Texas is home to the multicultural city that is Houston. It is the largest city in Texas and the ninth-most expansive US city. While the Houston Space Center is world renowned, there are many more things that Houston is known for which makes it an attractive travel destination.
What Is Houston Known For?
Houston is famous for its large international community, growing art scene, and cultural diversity. It is home to some of the most popular theatres in the country; they are mainly in the Downtown area.
Houston is also known as the hometown of some famous people in the world and for its connection with Space Center Houston – one of the most famous landmarks in Texas.
History, Culture, And Traditions
Strong Art Culture
Houston is famous for its rich art culture. Museums and theatres are scattered around the city, most of which are prominent centers for exhibitions and live performances.
The Theatre District in Downtown Houston boasts the second-highest number of seats for live performances in the US. There you can catch the spectacular performances of the Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet, Houston Symphony Orchestra, and Alley Theatre.
You can further deepen your artistic interest by visiting the Museum District. The area is home to various art centers and museums exhibiting diverse forms of artwork, including drawings, sculptures, ceramics, and craftworks.
If you are still wondering where slab culture originated, the answer is Houston! The advent of slab cars began in the 80s through Houston Hip-hop. Since then, it has been a major part of the unique car culture in Space City.
The cars used for slabs are often restored or customized into GM vehicles, which you can purchase if you can afford them.
The Houstonians’ love for cars is well known. There are actually special days in the year dedicated to celebrating cars in the city.
One event that celebrates car culture in Houston is the Art Car Parade, which is the first and largest of its kind in the world. The event features the rolling of different types of modified vehicles, each bearing its unique theme in color, design, and movement.
Although Houston does not have a piece of original music, it has become known for its rich musical culture that incorporates all the major musical genres in the US.
Hip-hop is the dominant music genre in Houston but it has given rise to other kinds of music such as classical, country, and pop. And thanks to multicultural integration, lesser-known genres like Tejano are popular in the city.
The city’s musical diversity is exemplified by the number of popular musicians from Houston who perform in different genres.
The Most Diverse US City
Houston is known for its multicultural identity that is tangible in the many different cultures and traditions practiced in the city. In fact, Houston is often considered the most diverse city in the US.
The city, which used to have a predominantly white population, has grown into a multicultural community that accommodates people from all races and ethnicities in the world. There are over 90 different languages in the city and a large concentration of consular offices that attend to the needs of the international community in the city.
With the steady economic growth and booming attractions, the number of immigrant communities and cultures will only increase, making the city an even more interesting place to explore.
Areas And Districts
Referred to as the Central Business District, Downtown Houston is an attractive neighborhood that Houston is famous for.
Although it is the largest business hub in the city, this district boasts attractions that pull people with diverse interests to the city.
Downtown is home to the Hobby Center for Performing Arts and the Toyota Center, where you can attend live theatrical events and popular concerts, respectively.
The district is best known as the base of numerous Fortune 500 companies, some of which are open for business-minded visitors to tour.
If you want to escape the sun or heat, Houston has the most extensive underground tunnel system in the country; and you can visit it! This is one of the highlights on a Houston adventure.
River Oaks is a residential community characterized by its reserve nature (a sharp contrast to the other tourist-thronged neighborhoods), beautiful homes, and peak luxury.
This district is home to affluent families, so it has quite the amenities and quality attractions to make tourists seek it out. You can stop by the River Oaks Shopping Center to enjoy some delicious meals served by the locally renowned restaurants.
The ambiance of River Oaks is complemented by the gardens, forests, and meadows, which are perfect for a lazy walk around the neighborhood.
Houston is known for this popular area packed with multiple museums catering to every artistic interest. These museums mainly preserve important items relating to the history of Houston.
If you are looking to learn about the culture of the state, visit the Houston Museum of African American Culture, the Czech Center, and the Asian Society Texas Center.
For art lovers, you can explore the Moody Center for Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston.
One of the most intriguing museums is undoubtedly the Houston Museum of National Science, where you can explore the largest dinosaur hall in North America. This along with the Children’s Museum of Houston are a couple that will surely interest families.
