I was born in Houston and both of my parents were born in Houston. I grew up here. I didn't leave until I was 27 so I've lived there all my life. I went to undergraduate college at the University of Houston, and that's really where I started acting. To this day, I've probably done the majority of my acting in Houston.

Right now I'm on The Big Bang Theory, which is a comedy on CBS, and it's going very well. I won an Emmy this past year for the role I played on Big Bang (as Sheldon Cooper) and that was a very exciting and weird and wonderful experience. I'm very lucky.

I get asked more often than I would imagine questions about what it's like in Houston, and several people have asked if there are a lot of horses. What's funny is, I've lived in Houston and I've lived in New York for a time. I saw more horses in New York than I ever saw in Houston, and partly for that time in my life, I saw more art in Houston than I ever saw in New York. There can be a misguided notion of tumbleweeds and cowboys and there are some, but not rolling down Montrose. Not rolling down Hermann Park. Well, I guess you could find one in Hermann Park!

Almost everything about my career and my life is directly tied back to my time in Houston. Not only did I grow up there, but very specifically the career I'm participating in, acting, that's where I got the majority of my education, and all of my early education in it.

I was at the University of Houston acting, and I worked with Bridegroom, which was a theatre troupe. I find that there's no city that I've lived in that the overlap [among art genres] is so common.

But I just think that is very unique to Houston. There is less division of the arts in Houston. There is more of a coalescing of them and dependent upon each other, and it leads towards a style of education that is very unique and all encompassing. I miss it terribly sometimes. I love what I'm doing right now, but I've never participated in theater like I got to in Houston and some of the experiences I've had in Houston will never be replicated wherever else I go. Something else just as wonderful may happen, but it will never be the same.

Sadly, the first thing I like to do when I go back home is eat. I love to go to the restaurants in Houston, that's one of my favorite things. I wish I could say something more cultured and high minded!

I think the museum district is significant to Houston because any major city needs that cultural weight with it. You have 18 museums just in the museum district alone, most of them in walking distance and this is surrounded by all the other ones not even classified, necessarily in the museum district with younger artists or private collections doing their thing. There are literally 100s of museums throughout the city. It is my favorite thing about Houston, and even trumps the restaurants—the arts community as a whole in Houston and, more specifically, the museum district.

So much has been built since I've been away from Houston, and some of the things I'm sorry weren't there when I was growing up. The expansion of the Children's Museum and what an interactive experience it's become for children. It just wasn't the same when I was there. There's a 3-story climbing apparatus and it has this whole city where the children can participate and pretend to work all kinds of jobs and run this entire town. And downtown Houston, which has changed dramatically, has the Aquarium Restaurant which I've never even gotten to go to yet, but from what I hear is much more known as an aquarium than it is a restaurant.

This is one of the most diverse museum districts in the country. It's a one of a kind interactive experience. You can get lost in amazing worlds, and each museum is a totally different experience in itself.

I consider myself so lucky to have grown up in Houston; it was so beneficial to me as a person in general, but very specifically as an actor. And that had a lot to do with the amount of arts that I was surrounded by that informed me and inspired me. Still to this day, when I go back to Houston, I love to try and drop in on any of them when I get the chance. Anybody who is traveling into Houston that I meet and they ask me what's to do there, it's always the first thing I say before saddle up on a horse. You've got to check out the museums, you really do. I have had more than one person come back to me and thank me for it and tell me that I was very right, because I was!

Jim Parsons