Houston is named for General Sam Houston who helped Texas win their independence from Mexico. Houston has one of the most diverse populations in Texas. This is reflected in their cultural exhibits and institutions, as well as the almost 100 foreign governments that have consular offices in Houston. Sports are a big part of Houston life. Houston has the world’s first indoor domed sports stadium, the Astrodome. Tourists are drawn to the Houston Museum District, which includes the Holocaust Museum and the Houston Zoo. The Theater District, Space Center Houston, Bayou Place, and the Downtown Aquarium are also part of Houston’s popular must-see attractions. Houston has over 300 parks and ranks as one of the top cities in the United States for green space. One of the largest concentrations of research and healthcare institutions in the world can be found in the city. Houston is where Life Flight, an air emergency service, began. One of the highest concentrations of bike commuters in Texas, is found in Houston and so the city started a bicycle sharing system in the early 2000s.
Early economic growth, in Houston, came from the railroad and port industries, especially with the movement of cotton. The deep-water Port of Houston opened in the early 1900s and today is rated as one of the top ports for tonnage in the United States and the world. During World War II, refineries and manufacturing plants located in Houston led the defense industry. In the mid 1900’s the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) built the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Since then, Houston’s economy has grown to include oil and gas, healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation. Healthcare institutions account for more than 70,000 jobs in Houston. While Houston is a leader in almost every section of the oil and gas industry, renewable sources such as solar and wind power are also starting to add to Houston’s economy. Houston has more than 5,000 energy related businesses. All these parts of the economy help Houston to be ranked near the top of the “Best Places for Business and Careers” list.