Located not far from the coast, Houston owes its prominence as the fourth-largest metro area in the country to founders who thought very big from the very beginning. Today, Houston’s status as home to big oil, big space and even bigger plates of brisket make it both a delicious and prosperous (if sweaty) place to live.
Only Houston natives know these facts to be true
1. Literally everyone feels at home in Houston, the most ethnically diverse area in the entire country. No matter what language you speak, it’s bound to be one of the more than 145 spoken here.
2. Don’t think of Houston as being particularly hip? Beyonce (that’s Queen Bey to you) grew up in the city’s 3rd Ward. Enough said.
3. While we’re on the subject, they’re not neighborhoods, they’re wards.
4. Get the hair product ready. Houston’s average annual humidity level runs around 75 percent, with September as the most hair-offensive month of the year. In fact, do yourself a favor and just go ahead and resign yourself to a messy bun that month.
5. But your skin will be dewy and soft year-round thanks to said humidity, so there’s that.
6. We still love NASA, even if Houston was originally second choice to Tampa to be the center for manned space flights.
7. Houston, by any other name, is still Houston. That said, it has an epic array of nicknames, including Bayou City, H-Town, Clutch City and Space City.
8. Our hospital is better than yours, and the whole world knows it. Texas Medical Center is the largest anywhere, with more than 10 million visits every year by patients from all over.
9. Houstonians can avoid the heat, enjoy a snack and get some exercise by way of the city’s intricate network of underground pedestrian tunnels. Originally created to connect two movie theaters, they now feature all kinds of shops, restaurants, newsstands and other vendors running 95 city blocks.
10. Houston is shockingly artsy. A lot of big-money oil tycoons settled in Houston back in the day, leading to lots of investment in the local arts scene.
11. That said, Houstonians haven’t lost sight of their roots. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a three-week-long extravaganza of everything that makes Texas what it is. Where else can a person enjoy mutton bustin’, an event where young kids (wearing helmets, of course) get a taste of what bull riding must be like, except on the backs of comparatively harmless sheep?
12. The Astrodome was once glorious. Now, it’s wasted space. Someone needs to make up their mind about what to do with it, already.
13. Spring is where it’s at in Houston, thanks to the profusely blooming azaleas and mild 70-degree temperatures.
14. Sure, the Astros cause us occasional grief and massive, widespread controversy, but we still love them.
15. The Big Bubble isn’t the weirdest thing in Houston, but sometimes it feels that way.
16. You definitely want to be in the Loop (Interstate 610).
17. Unless you want to pay less, have more property, and don’t mind suffering through a daily commute. In that case, out of the Loop is just fine and dandy, too.
18. All hail fried chicken from Frenchy’s!
19. Houston is a no-zoning law zone, and locals mostly deal with it just fine. The only city in the country to function this way, Houston relies instead on other building code measures and regulations to keep the area from going totally buck-wild.
20. Sam Houston didn’t mess around, and we love him for it. Houston earned his namesake designation by helping win independence from Mexico and various other super-courageous acts.
21. Hong Kong Food Market is the place for adventurous foodies.
22. The highways have about 24 different nicknames each. OK, maybe not that many, but enough to be extremely confusing to outsiders.
23. If a quarter-million Mexican free-tailed bats in flight is not your idea of a good time, steer clear of the Montrose Waugh Drive Bridge between Memorial Drive and Allen Parkway around sunset every day. The rest of us will be laid out on a picnic blanket with a bottle of wine and some crackers to enjoy the free, natural show.
24. Air-conditioning is a necessity, not an option.
25. Houstonians might get knocked down by the occasional devastating natural disaster, but they always get back up. If nothing else, Texans know how to fight.
Beef with our list?
What’d we forget? Let us know in the comments!