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Houston, Houston Metro Area

Houston, Texas – Activities, Attractions and Information

Posted: March 6, 2018 at 10:27 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Houston, Texas

Having already written quite a few articles about this city which I have happily called home for the vast majority of my life, I thought that it might be fun to share some general information and also point readers to specific points of interest regarding the many activities and attractions found in Houston.

Houston is a very green city by way of vegetation. Our subtropical climate affords everything from the growing of tropical palm trees, banana and ginger plants to towering pine trees and even cactus. Certain types of flowers can be grown in our yards and gardens on a year round basis.

Azaleas blooming in Houston

Houston is only about 50 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico depending upon which side of the city one resides.  Humid and tropical breezes generally bring an average of almost 50 inches of rain annually.

Summers have sizzling temperatures often in the 90s or even some days topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  In late fall, winter and early spring the temperatures are moderate and delightful. One can enjoy BBQs and al fresco dining almost year round in this climate.

Houston is one of the most air conditioned cities in the United States. It would never have grown to be the 4th largest city in the United States were it not for the continual whirring of the ever present air conditioners and fans.

Partial view of downtown Houston with greenery along Allen Parkway

Unlike densely populated places like New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago (the top 3 populated cities) our two million plus citizens are spread out from the downtown area with available lands in which to expand in all directions save the Gulf of Mexico. That is about the only limiting natural hindrance to growth. We have quite a bit more elbow room in which to enjoy the good life under the wide open Texas skies.

Bluebonnets & other wildflowers painting our landscapes each spring.

Businesses and Employment in Houston

This elbow room impacts our indoor spaces as well as outdoor. Since land costs are lower one gets a much better bargain when it comes to housing than in many places. Judging from many of the mega-mansions springing up in many parts of town this is no longer a secret!

With no state income tax in Texas and a right to work law in place, this attracts many business owners to locate here.  Unemployment statistics regularly fall below the national level.

The medical industry is big business here with 5 of the top 10 employers involved in this field of endeavor. The famed Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center in the entire world. It is almost like a city unto itself serving people from not only these parts but also from around the world who come here for the latest treatments and world class research facilities. It is what first attracted me to living in Houston when I became an operating room nurse at Methodist Hospital in the Medical Center many years ago.

3 of the top 10 employers in Houston have to do with the oil and gas business. Several companies have their world headquarters right here in Houston. Houston is called the “energy capital of the world” and for good reason. There are literally thousands of energy related companies doing business in or around Houston accounting for a good percentage of jobs.

The Houston Ship Channel is the busiest port in all of the United States. Obviously this also accounts for a good many jobs in this area.

Houston’s business environment is excellent and therefore spills over into all kinds of other areas. Would you believe that we have some 11,000 restaurants? It is true! One can find just about any type of cuisine here because of the melting pot of humanity that Houston has become since its early days of settlement by the Allen Brothers back in 1836.

Marker in Downtown Houston commemorating the foundation of Houston by the Allen Brothers – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ATownofHoustonHistory.JPG

Houston Museum Attractions

OK…so what do these millions of people living in Houston not to mention the visitors who come to our fair city do for entertainment?

Houston has a wonderful Museum District located just north of the Texas Medical Center and south of downtown. There are countless museums in and around our metro area which cover a variety of subjects including art, history, photography, crafts and so much more.

My aunt who came for a visit and who was at the time a docent at the Milwaukee Art Museum was amazed at the variety of art museums and others which we have here in Houston!  Be sure and click on the highlighted link above to see more information about the many different ones we have visited.

Sculpture on Museum of Fine Arts Houston grounds

Houston Public Art

Public art abounds in and around our fair city!  One need not look very far before it is evident that we really appreciate all types of art.  Sculptures, murals and even graffiti art can be seen in our parks as well as in and outside buildings of all types.

Looking through Heart of the Heights sculpture by Eisenhut Ramos in True South sculpture exhibit in Houston

Houston Theater District

Located in downtown Houston is the renowned Theater District with professional companies representing all of the prime performing arts. Only a handful of other cities can boast of having that.

For years my husband and I had season tickets to the Houston Symphony which performs in Jones Hall. The Houston Pops orchestra also uses that venue as well as other shows that come here on tours.

The Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Ballet perform in the grand Wortham Theater Center along the banks of Buffalo Bayou. We have enjoyed seeing both opera and ballet performances at the Wortham on different occasions.

My husband and I along with my mother and some friends have delighted to many different plays at the 75,000 square foot state of the art Alley Theater through the years.

