Skyline with Memorial Park in foreground, Houston, Texas (VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/Digital Vision/Getty)

Skyline in Houston, Texas (PhotoDisc)

Museum of Natural Science, Houston, Texas (Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau)

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What to do in Houston

Sprawling, sweltering Houston, Texas, can be hard to get a handle on, but those open to the state’s fourth-largest city will find its unofficial slogan true: It’s worth it. Fifty miles from the Gulf of Mexico and ringed in by freeways, downtown Houston is home to world-class arts institutions, a curious array of museums celebrating everything from folk art to the funeral industry, and an ever-shifting galaxy of restaurants and nightclubs. What’s more, H-town is reinventing its urban environment along the lines of 21st-century sustainability. That means you’ll find plenty of green space, expanded bike trails, and a well-utilized transit-rail system. If you’re looking for art, head for the Museum District. Sports fans can check out one of the many pro teams. And those looking for nightlife should hang around Montrose, where gay and alt culture thrives, or the more mainstream Washington Avenue, where tolerance of fake tans is a must.

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