It's one of America's fastest growing metropolitan areas, with nearly four million people living within Harris County, making Houston the nation's 4th largest metro district in the nation.
Welcome to Houston, Space City USA. At 8,778 square miles, the Greater Houston Area covers more ground than any other major city in America. In fact, Houston is as big as the entire countries of Israel and El Salvador.
Called the Bayou City, Houston is home to more than ten winding waterways that not only irrigate the lush landscape, but serve as green spaces for fitness and nature enthusiasts. Several lakes and bays also provide pleasant scenes of fun in the sun as well as a feast for the eyes.
Houston is a city of great art and music, of culture and pride. Truly an international icon, the city's financial district serves the global community. From bustling Port of Houston shipping traffic to the city's energy district that has made Houston famous worldwide, Houston is all at once complex and simple; metropolitan but Texas friendly.
Houston's downtown has been revitalized with numerous clubs, professional sports facilities and musical entertainment that has helped bring nightlife back to the central city. And Houston is one of the few U.S. cities with resident companies in theater, ballet, symphony and opera, with exciting performances all season long.
Houston boasts proudly of its award-winning and internationally acclaimed performing arts groups and invites newcomers as well as all area residents to enjoy the excitement of a symphony, the grace of a ballet, the passion of an opera and the emotion of a dramatic performance. Located downtown, the 17-block Theater District is home to eight performing arts organizations and more than 12,000 seats. Only New York City has more seats concentrated in one geographic area. Throughout Houston, a growing number of venues make performances easily accessible.
Houston also shows its devotion to the arts through a full complement of art museums and critically acclaimed galleries. Almost midway between Reliant Stadium and downtown, Houston's Museum District offers a range of museums, galleries, and art and cultural institutions, including the City's major museums. Approximately 4 million people visit institutions in the Museum District every year. Spend a day in the Museum District and be inspired.
Houston, as the nation's fourth largest city, is second only to New York in Fortune 500 headquarters, and home to the Texas Medical Center, the world's largest, and to NASA's Johnson Space Center.
The city sports an outstanding museum district, including the renowned Museum of Natural Science and Museum of Fine Arts. The New York Times called Houston possibly the most interesting city in America for young artists. New stadiums host NFL, Major League Baseball, NBA, Women's NBA and IHL teams. And extensive parks, theme parks and the nearby Gulf of Mexico offer outdoor and water recreation.
Area attractions include:
George Ranch Historical Park – This 490-acre living history park is part of a 23,000-acre working cattle ranch where visitors can witness frontier life from the 1830s to the 1930s.
Gulf Greyhound Park – The world's premier pari-mutuel greyhound-racing complex offers fast-paced action just south of Houston in La Marque.
Houston Arboretum and Nature Center – The arboretum features miles of winding trails for bird watching and plant appreciation.
Moody Gardens – This science and nature wonderland in Galveston features a spectacular Rainforest Pyramid, Discovery Pyramid, Aquarium Pyramid, two IMAX theaters and lush gardens and nature trails.
Sam Houston Race Park – This race park celebrates the spirit and elegance of Thoroughbred and Quarterhorse racing with live and simulcast racing in northwest Houston.
San Jacinto Monument – A 570-foot obelisk capped by a giant star marks the spot where Texas won its independence from Mexico. Nearby is the Battleship Texas, built in 1914.
Space Center Houston – As the visitors center for Johnson Space Center, this theme park for space fans features actual spacecraft, flight simulators and a guided tram tour of NASA and Mission Control.
SplashTown Waterpark – This waterpark features 50 acres of slippery sensations including Thunder Run, a five-story aqua speedway.