As a Houstonian, you do not need Wikipedia to tell you that Houston is among the most diverse cities in America.
Houston’s diversity is displayed in the numerous shopping centers spread throughout Westheimer, a road I’ve used since the day I began driving. The 19-mile stretch runs from George Bush Park to the trendy Montrose neighborhood. Houston’s unique districts differ as much as the people.
The 4th largest city in the nation was once a muddy unsettled town. Founded in 1836 by the Alan Brothers. Named after General Sam Houston, the Republic of Texas’ first president. Nicknamed the Texas Capital of Commerce, Houston was a city destined to boom in business and entertainment. The Houston Ship Channel generated fortunes for many enthusiastic businessmen willing to invest in trade. Houston’s shipbuilding, oil production and steel manufacturing were key contributors during World War II. The migration of Shell Oil Co. corporate headquarters in 1971 also generated an additional industry into the Houston economy. Houston’s diverse economy has since become a haven for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Contemporary visual art makes their presence known in Houston and is a frequent touring stop for productions and exhibits.
The Houston Theater District is located in downtown and ranked 2nd in the nation, following New York City. It is also one of five in the nation with year-round professional companies in the performing arts including theater, opera, ballet as well as music. The Houston Museum District does not fall short either. It’s made up of 19 institutions divided in 4 pedestrian friendly zones. Among them is the nation’s 6th largest art museum, Museum of Fine Arts Houston. The largest medical center in the world also resides in Houston. The Texas Medical Center’s 100 buildings are home to 54 institutions including the world’s leading cancer hospital, M.D Anderson Cancer Center.
In 2010 a census proved Houston to have the most racial and ethnic diversity in a metropolitan area, surpassing larger cities in the nation. Its diversity presents itself in the more than 90 languages spoken throughout the city. It is printed every Thursday in the Houston Press event calendar where multicultural events, organizations and various international festivals throughout the year are advertised. It can be experienced in the openness of the Miller Outdoor Theater where productions from all over (often free of charge) make their mark.
Downtown’s railroads are now a modern light rail line whose operations began in the early 2000’s. Transportation is not the only thing that’s changed, however. Houston’s music scene gained notice during the 1990’s when DJ Screw developed a style that would change hip-hop and rap music, creating a genre of its own. Chopped and screwed incorporates slowed down tempos, skipped beats, stop-time and record scratching. It established a new style within Houston rappers and its popularity in the South flourished. Chopped and screwed versions of hit songs continue being uploaded on popular music streaming sites today.
Houstonians will sing alongside Houston’s unofficial anthem, Z-ro’s Mo City Don, while driving down I-10 into the concrete jungle the city is today. It might take us 30 minutes to go from one side of town to the next, but we don’t mind. There’s plenty of tapioca and coffee shops along the way. NASA, Oilers, Rockets, Texans, and Astros logos become part of our daily accent garments. Those inside and outside the loop will forever have a rivalry. Patios aren’t really our thing, unless it’s brunch and we are sipping mimosas. Houston is a combination of southern charm with urban vibes. The ideal place for the 2017 Super Bowl.