48 Things You Didn’t Know About Houston

1. More than 90 languages are spoken in Houston.

2. The Beer Can House is covered with 39,000 beer cans, all of which were consumed over an 18-year period by John Milkovisch, who really, really loved beer.


3. On Thursdays at the Dirt Bar, you can say a password or flip a coin to get into their secret backroom.

4. There are two swingers bars in operation in Houston.

5. The total area of Houston can contain San Francisco, New York City, and Boston all at the same time.

6. The cough syrup concoction, Purple Drank, originated in Houston.


7. Treasure hunters take note: There is a ceramic case buried somewhere in Houston that contains a key. This key is said to be redeemable for a gemstones in New York. Since I’m the one who told you about it, lets go 50-50, it’s only fair.

8. Valhalla is a small bar tucked inside basement of a Rice University campus building.

9. Torchy’s Tacos has a secret menu. On it there are items called “The Hipster,” “The Mad Cow,” and “The Ace of Spades” which a Jalapeno sausage link with grilled brisket, a fried egg, green chile queso, cilantro, cotija cheese, sour cream, mixed cheese, and diablo hot sauce. Served on a flour tortilla Please excuse the drool.


10. There is a 27-and-a-half foot intestine on display at the Museum of Health and Medical Science. Wow… just… wow.

11. The Eclectic Menagerie Park located alongside of Highway 288 contains enormous monster sculptures including a daddy long legs and a hippo who keep watch over a Texas pipe works—and occasional cause traffic accidents

12. Every night 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats come out from under Waugh Drive Bridge to hunt for mosquitoes.


13. The Viet Hoa supermarket offers a massive collection of hard-to-find International foods, including…live frogs?

14. Wes Anderson, who was born in Houston, is the great grandson of writer Edgar Rice Burroughs.

15. There is a burping bubble—that’s right—in the Buffalo Bayou, underneath the Preston St. Bridge. It is operated by a nondescript red button in a tower on the bridge, just begging to be pressed.

16. Houston’s beloved Orange Show Center for Visionary Art actually began with a mail carrier in the ’50s. Jeff McKissack started collecting mosaics and recycled junk to form mazes, balconies, and exhibits in his house for 30 years. It got its name because oranges were McKissack’s favorite fruit.


17. The Port of Houston offers free 90-minute cruises aboard the M/V Sam Houston.

18. Texas A&M buries its canine mascots it the Reveille Mascot Cemetery.

19. The Swaminarayan Mandir is the first traditional Hindu Mandir in the nation. It was constructed in India of 33,000 pieces of Italian marble and Turkish limestone that was carved by hand and assembled in 16 months. It was then shipped over to Houston, where it was assembled like a puzzle.


20. The scale replicas of the Chinese tomb warriors that used to line the Forbidden Gardens were sold off for $100 each.

21. The Aurora Picture Show has 800 films in its video library collection and use of the library is free.

22. At the David Adickes Sculptrworx Studio you can see gigantic head sculptures of famous people, including George W. Bush and The Beatles.


23. A massive underground cistern was discovered a few years ago under what is now the Sky Lawn at the Water Works. The Cistern was built in 1927 and provided drinking water to Houstonians for decades before springing a leak.

24. And then there’s the Palace of the Golden Orbs or, more officially, the Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace, used by members of Chinese Universalist organization, neatly tucked away in the Kingsbridge Park neighborhood. The building is literally topped with giant golden orb-like structures.

25. Houston has an Art Car Museum that showcases cars transformed into works of art, including a gigantic bunny, a bull, and a giant red high heel.


26. Houston Heights, one of the most upscale neighborhoods in Houston, is actually dry. It has been dry for more than 100 years, since it was its own town and threatened to become overrun by seedy saloons.

27. The country’s largest collection of funeral service artifacts is housed in the National Museum of Funeral History. The museum, just north of Houston, aims to “education the public and preserve the heritage of death care.”…Um, okay.

28. Miller Outdoor Theatre hosts Shakespeare in the Park during the month of August. It’s free to sit the lawn and byob. If you’re lucky you can catch a meteor shower while you watch.


29. Move over Banksy, Houston has the Kingspoint Mullet. Hidden behind the Almeda Mall off Gulf Freeway, this graffiti grail is literally covered in all colors of the rainbow. It is supposedly Houston’s largest graffiti art space.

30. The Hubcap Grill was voted “best burger” by the Houston Chronicle.This sinfully scrumptious Cheetos burger—a beef patty topped with crunchy Cheetos and, as if that wasn’t enough, finished with a cheesy sauce.

31. The distance between each spike in the Lights Spike sculpture outside Terminal E at the George Bush International Airport is relative to the distance between Houston and the capital of each country the flags represent.


32. Houston has a downtown tunnel system running 7 miles and linking 95 city blocks.

33. Many Houstonians unwittingly drive over the Donnellan Crypt, which was once filled with dead members of the Donnellan family. Now empty, it sits underneath the Franklin Ave. bridge.

34. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the biggest in world, was actually called the Fat Stock Show and Livestock Exposition when it first began 80 years ago. It was established after 7 men met for lunch. So many power deals made by men at lunch.

35. The Astrodome was the world’s first multi-use, domed sports stadium. It now sits defunct.


36. South Park creator Matt Stone was born in Houston.

37. Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts is the largest in the state, and with more than 62,000 works of art, it is the largest collection in the Southwest U.S.

38. Houstonians dine out more than residents in other U.S. cities.


39. The Lunar Receiving Laboratory was the first to receive samples from the moon in 1969.

40. And speaking of, the word “Houston” is the first word that Neil Armstrong said on the moon.

41. Despite popular belief, Sam Houston did not found the city—it was actually founded by two real estate entrepreneurs who named the city in honor of his military achievements.

42. Cynthia Cooper, now head of the USC Women’s Basketball Team, got her start playing for the Houston Comets.


43. The Heisman trophy is named after John Heisman, who was the first full-time coach and athletic director at Rice University.

44. The Ink Spots Museum features pictures, albums and other mementos commemorating the career of Huey “Ink Spot” Long.

45. 1940 Air Terminal Museum is one of the few remaining examples of classic art deco architecture from the ’40s.


46. Houston is the only major U.S. city without zoning ordinances, which allows for more flexibility in land use planning.

47. The fancy Houston Heights neighborhood has a Quaker church in its midst. The Live Oaks Friends Meeting has, on average, 75 attendees each week.

48. The Texas Junk Company carried more than 1,000 used cowboy boots to choose from.