Houston recently passed New York to become the most ethnically and racially diverse city in the U.S. According to Census data, Houston is the most racially and ethnically diverse large metropolitan area in the U.S. Some 400,000 foreign-born residents moved to the city between 2000 and 2010. The Anglo population in Houston is 39.7%, compared to 48.9% in New York, there are nearly as many Latinos as Anglos, and there's a large and rapidly growing Asian population.
Houston is the home of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. It's the home of America's astronaut corps, and the place where they — and many international astronauts — get trained to go to space. It's a significant research center and employer, as well as housing Mission Control for manned spaceflight expeditions.
There's a spectacular range of ethnic cuisines, fantastic seafood, and great barbecue. Houston has particularly excellent Vietnamese food due to a massive expatriate population, which was partially drawn by the large seafood industry. There's great Mexican food, and a strong Cajun presence due to the proximity of New Orleans and the many people who came after Katrina and stayed. And don't forget barbecue, because this is Texas after all, at places like Goode Company.
The New York Times calls Houston "one of the country's most exciting places to eat." The publication gave glowing reviews to innovative Houston restaurants Oxheart and Underbelly. Its chief food critic, Pete Wells, wrote that Houston is becoming "one of the country's most exciting places to eat."
Houston's got more parks than any other top-10 metropolitan area. Though it's known for its association with the oil industry, Houston has lots and lots of parks and green space — 50,632 acres in total. That puts it third in the U.S. behind only San Diego and Dallas in acreage per capita. The city's been investing a large amount in building out this space, particularly building out the space surrounding the Buffalo Bayou, Houston's main waterway.
The city is filled with unique, world-class museums and cultural landmarks, like the Rothko Chapel. Houston's Museum of Fine Arts is among the largest museums in the U.S., and one of the best collections of American decorative art and furniture in the house of a former trustee, along with 14 acres of formal gardens. Mark Rothko spent three years creating the works of art that inhabit The Rothko Chapel, which he also helped design. There are 19 total museums in a 1.5 mile radius that make up the Houston Museum District.
Houston has one of the largest rodeos in the world. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, held annually in Reliant Stadium, is one of the biggest in the country, attracting over 2.4 million visitors in 2014. The annual event features over 20,000 livestock exhibits; every fried food under the sun, from fried Oreos to deep-fried Nutella; and nightly concerts featuring country music heavyweights such as Brad Paisley and the Zac Brown Band.
The Texans, Rockets, Astros and Dynamo are all winners. The Rockets made it to the playoffs for the second year in a row, the Houston Dynamo of the MLS have been a perennial playoff contender, and despite a tough season the Texans look forward to next year after signing 2014's No. 1 draft pick, Jadeveon Clowney.