Covering nearly 600 square miles, Texas' largest city often can feel like an ungainly, sprawling and humid monster, and Houston has long been known more as a business center than a tourist destination. But there is much to recommend in this Lone Star powerhouse, and the open-minded traveler will relish the unique mix of regional and cosmopolitan flavor.
Houston's demographics — like those of much of the state — are strongly Latino, a feature reflected in city institutions like the Talento Bilingüe de Houston, one of the largest Latino cultural centers in the country, and a vibrant food scene heavily influenced by Mexican and Central American cooking. Houston's diversity extends to an Asiatown, where the massive Hong Kong City Mall offers a smorgasbord of exotic foods and shopping. And the city's African-American heritage shines through in venues such as the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum and The Ensemble Theatre, a black theater company of national prominence. American cowboy culture is alive and well here, too — the world's largest livestock show and rodeo happens each spring. South of the city, NASA's Johnson Space Center trains astronauts and welcomes visitors to its displays of U.S. achievements in space.