The city is the seat of Rice Univ., Texas Southern Univ., the Univ. of Houston, the Univ. of St. Thomas, Dominican College, Houston Baptist Univ., Baylor College of Medicine, and the Univ. of Texas Health Science Center. Its many parks include the large Hermann Park, which has a zoo, a museum of natural science, and a planetarium. Houston has several notable art museums including the Museum of Fine Arts and The Menil Collection, the Space Center Houston museum, and a children's museum. The Wortham Theater Center houses the opera and ballet companies; the city's Alley Theatre is one of the country's foremost repertory companies. The civic center includes the Sam Houston Coliseum and Music Hall; the massive George R. Brown Convention Center, one of the nation's largest; and the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, home of the symphony orchestra. The city is also home to the Astros (baseball), Texans (football), and Rockets (basketball) professional sports teams.
Other tourist attractions include the Galleria, a huge enclosed mall noted for its luxury stores; Old Market Square; Sam Houston Historical Park, which contains restored homes (built 1824–68) and reconstructed buildings; and the Astrodome (opened 1965). The San Jacinto battlefield is in nearby Pasadena.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.