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Life in the Program and City

Houston, Texas is a city of bayous and bodegas, a city of sirens and skyscrapers, a city of live oaks and live music and lots of living, working artists. With a population just under 2.2 million (in greater Houston the number swells to 5.5 million), Houston offers a host of stimulating contrasts and outrageous juxtapositions that inspire all who live here. We include the following pages and links to help prospective and current students acquaint themselves with our city, one Susan Sontag praised for having more writers than anywhere outside New York.

City of Houston Website

Houston Wikipedia page


Houston has an active visual and performing arts scene. The Theater District is located downtown and is home to nine major performing arts organizations and six performance halls. It is the second-largest concentration of theater seats in a downtown area in the United States. Houston is one of only five United States cities with permanent, professional, resident companies in all major performing arts disciplines. Learn more

Houston is also home to the Bayou City Art Festival, which is considered to be one of the top five art festivals in the United States.

Houston has a multicultural population with a large and growing international community. The metropolitan area is home to an estimated 1.1 million (21.4 percent) residents that were born outside the United States. Houston is home to the nation’s third largest concentration of consular offices representing 86 nations.

Houston and The Visual Arts

You can spend months wandering Houston’s extraordinary museums and fine art galleries. One organization alone—The Menil Collection—houses the Cy Twombly Gallery, Richmond Hall’s Dan Flavin Installation, and Dominique de Menil’s personal collection of art and antiquities. For those interested in something a little more off the beaten path, Houston features museums dedicated to the decorative arts, printing history, funeral science, railroads, and the “art car.” And that’s for starters…

The Museum District

Museum of Fine Arts

The Menil Collection

Contemporary Art Museum of Houston

The Rothko Chapel

Gallery Row Houston

The Texas Gallery

Art Car Museum

Houston and The Performing Arts

A world famous opera, a top five ballet company, an extraordinary symphony orchestra, and one of the best regional theatre companies in America, plus a host of superb smaller performance groups and ensembles combine to make Houston the performing arts destination of the South and Southwest. And because Houston remains the most affordable major American city, the words “grad student” and “season ticket holder” can and often do go together.

Houston Grand Opera

Houston Ballet

The Houston Symphony

The Alley Theatre

Houston Theater District

Theater LaB Houston

Opera in the Heights

Theatre Under the Stars

Houston Neighborhoods

From Montrose to The Heights, from Uptown to the Museum District, Houston is a city of livable, affordable neighborhoods. While a car remains pretty much indispensable for most city dwellers, Houston’s still reasonable cost of living means that even graduate students can—with a little finessing—live in great parts of town and enjoy good restaurants, lively coffee houses, fun bars, and a wide array of entertainment choices. While nothing can replace touring the city yourself, the links below provide an introduction. Prospective students are free to contact the Program office and ask names and numbers of current graduate students willing to answer questions about life in this remarkable city. Learn more

Houston Nightlife

More international city than cowtown, Houston has a wide range of nightclubs.

Whether you're into coffee bars, jazz clubs or thumping madness, Houston has something for you. There are even a few country/western establishments, in case you were wondering.

Nearby Beaches

While not technically a coastal city, Houston is 45 minutes from Galveston Island. Allowing for easy daytrips or weekend excursions, Galveston is easily Houston's backyard.

Great opportunities to fish, tan or simply listen to the waves abound.