The aromas of sautéed lemongrass and sizzling jalapeno peppers, the hoppy flavor of a locally made IPA, the cacophony of cheers from raucous sports fans, and the soothing sounds of crashing tides of a tranquil beach. These sensations define the bustling city of Houston, a magnificent metropolis that sits at the crossroads of the Texas Gulf Coast and the Piney Woods. As the fourth largest city in the country, Houston has its fair share of surprises. Savor cuisine from around the globe, browse world-class museums, catch a Broadway musical or play, and immerse yourself in all the cultures of one of the most diverse communities in the country. Visit Houston and you’ll soon discover that the possibilities really are endless.

While Houston is notable for many things, it is perhaps best known as “Space City.” The city has been home to the NASA Johnson Space Center since the early 1960’s, a time period that includes the first lunar landing. Experience NASA’s astounding history when you visit Space Center Houston, the gateway to the Johnson Space Center. Get an up-close view of a lunar landing module and roving vehicle trainer, look inside the Apollo 17 command module, and see the enormous Saturn V rocket, the most powerful ever built. For the ultimate experience, reserve a spot on the Tram Tour to go behind the scenes at the space center.

Now that you’ve gone to space, it’s time to come back down to earth by seeing what else Houston has to offer. One of the must-visit places of anywhere in town is the Houston Museum District, a sprawling area full of world-class museums, walking trails, and other attractions. Marvel at the exhibits at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, see spectacular works at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Contemporary Arts Museum, and say hello to the elephants and giraffes that reside in the Houston Zoo.

Once the sun sets, find a spot on the grassy hill in front of the Miller Outdoor Theatre and take in a concert or a show, or find your way to the Houston Theater District. Covering a 17-block area in downtown Houston, the district features top-class performing arts venues, such as The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Wortham Theater Center, and the Alley Theatre. In fact, the district ranks second in the nation for the number of theater seats in a concentrated downtown area, second only to New York City. A range of restaurants can be found in and around the district as well, including the combined eatery and attraction known as the Downtown Aquarium Houston.

Speaking of food, you’re in for a treat when you visit Houston. Space City is home to more than 10,000 restaurants that serve cuisine from over 70 countries, so you’d better bring your appetite. Whether you’re craving juicy meats at a Brazilian churrascaria, savory Texas barbecue, or flavorful dishes from China, India, Thailand, or Vietnam, you’ll find an abundance of options in Houston. For a cup of coffee and a slice of cake, head to one of the locally owned coffee shops in Montrose or the Heights, two neighborhoods that have their own feel. Not enough for you? Houston is also home to more than 10 craft breweries, many of which provide free tours along with a sampling of their beers.

Although Houston is also known as Space City, it may as well be called “Sports City” too. Some of the biggest professional teams in the country hail from Houston, such as the Astros (baseball), Dynamo and Dash (soccer), Rockets (basketball), and Texans (football). While there’s plenty to watch, the best part is there is almost always a game to go to regardless of the time of year. Yet Houston’s status as Sports City goes beyond professional sports. With favorable year-round weather, more than 300 miles of hiking and biking trails, and over 170 public and private golf courses, Houston is a spectacular outdoor destination in its own right.

Believe it or not, all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. With one-of-a-kind events like the Art Car Parade and the Texas Renaissance Festival, there’s always something happening in Houston. Better yet, Space City is surrounded by distinct communities that have an endless supply of adventures, and it’s just 50 miles away from the sandy beaches of Galveston.

Regardless of whether it’s the outdoors, the food, or the world-class attractions that bring you to Houston, you’ll discover a thriving and diverse place with much to offer travelers of all ages. Start planning your trip to Houston by checking out VisitHouston.com.

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