Of course, these are just some of the prominent ones with plenty more attractions to explore even outside the district.
Midtown sits between Downtown Houston and Museum District. The neighborhood is one the most prominent nightlife areas Houston is famous for having.
The locals here sure know to unwind when the sun sets; visitors can easily catch the energy of the bustling city once they step into the buzzing night.
Midtown streets are lined with bars and shops that offer drinks, local cuisine, and jam sessions for the entertainment of both locals and tourists.
Beyond the thrill of the night, you can also explore Midtown during the day. Learn about the experiences of African American soldiers in the US Army at the Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, as well as the history of the Houston Fire Department at the Houston Fire Museum.
Montrose is an unconventional neighborhood in Houston. The area is famous for its nightlife, hip culture, and gay community.
Montrose also has a similarly rich art culture, which is largely influenced by the University of St. Thomas — showcasing huge murals and outdoor sculptures.
Beyond the nightlife, art, and history, Montrose is known for being the residence of some famous people from Houston, such as Carlos Correa, Daniel Quinn, and Annise Parker.
This relatively compact area is an entertainment hub in Houston. It is packed with nine theater venues that host live concerts, art, and independent film presentations.
A top destination here is the 130,000-square-foot Bayou Palace. The palace houses music and cinema centers alongside restaurants and bars offering refreshments suited to the place.
If you want a fuss-free way to discover some of the best of the city and learn more about history, stories and culture behind this bustling metropolis, you can always take a city tour for a comprehensive introduction.
Architecture And Landmarks
Houston Space Center
“Houston, we’ve had a problem”, sounds familiar? Houston is known for its role in space exploration and the famous Houston Space Center is a must-visit for anyone interested in science and space travel.
Located just outside of downtown Houston, the Space Center is the official museum of the NASA space center. This is where you get a chance to learn about space history and see real space artifacts. There are plenty of hands-on exhibits and interactive displays to uncover the science behind space exploration. It’s like a shrine to all things space and NASA-related.
For all of us who didn’t quite make the cut for the astronaut program, it’s the closest we’re going to get to space, without leaving good old planet Earth. Whether you’re a fully-fledged space nut or just looking for an intriguing and educational day out, this is the spot to be.
JP Morgan Chase Tower
One of the most famous buildings and landmarks Houston is known for is the JP Morgan Chase Tower, a 75-story skyscraper.
The imposing fixture is located in Downtown Houston. With a height of 305.4m(10002 ft), the tower is the 29th tallest building in the country and the tallest five-sided building worldwide.
JP Morgan Chase Tower features the Sky Lobby observation, which serves as a transfer point and observation deck. The observation deck, however, was permanently closed to the public and can only be accessed by the building tenants. So, be aware when touring Downtown Houston.
The Galleria is the largest mall in Houston and one of the most famous landmarks Houston is known for.
The mall is located in the Uptown District of Houston, covering 2.4M square feet of floor area. The building has four floors that house 400 stores — four of which are anchor stores; two hotels and a private health club.
The store is arguably the most popular destination in Houston, as its family-friendly atmosphere, wide array of items, and modern facilities attract thousands of visitors every day.
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
This famous museum was established back in 2001. It is dedicated to the history and legacies of Buffalo Soldiers and African American soldiers in the US military.
The museum exhibits memorabilia of African American soldiers since the Civil War. Re-enactments, workshops, and programs are some of the interesting activities you can participate in here.
Anyone can visit the museum and pay respects to the courageous African American soldiers who have served and are still serving the nation.
George Ranch Historical Park
One of the most famous historical places Houston is famous for is the George Ranch Historical Park. It is located 30 miles outside of Downtown Houston.
The park is filled with historic houses which you can visit and learn about each of their history.
Some notable historic houses in the park include the 1860s Ryan Prairie Home, 1830s Jones Stock Farm, 1930s George Ranch Complex, and more.
It is a great destination for families and couples. You can take in breathtaking views of the beautiful landscape, and learn about the history of the city from the mouth of the ranch residents.
READ MORE: 15 BEST BEACHES IN HOUSTON, TEXAS TO VISIT
Sports In Houston
One of the prominent sports teams Houston is famous for having in top-level leagues is the Houston Rockets.
