All About Laredo, Texas Geographic Area
Laredo (/ləˈreɪdoʊ/ lə-RAY-doh; Spanish: [laˈɾeðo]) is the county seat of Webb County, Texas, United States, located on the north bank of the Rio Grande in South Texas, across from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. According to the 2010 census, the city population was 236,091 making it the tenth most populous city in the state of Texas and 3rd most populated on the United States-Mexican border, after San Diego, California and El Paso, Texas. Laredo is part of the Laredo-Nuevo Laredo Metropolitan Area with an estimate population of 636,516. Laredo's economy is based on international trade with Mexico. Most major transportation companies have a facility in Laredo. Laredo's location along the southern end of I-35 close to the manufacturers in North Mexico promotes its vital role in trade between the United States and Mexico.
Laredo has the distinction of flying seven flags (the Flag of the Republic of the Rio Grande in addition to the Six Flags of Texas). Founded in 1755, Laredo grew from a villa to the capital of the brief Republic of the Rio Grande to the largest inland port on the United States-Mexican Border. Today, it has four international bridges and one railway bridge. Laredo's weather is semi-arid during the summer and mild during the winter.
Laredo International Airport is within the Laredo city limits, while the Quetzalcoatl International Airport is nearby in Nuevo Laredo in Mexico. The city has two professional sports teams: the Bucks and Heat. Texas A&M International University and Laredo Community College are located in Laredo. The biggest festival, Washington's Birthday Celebration is held during February all month long, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists. The Jalapeño Festival, Stockmen's Ball, Princess Pocahontas Pageant, Mr. South Texas Luncheon, an air show, and two major parades are all held in conjunction with the Washington birthday events.
Villa de San Agustin de Laredo was founded in 1755 by Don Tomás Sánchez while the area was part of the Nuevo Santander region in the Spanish colony of New Spain. Villa de San Agustin de Laredo got its name from Laredo, Cantabria, Spain and in honor of Saint Augustine of Hippo. In 1840, Laredo was the capital of the independent Republic of the Rio Grande, set up in opposition Antonio López de Santa Anna and brought back into Mexico by military force. In 1846, during the Mexican-American War the town was occupied by the Texas Rangers. After the war, the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ceded the land to the United States. A referendum was taken in the town, which voted to petition the American military government in charge of the area to return the town to Mexico. This petition was rejected, and the bulk of the population moved over the river into Mexican territory to found Nuevo Laredo. In 1849, the military set up Fort McIntosh (originally Camp Crawford). Laredo was rechartered as a city in 1852.
Laredo is one of the oldest border crossing points along the U.S.-Mexico border, and the nation's largest inland port of entry. In 2005, Laredo celebrated the 250th anniversary of its founding.
The origin of name of the original Spanish town of Laredo is unclear. Some scholars say the name stems from Glaretum which means "sandy, rocky place" others state that Laredo stems from a Basque word meaning "beautiful pastures". Laredo might also stem from the latin Larida which means gull.
From 1965 to 1967, NBC aired a western television series called Laredo, with the actors Philip Carey, William Smith, Peter Brown, and Neville Brand. A spinoff of The Virginian, Laredo focuses on Texas Rangers in the border country. In 1958, ABC aired the episode "Ambush in Laredo" of the miniseries, Texas John Slaughter starring Tom Tryon, with Chris Alcaide and Judson Pratt, broadcast as part of Walt Disney Presents.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 79.6 square miles (206.0 km²), of which, 78.5 square miles (203.2 km²) of it is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km²) of it (1.37%) is water.
Laredo is located on the west end of the Rio Grande Plains, south of the Edwards Plateau, west of the Coastal Plains, and east of the Mexican Mountains. The area consists of a few hills and flat land covered with grass, oak, and mesquite.
Notable geographic features are the Rio Grande and Chacon Creek's man-made reservoir, Lake Casa Blanca, in Lake Casa Blanca International State Park. The lake is 371 acres (1.5 km2) of land and 1,650 acres (7 km2) of water. There are six major creeks Chacon Creek, San Ildefonso Creek, San Ygnacio Creek, Santa Isabel Creek, Sombrerillito Creek, and Zacate Creek, all of which drain into the Rio Grande. There are several man made reservoirs including the San Ildefonso Creek Lake (second largest reservoir), and the Sombrerillito Creek Lake (third largest reservoir).
Laredo's climate is considered to be hot semi-arid (Köppen climate classification BSh). Its weather is affected by the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains to the west, the Gulf of Mexico to the east, and the Chihuahuan Desert of Northern Mexico. Moisture from the Pacific is cut off by the Mexican mountain range. Because of its geographic location, Laredo's weather can range from long periods of heat to sudden, violent storms in a short period of time. Laredo winters are cold by south Texas standards: with average daytime highs of approximately 66 °F (19 C) and average overnight lows of 43 °F (6 C). Although snowfall is not prevalent in Laredo, it was experienced on Christmas morning in 2004 and February 2011.
Laredo experiences an average high temperature of about 101 °F (38 C), and an average low of about 75 °F (24 C) during summer, and 22 inches (560 mm) of rain per year. As Laredo sometimes undergoes drought, a water conservation ordinance was implemented in 2003.
As of the 2010 Laredo is the 81st most populous city in the United States and the 10th largest in Texas. According to the 2010 census there were 236,091 inhabitants in the city.
The vast majority of Laredo's population is of Hispanic origin.
At the 2010 Census, 3.4% of the population was non-Hispanic White, 0.2% non-Hispanic Black or African American, 0.6% non-Hispanic Asian, 0.1% from some other race (non-Hispanic) and 0.1% of two or more races (non-Hispanic). 95.6% of Laredo's population was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (they may be of any race). In the 2005 estimate there were 99,675 males and 108,112 females. The average household contained 3.69 occupants. The population density was 2,250.5 people per square mile (868.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 179,887 or 86.6% White (most of them White Hispanic and Latino Americans), 1,012 or 0.5% African American, 599 or 0.3% Native American, 779 or 0.4% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 23,932 or 11.5% from other races, and 1,578 or 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino origin of any ethnicity accounts for 197,198 or 94.9% of the population.
There were a total of 60,816 households, of which 56,247 or 92.5% were occupied: 33,832 were owner occupied units and 22,415 were renter occupied units. 62.0% were married couples living together, 18.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 14.7% were non-families. 12.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.69 and the average family size was 4.18
The city's population is 35.5% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 15.8% from 45 to 64, and 7.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,019, and the median income for a family was $32,577. The per capita income for the city was $12,269. 29.2% of families were below the poverty line.
According to the United States Census Bureau, at a 2000 census, Laredo was the second fastest growing city in the United States, (Las Vegas, Nevada, having been first).
Laredo's municipal government is a strong city council – weak mayor system. The mayor presides over the eight-member city council, but he/she may only vote to break a tie. City Council elections are based on single-member districts and campaigns have no party affiliations. Nominally nonpartisan municipal elections are now held in November (formerly in May) of even-numbered years. The municipal government is administered by the city manager hired by the city council. All city elected offices have a four-year term and are nonpartisan though most officials have a party preference or affiliation, heavily Democratic. City council meetings are held on Mondays and can be viewed on the Public-access television cable TV channel or live online at Public Access Channel live stream. The current mayor, Democrat Raul G. Salinas, was elected in 2006 to succeed his fellow term-limited Democrat, Betty Flores. In his bid for a second term, Salinas defeated then city council members Jose A. Valdez, Jr., and Gene Belmares in the 2010 elections.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates the Laredo Parole Office in Laredo.
The U.S. District Court is based downtown in a relatively new building next to the Webb County Courthouse. The United States Postal Service operates its main Post Office at 2700 East Saunders Street south of Laredo International Airport. Postal branches are located downtown and at 2395 East Del Mar Boulevard.
Laredo is served by two school districts, the Laredo Independent School District and the United Independent School District, as well as eight private schools.
The Laredo Independent School District (LISD) serves the areas in central Laredo. The LISD high schools are Cigarroa High School, Martin High School, J. W. Nixon High School and the Laredo Early College High School. LISD also contains three magnet schools: Dr. Dennis D. Cantu Health Science Magnet School, LISD Magnet for Engineering and Technology Education, and Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts.
The United Independent School District serves the rest of Laredo and northern Webb County. The UISD high schools are John B. Alexander High School, Lyndon B. Johnson High School, United High School, and United South High School. UISD has three magnet schools: John B. Alexander Health Science Magnet, United Engineering Magnet, and the United South Business Magnet. There are thirty-nine schools within UISD and more are under construction and/or in the development stage. United ISD is one of the fastest growing districts in the state, serving almost forty thousand students and covering an area the physical size of Rhode Island.
The city is also served by eight private schools:
Laredo is home to Laredo Community College and Texas A&M International University (TAMIU). The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has a campus in Laredo.
The Laredo Community College is a two-campus institution which offers two-year Associates Degrees. The main campus is located in west Laredo near the Rio Grande. The smaller but newer second campus, Laredo Community College South Campus, is located in south Laredo along United States Highway 83. The main campus is located at the western end of downtown Laredo on the land formerly known as Fort McIntosh. This fort played a major role in the development of Laredo as it served to protect Laredo's border from Indian raids in its early history. Several of the fort's old buildings were converted into classrooms, and then into nightclubs.
The Texas A&M International University is a 4/6 year university that offers Bachelors and Master's Degrees. On April 22, 2004, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in Austin, Texas provided its approval for Texas A&M International University to grant its first Ph.D. in International Business Administration. TAMIU’s College of Business Administration has been named an outstanding business school in "The Princeton Review’s" “Best 282 Business Schools,” 2007 Edition, and ranked third in the nation for the category: “Greatest Opportunity for Minority Students.” The university's campus is located in Northeast Laredo along Loop 20. The university was once an extension of Texas A&I-Kingsville and later changed to Laredo State University. Prior to its current location along Loop 20, the university was housed on Laredo Community College's downtown campus grounds.
The University of Texas Health Science Center campus is located in East Laredo near U.S. Highway 59 and the Laredo Medical Center. The campus is an extension university from UTHSC in San Antonio, Texas. The university offers Doctoral Degrees in the medical and dental fields.
Laredo has four South Texas banking institutions Falcon International Bank, International Bank of Commerce, BBVA Compass, and Texas Community Bank. As a result of Laredo's location in North America, Interstate Highway 35 / Mexican Federal Highway 85, the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), dozens of twin assembly plants, and dozens of import export agencies to expedite trade, Laredo is the largest inland port in the United States, and Nuevo Laredo the largest in Latin America. Laredo is a shopping destination for Mexican shoppers from Northern Mexico.
More than 47 percent of United States international trade headed for Mexico and more than 36 percent of Mexican international trade crosses through the Laredo port of entry. Laredo's economy and lifestyle revolves around commercial and industrial warehousing, import, and export. As a major player of international trade, Laredo benefited from the passing of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The city's Laredo International Airport has non-stop flights to Houston, Texas, Dallas, Texas, Las Vegas, Nevada and seasonal non-stop flights to Orlando, Florida. The Laredo port of entry consists of four international bridges (with a proposed fifth one) crossing the Rio Grande into the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon.
Retail sales attracts shoppers from Northern Mexico and South Texas. There are 2 indoor shopping malls located in the area and dozens of shopping centers. The Streets of Laredo Urban Mall is an association created by businesses on Iturbide Street in the San Agustin historical district to beautify and renovate the area.
As of October 2007, Laredo's labor market was in the following industries by percentage of number employed: Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (32%), Information (1%), Financial Activity (5%), Professional and Business Services (6%), Education and Health Services (15%), Leisure and Hospitality (10%), Government (23%), Mining and Construction (5%), Manufacturing (2%), and Other Services (2%).
Laredo has increased the number of non-agricultural jobs from 55,100 in January 1996 to 86,600 in October 2007. Laredo has experienced a higher job growth rate (2%-6.5%) than the state as a whole because of expanded international trade through the North American Free Trade Agreement. In 2007, Laredo experienced a job growth rate of 2.5%. As of October 2007, the Laredo unemployment rate was 4.1% or 3,700 unemployed persons as compared to 3.9% in Texas statewide. This is a significant drop since the mid-1990s when Laredo's unemployment was over 15%.
Laredo has had positive job market growth since the mid-1990s, setbacks in the Mining (oil/gas) industry shifted a few thousand workers to other industries such as international trade and construction. Many large employers in the oil and gas industries shut down operations in Laredo and across Texas and shifted to foreign countries. The same effect occurred in the garment industry (Levis and Haggar) along the Texas border area, but Laredo experienced the closing of the one and only garment-producing company (Barry) of about 300 workers. Laredo's strong job growth rate in retail and transportation services limited the adverse effects of long-term unemployment in the few massive layoffs of the late 1990s. Laredo's vulnerability continue to exist in international trade due to unforeseen changes to Mexico's economy, immigration laws (along with daily border crossings: shoppers and commercial trade) and terrorism as the result of September 11.
The Washington's Birthday Celebration (WBCA) is a month-long event that celebrates George Washington's Birthday. It was founded in 1898 by the Improved Order of the Red Men, local chapter Yaqui Tribe #59. It is the largest celebration of its kind in the United States, with 400,000 attendees annually. The first celebration was a success, and its popularity grew rapidly; in 1923 it received its state charter. In 1924, the Celebration featured its first Colonial Pageant, which featured 13 young girls from Laredo, representing the 13 original colonies. The celebration includes parades, a carnival, an air show, fireworks, live concerts, and a city-wide prom during which many of Laredo's elite dress in very formal attire. The related Jalapeño Festival is one of the United States' top 10 eating festivals.
