Houston: Who knew?

Things I know about Houston:

  • I can sing the chorus of that Dean Martin song.
  • It’s a city with lots of oil and plenty of money.
  • I have a dim recollection of the Houston Oilers.
  • I remember NASA’s dramatic triumphs and tragic disasters.
  • I assumed that Houston women would have big hair and Houston men would wear big hats—I have yet to see either of those.
  • I have seen lots of interesting restaurants, incredible grocery stores, shopping carts left annoyingly askew in every retail parking lot, bored, unpleasant store clerks behind the cash registers, a rich concentration of excellent museums and galleries, truly terrible drivers, a concrete network of urban bayous, heavy traffic everywhere all the time, a Costco that is not busy, consistently misleading highway signage, side streets full of cracks and potholes, few bike riders, and not many dogs or children.

Buffalo bayou

Port of Houston 


Things I did not know about Houston:

  • With 2,250,000 residents, it’s the fourth largest city and has the most diverse population in the country.
  • The 1,345 acre Texas Medical Center is the world’s largest concentration of health and research institutions.
  • It’s second only to New York City with the number of Fortune 500 corporate headquarters.
  • Houston has no zoning code—not just quirky zoning, but no zoning. On the bright side, it gives the city character. You can find a church, a barber shop, a Texas-style mansion, an apartment, and a warehouse on the same block. 
  • The Port of Houston ranks first in the country for the amount of international waterborne tonnage handled. 
  • Annual events include the Houston Rodeo, the Orange Show, the Bayou Arts Festival, a thirty-five year old Gay Pride Parade, the oldest film festival in the world, and large Italian, Greek, Japanese, and Turkish festivals.
  • Places of interest for tourists include the Houston Space Center, the Museum District, Buffalo Bayou Park, the Mahatma Ghandi District, Chinatown, a seventeen block theatre district, 337 urban parks, and the largest skatepark in Texas.
  • It is one of the few cities in the country where all of the performing arts—theatre, ballet, symphony, and opera—have permanent, professional, resident companies.
All in all, Houston is a city like Portland only rougher and muggier, more like Chicago than New York, and more like LA or Miami than Dallas.
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2 Responses to Houston: Who knew?

  1. Marilyn says:

    And it is also the largest US city to have a lesbian mayor (2010-16).

  2. Kathy says:

    Love this post. The pictures are beautiful. Keep them coming.

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