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Arts, Sports, & Dining

In Houston, there are more than 200 institutions devoted to the arts, entertainment, science and history.

Arts - Discover a thriving professional art scene with professional resident companies in ballet, opera, symphony and theater; only four other U.S. cities can say the same. And the nearby Museum District stakes its claim as the country’s fourth largest, with 18 cultural powerhouses set within blocks of one another. "Houston's art scene is among the USA's richest," declares Suite101.com.

Dining - With well over 11,000 dining establishments representing cuisine from more than 35 countries and American regions, Houston's restaurant scene is as ethnically diverse as its more than 4 million residents. With so many options, it's not surprising that visitors leave the city with plenty of good things to say about dining in Houston. In fact, Esquire named Houston one of the 'Top 10 Restaurant Cities in America (2010), while The New York Post called Houston "one of the most satisfying food scenes in the country" (2010). And About.com’s Culinary Travel blog says, "One of the best parts of dining in Houston: the city's tremendous Asian food scene." Among those making their mark on this scene, two acclaimed chefs of Japanese cuisine are - James Beard Award-winning Chef Tyson Cole and Chef Katsuya Uechi.

Museums - The Museum of Fine Arts, the first art museum in Texas, houses 57,680 works from antiquity to the present. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is home to the Burke Baker Planetarium, the Wortham IMAX Theatre and more. Among recent renowned exhibits was the Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China's First Emperor. It was declared one of the top 10 museum exhibitions by Time Magazine and set attendance records during its stint in the U.S., including a blockbuster stop at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Over 1 million viewed the extraordinary archaeological find, deemed the Eighth Wonder of the Ancient World. Warriors, Tombs, and Temples: China's Enduring Legacy was also on view March 30, 2012 through September 3, 2012. Warriors, Tombs, and Temples included 200 incredibly preserved ancient works of art featuring newly-discovered artifacts unearthed from imperial, royal and elite tombs and from beneath Buddhist monasteries in and around the capital cities of three great dynasties, all located near the modern city of Xi'an in Shaanxi Province.

Sports - "Linsanity" has come to Houston! Professional basketball stars Jeremy Lin and Yao Ming play for the Houston Rockets professional basketball team!! Houston also has 4 other professional sports teams: Astros (Baseball),Texans (Football), Dynamo (Soccer), Aeros (Hockey) and four major sports venues.

Parks & Recreation - The Houston area contains two of the 10 largest urban public parks in the U.S. — Cullen Park (6th) and George Bush Park (9th). The City of Houston contains 52,739 acres of parks.

Theater - Houston also offers a 17-block Downtown Theater District, which is home to internationally-recognized performing arts organizations — Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet, Da Camera, Society for Performing Arts, Alley Theatre, Broadway in Houston, Theatre Under the Stars, and Uniquely Houston.

Zoos - Recognized by the editors of Parents magazine as one of the nation's Ten Best Zoos for Kids, the nonprofit Houston Zoo (www.houstonzoo.org) is a unique educational and conservation resource serving more than 1.6 million visitors annually, ranking in the top 10 nationwide for attendance. It is home to more than 4,500 exotic animals representing more than 800 species.