Houston is the 4th largest city in the USA: 2 millions inhabitants in the city itself, 4.5 millions if you include the suburbs. It is located on the Southern coast of the USA, along the Gulf of Mexico. Downtown Houston is actually about 30 miles (40 km) from the coast where the resort town of Galveston lies. A huge bay is located just Southeast of Houston, it is Galveston Bay.
The country around Houston is very flat as it is located on the Gulf of Mexico coastal plain (a carbonate platform). Bayous (=wet lands) characterize most of the landscape around Houston, except in the North where big pine forests extend for hundreds of miles, and the Northwest where fields and forests alternate in gently rolling hills. Serious hills start near Austin and San Antonio, in the Hill Country, about 4 to 5 hours drive Northwest of Houston.
The climate is subtropical, a little too humid and hot in the summer, but otherwise pleasant throughout the year. In winter it freezes maybe 2 or 3 nights a year! It rains a lot, but in big bursts in the form of violent tropical storms and thunderstorms, leaving an overall impression of a very sunny place!
Houston (founded 1836) developped mainly around the oil industry and a huge amount of the population still works in petrochemicals. It is also home to the NASA Johnson Space Center where astronauts receive their training, where 'mission control' is located, and where the Moon rocks are curated.
Here are more facts on Houston
(most of them from the City of Houston website):
- Home to 18 Fortune 500 companies and more than 5,000 energy related firms, Houston is considered by many as the Energy Capital of the world.
- Houston has the most affordable housing of 10 most populated metropolitan areas; Houston housing costs are 39 percent below the average of 26 U.S. urban populations of more than 1.5 million.
- The Port of Houston ranks as the nation's largest port in international tonnage and second in total tonnage.
- Houston is home to the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, with a local economic impact of $10 billion. More than 52,000 people work within its facilities, which encompass 21 million square feet. Altogether 4.8 million patients visit them each year.
- Houston is home to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The largest rodeo in the world, it attracts more than 1.8 million visitors each year.
- And I have to add, Houston has won the dreaded title of "fatest city in the USA", meaning that there is here the largest percentage of overweight people in any american city!!