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Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, with a population of over 2.1 million people. The city is known for its diverse cultural history, due in part to its large number of educational institutions and its close proximity to Mexico. This proximity makes it easy for students to take quick trips to warm beaches year-round.
Houston is different than many large cities in that it has multiple business districts instead of a central business district. These areas include Uptown, Midtown, Texas Energy Corridor, and Greenspoint. Major industries in the region include energy and shipping—and the city is becoming known for its commitment to pursuing renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power.
The city's largest employers include Continental Airlines, ExxonMobil, Shell Oil, HP, and ARAMARK. Creative agencies including Lopez Negret Communications, Adcetera, and FKM also have a large presence in the marketplace.
Houston has a large theater district that's home to nine performing arts organizations, as well as a cultural district that includes arts museums and a zoo. There's also a music center and the world renowned NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Because of the year-round warmth, students enjoy the city's numerous parks and outdoor activities located throughout the region. Sports enthusiasts follow the Houston Astros, Houston Rockets, Houston Texans, and Houston Dynamo.