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Take that N.Y. & Austin: Forbes says Houston is America's coolest city

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Forbes made mention of Station Museum, a warehouse-turned-gallery.  Photo by Timothy Gonzalez/Station Museum of Contemporary Art

Our calendars are chock-full of cultural activities and fun events, and each week reveals a newly-opened bar or restaurant and a just-hatched business plan. For most Houstonians, it's pretty evident that this city is a great place to live. 

From the outside, though, Houston gets tagged as a hot concrete jungle surrounded by sprawling suburbs. So isn't it rewarding to receive "coolness" kudos from elsewhere? 

On Thursday, Forbes released a list of America's Coolest Cities, ranked based on entertainment options, green space and outdoor activities; the prevalence of professional and college sports teams; the number of non-chain restaurants and bars per capita; the diversity index and the median age; plus net migration and unemployment rates. 

 Houston topped that list at No. 1 with Forbes crediting Houston's booming job market for much of its "cool."

 Houston topped that list at No. 1 — higher than Washington, D.C., L.A., Seattle, New York City and dozens of other hip and ethnically-diverse metropolitan areas — with Forbes crediting Houston's booming job market for much of its "cool."

Because of those jobs, an influx of young professionals have moved into the city and "the dreary corporate cityscape has been quietly transforming," Forbes says.

Among the "cool" factors are stylish downtown housing developments, factories-turned-restaurants (think Oxheart and Kraftsmen Cafe, not to mention other historic building transformations like Mongoose versus Cobra) and art galleries — like Station Museum — in old warehouses.

Five other Texas cities made the list, too: Dallas at No. 4, San Antonio at No. 11, Fort Worth at No. 13 and Austin at No. 19. Forbes acknowledges that all "boast strong economies, large young adult populations and relatively high levels of cultural diversity."

While we don't necessarily agree that these three factors always equate to "cool" — or that "cool" is a thing that can even be quantified — it seems pretty clear that they have combined to make Houston a vibrant community.

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