The Houston Rockets competes in the National Basketball Association (NBA). They play their home games at the Toyota Center, one of the top landmarks in Downtown Houston.
Since the franchise was initially founded in 1967 as the San Diego Rockets, the team has won two NBA Finals Championships, four Conference titles, and 8 Divisions titles. The Rockets have also produced some NBA legends such as Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon, and many more.
Houston-based baseball team, Houston Astros is currently the best-performing sports team in the city. The team competes in Major League Baseball (MLB), where they have recorded great success in recent times.
The Astros have won two World Series titles (the total won by them) within five years, the most recent triumph coming in 2022. Along with the Series titles, they have four American League Pennants, five American League Division titles, and a few others.
Famous Food In Houston
One of Houston’s iconic dishes is Viet-Cajun Crawfish, which was first prepared by Vietnamese immigrants in the city. The tasty dish was born out of an experiment but has become one of the things Houston is famous for.
Viet-Cajun Crawfish comprises a pair of boiled crawfish, butter, garlic, olive oil, and a few other goodies. The ingredients combine to give its sumptuous appearance and deep, rich flavor.
For some Mesoamerican cuisine, dive into the world of Tamales. Now, Houston may not be the birthplace of tamales, but they sure know how to make them! These little packages of joy are a holiday tradition in Texas, and the tamale-making process can often turn into a festive social event, also known as a tamalada.
If you have never had a tamale, picture a steamy corn husk delicately unfolded to reveal a doughy delight, packed with a rich, savory filling. Houston is famous for its tamales, which are as diverse as the city itself. You can find mouth-watering versions stuffed with everything from juicy pork, chicken, and beef, to vegan and dessert tamales!
In fact, the tamale scene in Houston is so vibrant that there’s even a Houston Tamale Festival that celebrates the dish along with music and fun! When you’re in Houston, grab yourself a tamale and savor the flavors of this Tex-Mex staple.
Famous People From Houston
Beyonce Knowles is not just one of the most famous people from Houston, she is also one of the most famous entertainers in the world. She is a musician and dancer, whose career has spanned different music genres including R&B, Pop, and Hip hop.
Her illustrious career in the music industry is packed with multiple nominations and awards. These include a staggering 28 Grammy awards, which makes her the most awarded female artist in Grammy’s history.
Beyonce was born and raised in Houston, where she attended several art-centered schools that helped mold her into the iconic singer today. Beyonce’s versatility is a testament to the diverse musical culture of Houston.
Country music Hall of Famer, Kenny Rogers sits comfortably on the list of Houston’s famous people. The late musician was originally known for his chart-topping country songs before he went on to flourish in other genres. Considered one of the best-selling music artists of all time, Kenny sold over 100 million copies.
Born in Houston, Rogers was the fourth of eight children. His recording career began when he was in his 20s after joining the Scholars, a band based in Houston. He would later go solo and release his first global hit The Gambler in 1976. This is the song that earned him a Grammy award.
During his career, Kenny collaborated with multiple notable singers such as Dolly Parton, with whom he sang the award-winning song ‘Islands in the Stream’.
Dell is a household name in the tech industry. However, not everyone know that the company is named after Houston-born Michael Dell, who founded the company.
Michael attended both elementary and high school in Houston. After giving hints of his business prowess, Dell went to the University of Texas. He later dropped out following the recorded success in his first year of business.
The prominent business leader is not just a Houston native but one of the personalities that Texas is known for.
Hilary Duff was one of the most popular teen actors in the early 2000s, thanks to her role as the titular character in Disney’s comedy film adaptation of Lizzie McGuire, Lizzie McGuire Movie.
As a teen, Hilary appeared in numerous films for which she earned multiple Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards and Teen Choice awards.
Discovering More Things Houston Is Known For
Houston is famous for its vibrant culture, incredible sports teams, and famous personnel. Due to its cultural diversity, it is nearly impossible not to find a new culture or tradition that would interest you here. With so much on offer in this great city, it’s worth discovering more about what makes Houston such an amazing place to live and visit.