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Houston Travel & Vacations
Houston Vacations, Houston Hotels, Hotels in Houston, Houston Vacation Packages, Houston Getaways, etc.

Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest in the United States. It is huge, both in population and in land area. "Urban sprawl" is a term tailor-made for this city. Houston is an international city home to among the nation's largest Asian, Arab and Latin American populations. Houston's culture is not limited to diverse population - it boasts a world class symphony and theatre district that includes a full-time ballet company and opera.

Houston is the largest city in the United States without any appreciable zoning. While there is some small measure of zoning in the form of ordinances and land use regulations, real estate development in Houston is only constrained by the will and the pocketbook of real estate developers. Traditionally, Houston politics and law are strongly influenced by real estate developers; at times, the majority of city council seats have been held by developers. Development of the city, then, has reflected what makes life easy on developers instead of visitors or residents.

What this means to visitors is that Houston covers a larger land area with less population than might otherwise be expected. Everything is spread out. No matter where you are, almost nothing will be within walking distance. The entire city is built on the assumption that nearly everyone owns and drives a car virtually everywhere they go.

The city has a number of districts. Historically, these districts were called "wards" and they tended to have distinct populations. Redevelopment has rendered most of those distinctions meaningless, but the modern version of Houston still has districts.

Houston has three downtowns. All three of these areas look like a typical downtown in a big city with high-rise buildings and, at street level, concessions to pedestrians that include shops and eating establishments. The traditional downtown center of the city, still the home of high finance and big business. The second downtown is south of the city center, an area now known, generically, as The Medical Center or The Texas Medical Center. Some of the best hospitals in the world are there. The third downtown, west of the city center, is called The Galleria or uptown and is known, not surprisingly, for a huge, high-end shopping mall complex named The Galleria as well as the tallest building in the United States outside of a main downtown area.

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