The fourth largest city within the United States, is the city of Houston, that is the main center of the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan area (the sixth biggest metropolitan area in the United States with a population more than 6 million) and is the seat of Harris County. It has a population of about two million during 2008, and its neighborhood includes Downtown, Uptown, Montrose, The Heights, Rice Village Area, River Oaks, Chinatown, and Midtown.
The City of Houston was born from two New York City real estate entrepreneurs named Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen, who bought the area in hopes of founding a city. Named after Sam Houston, a popular general at the Battle of San Jacinto, he was selected the President of Texas during 1836. Houston was incorporated by the first mayor of the city, James Holman. The latter part of the 1800's saw the city grow as a commercial and railroad hub for cotton export. It also became the headquarters for General John Bankhead Magruder through the American Civil War. The 1950's and 1960's saw the unincorporated areas joined into the city limits, which expanded the city's size. It likewise gave way for the local shipbuilding industry to expand throughout the World War II and the establishment of NASA's "Manned SpaceCraft Center."
The city of Houston has about twenty thousand plays, exhibitions, arts programs and concerts, and it attracts over eleven million residents and visitors each and every year. Its nonprofit arts are a strong player in the city's financial system too, generating roughly $70 million in government and state revenue. Its cultural exhibitions and events reportedly make around ten million annually. Houston is the only one among few cities which have permanent resident businesses in all the areas of the performing arts: The Houston Symphony Orchestra (music), Alley Theatre (theatre), Houston Ballet (ballet), and Houston Grand Opera (opera). The city's strongest area is the visual and performing arts scene, and among the most dynamic names here is the Theater District located downtown. It has nine performing arts organizations and six performance halls. The city also provides various Broadway acts, concerts, exhibitions, shows, art groups and local folk artists in smaller progressive arts organizations. In addition, Houston is even home to various museums. The Museum District, a popular cultural institution, is a popular site of roughly seven million tourists every year. Amongst the most popular ones also consist of: the Houston Zoo, Holocaust Museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Station Museum of Contemporary Arts, Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Museum of Fine Arts. Bayou Bend, a facility of the Museum of Fine Arts, has among America's best collections of ornamental paintings, art and furniture.
The natural gas and oil business in Houston are internationally recognized. Additionally, really strong within the area are the sectors of aeronautics and biomedical research. Houston has an emerging renewable energy resource sector which includes both solar and wind energy. These areas are fast becoming a popular economic base in the city today. Nearly all of the big businesses have likewise made the city of Houston their operational base. They consist of: ExxonMobil, ConocoPhilips, Shell Oil, and BP. Other companies that have made the city their head office consist of: Apache Corporation, Marathon Oil Corporation, Horizon Wind Energy and Citgo.