Rice University logo
 
 
 
Fact or Fiction banner  

 

 

Separating Houston Fact from Fiction

Facts

  • Fourth-largest city in the United States, with 4.7 million residents living in 8,778-square miles of the eight-county Houston metropolitan area, making it larger than the state of New Jersey. Harris county, in which Houston resides, is larger than the state of Rhode Island.
  • Headquarters to 26 Fortune 500 companies — second only to New York City.
  • Home of the Texas Medical Center, the world's largest center for medical research, education and patient care.
  • Home of NASA's Johnson Space Center — Rice University helped seal the deal.
  • One of only six American cities with resident professional companies in all four major performing arts: ballet, opera, theater and symphony — second only to New York City in number of theater seats (10,000) in a concentrated downtown area.
  • Home of the 2005 National League Champion Houston Astros, the NFL's Houston Texans, two-time NBA champion Houston Rockets, and the 2006 MLS Cup Champion Houston Dynamo soccer team. 
  • Known as the "urban forest," Houston has lush vegetation, with more than 533 parks and open areas, 53 in downtown alone. We have an arboretum, rose garden, Japanese garden, and eight city golf courses. 

Fiction

You can't get there. An advantage of being the nation's fourth-largest city is the transportation options. The city has two airports, George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport, featuring many direct flights to and from every major city in the country and the world. Bush Intercontinental is located 23 miles north of the city and is the largest of the two airports — an international gateway to the city and home of Continental Airlines. Hobby Airport is the smaller and closer of the airports. Located just seven miles from downtown, Hobby primarily services domestic flights in and out of the city.

It's hot in Houston.
Yes, the summers are hot, with temperatures averaging 90 degrees during the height of summer, which lasts about 95 days. But, the winters are wonderful, with average temperatures in the 60s; and rarely is there snow or ice.

Only cowboys live in Texas.
Perhaps on the prairies 500 miles away, but in the Houston metropolitan area more than 90 languages are spoken, with 87 consulates represented from countries across the globe. A benefit of this rich culture is more than 11,000 restaurants and the opportunity to indulge in every major cuisine of the world.

There's no cultural activity in Houston.
Au contraire. Houstonians support more than 500 cultural, visual and performing arts organizations; over 200 art galleries; and five major museums. Did we mention the 11,000 eating establishments?

It's expensive to live in the big city.
Houston's big, but it is cheap. The cost of living is 39 percent below the average for major metropolitan areas, making it the second-most affordable metropolitan area.