Houston is the fourth most populous city in the nation (trailing only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago), and is the largest in the southern U.S. and Texas.
The Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (Houston CMSA) consists of eight counties: Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller.
Nearly 30 school districts serve the greater Houston area. Friendswood Development communities, although located throughout the Houston area, share in their proximity to outstanding schools.
Additionally, a number of highly respected universities and community college systems also serve the needs of Houstonians pursuing higher education. Universities within the Houston area include:
- The University of Houston
- Houston Baptist University
- Rice University
- University of St. Thomas
- Texas Southern University
- The University of Texas Medical School
- Baylor University Medical School
- South Texas College of Law
Traveling Around Houston
Houston is growing continuously, with the expansion of major roadways as well as the addition of access-ways making travel around the Houston area more convenient. Houston is served by a number of interstate highways and tollways, including a number of new roadways that are enhancing daily commutes. Interstate 10, Interstate 45, US Highway 290, US Highway 59 and State Highway 288 are among the main arteries in and out of Houston's Central Business District, or Downtown Houston. Loop 610 (or "The Loop"), which encircles the most close-in part of the city, also offers access to the major freeways.
The Sam Houston Tollway (Beltway 8), the Hardy Toll Road, the new Fort Bend Tollway and the new Westpark Toll Road have all made travel around Houston even easier.
Houston's Great Outdoors
Houston enjoys a fairly mild climate throughout the year, with the warmest months in June through September.
Houston's winters tend to be gentle, with temperatures ranging from the low-to-mid 60s during the day and low-to-mid 40s as night. According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the city's temperature gauge hits the freezing mark an average of 18 times each winter, and only 14 measurable snowfalls have been recorded since 1939. Houstonians spend their time outdoors enjoying temperatures in the upper 70s during the day and upper 50s at night. Houstonians typically see the most rain in the spring (May and June) and fall (September and October) months, with the rainfall in those months averaging between 4.33 and 5.35 inches. In an average year, Houston receives a little less than 46 inches of rain.
The Houston area enjoys a prolonged growing season that averages about 300 days each year.
Houston is one of the few U.S. cities with resident companies in theater, ballet, symphony and opera, where residents can enjoy performances all season long.
Houston's City Life
Located downtown, the 17-block Theater District is home to eight performing arts organizations and more than 12,000 seats. Only New York City has more seats concentrated in one geographic area. Throughout Houston, a growing number of venues make performances easily accessible.
A city devoted to the arts, Houston offers a full venue of art museums and critically acclaimed galleries. Just between Reliant Stadium and downtown, Houston's Museum District offers a range of museums, galleries, and art and cultural institutions, including the city's major museums. Approximately 4 million people visit institutions in the Museum District every year.
Theater District location: downtown, north/northwest area, within red boundary lines and Buffalo Bayou.
Houston's downtown area is new and revitalized, with the addition of a number of new restaurants, clubs and other entertainment venues.
Houstonians enjoy the multicultural atmosphere of the city year-round - at city-wide events and activities. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Art Car Parade, the International Festival, Fiesta Patrias, the Westheimer Street Festival, the Children's Festival, and a variety of holiday celebrations are among the many highlights of living in Houston.
Houston, We Don't Have A Problem
The Houston economy is vibrant and thriving. Complimenting its ranking as one of the nation's most affordable cities is a strong economic foundation, enhanced by a diverse base. The city's business economy has rapidly diversified from its strong energy core. This economic diversification includes growth in high-technology industries, medical research, health care and professional services.
Today, the Houston economy is based on a broad spectrum of industries including:
- Oil and gas exploration
- Basic petroleum refining
- Petrochemical production
- Medical research and health care delivery
- High-technology (computer, aerospace, environmental, etc.)
- Government (City, state and federal)
- International import and export
- Commercial fishing
- Film and Media
- Banking and finance
- Manufacturing and distribution
- Related service industries
Houston is home to many businesses, including corporate headquarters for a number of Fortune 500 companies. Many foreign countries and corporations have also established a presence in Houston to access North American markets via the City's excellent distribution facilities.