Location: Gateway to the Heart of Texas and Beyond
Poised on the edge of storied Galveston Bay, Houston is a gateway to the Gulf of Mexico. Houston's weather benefits from its geographic position in the southwest corner of the country. While its proximity to the water make Houston ideal for water sports of all kinds, it's just a short drive to national forests with names like "Sam Houston" and "Davy Crockett" where land-lubbers can have their day. While temperatures rarely reach 100 degrees, the thermometer registers over 90 about 90.6 days a year, cooled by a prevailing, southwestern wind that sweeps across the city and out into the bay.
Business: Center for Oil, Shipping, and Space Exploration
The Port of Houston is one of the busiest in the world, employing more than a million people and contributing nearly 5 billion dollars in revenue to Texas state coffers. Energy is, however, king in Houston. It is home to 25 Fortune 500 companies, 3,600 energy-related companies, 600 exploration and production firms, and 170 pipeline companies. Also, the Johnson Space Center—a hub of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)—is located in Houston. The city is a major technological center and the place where nanotechnology was born.
Culture: Cowboys, Commerce, and a Vibrant Arts Scene
Founded in 1837 by the Allen Brothers, Houston is named after Sam Houston, a protégé of Andrew Jackson who helped bring Texas into the Union. Houston gradually emerged from its early days as a rowdy backwater town to its present status as a major metropolis. Visitors can sample Houston's rich history at the Museum District in 20 institutions. Take a tour of the retired WWII battleship "Texas" or the Houston Space Center. Music and art lovers can enjoy a concert by the Houston Symphony Orchestra or a play at the popular Alley Theatre.
Activities: Dining, Shopping—Even Ice Skating!
With more than 7,000 restaurants, Houston's climate makes dining outside the norm. The savory smells of their cuisine tossed by the persistent breeze in an unsurpassed, al fresco experience. There are 128 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and running that weave through a diverse terrain, from bayous to tree-lined lakes. Watch a football game or a rodeo with bucking broncos at Reliant Stadium. At Galleria Mall, you can shop at stores like Neiman-Marcus and even take a spin on the indoor ice rink. Houston has numerous pubs, lounges, theaters, and an excellent opera company.