2010: 2,099,451, #4 in U.S., #1 in Texas

1950: 596,163, #14 in U.S.

2010 Metropolitan Area: 5,946,800, #6 in U.S.

1950 Metropolitan Area: 806,701, #18 in U.S.


Houston was founded in 1836 along Buffalo Bayou, which flows into Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Part of the bayou has been widened and deepened to make the Houston Ship Channel. Houston is a major port on the Gulf of Mexico.

Downtown, which is surrounded by freeways, has six miles of tunnels connecting many of the buildings. Discovery Green is a downtown park that opened in 2008. Main Street Square (2004) is a three-block pedestrian plaza. The Sabine Promenade (2006) is a walkway along Buffalo Bayou, on the north side of downtown.


Tallest building: JPMorgan Chase Tower, 1,002 feet (1982)

List of tallest buildings

The JPMorgan Chase Tower had an observation deck on the 60th floor, but it closed in 2016. The Williams Tower (901 feet, 1983) is the tallest building in the United States that is outside of a downtown area. It is in the Uptown area, about six miles west of downtown.


The Macy’s department store (formerly Foley’s) in downtown Houston closed in March 2013. The Shops at Houston Center (1982) is an enclosed shopping center.


Amtrak’s Sunset Limited, which runs between New Orleans and Los Angeles, goes through Houston three times a week in each direction. The small station (1960) is on the northwestern edge of downtown. The old Union Station (1911) was incorporated into the structure of the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park.

METRORail (2004) is a light rail line that runs 24 miles on three lines.

Downtown Houston


The Museum District is south of downtown. The area has 16 museums and the Houston Zoo. Houston also has a Downtown Aquarium.


The AMC Houston 8 opened in 2011 in Bayou Place. Jones Hall (1966) hosts the Houston Symphony. The Brown Theater at the Wortham Theater Center (1987) hosts the Houston Grand Opera. The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts (2002) has touring Broadway shows and concerts. The Alley Theatre is also downtown.


The Houston Astros of the National League play at Minute Maid Park (2000). The NBA Houston Rockets play at the Toyota Center (2003). The NFL Houston Texans play at NRG Stadium (2002), south of downtown.

Map of Downtown Houston


Convention and Visitors Bureau

Houston Architecture