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Houston, Houston Metro Area

Houston Metro Area: Some Interesting Facts

Posted: April 8, 2016 at 5:06 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

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Learn some interesting facts about our huge Houston Metro Area in this post.  You are sure to be amazed!

Airports

We have two main airports, George Bush Intercontinental, and William P. Hobby. Also, thirty-one smaller airports are accommodating corporate jets to private airplanes all over our area.

Flag Posts at George Bush Intercontinental Airport - Source: http://Nick Juhasz via Wikimedia Commons

Flag Posts at George Bush Intercontinental Airport – Source: http://Nick Juhasz via Wikimedia Commons

Zoning

Did you know that Houston is the only major U.S. city without zoning codes?  It’s true!

Bayous

We have four bayous that run through our city.  That is why we are often referred to as the “Bayou City.”

Houston Skyline from Eleanor Tinsley Park - Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Houston

Houston Skyline from Eleanor Tinsley Park – Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Houston

City & Metro Size

Currently, we are the 4th largest city and the 5th largest metro area in the country.  That might be changing soon as we are predicted to take Chicago’s spot as the 3rd most populous city by 2030 according to a Houston Chronicle report.

George R. Brown Convention Center - Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Houston

George R. Brown Convention Center – Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Houston

Tunnel System

There is an extensive air-conditioned tunnel system in downtown Houston.  It runs for over seven miles.

Ninety-five blocks are connected, and employees of business need not get out in the heat when going from business to business or their parking garages. Polished marble floors are evident in places, and there are a variety of lunch spots provided, which are all underground.

Tours are available Monday through Friday for varying prices depending upon how many people are going at one time.

Job Creation

According to Gallup’s Job Creation Index Score, Houston had the “best environment for job creation” during the years 2012 to 2013.

That goes hand in hand with the fact that outside of NYC (with a far greater population), Houston had the most Fortune 500 companies wanting to do business here. We also have the 2nd most significant number of Fortune 1000 companies only again trailing New York.

 

Cost of Living

Our low cost of living is enticing to companies as well as people moving here.

  • For housing alone, we pay 21% below the national average according to statistical data.
  • We also pay no state income tax and have right to work laws in place.
  • Utility prices are lower than in many places.
  • Gasoline prices to keep our vehicles running are also lower than many other locales.
Children's Museum of Houston Source: http://By WhisperToMe (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Children’s Museum of Houston Source: http://By WhisperToMe (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Museums

Do you like visiting museums? In the Houston Metro Area, you will find over 150 of them!

From the sublime to the quirky, everything in between will keep one entertained for many days and hours. The Houston Museum of Fine Arts is the 6th largest museum in the United States, and it is currently expanding!

Green Spaces

We have them aplenty!  From large parks to pocket-sized parks, we have more green spaces for our citizens and visitors than any other metro area of comparable size.

Baldwin Park in Houston Source: Peggy Woods

Baldwin Park in Houston Source: Peggy Woods

According to a 2011 report from The Trust for Public Land comparing City Park Facts, Houston had 49,643 acres set aside.  New York, as a comparison, only had 38,060.

Bikers have many miles of uninterrupted spaces in which to ride their bikes on our hike and bike trails which are continually expanding.  There are 128 miles of them in Houston and even more in the surrounding counties.

We Houstonians love our parks and green spaces!

Playground in Eleanor Tinsley Park - Source: Peggy Woods

Playground in Eleanor Tinsley Park – Source: Peggy Woods

Youthful City

Statistically, we have one of the youngest populations in the nation.  The median age is reported to be 32.3.

Educational Facilities

There are 25 different independent school districts in the Houston Metro area, not including other private schools of which there are many. When it comes to higher education, there are more than 60 colleges and universities offering advanced degrees.  Vocational and technical schools are numerous.

Vietnamese Street Signs in Midtown, Houston. The English names are "Travis" and "Gray," while the Vietnamese names are "Tự Do" and "Hai Bà Trưng" Source: http://By WhisperToMe (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Vietnamese Street Signs in Midtown, Houston. The English names are “Travis” and “Gray,” while the Vietnamese names are “Tự Do” and “Hai Bà Trưng” Source: http://By WhisperToMe (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Languages

When we vote there are three languages on the ballot: English, Spanish and Vietnamese.  People speak some 90+ languages in Houston, and there are festivals each year celebrating the different cultures. Some street signs in various areas of town have not only English but other languages marking the location as well.

Foreign Governments

As one might imagine with all of the different cultures living in the Houston metropolitan area, there are also a significant number of foreign governments doing business here.  We have the 3rd largest consular corps in the nation with over 92 different governments represented.

Texas Medical Center

Aerial view of Texas Medical Center - Source: http://By Hequals2henry [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Aerial view of Texas Medical Center – Source: http://By Hequals2henry [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

There are 21 hospitals plus some 58 other related institutions located in this largest medical complex in the world.  From research to teaching future doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and other medical personnel, this is the place to be if ever in need of treatment.

Cutting edge therapies help cure people who might otherwise not survive. Two of the world’s largest hospitals are here.  They are the Texas Children’s Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Over 7 million visitors come to the Texas Medical Center each year for treatment.

Houston Galleria skating rink - Source: http://By Roman Oleinik (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Houston Galleria skating rink – Source: http://By Roman Oleinik (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Shopping

There is no shortage of shopping opportunities in Houston when it comes to fashion.

The Houston Galleria, with its ice skating rink and 400 stores, 50 dining places, two high rise hotels, and three office towers is the largest shopping center in Texas and lures visitors from around the globe.  Above all, it is an attraction as well as a place to sleep, do business, dine, and shop.

In addition to the Galleria, we have many other malls, boutiques, premium outlet malls, and thrift shops to satisfy almost anyone’s desires as well as pocketbooks.

McGovern Lake in Hermann Park, Houston - Source: Peggy Woods

McGovern Lake in Hermann Park, Houston – Source: Peggy Woods

Water

Firstly, downtown Houston is only about a 45-minute drive to the Gulf of Mexico coast in Galveston, Texas.

Secondly, within 25 miles or so there are many lakes where a person can go boating or fishing. Lake Houston and Clear Lake are two that people like to frequent.  Lake Conroe and Lake Livingston are north of Houston.

Thirdly, there are boat tours on some of our bayous, and many of the newer subdivisions are built around human-made lakes.  Quite a few of our parks also have lakes.

In conclusion, there is no shortage of aquatic activities in or near Houston.

Rodeo

Did you realize that the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo are the largest in the world?  Enough said!  Yee-haw!!!

Bear Creek Golf Courses - Source: Peggy Woods

Bear Creek Golf Courses in the Houston area – Source: Peggy Woods

Golf

Famous and well-known architects have built many of our golf courses. Also, famed golfers such as Jack Nicholas, Bruce Devlin, and Greg Norman have likewise had their hand in creating them.  One of the newest designed golf courses is by Tiger Woods.

Prestigious golfing tournaments have been played here on different courses. The bargain pricing to play makes it desirable for golf enthusiasts to plan vacations here.

Saucer Magnolia in bloom at Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens - Source: Peggy Woods

Saucer Magnolia in bloom at Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens – Source: Peggy Woods

Destination Houston!

Magazines like Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler have touted Houston as a destination in which to travel.  In addition, the Boston Globe newspaper similarly recommended Houston in 2015 for vacation because of what it has to offer visitors.

It is hard to keep such good news quiet for long.

I will always remember a visit from my aunt, who lived in Milwaukee.  She would probably never have chosen Houston as a vacation spot.  After coming down to visit us and after showing her some of the highlights, she was amazed at what our part of the state had to offer and vowed to return.

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