Awards & Rankings

As the rest of the country discovers what locals have known all along, Houston is finally enjoying the recognition it deserves. Read on for a few accolades H-Town has earned recently.



  • Houston ranked among the top 12 destinations in the world for 2017 by Forbes.
  • Houston ranked #7 “Best Brand Cities” by Resonance Consultancy (2017) - And the only Texas Metro to make the top 10. 
  • Houston ranked No. 6 in TripAdvisor Top Trending Travel Spots to Book for 2017.
  • Thrillist names Houston among “8 American Cities you Should Visit Before They’re Too Popular” (2017).
  • Houston ranked No. 7 in Wallethub’s “Best Places to Visit in Summer” (2017)
  • CNN named Houston #16 in their “17 Places to Travel in 2017” list.
  • Houston ranked #10 “Best Metro Areas For Millennials” by Business Insider (2017)
  • Houston ranked No. 9 in Travel + Leisure’s list of “America’s Most Attractive Cities” (2016).
  • Houston ranked No. 3 rising star travel destination by Gogobot (2016).
  • Houston named the No. 2 most misunderstood city in the world by Jetsetter (2016).
  • Houston ranked #9 in Travel + Leisure  “Most Attractive Cities” (2016)
  • Houston ranked #7 “Best Brand Cities” by Resonance Consultancy (2016) 
  • Houston was the only U.S. destination on the Boston Globe's list of six "places to visit in 2015." 
  • Houston ranks #16 in Travel + Leisure "Best Places to Travel (in the world) in 2015".
  • Houston ranks #2 in Travel + Leisure "America's Favorite Cities 2014".
  • Houston ranks #12 in Tripadvisor's Travelers Choice Awards "Top 25 Destinations", above all other Texas cities (2014).
  • Houston is ranked by as one of the "Most Popular U.S. Cities For Foreign Travelers" (2014).
  • Houston ranks #9 in's most popular domestic travel destinations (2014).
  • Houston ranks #12 on Resonance Consulting's report on the Top 50 U.S. Destinations (2014). 
  • Houston ranks #1 in the U.S. Commerce Department list of the "Fastest Growth In Foreign Visitors" (2014).
  • Houston ranked #12 by Skift among Most Popular U.S. Cities for international travelers (2014).
  • Houston is ranked "Top Destination City - Fifth Consecutive Year" by U-Haul International (2014).
  • Houston came in at #7 on The New York Times' list of the 46 Places to Go (2013).

Arts & Entertainment

  • The Houston Symphony won its first Grammy Award for a critically lauded recording of Alban Berg's "Wozzeck", under the category best opera recording (2017).
  • The Houston Grand Opera was the only American finalist for Opera Company of the Year at the 2017 International Opera Awards (2017).
  • The Houston Grand Opera is the only US opera company to has won a Tony, two Grammy awards, and two Emmy awards.
  • Children’s Museum of Houston ranked #2 Best Museum for Families by USA Today 10 Best (2017).
  • Texas Cultural Trust ranked Houston as the second most robust arts economy in the state of Texas (2017).
  • Houston ranked the #6 best party hub in the U.S. by Wanderu (2016).
  • Wings Over Houston Air Show ranked No. 4 best air show in U.S. by USA Today 10 Best (2016).
  • Houston ranked #10 by Travel + Leisure in "America's Best Music Scenes" (2016).
  • Houston is ranked #3 by Travel + Leisure in "America's Most Cultured Cities 2015".
  • Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion ranked #1 out of 100 amphitheaters in the world by Pollstar Magazine (2016).
  • Buffalo Bayou Park is ranked #4 in USA Today's Readers' Choice contest for "Best Urban Trail" (2015).
  • Rothko Chapel was called one of the 16 best free museums in the world by (2015).
  • Houston is ranked #8 in National Geographic's "Top Nightlife Cities In The World" (2015).
  • The Texas Renaissance was named "Best Cultural Festival" by USA Today (2015).
  • Houston is ranked #10 by Travel + Leisure in "Best Music Scene Cities In The U.S. " (2015).
  • Houston is ranked #4 by Forbes in "America's Coolest Cities To Live" (2014).
  • Schlitterbahn Galveston Island is ranked No. 1 Best Indoor Waterpark by Amusement Today (2014).
  • Houston is called "Cultural Powerhouse" by Architectural Digest (2014).



