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The Woodlands, TX (Population: 80,659)

The Woodlands was founded in 1974 and has been the best selling master-planned community in Texas since 1990. The community has a convenient location just 27 miles north of Houston and has a population of 80,659 people (2005). The Woodlands was designed to provide a range of recreational amenities, residences, commercial spaces, retail shops, and entertainment venues while integrating the wooded green space that surrounds the area. In fact, 28 percent of The Woodlands is dedicated to green spaces such as parks, pathways, open spaces, forest preserves, and golf courses. The community prides itself on successfully integrating the modern conveniences of urban life with the perfect blend of nature.

The Woodlands is growing into an impressive community as many companies continue to move into the area. Some of these include Anadarko, Hewitt Associates, Lexicon Genetics, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, and Chicago Bridge & Iron. Several upscale retail stores and restaurants are under construction in the area, as well as several urban residential developments. The Woodlands Town Center includes shopping and dining establishments, as well as a waterway similar to San Antonio's River Walk. Development in The Woodlands is in its final stages and is projected to be completed in 2011. As it stands, The Woodlands is not a town, but rather a large development. In 2011, The Woodlands Development Corporation will disassociate itself from the development, at which point the residents will have to decide whether to incorporate their town or allow it to be annexed by Houston or Conroe.

The introduction of The Woodlands Waterway has shifted the area's nightlife into overdrive. Nightlife in The Woodlands, however, refers to activities taking place no later than 10 pm. Area bars are generally geared toward affluent, middle-aged clientèle. Some of the area bars include Ugly's, Molly's Irish Pub, Martinis and More, The Goose's Acre, and Buffalo Wild Wings.

The Woodlands is divided into villages, each of which offers easy access to parks, playgrounds, schools, religious centers, and shopping. Many of these amenities are connected by trails that wind among homes and wooded areas. The Woodlands offers neighborhood choices that feature a variety of characteristics ranging from proximity to a golf course, to lakeside, to the urban setting of Town Center, to an exclusive gated community. Home styles range from lofts to six-bedroom estates. The variety of home styles and price ranges offer a good standard of living for just about anyone in The Woodlands.