What Makes Houston the Most International City in the World
Houston is where 94 consular offices call home, only surpassed by New York City and Los Angeles. Along with them come their cuisines, fashions, languages and, of course, their cultures.
Aside from being the biggest city in Texas, Houston is the fourth most populous city in the United States. Our city features several unique neighborhoods that accommodate people from all walks of life! Houston may be known to outsiders as the “concrete jungle”, but it houses the culture one would expect out of a city with such a large international community. Many annual events celebrate the diverse cultures of Houston. Everyone knows about the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (it even has gained the prestige of being the largest annual livestock show and rodeo in the world!), but Houston is a city of international festivals with each community contributing their own particular charisma. Beauty, costume, music and food are all on display each month (prior to the pandemic, of course) right here in this one city!
Culture of Houston
Cultures from all over the world come together in Houston. This thriving international community is supported by the third largest concentration of consular offices in the United States, representing 94 nations. More than 190 languages are regularly spoken in the Houston area. Some neighborhoods with high populations of Vietnamese and Chinese residents have Chinese and Vietnamese street signs in addition to English ones. Houston has two Chinatowns — the original located in East Downtown and the other along Bellaire Boulevard in the southwest area of the city. The city also has a Little Saigon in Midtown and Vietnamese businesses located in the southwest Houston Chinatown and Little India/Mahatma Gandhi District also in Southwest Houston.
There are many popular events held in the city celebrating our diverse cultures. Anna Rohleder of Forbes Magazine said “Among Houston’s wealthy denizens, social life centers on charity events and the arts.”
The main focus of International Focus Magazine has always been to promote the city’s uniquely diverse cultures and heritages. We endeavor to articulate and strengthen by many means the international community’s diverse cultural values of family, fashion, cuisine, language, the arts, and the heritage of its people and places.
A City for Business
Houston is the world’s leading center for oilfield equipment construction, and home to more than 3,000 energy-related businesses, including many of the top oil and gas exploration and production firms and petroleum pipeline operators. The Texas Medical Center is located south-central Houston and constitutes the largest medical complex in the world!
Houston the “Space City” is the largest city in the Southern United States and gets its nickname due to its global importance to space exploration and historical role as a prominent center of activity for NASA. Its strengths in entertainment, culture, sports, science, and technology make it one of the strongest metropolises in North America.
Religion in Houston
Houston includes Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, and other religious groups.
The city of Houston, which historically was centered on Protestant Christianity and a part of the Bible Belt, is now home to many different religions owing to its large ethnic diverse population.
For much of its history Houston was overwhelmingly Christian. The amounts of other religious groups did not grow because for the most part immigration was predominately from majority Christian Europe, favored by the quotas in federal immigration law at the time. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 removed the quotas, allowing for the growth of other religions.
A City of Architectural Style & Beauty
Major cities can be identified by their unique building structures and Houston has become one of the more aesthetically appealing cities. At first glance to some, Houston may not seem like an exciting destination for design lovers. The downtown is characterized by corporate-looking glass-and-steel skyscrapers; the city has no zoning laws, so residential neighborhoods are replete with a mishmash of architectural styles (you might see a Tudor-style mansion and a starkly minimalist house right next to each other.
Houston’s most photographed site, this dramatic 64-foot U-shaped fountain has water rushing down its inside and outside walls.
Designed and created in 1985, the Water Wall pumps 78,500 gallons of recycled water every three hours and 20 minutes. More than 180 live oaks shade the three-acre area that plays host to families and couples out for a stroll, picnic, or even a game of Frisbee. Locals joke that Houston is 15 minutes from Houston. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find emerging neighborhoods, a thriving community of artists, swanky new hotels, and an incredible restaurant scene. It’s an exciting place to live because it’s ever shifting and moving.
A City of International Flavor!
In 1998, USA Today referred to Houston as “the dining-out capital of [the United States].” Houstonians ate out at restaurants more often than residents of other American cities, and Houston restaurants have the second lowest average prices of restaurants of major cities. One factor contributing to the status is Houston’s role as a port city and proximity to Latin America and the Cajun areas of adjacent Louisiana. Our freeway network puts restaurants within a 15-20 minute drive within the residences of most Houstonians during non-rush hour times. The size of Greater Houston’s population allows the city to support niche ethnic restaurants and provides a large customer base for area restaurants.
Ethnic enclaves reflecting national cuisines
• Bissonnet – Filipino, Nigerian, Ethiopian, African American
• Briar Meadow – Iranian, Lebanese, Arab
• Chinatown – Chinese, Vietnamese
• Denver Harbor – Mexican
• East Downtown – Chinese (Old Chinatown)
• Gulfton – Salvadoran, Honduran, Mexican
• Little Saigon – Vietnamese
• Second Ward – Mexican
• Spring Branch – Korean, Salvadorian, Mexican
• Little India/Mahatma Gandhi District – Indian, Pakistani
• Meyerland – Jewish
• Midtown – Vietnamese
• Third Ward – African-American, Louisiana Creole, West Indian, West African
What makes living in Houston so special? Why does Houston continue to grow faster than other cities? Perhaps it’s because — even though Houston is big, diverse and multifaceted — it can be experienced on many different levels, large or small, depending on what you’re looking for and how you like to live. One thing’s for sure: there’s no shortage of things to do, places to go, or events to experience.
The distinctive international community is stimulating and reflects the world for families in the Houston area who share a global perspective. Yet, International Focus Magazine remains the only one of its kind in the Houston area that represents them all.