  • In 2017 Six Houston chefs got the nod for the most revered award in the culinary industry, James Beard Awards best chef Southwest, which Oxheart’s Justin Yu brought back to Houston last year. Included in the 2017 list are: Manabu Horiuchi of Kata Robata, Anita Jaisinghani of Pondicheri, Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s, Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan of The Pass, and Jianyun Ye of Mala Sichuan Bistro. Horiuchi, Ortega and Siegel-Gardner and Gallivan all have been nominated in previous years.
  • Tracy Vaught, Ortega’s business partner and wife, made the list once again this year in the Outstanding Restaurateur category for H Town Restaurant Group, which manages Hugo’s, Caracol, Backstreet Cafe, and the newly opened Xochi. She was a semifinalist last year. Hugo’s was also a semifinalist in the Outstanding Service category.
  • Other semifinalists include chef William Wright of Helen Greek Food and Wine in the Rising Star Chef of the Year and Anvil Bar & Refuge made the list for the sixth time in the Outstanding Bar Program category.
  • Hugo Ortega, chef of Caracol, Xochi, Hugo’s and Backstreet Café, wins the 2017 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Southwest.
  • Southern Living named The Original Ninfa's on Navigation the “best restaurant in Texas” (2017).
  • TheStreet calls Houston the South's 21st Century Creole city (2017).
  • Houston named the #3 best food city in America by Jetsetter (2016).
  • Houston named the #1 foodie city in America by American Sky-UK (2016).
  • U.S. News and World Report ranks Houston No. 7 in the "Best Foodie Destinations in the USA" (2016).
  • Oxheart named "The best restaurant in Texas" by MSN (2016).
  • Eater ranked Helen Greek Food and Wine in the "21 Best New Restaurants in America" (2016).
  • Travel + Leisure named Killen's Steakhouse among the Best Steakhouses in America (2016).
  • Thrillist ranked Johnny's Gold Brick among list of "Best New Bars in America" (2015).
  • Killen's BBQ ranked #2 BBQ Destination in the U.S. by Food Network (2015).
  • Houston ranked #1 in Travel + Leisure's "America's Best Cities For Food Snobs" (2015).
  • Travel and Leisure featured Houston on "Top Chefs Favorite Food Cities" (2015).
  • Chris Shepherd, chef of Underbelly, wins the 2014 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Southwest.
  • Houston ranked #6 in Resonance's "Top Destinations For Foodies" (2014).
  • Coltivare is ranked in America's Best New Restaurants 2014 by Bon Appetit.
  • The Pass ranked #6 by Texas Monthly in their "Best New Restaurants In Texas" (2014).
  • Osteria Mazzantini ranked #3 by Texas Monthly in their "Best New Restaurants In Texas" (2014).
  • Houston named the "newest capital of great food" by Food & Wine (2013). 

Quality of Life

  • Research Group Expert Market ranked Houston No. 1 among U.S. cities for cultivating minority-owned businesses (2017).
  • Houston ranked #7 in the U.S. News & World Report's  ranking of the best places to live (2017).
  • The Woodland's, one of Houston's swankiest suburbs, has been dubbed by Niche “The Best City to Live in Texas” (2017).
  • Houston named the #2 best city in the world to live according to expats by Business Insider (2017).
  • Houston ranked No. 4 fourth in the nation in investment sales according to Avison Young study (2017).
  • Houston ranked #1 most charitable city in the country by Forbes and Charity Navigator (2016).
  • Houston named the #2 in Travel + Leisure's "Friendliest Cities in America" (2016).
  • Houston named the #2 best city in America for families by Value Penguin (2016).
  • Houston's Montrose neighborhood named in Thrillist's top 10 "Most Beautiful Neighborhoods in the South" (2016).
  • Houston ranked #11 in Travel + Leisure's "Friendliest Cities In America" (2015).
  • Houston ranked #8 in Forbes "25 Cities Where Your Paycheck Will Go the Furthest" (2015).
  • Houston ranked 15 of 70 top cities for getting around without a car by The Frontier Group and TexPIRG Education Fund (2015).
  • Houston ranked #18 of 38 major U.S. Cities in Citi IO's "America's Greenest Cities 2015".
  • Houston ranked #2 in Travel + Leisure's "Best Cities For Singles" (2015).
  • Houston ranked #1 in CreditDonkey's "Best Cities For Young Couples" (2014).
  • Houston ranked #8 in Forbes "U.S. Cities Attracting The Most Families" (2014).
  • Houston #6 in the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research's "Happiest Cities In America" (2014).
  • Houston ranked #8 in CreditDonkey's "Best Springtime Cities" (2014).
  • Houston was awarded the "Bike Friendly Community" title by National League of American Bicyclists (2014).
  • Houston was on SpareFoot Storage Finder's "Super Cities, Best Places To Watch In 2014".
  • Houston ranked #10 on's "Most Patriotic Cities In America" (2014).
  • Houston ranked #4 on GOBankingRates "Best City For Saving Money" (2014).
  • A paycheck goes farther in Houston than any other major metropolitan area by Business Insider (2014).
  • Houston's got more parks than any other top-10 metropolitan area by Business Insider (2014).


