Houston offers an outstanding quality of life because of its mild climate, diversity of residents, exceptional healthcare and research facilities, first –rate schools and universities, and world-class performing arts, sports, and recreational activities.
It remains the fourth largest city in the United States, home to nearly six million residents in the metropolitan area. Nearly one in five Houstonians was born outside the United States, making it a diverse international city.
Learn more about the City of Houston and its culture in the "Why Houston" brochure (pdf).
Houston has thousands restaurants and offers every imaginable cuisine. You may know that we do steaks and BBQ pretty well, but we’re also known for seafood, Tex-Mex and Mexican food. Or, feel free to experiment with cuisines from across the globe.
According to the ACCRA Cost of Living Index, the Houston metro area’s cost of living is 9% below the nationwide average.
With more than 17,000 business establishments, there are many vocational options for those considering relocating with family to Houston. Houston's economy is based on a broad range of world-class services, including:
- The energy industry – from exploration to production
- Medical research and health care delivery
- Leading technology including computers, aerospace, environmental engineering, etc.
This economic diversity results in a local economy that has proven largely stable. Twenty-three Fortune 500 companies are headquartered here, and many of the world's largest foreign-based corporations have a presence as well. Houston is home to NASA's Johnson Space Center and, being the location of mission control, “Houston” was the first word broadcast from the moon.
Sports fans won’t be disappointed, as Houston is represented in nearly every professional sporting category.
- Houston Astros – Major League Baseball
- Houston Rockets – National Basketball Association
- Houston Texans – National Football League
- Houston Dynamo – Major League Soccer
Houston also has hosted major sporting events such as the Super Bowl, NBA All-Star Game, Major League Baseball’s World Series and the NCAA Final Four. The city is home to the PGA Tour’s Shell Houston Open, and MD Anderson holds the distinction of being the official cancer center of the PGA Tour.
Houston is one of only a very few American cities with permanent companies in all of the major performing arts: ballet, opera, orchestra and theater. Downtown's 17-block Theater District houses these companies and several other major performing arts organizations which together offer nearly 13,000 seats.
In addition, there are smaller venues scattered about the Warehouse District, Rice Village, the Heights and the Montrose area, just to name a few. These venues are usually run by small non-profit companies which specialize in new and original work.
There are also two large outdoor amphitheaters: the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands and Miller Outdoor Theatre, located in Hermann Park.
The Museum District is home to 18 museums including the increasingly famous Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), which is the largest collection in the Southwest. Other museums in the area include the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, the Children's Museum of Houston, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Holocaust Museum, the Houston Museum of African American Culture and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. For a taste of something different, visit the Art Car Museum and the Orange Show Foundation for folk art collections which really must be seen to be believed.
Don’t forget that Houston is home to the world’s largest Livestock Show and Rodeo. Nearly 2.5 million visitors come every year to see some of the most talented ropers and wranglers the West has to offer, as well as some of the world’s most talented entertainers in country, R&B, pop and Tejano music.
If you have children, another big selling point is Houston’s educational opportunities. There are 17 school districts in the Houston area, the largest being the Houston Independent School District (HISD). The city has several magnet schools with specially designed curricula in the fine arts, law enforcement, health professions and more, plus Vanguard programs.
Houston also has exceptional higher education opportunities available from colleges, universities and degree-granting institutions across the area. Here are some highlights:
- Rice University is renowned for its science and engineering programs.
- The University of Houston System, Houston Community College System and Lone Star College System have multiple campuses spanning across the city.
- Other major institutions include the University of St. Thomas, Houston Baptist University and Texas Southern University.
- There are several academic health science institutions, including Baylor College of Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and, of course, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s School of Health Professions and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston.