Here’s something we already know about Houston, Texas; it’s one of the coolest and most fun cities to visit in the American South.
1. Houston is huge
Whether walking or taking public transport, plan your journey well because Houston is the most populated city in Texas and the fourth in the United States (after New York, Chicago and Los Angeles). It’s so geographically big, it could fit the cities of New York, Boston, and San Francisco all at once. At 1,635 sq km, it lies east of Austin, south of Dallas and has a population of approximately 2.24million. On top of that, it’s thought to be one of the most ethnically and racially diverse cities in the country, so everyone’s welcome.
2. They have some strange laws
Planning on having a glass of something stronger? You’ll have to go to a bar after noon time if it’s Sunday. Laws in Texas prevent people from buying a bottle of liquor in a shop on Sundays altogether, but stores can sell beer and wine. So your best bet might be to check out one of Houston’s many cool nightlife venues. Not a bad compromise.
SEE ALSO: 15 reasons to visit Houston, Texas now
3. It’s home to the world’s first domed stadium
The NRG Astrodome, often referred to as “The Eighth Wonder Of The World”, started being built in 1962 and was completed in 1965. Home to the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball up until 1999, it’s the first multi-purpose sports stadium and hosts the NBA’s Houston Rockets part-time. After being the first venue of its kind to use artificial turf instead of grass, the artificial turf has become more commonly known as AstroTurf. The dome provided shelter to many victims of New Orleans’ Hurricane Katrina and in 2017 it was named a State Antiques Landmark by the Texas Historical Commission, which means that it cannot be modified without a permit.
4. Houston is the most famous word said on the moon
While there’s confusion around what the exact first words said on the moon were, there’s no doubt that “Houston” was in there. The “Houston, we have a problem” quote was popularised by Tom Hanks’ character in the 1995 movie, Apollo 13, but the more accurate lines are said to be: “Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here” and “Uh, Houston, we’ve had a problem”. The city is home to the NASA Mission Control Center so make sure to give the Space Center a visit.
5. The dining scene is a big deal
With the best in Tex-Mex, Asian dishes and food trucks, it’s no wonder people who live in the city dine out so much. Residents are said to eat outside of their home four times per week on average and they’re spoiled for choice with more than 10,000 restaurants that represent more than 70 countries. Some of the best venues to try include Churrascos, Fung’s Kitchen and Gatlin’s BBQ Ribs.
6. Houston is home to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
The largest rodeo in the world (Feb 27 to Mar 18, 2018), sees approximately 2 million people flock to the action and enjoy entertainment from a variety of musicians. In March 2017, Demi Lovato, With Harmony, Willie Nelson, ZZ Top, Zac Brown Band, Blink 182 and Willie Nelson performed. On top of that, Alicia Keys took to the stage for Black Heritage Day and Old Dominion led Armed Forces Appreciation Day. Don’t miss out on the huge carnival which takes place midway through.
7. It has the first traditional Hindu mandir in the nation
Inaugurated in 2004 by spiritual leader Swami Maharaj, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple was modelled after the architectural scriptures of India from 5,000 years ago and was the first its kind in North America. Its 34,000 pieces of Italian marble and Turkish limestone were hand-sculpted in India, then put together by volunteers and artisans, just like a giant jigsaw puzzle. It took 28 months to build and can be toured by the public each day from 7.30am to 8.45pm.