Houston is the largest city in Texas and the 4th largest in the country, but it really doesn't feel like it. The downtown is small and empty, and the surrounding area is easily accessible. Of course, when you visit Houston on a hot weekend in August, so most of its citizens were probably staying cool indoors, but you never felt that we were in a big city. The metropolitan Houston area, including Galveston to the south, is the 10th largest in the country. As well, Houston is the second largest port in the country, and the eighth largest port in the world. It is spread, that most of the time you have to use highways in the city.
But all of these stats are not what Houston is known for. Instead, Houston is most famous as the home of NASA's Mission Control, and its name can be heard on most space shuttle missions as all astronauts preface their comments with "Houston". Ironically, NASA is actually not located in Houston proper, but in a southern suburb.
Houston is located about 3 hours east of San Antonio, and 3.5 hours southeast of Dallas. It was named for Sam Houston, the man responsible for winning Texas its independence from Mexico.
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