Not enough sports fans grasp the uniqueness of Houston. Many believe Houstonians wear cowboy boots and hats, drive pickup trucks and eat too much steak and barbeque. And while that may be true, it only scratches the surface of Space City. The city’s visitor website sums it up well: Houston is “southern hospitality meets urban chic city”. It’s metropolitan with a Texas twist.

Houston sits near the Gulf of Mexico on the southeast edge of Texas. The fourth-largest city in the nation has over 2 million residents, a brilliant cityscape and a thriving, diverse economy. It also has history and culture, in spades. The gulf city has wisely evolved with the times, incorporating in 1837 and finding ways to reinvent itself ever since. Houston welcomed oil discovery and a booming port and railroad industry at the turn of the twentieth century. This economic trifecta brought jobs, dollars and people into the deep Texas town. It’s easy for government leaders to rest on their laurels, grasping onto the economy that built its skyscrapers. But Houston politicians and business leaders spent the early to mid 1900s cultivating other avenues for civic success. The 1950s and 60s brought about economic evolution in Houston. Texas Medical Center—a huge collection of healthcare and research institutions—settled in Houston. NASA’s Johnson Space Center and the Mission Control Center opened too (hence the Space City moniker). And Fortune 500 companies like Marathon Oil, Sysco, Waste Management and Phillips 66 have headquarters within the city limits. Energy, manufacturing, transportation and aeronautics surround much of Houston’s industrial focus. Texas’ urban mecca is an industrial melting pot, if there ever was one.

You don’t want for culture and entertainment in Houston. There are myriad of options, whether you’re a native or in town for a guy’s weekend or family vacation. Want to explore the city’s history and cityscape? Take an architectural tour, walk the Texas Independence Trail and wander the grounds of Bayou Bend. Visit the Holocaust Museum, the Battleship Texas or one of many striking art museums. Prefer the outdoors? Explore the city by bike or canoe and hike in the Armand Bayou Nature Center. Or perhaps test your aim at the American Shooting Centers. Enjoy live music, fun on the water, golf and tour the city—brewery, boat, culinary and architectural tours pair you with an experienced guide. And bring your fork and knife because steakhouses, barbeque and Mexican restaurants cover the town. Want to check out a hidden gem? Visit the Sky Lobby at Chase Tower for breathtaking views of the city. Oh, have I mentioned the sports?  

Houstonians love their sports. The Rockets won their last championship nearly two decades ago and fans are craving another trophy. The dynamic duo of Dwight Howard and James Harden, along with the analytical mind of GM Daryl Morey, should allow the team to contend in the tough Western Conference for years. The Astros baseball club, led by general manager Jeff Luhnow, rebuilt the right way replenishing the minor leagues and modernizing the team’s application of analytics. The Astros sit atop the AL West—that sounds odd on multiple levels—and are poised to challenge for years to come. Bill O’Brien led the Texans to a 9-7 record in his first season as head coach. He has a talented coaching staff and several dynamic players—heard of J.J. Watt?—to challenge the Colts for a division title in 2015. Don’t forget about the city’s stellar soccer team. The Houston Dynamo club has won 2 MLS Cups in a decade and, fun fact, are co-owned by famed boxer Oscar De La Hoya. The largest annual livestock show and rodeo in the world takes over Houston for several weeks in March, attracting thousands of fans to NRG Stadium and generating big revenue for the tourism industry. A wealth of sports options keeps Houston buzzing year around.

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