Houston Travel Guide
Houston skyline © Greater Houston CVB
The massive metropolis of Houston, sprawling across the Gulf Coast plain of East Texas from its busy port, is almost twice the size of the entire state of Rhode Island. Even with this heavy urban concentration, though, Houston is green and lush, sited at the end of a belt of forest coming down from the north, and characterised by marshlands and bayous lined with cypress trees in the southern reaches.
Houston, named after former Republic of Texas president Sam Houston, is hot and humid. To make life more bearable in the close-packed downtown area much activity has gone underground. The city centre sports an air-conditioned seven-mile (11km) pedestrian tunnel system full of restaurants and shops. Unlike most cities, downtown in Houston is the hub of residential development, so it remains busy and bustling long after dark.
Texas' largest city is not generally a sought after tourist destination, being concerned more with business than pleasure and leisure. Computer manufacture, gas and oil, and a huge concentration of medical institutions account for most of the economic activity, but all those hard-working citizens have to play sometimes, and there are some good attractions like excellent museums, the amazing Astrodome sports pavilion, some wonderful theatres and, thanks to the cosmopolitan mix of its residents, some ethnically diverse cuisine on offer in its many restaurants and neighbourhoods. For visitors the absolute 'must-see' in Houston is the famed Space Center mission control for the US space programme.
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