COMMUNITY PROFILES

The Theater District is a 17-block area in the center of downtown Houston that is home to the Bayou Place entertainment complex, restaurants, movies, plazas, and parks. Bayou Place is a large multilevel building containing full-service restaurants, bars, live music, billiards, and Sundance Cinema. The Houston Verizon Wireless Theater stages live concerts, stage plays, and stand-up comedy. Space Center Houston is the official visitors’ center of NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. The Space Center has many interactive exhibits including moon rocks, a shuttle simulator, and presentations about the history of NASA’s manned space flight program. Other tourist attractions include the Galleria (Texas’s largest shopping mall located in the Uptown District), Old Market Square, the Downtown Aquarium, and Sam Houston Race Park. SplashTown Waterpark Houston is a water park located north of Houston. Earth Quest Adventures is a theme park planned to open in 2013/2014.

Houston is home to 337 parks including Hermann Park, Terry Hershey Park, Lake Houston Park, Memorial Park, Tranquility Park, Sesquicentennial Park, Discovery Green, and Sam Houston Park. Within Hermann Park are the Houston Zoo and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Sam Houston Park contains restored and reconstructed homes which were originally built between 1823 and 1905. There is a proposal to open the city’s first botanic garden at Herman Brown Park.

Of the 10 most populous U.S. cities, Houston has the most total area of parks and green space, 56,405 acres. The city also has over 200 additional green spaces—totaling over 19,600 acres that are managed by the city—including the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. The Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark is a public skatepark owned and operated by the city of Houston, and is one of the largest skateparks in Texas consisting of 30,000 square foot in-ground facility. The Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park—located in the Uptown District of the city—serves as a popular tourist attraction, weddings, and various celebrations. A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Houston the 23rd most walkable of the 50 largest cities in the United States.

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