Ten Underrated Things About Houston (For Now)

Change is what Houston's all about these days. Last year's deserted Downtown is this year's Downtown Living Initiative. We never take what makes this place special for granted, so we took a look at a few things about Houston culture that make us happy to live here.

10. Westheimer Road If you're new here, or maybe just terrible with directions, Westheimer becomes the default artery for getting around town, especially during a freeway traffic crush. In some ways, it's a pathway through all the socioeconomic levels of Houston from over-the-counter pharmaceuticals to lap dances.

Photo by Camilo Smith
9. Weather Who wants the extremes of the coasts? It's either too cold or too hot, or too much of the same thing every day. The heat and humidity will soon remind us why summers here are brutal. But that's what this Houston living is all about, and at least this year's bipolar climate nearly gave us a sense of what it's like having four seasons.

8. The Beach Okay, so you won't get Caribbean-quality waters here, but we think it's pretty cool that we're less than an hour from the beach.

7. Car culture People will do any and everything with their automobiles, from the most fabulous to the most WTF-were-they-thinking. It's a fun surprise.

Photo by Camilo Smith
6. Architecture We might not have the iconic skylines of some cities that are bigger than us, but let's face it, we have some really awe-inspiring sky porn.

Photo by Camilo Smith
5. No zoning laws It's like a concrete field of dreams. Developers with deep pockets can pretty much do whatever they want in this town. Within reason. And sometimes, without.

4. NASA Becoming an astronaut might be a pipe dream for most, but living here in Space City, you can become a regular visitor to Space Center Houston, and you know, reconnect with those dreams.

3. Diversity It's safe to say you can meet someone from anywhere in the world by stepping onto the streets of Houston. There are healthy-size communities here from African, Asian and Latin American countries, among so many others. The best part is that all the various groups brought their food to share.

2. Nonstop flights to anywhere Unfortunately, this is one of the things that make Houston a magnet for human trafficking, too. It's pretty easy to go from here to anywhere in the world, by plane or car.

1. Art scene This is no surprise to art aficionados here, but to the casual art consumer, Houston packs a boatload of offerings, from street art to indie film, and from fine art to opera and Broadway theater.

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