Houston is the fourth largest city in the US and the largest in the vast state of Texas. Within the 600 square miles it occupies, more than 2.2 million people make their home.

The city was founded on August 30th 1836 by the Allen brothers; Augustus and John, on land bordering the banks of the Buffalo Bayou. The city became incorporated in 1837 and was renamed for the president of the Republic of Texas, the great General Sam Houston. General Houston had commanded the battle that was fought at San Jacinto, 25 miles from the site where the city was originally established.

Houston's economy has a broad industrial base in the manufacturing, energy, aeronautics and health care industries. It is also a leading builder of oil field equipment. In fact only New York City is home to more Fortune 500 companies within the city limits.

All this of course means that Houston is a very diverse and international city, with over 90 languages in common use all over the city, and the population of Houston is one of the youngest in the country. It also has the third largest Hispanic population in the US. The city I enlivened all the time by the influences of cultures from all corners of the globe.

In 1967 Houston officially gained the nickname "Space City" as it is home to the Lyndon B Johnson Space Center and at the forefront of NASA's continuing efforts in space.

There are so many annual events held in Houston to celebrate the varied cultures and histories of the people who call it home that it is almost impossible to keep track of them all. The largest and oldest of these is the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show, held for 20 long days every February and March. The colorful Houston Pride Parade, held in the heat of early June, is another of the most attended, by residents and tourists alike. The Bayou City Arts Festival is considered one of the top five art festivals in the United States.

The Theater District is a 17 block area in the center of downtown Houston. Here you will find the Bayou Place, an entertainment complex filled with restaurants, shops, parks and plazas. The Verizon Wireless Center hosts an array of live concerts, live comedy and stage plays. The Angelika Film Center is a mecca for those who are fans of foreign, arts and independent films.

There are over 300 parks in the city of Houston, including Hermann Park, home to the Houston Zoo and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. It is also the site of the Sam Houston Park, which contains reconstructed and restored homes that were first constructed between 1823 and 1905.

Space Center Houston is the visitor side of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, where you can find a number of exciting exhibits including a space shuttle simulator. 

For the shopping enthusiast, Houston is the home of the largest shopping mall in Texas, The Houston Galleria, which houses all the major chain stores.