  • Rice University ranked #14 in US New & World Reports Best Colleges study for overall National University (2018). 
  • Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy ranked #4 among the top five university-affiliated think tanks in the world, according to an annual index of global think tanks (2017).
  • Rice University ranked #1 in Niche’s “Colleges with Best Student Life” (2018). 
  • University of Houston ranked #12 in Niche’s “Standout Colleges in America” (2018). 
  • Rice University ranked #12 in Money Magazine’s “Best Colleges for Your Money” (2017). 
  • Rice University ranked #3 on uniRank’s “Top Universities in Texas” study (2017).
  • Money (as reported by Yahoo Finance) named Houston the “Best City for College Graduates” (2017).
  • Rice University ranked #4 "Best Value College in America" by TIME (2016).
  • Rice University ranked #5 college in the nation by Niche (2016).
  • Rice University and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center made the top 100 colleges in Shanghai Ranking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (2016).
  • Rice University one of only two schools in the United States to make top 100 international institutions in the Times Higher Education World University rankings (2015).
  • Houston ranked #1 in The New York Times "Top Destination Cities For College Graduates" (2014).
  • The University of Houston ranked #3 in Profascinate's "Most Beautiful College Campuses" (2014).
  • Kiplinger named Rice University #7 on its report of Private Colleges with the Best Value (2014).
  • Rice University ranked first in "30 Best Values in Small Colleges" and the "30 Best College Values in the West/Southwest" according to Kiplinger (2014).
  • Houston ranked #3 on Yahoo News/ "Top Cities For New Grads" (2014).
  • Rice University ranked #6 on The Princeton Review's "Happiest Students" (2014).
  • Rice University ranked #32 on Forbes America's Top Colleges (2014).
  • Rice University ranked #20 on "The Best Colleges for Your Money", according to Money Magazine (2014).
  • Houston ranked #6 on Forbes "America's New Brainpower Cities" (2014).



Houston's Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center in the world, with 21 hospitals, eight academic and research institutions, and 50 total related organizations, all not-for-profit. 
2017 Hospital Rankings by U.S. News & World Report:
Houston Methodist Hospital
  • 1 - Best Hospital in Texas 
Houston Methodist Hospital - Willowbrook
  • 12 - Best Hospital in Texas 
The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • 1 – Cancer
  • 9 - Ear, Nose & Throat
  • 9 - Gynecology
Texas Children's Hospital
  • 2 - Pediatrics: Cardiology & Heart Surgery
  • 1 - Pediatrics: Pulmonology
  • 2 - Pediatrics: Neurology and Neurosurgery
  • 5 - Pediatrics: Urology
  • 6 - Pediatrics: Gastroenterology
  • 2 - Pediatrics: Cancer
  • 3 - Pediatrics: Nephrology
Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center
  • 4 - Best Hospital in Texas
Memorial Hermann TIRR
  • 2 - Rehabilitation
Memorial Hermann - Texas Medical Center
  • 5 - Best Hospital in Texas
Memorial Hermann – Memorial City
  • 12 - Best Hospital in Texas



  • Houston ranked #6 in CNBC's "Metro 20: America's Best Places to Start a Business" (2016).
  • Houston ranked #4 best city for entrepreneurs by (2016).
  • Houston ranked #19 by Dell in a study of the world's most future ready economies (2016).
  • Houston ranked #7 by the Milken Institute's "Best-Performing City In The U.S." (2015).
  • Houston ranked #2 in Career Builder's "Top Cities To Find A Job" (2015).
  • Houston ranked #2 in Forbes "Top Labor Markets In The U.S." (2015).
  • Houston ranked #7 in Nielsen's "Top Markets For Millennials" (2015).
  • Houston ranked #1 in Forbes "Most Competitive Metros In America" (2014).
  • Houston ranked among "The 10 Best Cities For Young Entrepreneurs" by Forbes (2014).
  • Houston ranked #5 in Newgeography's "Best Large Cities For Job Growth" (2014).
  • Houston ranked #3 in Fortune's "Number Of Fortune 500 Headquarters" with 24 companies (2016).
  • Houston ranked #2 in Inc. Magazine's "Most Inc. 5000 Winners Of All Time, Based On Number Of Companies" (2014).
  • Houston ranked #5 in Forbes "The Best Cities For Jobs 2014".
  • Houston ranked #3 in the nation as "Most Friendly To Small Business" by Thumbtack (2014).
  • Houston was named "The Best City In America" by Business Insider (2013). 


Growth and Sustainability

  • Bisnow named Houston’s suburb, Conroe, the “Fastest Growing City in America” (2017).
  • Houston was named one of the "Top 3 American cities of the future" by the Financial Times (2017).
  • Houston ranked #1 by Forbes in the "Fastest-Growing Cities" (2016).
  • Houston ranked #1 by Austin Business Journal "Fastest Growing County In Texas By 2050 - Harris County" (2015).
  • Houston is on FDI Intelligence's "American Cities Of The Future" (2015).
  • Houston ranked #1 on the U.S. Census' report, "Houston Tops Census List On New Metro Area Residents - Adding 156,371 Residents From 2013 - 2014" (2015).
  • Houston is ranked #2 on a list of "America's Fastest-Growing Cities" by Forbes (2014).
  • Houston ranked #4 by the Manhattan Institute's "America's Top Metros" (2014).
  • Houston is ranked #2 on Site Selection's "Top Metros Of 2013" (2014).
  • Houston was named one of the "10 Greenest Cities in the U.S." by (2013).
Fireworks in Downtown Houston