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Now That's Entertainment!
— Houston Theater District
Houston is one of only five cities in the United States with permanent professional resident companies in all four major artistic performance disciplines. The Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet, Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Alley Theatre and many more are all located in a 17-block area in the center of Downtown Houston better known as the Theater District. The district places Houston second in the country for number of theater seats—nearly 13,000 live-performance and 1,580 movie-theater seats—concentrated in one urban area. Other small theaters operate outside the district throughout the city, but the major cultural players are here.

Find the penultimate expressions of culture at the Wortham Theater Center, which is home to the Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Ballet, both of which perform in the grand Alice and George Brown Theater. In addition, several smaller opera and ballet companies, such as Da Camera of Houston and Houston Metropolitan Dance, perform in the intimate Lillie and Roy Cullen Theater.

If beautiful music is what you crave, the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, or Jones Hall, is the permanent home of the Houston Symphony Orchestra and the Houston Society for the Performing Arts, both of which aim to inspire and enrich people’s lives through outstanding symphonic music performed by a world-class orchestra.

Life without a little drama isn’t any fun, so the district offers up two major live dramatic theaters. The Alley Theatre is a Tony Award–winning indoor theater with two stages, the main “Hubbard” and the more intimate “Neuhaus.” Within its castle-like exterior of nine towers and several open-air terraces, the Alley Theatre produces a variety of serious and comedic plays by famous playwrights, local favorites and even aspiring teenagers. The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts houses two theaters constructed specifically for theater and musical performances. The larger, three-tiered Sarofim Hall hosts the touring Broadway productions and Theatre Under the Stars, which also produces musicals and other plays. The “jewel box” Zilkha Hall showcases ensembles of the Uniquely Houston program, which fosters the efforts of small- to mid-sized local performing groups, such as Ars Lyrica Houston.

The Theater District has more than just opera, ballet and plays; it also includes Bayou Place. This 130,000-square-foot entertainment complex features multiple theaters, including the versatile Verizon Wireless Theater and the full-service Sundance Cinemas, and excellent restaurants, such as the Hard Rock Café, The Blue Fish and Samba Grille. The new Live! at Bayou Place, which takes up most of the second level, contains assorted bar and nightclub hotspots for revelers of all kinds.

— Houston Sports District
Sitting on the eastern edge of downtown surrounding the renowned George R. Brown Convention Center and Discovery Green sit three professional sports stadiums that make up the major sports district in Houston. No matter the season, visitors and locals always can find professional sports being played at one of these premier facilities. To the northeast of the convention center is Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros Major League Baseball team. To the south sits Toyota Center Houston, which hosts both the National Basketball Association’s Houston Rockets and an American Hockey League team called the Houston Aeros. Just to the east is the brand-new BBVA Compass Stadium, which is the new-brand home of Houston’s Major League Soccer team, the Dynamo.

Not too far away, just south of the Houston Museum District and the world-renowned Texas Medical Center is Reliant Park where the Houston Texans of the National Football League play their home games.

— Houston Parks and Recreation
Houston is a very “green” city where residents and visitors enjoy outdoor living and activities most of the year. Of the 10 most populous U.S. cities, Houston ranks first in total area for parks and green space with 56,405 acres, so everyone can find somewhere pleasing to enjoy the outdoors here even in an urban environment. Following is a look at some of Houston’s most notable parks, most of which are located close to some of the other major districts already mentioned.

The 1,500-acre Memorial Park is located near the intersection of I-10 West and I-610 South and bounded by Buffalo Bayou to the south. Unique among urban parks for its size, location and natural features, Memorial Park is recognized widely for its wooded character, highly regarded golf course and 20 miles of excellent running trails. In addition, it has tennis, swimming, bird watching, cycling and other fitness opportunities. Very popular among residents and visitors, the park’s three-mile Seymour-Leiberman Exer-Trail is used daily by an estimated 10,000 runners, and about 65,000 rounds of golf are played here every year.

Anchored by the Houston Museum of Natural Science and close to Rice University and the world-renowned Texas Medical Center, the 445-acre Hermann Park is important for many Houstonians and welcomes an estimated 6 million visitors each year. The park offers something for everyone, including picnicking, hiking, jogging and bird-watching opportunities; a children’s playground; municipal golf course; scenic railroad attraction; several lush gardens and a reflection pool; pedal boating and fishing on an eight-acre lake; historical sites and sculptures as well as other public art; and a comprehensive community center. At the heart of the park sits the 55-acre Houston Zoo, home to more than 4,500 exotic animals, and the Miller Outdoor Theatre, which offers free professional live entertainment with seating in a covered pavilion or on the raised hillside.

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