Remarkably multicultural, Metropolitan Houston draws new residents to a cosmopolitan atmosphere that offers premier cultural, recreational, and entertainment attractions. More than seven million visitors each year underscore the metro area as a popular destination for tourists. Houston’s Museum District is home to a remarkably rich cluster of cultural institutions and world-class exhibits. Included on the list are the Contemporary Arts Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Museum of Natural Science. The Menil Collection and Rothko Chapel are located in the nearby Montrose area. Annual events add to the permanent attractions, dotting the calendar with exciting shows and celebrations like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Houston Pride Parade, the Houston International Festival, and the Art Car Parade. The Bayou City Arts Festival has earned a reputation as one of America’s finest gatherings of artisans.

Metropolitan Houston’s cultural community is world class, anchored by the downtown Theater District ranked second in the nation that serves as home to a number of arts organizations and six performance halls. A relatively new addition is the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Houston is one of only a handful of cities with permanent professional companies in all major disciplines. The Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, and the Alley Theatre are joined by scores of groups that showcase local and regional talent.

The metro area also attracts stellar national and international shows from Broadway hits to the world’s biggest musical stars, for a lineup that appeals to every age and interest. Families will appreciate the abundance of first-rate attractions that are ideal for children, headlined by the Houston Zoo, the Downtown Aquarium, the Space Center Houston, and the Children’s Museum of Houston.

Houston is known for its unique and diverse shopping opportunities. Residents can shop the largest mall in Texas—The Galleria, with its designer stores, two million square feet of retail and its own ice skating rink. For those who want to shop outside of the major malls there are many pedestrian friendly shopping centers, places such as Uptown Park, Highland Village and the River Oaks Shopping center. Beyond the planned shopping centers residents can find many neighborhoods full of shop’s, run by people from around the world selling everything imaginable.

Metropolitan Houston is home to state-of-the-art stadiums and arenas and popular professional and collegiate teams that keep fans jumping to their feet. NCAA competitive events draw large crowds, especially the annual Texas Bowl. Active sports can be enjoyed in outstanding sports facilities and recreational areas, including nearly 340 city parks and hundreds of green spaces that total 19,600 acres. Some parks meld nature and culture, like Hermann Park with its world-class museums and attractions and the historic sites nestled in Sam Houston Park. Surrounding the Houston urban area, outdoor enthusiasts will find vast state parks, recreational lakes, deep forests, rolling rivers, and miles of scenic trails. Nearby Galveston and the Gulf of Mexico offer beaches and waterfront retreats. Take your time exploring Metropolitan Houston, where the catch phrase “something for everyone” always rings true.

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