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Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States. It is a huge city, covering an area of 1500 square kilometers. By comparison, London covers approximately the same surface area, but has nearly four times more people! Do not be put off by its vastness, as most of the sights are in the center of Houston. Downtown and Midtown are the cultural heart of the city, with renowned ballets and operas and many other theaters. The museums are conveniently grouped together in the Museum District, including the Contemporary Arts Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Children's Museum and the Museum of Natural Science. Would you like to discover historic Houston, then go to The Heights and Sixth Ward.
Houston's population is relatively low, compared to its surface area: in Houston live more than two million people. It is a multicultural city, many residents have their roots in Latin America, India or Pakistan.
Houston is located in the southeast of the southern state of Texas, west of Galveston Bay, which connects to the Gulf of Mexico. In summer and autumn, the city is often hit by tropical storms or hurricanes.
Houston’s economy is based on energy, especially oil and gas. The city is strategically located regarding to the most important oil and gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico and Texas. The petrochemical industry is therefore well represented. The installations for oil and gas extraction are also built in Houston. Apart from that, nowadays Houston is focusing on alternative sources of energy as well, such as wind and solar energy. Furthermore, Houston is the center for human space flight at NASA; for instance, the Mission Control Center is located at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
The city's most important airport – George Bush Intercontinental Airport – is located 32 kilometers north of the city center. It is right next to one of the rings (Beltway 8), in between exits onto the IH-45 North and the US-59 North. The way to the airport is clearly indicated.
William P. Hobby Airport is a smaller airport for domestic flights only, eleven kilometers southeast of the city. You can get to this airport via the I-45 South.
For tourists, Houston's light rail is a relief. This line connects the main attractions in Downtown, Midtown, the Museum District, and Reliant Park. Furthermore, there is an extensive network of city buses.
The people of Houston are – even more than other Americans – addicted to their cars. The city council takes this into account. The city is bisected by major highways and there are two ring roads. Therefore, it is easy to get from one part of Houston to the other. Except of course during rush hour, but that goes for any larger city. Many roads are toll roads (including most of the ring Beltway 8).
In the center there are many parking facilities, but on weekdays it can be difficult to find a free space. Alternatively, you can park your rental car at the Fannin South P + R area and continue by public transport.
Most of the luxury hotels are located in Downtown and Uptown/Galleria. At East End you'll find more mid range hotels and in South Main (including the Museum District) accommodations are available in every price range. Remember that Houston is a business city and often you will be able to negotiate high discounts for weekend stays!
For more information about Houston we recommend Google and the following sources: