One of the hottest destinations in the country for visitors and transplants alike is a city in Texas with amazing food, a vibrant arts scene, and a young and rapidly-growing population. And it’s Houston, the fourth-largest metro area in the country. Thirty years ago, it was all Urban Cowboy and oil boom, but today Houston looks like no other city in the country. More diverse than New York, younger than Portland, and better-off than San Francisco, it boasts a thriving economy, international population, and progressive attitude that attracts more people every day.
Houston is so attractive right now thanks to the people who have been drawn there because of its history of welcoming newcomers from the U.S. and abroad. While its medical and energy sectors are at the core of its economic strength, it has grown into not just a business engine but a creative and social one. A city once known for the Astrodome, Six Flags, and NASA is now home to everything from Asian strip malls to a professor of hip-hop to cutting-edge dining. Media outlets from Forbes to NPR tout its appeal for business and the arts.
Encompassing parts of 10 counties, crisscrossed with 575 miles of freeways, home to 5.6 million and rapidly growing, bigness is Houston’s defining characteristic. There’s nothing subtle about anything, and it’s not quieting down any time soon. What’s making Space City the city of the future? Its combination of demographics, attitude, and geography make it welcoming to people from all over the world who thrive once there, bringing an array of cultures together to create something new. The conditions for its future didn’t spring out of nowhere, though; the reasons Houston is positioned as a go-to destination right now have a lot to do with its past and its inherent characteristics, like its location and natural resources. Here are 10 reasons why a classic Texas city is today’s hot spot.