Posted in: Entertainment Living Posted on: Jun 9th, 2015

Getting to Know the Greater Houston Area

Photo Credit: Houston night by eflon | CC BY 2.0

Living in Houston, TX means that you have plenty of opportunities when it comes to employment and leisure. Houston is the largest city in the southern part of the US and the most populated metro area in the state of Texas. Named for Sam Houston, the president of Texas during its brief stint as an independent country, the city is a major center for the energy, aerospace, and healthcare industries.

Working

The Texas Medical Center, which contains more than 50 medical institutions, is located in Houston, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that some of the city’s top employers are medical institutions. The Memorial  Hermann Health System, which employs more than 19,000 people, is the largest employer in town. Continental Airlines is the next largest employer, with about 16,000 employees, and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is the third largest, employing 15,000 people.

Oil has also played a big part in the city’s economic development. ExxonMobil, Shell Oil Company, and National Oilwell Varco are all among the city’s top 10 employers.

Getting from Point A to B

Getting around Houston can be tricky. Many people rely on their cars and the city’s highway system. However, the city’s congestion problem can make it difficult for people renting in Houston to get where they need to go. In 2009, the city was ranked as fourth on the list of cities with the worst traffic, with the average commuter spending 58 hours in traffic.

Fortunately, there are other ways to get around the city. For example, there are more than 300 miles of bike lanes throughout the town. In fact, one of Houston’s goals is to become more and more bike-friendly and to encourage people to cycle around.

Public transportation in the area is provided by the local METRO system. The METRO offers three rail lines, which take people through the downtown and midtown areas, as well as to the Museum District, Medical Center, and Moody Park. There are also a number of bus routes throughout the city.

Cultural Activities

There are plenty of things to do in Houston, TX. The Museum District contains 20 museums, all located within a 1.5 mile radius. Several of the museums focus on the visual arts. The Houston Center for Photography features exhibitions of contemporary photography and offers workshops and classes for aspiring photographers. Admission to the center is free. Another art museum in the district is the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston, which has two gallery spaces that display up to 10 exhibitions each year. Admission here is also free.

Some of the area’s museums focus on science, health, and nature instead of the arts. The aptly named Health Museum features an exhibition that lets people walk through a giant human body. Special programs at the museum include organ dissections and health and wellness weeks.

Whether you plan on living in the area for a short amount of time or have decided to make it your home, the entire city of Houston is worth getting to know. There are plenty of opportunities to advance your career or to learn something new throughout the town.