: ballet, opera, theater and symphony. Additionally, more than 200 institutions are dedicated to the arts, history and science, and Houston is also home to professional sports teams for five major-league sports—the Houston Astros (baseball), the Houston Rockets (basketball), the Houston Texans (football), the Houston Dynamo (men's soccer) and the Houston Dash (women's soccer).
One surprise for most Houston visitors is how green the city is. The subtropical climate (it's approximately the same latitude as northern Florida) causes lush growth in grass, trees and plants, and the mild winters leave plenty of greenery untouched.
Houston's cultural diversity (more than 90 languages are spoken there) and its low cost of living also have made it one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. Houston is home to more than 90 foreign consulates.
To request access to the full version of this destination guide, please provide your email address below. Your email address will only be used for verification purposes and will not be used for marketing purposes.