ALL ABOUT HOUSTON
Houston Fast Facts
As the fourth largest city in the United States, Houston is a leader in business, entertainment, the arts and so much more. Visit Houston for yourself, and you'll understand why it is a city of infinite possibilities.
With the expansion complete, the George R. Brown Convention Center now offers more than 1 million square feet of meeting, registration and convention space. The Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel, the official convention center hotel for Houston, offers 1,200 guestrooms, meeting and retail space, and skywalks to the George R. Brown Convention Center. Downtown Houston offers more than 5,000 hotel rooms, bringing the total number of hotel rooms in the Great Houston area to more than 60,000. Reliant Center, located in Reliant Park and close to the Texas Medical Center area, offers 1.4 million square feet of convention and meeting space. Reliant Stadium, the world's first retractable-roofed NFL stadium, has 71,500 seats and is home to the Houston Texans and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™.
The Houston Rockets, moved to the Toyota Center, a new downtown arena, in October 2003. The facility boasts the city's largest escalator. One of the finest baseball parks in America, Minute Maid Park features a retractable roof and is home to the Houston Astros. The Downtown Aquarium, an underwater dining and entertainment adventure, features 500,000 gallons of marine life, a live white tiger exhibit, several themed restaurants, a Ferris wheel, boardwalk, dancing fountains and more. Take in a movie, enjoy a cocktail, or dine at one of many restaurants at downtown's Bayou Place. The Main Event is downtown Houston's entertainment district, allowing pedestrians to enjoy street cafes and live music at select times during the year. Beautiful fountains and METRO Rail, which takes riders from downtown to Reliant Park, make this district a hub of activity and fun. There are more than 70 dining and entertainment options to choose from.
With more than 14,000 theater seats in a concentrated Theater District, Houston offers a variety of options for theater-goers. Houston is one of five cities in the United States with resident companies in the four disciplines of the performing arts-Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony and Alley Theatre. Houston is also home to Theatre Under the Stars and the Society for the Performing Arts. The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts features two theaters and is home to Theatre Under the Stars, Broadway in Houston and Uniquely Houston. The Fresh Arts Coalition is a collaboration of the most original and thought-provoking arts groups in Houston. The 19 dance, theatre, literary, musical and visual arts organizations collectively raise awareness of the size and diversity of the arts in Houston.
Houston has sports fever 12 months out of the year. The city boasts nearly every major professional sports team including: The Houston Texans - NFL The Houston Astros - MLB, The Houston Rockets - NBA. Hit the links on more than 165 public and private golf courses, 365 days a year. Houston reigns as a city for major sporting events after hosting the 2004 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Super Bowl XXXVIII, 2005 World Series, the 2005 Big 12 Championship, the 2006 NBA All-Star Game and the Tennis Masters Cup in 2003 and 2004, as well as the annual Shell Houston Open, the 2011 NCAA Men's Final Four and 2011 Senior Games (Senior Olympics). Houston sports fans are looking forward to the 2017 NFL Superbowl Championship.
Explore a world of art, history and nature in the fourth largest museum district in the United States, featuring 15 world-class museums. Visit the Houston Museum of Natural Science and check out the IMAX, planetarium and the Cockrell Butterfly Center. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is one of the world's renowned art museums and the largest in the Southwest. The Menil Collection is one of the most significant art collections of the twentieth century. The collection consists of nearly 15,000 works dating from the Paleolithic era to the present day and includes rare pieces by artists such as Picasso and Matisse.
Have some out-of-this-world fun, touch a moon rock or land a shuttle at Space Center Houston. Tour Johnson Space Center and check out the heart of America's space program, Mission Control. Enjoy the rainforest, white sand beaches, penguins and a discovery pyramid-all at Moody Gardens on Galveston Island. Houston's only urban jungle features the John P. McGovern Children's Zoo, which creates the six ecosystems of Texas: city, forest, coastal, prairie, desert and farm. Some of the newest features at the zoo are the Wildlife Carousel, with 64 hand-carved animals representing endangered species, and Natural Encounters, the highly anticipated renovation of the Zoo's small mammal building that features meerkats, otters, and vampire bats. Stoll along Kemah Boardwalk and choose from 10 different restaurants, ride the Ferris wheel and train for fun, or just watch the sailboats from your table. Dine at Downtown Aquarium under several giant aquariums, take shark tunnel tours or enjoy fun and games that include a Ferris wheel and a carousel.
