When you think about Houston, do you envision cowboys and tumbleweeds? Well, forget those ideas. Contrary to these preconceived notions, Houston - the fourth most populous city in the United States - boasts modern industries, a thriving intellectual and cultural environment, lush vegetation and much more. 

Houston is an international city that is a leader in the arts, education, healthcare, and has a top-rated culinary scene that is continuing to gain national attention. The same vision and entrepreneurial spirit that made Houston the energy capital of the world has given rise to global companies in a wide array of industries.

Toss out any images of dusty plains, because Houston is full of trees and boasts 20,000 acres of parks, public green space, and open water. The city offers an abundance of recreational activities, restaurants, shopping, cultural performances, entertainment, and sporting events.

Don’t take our word for it – hear about it from well-known Houstonian celebrities like Jim Parsons from “The Big Bang Theory,” Chandra Wilson from “Grey’s Anatomy,” and celebrated music group ZZ Top in these videos produced by the official visitor’s site for Houston.  In addition to videos with these celebrities, this YouTube channel contains a variety of videos about Houston events and things to do in and around the city.

Highlights

Take a quick look at what makes Houston such a great place to live, get an education, and work:

The people: Houston is the fourth largest U.S. city. Thirty-seven percent are 24 or younger, and 32 percent are between ages 25-44. Houston has a multicultural population of more than 5.5 million in the metropolitan area. It is the most diverse large metropolitan area in the nation.

The low cost of living: Houston's cost of living is 25.9 percent below the average cost of living in the 20 most populous U.S. cities. This means affordable housing. Plus, there are no state or local income taxes. 

Job market: Houston has an expanding economy in diverse industries. The city has the third largest concentration of Fortune 1000 companies in the U.S. Have you checked out careers at BCM?

The weather: In the winter, you may need a light jacket but ice or snow won’t keep you from enjoying the outdoors. With an average temperature year-round of 68 degrees and average rainfall of 46 inches, you can enjoy the outdoors as much as you’d like to.

The entertainment: Really, it’s impossible to be bored here. There are entertainment options for all ages, including a permanent ballet, opera, symphony and theater companies, dozens of top-notch museums, and so much more. Don’t forget that Houston is home to NASA's Johnson Space Center, too.

The food: Houston has 11,000 restaurants (and counting!), which serve every type of cuisine you could think of, including brick-and-mortar establishments and food trucks. It’s not just bar-b-que and Tex-Mex (though you’re missing out if you haven’t tried these cuisines here). While you will find no shortage of great inexpensive and high-end bar-b-que and Tex-Mex, you will also find restaurants representing just about every cuisine in the world as well as innovative fusions resulting from interactions between Houston's diverse populations.

The sports: Sports fans, you’ll never wait too long for the next game. You’ll find plenty of professional and college sports here.

The great outdoors: Whether you’re looking to cool off in the summer or enjoy the mild winter climate, there’ll be something fun nearby for you. Houston is an “urban forest” with 350 parks and more than 20 green spaces. Plus, we’ve got nearby beaches and lakes, hiking, biking, parks, and much more.

The shopping: With all the money you will save living in Houston, you’ll be able to shop the vast variety of stores, malls, boutiques, and more!

The education: Houston offers more than 60 colleges, universities, and institutes.

*Please note that Baylor College of Medicine is not providing endorsements, but an informational reference list. If you have any recommendations for additional information, please email pa-webteam@bcm.edu.