Houston at a Glance
Houston's mix of international appeal and Southern charm have captured the imagination of tastemakers the world over. Read on for a few insider facts on the nation's fourth largest city.
|Downtown skyline from Buffalo Bayou Park|
At 634 square miles, the City of Houston could contain the cities of New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis and Miami.
Houston, with 2.3 million residents, is the fourth most populous city in the United States, trailing only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Houston is the nation’s demographic future. In racial and ethnic composition, the Houston of today very much resembles the U.S. 40 years hence.
- 40% Anglo
- 35% Hispanic
- 17% African American
- 8% Asian/Other
Eighty-three languages are spoken in Houston.
Houston ranks first among U.S. cities where paychecks stretch the furthest, according to Forbes.
Houston came in at No. 7 on The New York Times' list of the 46 Places to Go in 2013.
Forbes named Houston the "Coolest City" in the country in 2012, citing factors such as the strong economy, dynamic arts scene and multiculturalism.
BusinessWeek and Bloomberg also ranked Houston one of the best cities in the U.S. in 2012 thanks to the local food scene, sports and parks.
Houston rates first among the nation’s 10 most populous cities in total acreage of parkland and third behind only San Diego and Dallas in park acreage per capita, according to a study by The Trust for Public Land.
Houston has 50,632 acres of total park space, with 22.6 acres per 1,000 residents.
In 2012, the American Planning Association named Buffalo Bayou one of the nation's 10 "great public spaces."
Houston was named one of the 10 greenest cities in the U.S. by causes.com (2013).
International trade directly or indirectly supports more than one-third of all jobs in the Houston metropolitan area.
Ninety-three foreign governments have official representation here through consulates or trade offices.
Houston’s cultural events and exhibitions report 9.2 million visits per year.
Houston’s nonprofit arts organizations support 14,115 full-time jobs locally. An additional 12,192 professional artists call Houston their home. In total, 29,729 jobs are sustained by the city’s nonprofit arts industry.
Houston is one of only a few U.S. cities with resident professional companies in the four disciplines of the performing arts: ballet, opera, symphony and theater.
- Houston Ballet: Hailed by The New York Times as "...one of the nation's best ballet companies"
- Houston Grand Opera: Only opera company in the world with Grammy, Tony and Emmy awards.
- Theatre Under the Stars is one of the largest nonprofit producers of musical theater in America.
- One of the largest museum districts in the country with 18 museums within walking distance.
- Children’s Museum of Houston is the highest attended youth museum in the country for its size and rated No. 1 in the country by Parents magazine.
- The Menil Collection: Considered one of the most important private collections of the 20th century.
- The Health Museum: Most visited health museum in the country.
- Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: The largest art museum in the Southwest United States.
- Rothko Chapel: The only ecumenical center of its kind in the world.
The Greater Houston area has 14 major institutions of higher learning. Houston (Rice University) is the birthplace of nanotechnology.
In 2012, Houston ranked ninth among major metro areas for college students in a study from the American Institute for Economic Research.
Janet Gurwitch propelled Laura Mercier to top status in the high-end cosmetics industry from a warehouse in Stafford (a suburb of Houston).
For four generations, the Hamilton family has made high-quality men’s shirts for high-end stores like Barneys New York from a Richmond Avenue storefront.
Elaine Turner has built a thriving accessories business from her Houston headquarters. Today, her designs are carried in more than 200 specialty stores, at Turner’s boutiques, online and Nordstrom.
Former Carolina Herrera executive Greg Fourticq recently returned home to bankroll a children’s clothing line, Moo Boo.
Project Runway winner Chloe Dao has created a popular clothing line from her boutique Dao Chloe Dao (formerly Lot 8).
Fashion designer and native Houstonian Cesar Galindo is recognized worldwide for his cocktail and evening wear collections, which have appeared in print, television, film and the runway of New York Fashion Week.
For more than 60 years, the iconic footwear brand, Bernardo, has been based in Houston. Jackie O and Lilly Pulitzer were loyal supporters, while Reese Witherspoon and Courteney Cox are among the A-listers embracing the brand today.
Houston was rated the top shopping city in America by Forbes in 2010.
Houston is considered to have one of the best culinary scenes in the country, with cuisine from around the world. There are more than 8,000 restaurants in the Houston area with culinary choices that represent more than 35 countries and American regions.
Houstonians dine out more than residents of any other city—4.1 times per week, compared with the national average of 3.1. The average meal in Houston—$32.53—is less than the national average of $35.10.
In 1969, “Houston” was the first word spoken from the moon. The Apollo 11 mission established a place in history for the city when astronaut Neil Armstrong spoke the now-famous line, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
Hollywood directors frequently film in Houston because of the vastly diverse terrain and unique locations found in the Greater Houston area, from the urban landscape seen in Jason’s Lyric and Reality Bites to the NASA favorites Apollo 13, Armageddon and Space Cowboys.
In fact, Houston’s varied topography can sometimes be unrecognizable. Who would have guessed that the lush, green landscape on the Rushmore campus was not filmed in New England but in Houston just 10 minutes from downtown? Or that Houston doubled for Arlington, Virginia in the thriller Arlington Road?
Other blockbusters filmed in Houston:
- Terms of Endearment
- Evening Star
- RoboCop 2
- Tin Cup
- Flags of Our Fathers
- Mao’s Last Dancer
- Tree of Life
Texas Medical Center (TMC) with 50 member institutions—including M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the No. 1 cancer hospital in the country—is the largest medical complex in the world.
More heart surgeries are performed in the Texas Medical Center than anywhere else in the world.
The first successful human heart transplant was performed in Houston by Dr. Denton Cooley (1968).
77030, the Texas Medical Center Zip code, is home to 21,000 physicians, scientists, researchers and other advanced degree professionals in the life sciences at 385 medical offices, the highest concentration in the country.
Houston’s Memorial Hermann Hospital is the birth place of Life Flight™ (1976).