When you think about Houston, Texas, you probably picture massive oil refineries, oppressive humidity, and a sub-par baseball team — a far cry from one of the nation’s most up-and-coming cities.
But you shouldn’t dismiss Houston so easily; the Bayou City is an economic juggernaut.
It’s by far the country’s No. 1 job creator and home to 26 Fortune 500 companies. A paycheck goes farther here than anywhere else in the country, and it has a medical center larger than downtown Dallas.
Add a thriving restaurant and cultural scene, and you’ve got a winning case for Houston as the best city in America. Here are 18 reasons you may want to pack your bags and head south.
Houston's port is the largest in terms of international tonnage handled, and third in terms of trade value. That means a great deal of international business and trade.
That means even more jobs.
It's also exceptionally business friendly, and is the only major U.S. city without zoning laws.
That port itself, along with Houston's strength in the energy sector and proximity to Latin America, enticed more than 100 foreign-owned companies to either expand, start new businesses, or relocate to Houston between 2008 and 2010.
Houston is the home of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. It's the home of America's astronaut corps, and the place where they -- and many international astronauts -- get trained to go to space.
It's a significant research center and employer, as well as housing Mission Control for manned spaceflight expeditions.
Living well isn't just about high pay. It's about how much everything costs. You can't beat Houston here.
When you adjust for cost of living, Houston has the highest pay in the country at $73,418, ahead of places like the San Jose area, which has high wages but extremely high costs.
Housing is more affordable here. Houston didn't experience a housing bubble the way the rest of the country did.
Though the Astros chronically underperform, Houston's other teams are worth taking note of.
The Rockets made it to the playoffs for the second year in a row, the Houston Dynamo of the MLS have been a perennial playoff contender, and despite a tough season the Texans look forward to next year after signing 2014's No. 1 draft pick, Jadeveon Clowney.
Houston has produced artists like Chamillionaire, Mike Jones, Paul Wall, and Slim Thug.
Beyoncé was born in Houston in 1981, and competed in the area's talent show circuit with her childhood friend Kelly Rowland and LaTavia Robertson as Girl's Tyme, which later became Destiny's Child.