50 Reasons To Love Houston, And We Mean It

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Living in Houston is not always something that's universally admired by the rest of the country, not to mention the world.

Pollution, flatness, humidity -- we know, we know.

But in the cheerful spirit of Christmas, we at the Press want to point out 50 things that make us happy to live in Houston. And if hatahs gotta hate, so be it.

50. There really isn't a foodstuff or cuisine you can't get here. We dare you to try.

49. The sound of the tugboats as they push behemoths up and down the Ship Channel.

48. Screwed Up Records & Tapes. We gave it to the world, and we still are the epicenter.

47. A Catholic university in the heart of the gayest neighborhood in town.

46. The weather. Seriously, in the summer people wear as little as possible, and the humidity is great for your skin.

45. The winter. WARNING, BREAKING NEWS: Temperatures may drop below freezing tonight!! For a while, anyway!!

44. A lesbian mayor elected without any fuss. The world was surprised; Houston was surprised the world was surprised.

43. The Hermann Park kiddie train. And you know it's not just for kids.

42. The Heights. It's there if you want it, it's easy to avoid if you don't.

41. Ice houses. Eternal bafflement to outsiders, beer-sippin' bliss to locals.

40. You have to work pretty hard to get lost here. No crazy-quilt street layouts. Just don't go looking for the Katy, Southwest or Eastex freeways on any highway signs.

39. Megaplexxx North. A city dedicated to excessive mall shopping deserves a porno mall.

38. Taco trucks. Nobody does them better.

37. Good-guy professional athletes. Sure, it can make for some boring sports copy, but when was the last time a Houston team had a real law-breaking, egotistical a-hole?

36. Our adorable, extremely thin-skinned and forever underrated music scene.

35. The wild peacocks of west Houston.

34. Sane, smart sports-talk radio, and lots of choices for it.

33. The shopping and eating and atmosphere of New Chinatown on Bellaire Boulevard.

32. We're an island of blue in a sea of red. Even if city elections are nominally non-partisan.

31. The view of downtown from Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive.

30. Discovery Green. It could have been a boondoggle, but it turned out a'ight.

29. The way no one wants to get rid of the Dome, no matter how useless and expensive a white elephant it is.

28. The Art Car Parade. They keep trying to corporate it up. They keep failing to do it.

27. The jogging path around the Rice campus.

26. The view of downtown from a late-season Dynamo or Cougar night game.

25. The grass-roots arts organizations that produce amazing stuff on shoestring budgets. 24. The Lightnin' Hopkins Historical Marker, Silver Slipper and the El Dorado ballroom. R&B blues history to soak in.

23. Spec's.

22. Inner-loop honky-tonks like Blanco's and the Tall Texan.

21. Numbers. The music bar every city should have.

20. The Livestock Show & Rodeo. Because we have to live up to the stereotypes sometimes.

19. Terrific neighborhoods that pop up out of nowhere. Like Idylwood and Glenbrook Valley.

18. Knowing that the fancy private school and the "dilapidated" public school in Rushmore are actually across the street from each other, and Lamar High isn't dilapidated at all.

17. David Addickes' weirdness. Somehow the idea of art that revels in sheer size belongs in Houston.

16. Three Starbucks within 100 feet of each other. Louis Black is forever grateful for the material.

15. The University of Houston and Rice -- each, in their own way, great schools that are still a bargain.

14. Market Square Park. Your choice of Warren's or La Carafe.

13. The cost of living. Even in a slumping housing economy, outsiders are shocked at how much house you can get for the money here. Or cheap rent, if that's your thing.

12. Oyster season.

11. The Menil Collection.

10. Arguing over which barbecue place is best.

9. No matter how hard they try to kill it with new development, Montrose still maintains its heart and spirit.

8. It's not that odd to run into an astronaut or a rocket scientist.

7. The area around the 3700 block of Main -- clubs, restaurants, the Ensemble Theatre, all on the light rail line.

6. Galveston's only 45 minutes away.

5. Sunday Funday. Start out at brunch, barhop your way around til you pass out on your couch early, ready to face the work week.

4. Traffic. Yeah, it's terrible -- if you live in The Woodlands, Clear Lake or Cinco Ranch. Live in the actual city, you can live with the commute.

3. The people. Pretty friggin' friendly, if you ask us. Or most of the people who evacuated from Katrina.

2. We're done foisting Bushes on the nation. Don't thank us. We won't do it again.

1. You can live your whole life here and never know the soul-sucking task of digging your car out of three feet of snow in 15-degree weather so you can drive to work.

What'd we miss?

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