As the largest city in Texas and fourth-largest in the United States, Houston is a veritable treasure trove of culture and memorable experiences.[find-an-apartment]
There's plenty to do in this city, regardless of where your interests may lie — whether you'd like to catch a baseball game, explore the historic Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center or enjoy a show at one of the many theaters, Houston is likely the city for you.
Houston is home to the Texas Medical Center — the largest complex of its kind in the world, with a high density of clinics for patient care, basic science and a number of research facilities. In all, there are about 50 different institutions within the Texas Medical Center, including 13 hospitals, two medical schools and a number of others in fields like nursing, dental care and public health. The center is also where one of the first and largest air ambulance services was launched. More heart surgeries are performed in this complex than anywhere else in the world.
This is the place to be if you're interested in pursuing a career in a medical field. There are a seemingly endless number of different institutions to choose from, and you're sure to find research being conducted that applies to the field you're pursuing.
There are four separate state universities located in Houston, perhaps the largest of which is the University of Houston. The institution is widely regarded as a top-tier research university and is the flagship establishment of the University of Houston System. A student body of more than 40,000 makes it the third-largest university in the entire state of Texas. Two other schools — University of Houston Clear Lake and University of Houston Downtown — are stand-alone institutions, in spite of their names.
There are several other private universities to choose from as well, running the gamut from liberal arts to more involved research schools. Perhaps the most well-known private school in Houston is Rice University, which is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top-20 school in the nation.
Three community colleges — Houston Community College, Lone Star College and San Jacinto College — are also perfect for those looking for a specialized education without having to commit to something as involved as a private school.
Houston has a rich sporting culture that is rivaled by only a few other cities in the country. With major league professional teams in virtually every spectator sport, you can watch a Houston team play practically every day of the year.
Although they have yet to win a World Series, the Houston Astros are a beloved part of the city's ethos. They have been to the playoffs several times in their history, even making it to the World Series in 2005, however. Their games are played at Minute Maid Park since 2000.
The Texans are a relatively young football team, having only entered the league in 2002, and though they have yet to make it to the playoffs, things are looking bright for this budding expansion team. They play their games in the monolithic Reliant Stadium, which can hold more than 70,000 fans at once.
The Houston Rockets are the city's basketball team, perhaps best known for drafting Yao Ming in 2002. A series of untimely injuries has put an end to the team's championship hopes more than a few times, but when everything is running properly, the Rockets dominate. In fact, their 22-win streak in 2007 is the second-longest in NBA history.
Houston is an incredibly diverse city with an ever-growing international community. It's been estimated that about 20 percent of those living in the city are from another country. As a result, there are a number of cultural festivals held throughout the year.
The largest and longest-running festival within the city is the annual Livestock Show and Rodeo. Held for nearly three weeks between February and March, it's the largest celebration of its type in the world. The likes of Sheryl Crow and ZZ Top have played at the festival, so you know you're in good company!
Of course, there are plenty of fine arts and theater venues within the city as well. Houston's Museum District attracts some seven-million visitors every year. In fact, it's one of the few cities that has permanent professional companies in the major performing arts (opera, music, ballet and theater). There are also a number of small progressive theaters and a rich folk music tradition.
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