Houston,Texas Alley Theater – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHouston_Texas_Alley_Theater_2003.jpg

The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts hosts Broadway productions for the resident “Theater Under the Stars” company as well as touring shows from elsewhere. We have seen many TUT shows including the likes of such performances as Jesus Christ Superstar to Evita and numerous others.

Photo of Hobby Center – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHobby_Center%2C_Houston.jpg

Bayou Place is what was once the old convention center and has been revamped to include theater space, restaurants and cinemas. It is a place that lures many to this downtown theater location.

Bayou Place in Houston – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ABayou_Place%2C_Houston%2C_2012.JPG

Of course this just gives you an idea of the professional groups in the downtown area. Our fair city is blessed with many outlying theater groups and other venues as well. If you like live entertainment you will be pleased with the numerous venues located in and around Houston, Texas.

Houston Sports

Practically every type of sport one can imagine except for those necessitating snow can be accomplished here in Houston.  We even have ice skating rinks! It may be seasonal at Discovery Green Park and a few other locales but we also have a permanent one indoors at the Houston Galleria.

Our professional sports teams and where they play are the following:

  • Basketball ~ NBA Houston Rockets play at the Toyota Center
  • Hocky ~ AHL Houston Aeros also play at the Toyota Center
  • Baseball ~ Houston Astros play at Minute Maid Park
  • Football ~ NFL Houston Texans play at Reliant Stadium

  • Soccer ~ The Houston Dynamo team plays at BBVA Compass Stadium

Softball and soccer fields abound in various parks around town as do golf courses, both public and private. Many people have swimming pools in their backyards but they are also frequently seen in most subdivisions and also in public parks. Of course Galveston is a short drive away if one wishes to participate in salt water activities or have some fun at the beach.

Area lakes near Houston along with the Gulf of Mexico furnish boating enthusiasts with natural playgrounds and provide endless fishing activities.

Baseball being played in Bear Creek Park

Then there are the high school and college or university sports venues. Need I elaborate further? Suffice it to say that whether playing indoors such as in bowling alleys or outdoors…there are plenty of sports activities in which one can be a participant or a spectator if visiting Houston, Texas.

Houston Parks

Who doesn’t like to get out in the fresh air and sunshine?  We have more parks and hiking and biking paths with various amenities such as picnic tables, pavilions and sports fields than most cities. 366 is the number of fully developed parks with several hundred other green spaces in which people can get outside and enjoy nature or play.

We love our canine friends and have a good number of dog parks as well.

Hermann Park encompasses our Houston Zoo, the Japanese Garden, Miller Outdoor Theater, Natural Science Museum, McGovern Centennial Gardens, golf course and more.

Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park

Discovery Green Park downtown offers a stage where free concert performances and movies can be enjoyed. It also has water features, lawn areas, a playground and more.

Kinder Lake in Discovery Green Park with Minute Maid Park in background

Memorial Park trees were devastated by the severe drought in 2011 and many died but are being replaced. But people still enjoy the golf, baseball, swimming, jogging trails and more. Originally this site was called Camp Logan and served as a space for World War 1 trainees. Once a year when the trail riders come into town for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo they get to camp there for the final night prior to the show kick-off events.

Bear Creek Park also sees trail riders camping there one night a year prior to all trail riders converging into Memorial Park. Normally overnight camping is prohibited in this large county park just outside of the city.  Following the devastating flooding after Hurricane Harvey some of the buildings that were in this large county park will be relocated to other sites.  The golf courses will no longer be maintained from what I have heard.  So this park will no longer look as it did when I wrote the article highlighted above.

These parks and so many others provide endless ways to enjoy the outdoors for fun and exercise.

Wandering through Bayou Bend Gardens during an Azalea Trail

Seasonal Events in Houston

There is something going on every week in Houston…actually every day for that matter…and it would be impossible not to find something to your liking.

Festivals of all types which celebrate the foods and customs of different cultures can be enjoyed. Some of them are annual events like the Greek Festival which we have attended numerous times.

Annual home and garden tours are a fun way to spend a day! We have often visited Bayou Bend when the Azalea Trail takes us there and to other houses on the tour.

There are culinary tours in Houston and if one wishes to see the lovely bluebonnets in bloom each Spring and one likes tasting wines from local wineries just outside of town, then the Bluebonnet Wine Trail just might be right up your alley!

The annual Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show is the largest rodeo in the world!

If you have read this far by now you know that there are almost endless numbers of activities and attractions that can be enjoyed in Houston, Texas. It is impossible to mention them all in one article. Click on some of the highlighted links for more information about specific things that might be of interest for you to learn and see more.

Perhaps now you know why my husband and I enjoy living here.  One could devote a lifetime to exploring what Houston has to offer as well as our expansive Houston Metro Area.