|City of Corpus Christi|
Night photo of Downtown Corpus Christi from the NB side of the Harbor Bridge
|Nickname(s): Sparkling City by the Sea, The Real Windy City|
Location in the state of Texas
Corpus Christi is a coastal city in the South Texas region of the U.S. state of Texas. The county seat of Nueces County, it also extends intoAransas, Kleberg, and San Patricio Counties. The city's political boundaries encompass Nueces Bay and Corpus Christi Bay. Its zoned boundaries include small land parcels or water inlets of three neighboring counties. The metropolitan area US Census estimated population in 2013 was 442,600. The population was 316,381 at the 2013 US Census estimate, making it the eighth-most populous city in Texas. It is the principal city of the three-county Corpus Christi metropolitan area, as well as the larger six-county Corpus Christi-Kingsville-Alice Combined Statistical Area, with a 2013 Census estimate at 516,793. The translation from Latin of the city's name (Corpus Christi) means Body of Christ. The name was given to the settlement and surrounding bay by Spanish explorer Alonso Álvarez de Pineda in 1519, when he discovered the lush semitropical bay on the feast day celebrating the Body of Christ. The city has the nicknames "Texas Riviera" and "Sparkling City by the Sea", particularly in literature promoting tourism.
The city is home to the Port of Corpus Christi, the fifth-largest in the United States, and is served by the Corpus Christi International Airport.
The majority of the population is employed in the services, wholesale and retail trades, and government sectors. Corpus Christi has an unemployment rate of 7.0% as of July 2012.
The Port of Corpus Christi, which is the fifth-largest U.S. port and deepest inshore port on the Gulf of Mexico, handles mostly oil and agricultural products. Much of the local economy is driven by tourism and the oil and petrochemicals industry. In 2005, the port was ranked as the 47th-largest in the world by cargo tonnage.
Corpus Christi is home to Naval Air Station Corpus Christi providing 6,200 civilian jobs to the local economy, making it the single largest employer in the city. Corpus Christi Army Depot, located on NAS Corpus Christi, is the largest helicopter repair facility in the world. Additionally located on NAS Corpus Christi is the United States Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi.
Corpus Christi is the original home of the headquarters of Whataburger, a fast-food restaurant operator and franchiser with 650 stores in 10 states and Mexico; however, the company relocated its headquarters to San Antonio in 2009. Other large employers include CHRISTUS Spohn Health System at 5,400 local employees, the Corpus Christi Independent School District with 5,178, H-E-B at 5,000, and Bay Ltd. at 2,100. Other companies based in Corpus Christi include Stripes Convenience Stores and AEP Texas.
Corpus Christi became the first major city to offer city-wide free wi-fi to allow remote meter reading after a meter reader was attacked by a dog. In 2007, the network was purchased by Earthlink for $5.5 million, and stopped being a free service on May 31, 2007.
Various sections of Corpus Christi maintain distinct senses of identity and community from the city proper, especially theCalallen and Flour Bluff areas. Clarkwood and Annaville have a less prominent sense of identity, but the distinction remains. These areas are sometimes mistakenly believed to be separate municipalities.
The city has many demographic groups, ethnicities, and subcultures, each giving it a distinct flavor: the defense bases and the people who work there; the large Hispanic community; the oil related professionals and workers; the cowboy culture; and the surfers.
The city is home to a number of popular destinations for both tourists and residents. The official visitor and tourism information organization is the Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau. Some of the most visited attractions are located on North Beach, where the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay are located.
The USS Lexington was also part of the set for the 2000 film Pearl Harbor. Corpus Christi's museum district is located near the USS Lexington. Some attractions located in the museum district are the Museum of Asian Cultures, the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, the South Texas Institute for the Arts, and the Harbor Playhouse Theatre, one of the oldest continually operating community theatres in Texas. Heritage Park is also in the museum district, where a number of older restored houses can be found. The downtown area, of which the museum district is a part, is home to skyscrapers such as One Shoreline Plaza, company offices, various shops, a very popular center of marinas, and Mirador de la Flor. Downtown also is home of the Texas Surf Museum, which explores the history of surfing and focuses on surf culture along Texas' 367-mile (591 km) coast, as well as K Space Contemporary, a nonprofit art organization promoting and presenting local, regional, and national contemporary art.
The Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, also located in the city, hosts gardening programs from time to time. On Oso Bay near the Pharaoh Valley subdivision is the Hans and Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is known for seabird-watching. The nearby Pharaohs golf course also serves as a haven for coastal and migratory birds.
Directly east of Corpus Christi are Padre Island and Mustang Island, home to various municipal, state, and national parks, most notably the Padre Island National Seashore. The city is also near King Ranch, one of the world's largest ranches, upon which the movie Giant was based.
The city also celebrates the annual Buccaneer Days Carnival, which is typically held downtown.
S. Padre Island Drive (locally abbreviated as "S.P.I.D.", with the letters pronounced individually), is the city's main retail corridor, with two shopping malls, La Palmera (formerly Padre Staples Mall), and Sunrise Mall. Also, a number of other large shopping centers, small strip centers, and restaurants can be found throughout the city.
Corpus Christi also is the home of Midget Ocean Racing Fleet, also known as MORF, which promotes sailing in the Coastal Bend. The Wednesday night races held by MORF are the longest-running weekly races in the United States.
The city's location beside Corpus Christi Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, and Laguna Madre provides opportunities for water sports and nature tourism. Waterfowl hunting is available in the region for duck, geese, coot, and teal. White-winged dove andmourning dove are also hunted on private leases. The brushland inland from Corpus Christi is also ideal for hunting feral hogs and white-tailed deer.
Fishing is a popular recreational activity in Corpus Christi. Popular fishing activities include fishing from various piers aroundCorpus Christi Bay, wade fishing in Oso Bay, and fishing from the Gulf of Mexico at Packery Channel or at Bob Hall Pier.
The city has one of the highest average wind speeds of coastal cities in North America. Combined with the Bay Front area along Ocean Drive, making the city an important destination for wind sports such as kite boarding, wind surfing, kiteflying, and sailing.
The Corpus Christi Skate Park opened on February 17, 2007. It is located in Cole Park on the shoreline of the Corpus Christi Bay near downtown. The 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2) concrete park includes a skating bowl and a street course with stairs, railings, and flat surfaces.
Being a coastal city, Corpus Christi is a good spot for seabird watching. One popular spot is the Hans and Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge along Oso Bay.