The Galleria, one of Houston's most popular shopping and tourist destinations, features more than 375 fine stores and restaurants, a full-size ice rink, two high-rise hotels, two office towers and a variety of other amenities. Anchor stores include Neiman Marcus, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom. Katy Mills Mall, a 1.3 million square foot market, features 200 of the best names in manufacturers' and retail outlets, off price retailers and unique specialty stores. Also at the mall are various restaurants and several family-oriented entertainment venues. Houston's European-style shopping center is Uptown Park. Unique clothing, jewelry, shoes, gifts and linens make up its collection of Old World charm and elegant stores. Traders Village, the largest market on the Texas Gulf Coast, covers more than 105 acres, with 800 dealers every weekend. An enchanting Victorian village, Old Town Spring Shopping Village features more than 150 merchants offering home decor, art and antiques. Historic Houston Heights boasts well-preserved Victorian architecture along verdant Heights Boulevard and Yale streets. Don't miss the antiques, unique decor, vintage clothing, art galleries garden shops and 19th Street's multitude of shops. Like New York's Orchard street, Harwin Drive boasts many stores selling leather goods, jewelry, perfume and clothing - some real and some faux, but most at incredible prices.
Houston is a coastal city with some of the country's most diverse saltwater fishing opportunities available in the nearby waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Houston is also surrounded by 1.5 million acres of lakes and 80,000 miles of rivers and streams. SpaceCity has more than 43,700 acres of green and growing city parks. The first project of Buffalo Bayou's 30-year master plan will be completed in May 2006, offering a new lighting system, expanded hike and bike trails and boat tours along the bayou. Enjoy Gulf Coast seafood, the great outdoors and the relaxing waters of Clear Lake on the Kemah Boardwalk - just 30 minutes from downtown Houston. Head to miles of Galveston's sun-drenched beaches just one hour from downtown Houston. The Woodlands Market Street is positioned to be the new downtown and social hub of The Woodlands - "America's Hometown." It's a diverse mix of business, shopping, dining and entertainment venues with a world-class sculpture collection and a large "town square" designed for gatherings and lush landscaping.
The Orange Show is Houston postman Jeff McKissack's creation. Built in honor of his favorite fruit, it illustrates his belief that longevity comes from hard work and good nutrition. The result is an architectural maze of walkways, balconies, arenas and exhibits decorated with mosaics and brightly painted iron figures. The Beer Can House is the work of the late John and Mary Milkovich. The house is an artpiece that boasts more than 50,000 cans attached to the home's exterior. The Art Car Museum features the most imaginative, elaborate and artfully constructed art cars, low riders and mobile contraptions, as well as display exhibitions of art by local, national and international artists of all media. Tucked inside Houston's Sunset Heights sits a small, white wood-framed 1920's church. The Aurora Picture Show is actually a "micro cinema," one of only a handful of unique venues that showcase non-commercial short films and videos. The 100 seat film and video theater often hosts the most distinguished media artists in the country.
Miracles happen daily at the Texas Medical Center, the world's largest healthcare complex. The 42+ non-profit institutions including M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Hermann Hospital and Texas Children's Hospital. The center is home to 15 patient care facilities including the Texas Heart Institute. St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, home to the Texas Heart Institute and heart surgeon pioneer Dr. Michael DeBakey, is the site of more heart surgeries than any hospital in the world.
Alley Theatre - One of the oldest and most respected resident professional theater companies in the country, this Tony Award-winning theater literally began in an alley in 1947.
Houston Ballet - A top-tier troupe with an international reputation, the Houston Ballet is America's fifth largest ballet company. The ensemble of dancers have been hailed by The New York Times as 'one of the nation's best ballet companies.'
Houston Grand Opera - HGO is passionate about creating a vital and moving opera experience and is one of the largest opera companies in the United States. The list of kudos is long, including numerous Grammy, Tony and Emmy awards.
Houston Symphony - One of America's pre-eminent performing arts organizations under the musical direction of Hans Graf, The Houston Symphony was founded in 1913. It has an impressively rich history and is counted among the world's finest orchestras.
Society for the Performing Arts - This 40-year-old organization brings the world's greatest performing artists and companies to Houston. Performances serve as a catalyst for the enrichment, growth and pleasure of Houston audiences.
Theatre Under The Stars - As one of the largest non-profit producers of musical theater in America, TUTS has a reputation for ushering in new musicals. It offers revivals of great Broadway classics, musical premieres and national and international tours.
Da Camera of Houston - Founded in 1987, Da Camera is renowned for its creative and diverse programming of jazz and chamber music. Performances take place at Houston's Wortham Theater Center and the Menil Collection.
Broadway in Houston - This organization brings the best of Broadway touring productions to Houston, including many Tony Award-winning actors and performances.
Bayou Bend Collection & Gardens - This grand mansion, surrounded by 14 acres of landscaped gardens, is home to one of the country's finest decorative arts collections.
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum - A permanent collection of artifacts and memorabilia, which chronicles the African-American military experience from the Revolutionary War to modern times.
The Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum - Opened in February 1997 and intimate in scale, the Chapel Museum is the repository for the only intact Byzantine frescoes in the entire western hemisphere.
Children's Museum of Houston - Combining adventure and education, CMH is ranked among the top children's museums in the country by Child magazine and MSN.com.
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston - This jewel in Houston's art scene is housed in an award-winning, all-metal structure that complements its contemporary art.
Holocaust Museum Houston - The first institution of its kind in the Southwest, the Holocaust Museum Houston was designed by U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum designer Ralph Appelbaum.
Houston Museum of Natural Science - The fourth most visited museum in the nation includes a butterfly habitat, planetarium, IMAX Theater and an exhibition hall that features one of the world's most prestigious gem and mineral collections.
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft - A nonprofit organization founded to advance education about the process, product and history of craft, the center's major emphasis is on objects of art made primarily of fiber, metal, glass, clay and wood.
Jung Center - The center offers more than one hundred courses, programs and conferences every year that address the critical social and spiritual issues of our time, as well as the need for personal growth and development.
Lawndale Art Center - A non-profit alternative space of four galleries for the exhibition of contemporary works in all media, The Lawndale Art Center is unique in its focus on Houston-area artists.
The Menil Collection - Featuring more than 15,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs and rare books, The Menil Collection is housed in a modern landmark designed by architect Renzo Piano.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston - The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is the largest art museum in the Southwest. With more than 45,000 works of art, it is an exceptional resource for learning about the visual arts from a worldwide perspective.
John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science - Explore giant sculptures of human organs, including a brain, ribs and mouth in this unique approach to the world of science.
Rice Gallery - Recognized for dynamic site-specific installation art, the gallery commissions artists to create installations that transform the exhibition space.
Rothko Chapel - Founded by John and Dominique de Menil, it is an intimate sanctuary available to people of every belief. This modern meditative environment was inspired by the paintings of American abstract expressionist Mark Rothko.
American Cowboy Museum on Taylor Stevenson Ranch - This museum preserves the western heritage of African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and women. Tours on foot, horseback or by hayride are available by appointment.
Ensemble Theatre - The oldest and most distinguished professional theater in the Southwest devoted to the African-American experience.
Forbidden Gardens - The gardens celebrate the history and culture of ancient China through beautiful and detailed landscaping.
Kuumba House Dance Theatre - The mission of this organization is to create, teach and present the cultural experience of African art forms through dance, theater, music and creative expression.
Talento Bilingue de Houston - One of the largest Latino cultural centers in the U.S., this showplace serves as the center for performing and visual arts in the Hispanic community.
Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts - MECA is a community-based, non-profit organization whose mission is to promote social, cultural and academic development of at-risk, inner-city youth through education in the arts.
Project Row Houses - Twenty two shotgun-style homes in the heart of the Third Ward were rescued by Project Row Houses. The group then developed them into a center for art and cultural education programs, which celebrate African American history and culture. They also provide community services and galleries for local artists.
Community Artist Collective - The Collective taps the creative juices of local artists to promote art education, entrepreneurship and cultural awareness. The result is improved community development through the visual arts.
Express Theatre - Excelling at creating and presenting professional, multicultural performing arts for children and families, their productions depict ethnic values and artistic elements from many cultures to reflect Houston's diverse population.
Tien Hou Temple - This lovely setting features elaborately carved dragon columns, altars and symbols of Buddhist, Taoist and other Eastern ideologies. The Tien Hou Temple is in the heart of Chinatown, just north of downtown Houston.
Trinity United Methodist Church - This congregation grew from a small mission organized in 1848 for the slave membership of the Houston Methodist Church (now First United Methodist Church). Trinity Methodist Church grew to 100 members within the first year. In 1869 the cornerstone was laid for a sanctuary at 1408 Travis and Bell streets. The church played a part in the founding of Wiley College in 1873 and Texas Southern University in 1925.
Antioch Missionary Baptist Church - The oldest African-American Baptist church in Houston is an important historical landmark. Antioch was founded just months after the end of the Civil War by newly emancipated slaves. The site was purchased in 1873.
Texas Southern University Museum - Texas Southern University is the largest historically African-American college in Texas. Located in the historic Third Ward, the university's museum offers visitors an opportunity to view African-American art and exhibits.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church - A state of Texas landmark, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church was built in 1923. The Church took the place of a wood frame structure used to minister to Mexican American refugees fleeing the 1901 revolution.
Casa Ramirez Folk Art - The gallery exhibits and sells various Mexican craftwork, from portraits, antiques and ceramic, clay, metal and wood artifacts and figures to the most varied artistic elements.
Texas Guandi Temple - In tribute to answered prayers, a Vietnamese couple, Mr. and Mrs. Ngo, built the Guandi Temple, the largest of its kind in the United States. The temple is dedicated to the Warrior god Guandi, defender against evil that represents truth and honesty.
Sri Meenakshi Temple - Beginning with five acres of land acquired in 1978, the devotees of Sri Meenakshi Temple have built one of the most impressive Hindu facilities in the Southwest. Regular Pooja services to all deities are conducted.
Phat Quang Vietnamese - Dedicated in 1992 under the high patronage of the Supreme Patriarch of the World Vietnamese Buddhist Order, the cultural compound includes a seven-story shrine, the Bridge of Peace and the Lotus Pond.
George Ranch Historical Park - This 490-acre living history park is part of a 23,000-acre working cattle ranch where visitors can witness frontier life from the 1830s to the 1930s.
Gulf Greyhound Park - The world's premier pari-mutuel greyhound-racing complex offers fast-paced action just south of Houston in La Marque.
Houston Arboretum and Nature Center - The arboretum, just minutes from downtown, features miles of winding trails for bird watching and plant appreciation.
Moody Gardens - This science and nature wonderland in Galveston features a spectacular Rainforest Pyramid, Discovery Pyramid, Aquarium Pyramid, two IMAX theaters and lush gardens and nature trails.
Sam Houston Race Park - This race park celebrates the spirit and elegance of Thoroughbred and Quarter horse racing with live and simulcast racing in northwest Houston.
San Jacinto Monument - A 570-foot obelisk capped by a giant star marks the spot where Texas won its independence from Mexico. Nearby is the Battleship Texas, built in 1914.
Space Center Houston - As the official visitors center for Johnson Space Center, this theme park for space fans features actual spacecraft, flight simulators and a guided tram tour of NASA and Mission Control.
Six Flags SplashTown Waterpark - This waterpark features 50 acres of slippery sensations including Thunder Run, a five-story aqua speedway.
Houston Zoo - Houston's only urban jungle features the John P. McGovern Children's Zoo, which recreates the six ecosystems of Texas: city, forest, coastal, prairie, desert and farm. Some of the newest features at the zoo are the Wildlife Carousel, with 64 hand-carved animals representing endangered species, and Natural Encounters, the highly anticipated renovation of the Zoo's small mammal building that features meerkats, otters, and vampire bats.
Downtown Aquarium - This underwater-themed complex features dining among several giant aquariums, shark tunnel tours, generous banquet facilities, plus fun and games.
Kemah Boardwalk - Choose from 10 different restaurants as you stroll along this charming boardwalk located south of Houston on Galveston Bay. Rid the Ferris wheel and train for fun, watch the sailboats, or enjoy the games and rides.
Houston is a space of infinite possibilities. As a top convention and tourism destination you'll enjoy the very best hotels, convention facilities, sports, entertainment, dining, outdoor recreation and attractions. The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau and its partner, Continental Airlines, encourage you to make Houston your choice for business or pleasure. For more information on Houston attractions, log on to www.visithoustontexas.com or call 1-800-4HOUSTON.