Jamboozie is held in late January in downtown Laredo as part of the Washington Birthday Celebrations. Similar to New Orleans' Mardi Gras, the Jamboozie is a colorful event, with many people dressed in beads, masks, and flamboyant outfits.
The area around the Laredo Energy Arena has experienced substantial growth in recent years. Besides new housing developments, the area includes Hal's Landing, a restaurant/arcade that serves as a popular nightspot on the weekends. Also in the area are a few other bars/clubs, and an upscale gym. In development next to the Laredo Energy Arena is a new baseball field that will house the Laredo Lemurs.
Around the Springfield area, several restaurant/bars have set up residence. Some of these places include Agave Azul, Cosmos, Old No.2, and Lima Sol. This area has proven to be especially popular with the college crowd.
Lake Casa Blanca International State Park, located on Loop 20, contains a 1,680-acre (7 km2) artificial lake along with cooking out, camping, picnicking, lake swimming, skiing, boating, and mountain biking. The most popular recreational use of the lake is fishing. A boat ramp and fishing pier is available on the eastern side of the lake. The lake is a popular destination for winter Texans. The park was operated by the City of Laredo and Webb County before it was acquired by the state in 1990 and opened in March 1991.
Laredo has two 18-hole golf courses: the Laredo Country Club and the Casa Blanca Golf Course. The Laredo Country Club is an 18-hole private course that features 7,125 yards (6,515 m) of golf. The golf course has a rating of 74.6, a slope rating of 133, and has a par of 72. The country club was designed by Joseph S. Finger and was opened in 1983. The Casa Blanca Golf Course is an 18-hole course that features 6,590 yards (6,030 m) of golf. The golf course has a rating of 72.5, a slope rating of 125, and has a par of 72. The golf course was designed by Leon Howard and was opened in 1967.
The City of Laredo owns eight recreational centers, thirty-four developed parks, twenty-two undeveloped parks or under construction, five baseball fields, and four plazas. The parks total area is 618 acres (2.50 km2).
In the November 4, 2008, general election, voters approved by a 61-39 percent margin construction of a new baseball stadium to be built adjacent to the Laredo Energy Arena. Funding will be derived from a sports venue fund established through a .25 percent municipal sales tax. In 2009, the fund had some $15 million in reserve.
A memorial honoring the forty-one Hispanic soldiers who have received the Medal of Honor was built in Laredo, Texas in 2002. The plaza was named after the only Laredo Medal of Honor recipient David B. Barkley. The David B. Barkley Plaza has a bronze statue of David B. Barkley and an American flag measuring 100 ft by 50 ft and is 308 ft tall making it the tallest flagpole in the United States. The memorial is located at 27°30′22″N 99°30′8″W / 27.50611°N 99.50222°W / 27.50611; -99.50222 (David B. Barkley Plaza).
Relatively new to Laredoans, this mountain bike trail is approximately 4 miles of single-track dirt trails, widening occasionally to double-track. Some technical parts make this trail challenging, but not impossible for beginners who can briefly walk their bikes before getting on their way again. Thorned shrubs and cacti encompass bikers, so be careful! The trail is well-marked and improvements continue to be seen as the months go by. The trail is located off Shiloh Road at the end of Livingston Road.
Republic of the Rio Grande Capitol Building Museum is located in the downtown historical district next to the historical La Posada Hotel. It was once the Republic of the Rio Grande Capitol building now showcases memorabilia from the short lived Republic of the Rio Grande. It displays pictures, books, and furniture from the 19th century Laredo area. It offers guided tours for school age children and adults year-round. Because of this Republic, Laredo had flown seven flags instead of the traditional Six Flags over Texas.
The Laredo Center for the Arts is located in downtown Laredo. The building houses three galleries: the Goodman Gallery, the Laredo Art League Gallery and the Lilia G. Martinez Gallery. The Center for the Arts, located in the former City Hall offices known as "The Mercado," displays regional artwork and provides community events for children and adults. The Laredo Little Theater provides Laredo with live stage performances. The theater also hosts comedians.
Imaginarium of South Texas (formerly Laredo Children's Museum), located in Mall del Norte, provides a hands-on experience with science, technology, and art for Laredo's youth. A second museum is planned on the Texas A&M International University campus.
The Nuevo Santander Museum Complex comprises restored buildings of Fort McIntosh, a historical collection of photographs of the fort, the main guardhouse, which contains World War I (1914–1918) memorabilia, and a science and technology museum.
The Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center Planetarium is located on the Texas A&M International University campus. The Planetarium surrounds audiences in a dome with an accurate image of the night sky showing all the motions and cycles of the Sun, Moon, planets, and constellations in the sky.
The Laredo Public Library was first housed on the second floor of the City Hall, now known as the Market Hall, in 1916. In 1974, the Laredo Public Library moved to the historic Bruni Plaza in downtown Laredo. In 1993, the citizens of Laredo approved the construction of a new main library, which opened its doors on February 1, 1998. The Laredo Public Library has a 60,000 sq ft (6,000 m2). main library and two branches. The main library is located in central Laredo; the Bruni Plaza Branch is located downtown east of Washington Street, and the Santo Niño Branch is located in south Laredo.
Laredo is a city that has been the subject of many songs in popular culture. One of the most popular songs being the "Streets of Laredo", originally known as "A Cowboy's Lament" and written by Frank H. Maynard, who lived mostly in Colorado. "The Streets of Laredo" has been recorded by artists such as Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Waylon Jennings and Roy Rogers.
Another popular song is Laredo by country music star Chris Cagle. In the song, Cagle sings about the city of Laredo having a positive influence on his significant other. He relies on this influence to prevent his significant other from leaving town and encouraging her to return to him.
Top of the charts in 1978 in several countries in Europe: Baccara with: "The Devil Sent You to Loredo". Baccara still sings the song in 2011!
Laredo is a song from the album Infinite Arms, released by Band of Horses in 2010.
The area around the Laredo Energy Arena (LEA) is populated with bars, restaurants, and other entertainment venues. This area provides both adult and family entertainment, such as bars, nightclubs, sports fields, movie theatres, family restaurants, and the LEA itself.
Laredo’s architecture is of Spanish Colonial, American, and Mexican flavor. Most of Laredo's Spanish colonial buildings are located in downtown Laredo. American architecture can be seen along Interstate Highway 35 and in the downtown area.
Heavily Roman Catholic in church affiliation, Laredo has impressive houses of worship in multiple denominations. The oldest congregation, San Agustin Cathedral in the downtown historic plaza, dates to the founding of the city in 1755. Other Catholic congregations included Our Lady of Guadalupe, an imposing structure in the inner-city at San Jorge Avenue and Callaghan Street, Blessed Sacrament and Christ the King, both in the Heights neighborhood, St. John Neumann Church at Hillside Road and Springfield Avenue, San Martin de Porres at 1704 Sandman Street near the municipal water tower, and the large St. Patrick Catholic Church on Del Mar Boulevard, founded in 1970 and renovated in 2009. The Catholic diocese office, the headquarters of Bishop James Tamayo, is located on Corpus Christi Street north of Guadalupe Street. Still another Catholic congregation, the Church of the Redeemer at the intersection of Main and Garcia streets downtown, observed its centennial on August 29, 2009. San Luis Rey Catholic Church at the intersection of Sanders and San Jose opened on September 16, 1951. Outside is a flowered prayer shrine.
The homeless and other indigent are served downtown through the Roman Catholic-established Bethany House, founded in 1982 by Roman Catholic priest Fr. Charles M. McNaboe (1929–1996).
Other Laredo churches include Baptist, United Methodist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Mormon, and non-denominational congregations as well.
List of the tallest buildings in Laredo, Texas:
In addition to the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio branch, there are five other principal medical centers in Laredo: the Laredo Medical Center, Doctor's Hospital, Gateway Community Health Center, Providence Surgical & Medical Center, and the Laredo Specialty Hospital.
Doctors Hospital is the second-largest medical center in Laredo. The hospital complex is over 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2), with 180 licensed beds on a 58-acre (230,000 m2) campus. Affiliated with Universal Health Services, it is located on Loop 20 in north Laredo. The Doctors Regional Cancer Treatment Center offers comprehensive cancer services.
The Providence Surgical & Medical Center is an ambulatory health care center located in north-central Laredo and also owned by Universal Health Services.
The Gateway Community Health Center is the third-largest medical center in Laredo. The health center's main building is 64,000 square feet (5,900 m2). The Medical center moved to its new $11,000,000 building in 2006. The main Gateway Community Health Center is located in East Laredo, close to U.S. Highway 59. It also has three branches in the Laredo area: the South Clinic, El Cenizo Community Center, and Quad City Community Center.
The Laredo Specialty Hospital is the fourth-largest medical center in Laredo. It is owned by Ernest Health Inc. and was founded by Elmo Lopez, Jr., on May 22, 2006, and admitted its first patient within hours of operation. The grand opening was held in March 2007.
Laredo was home to the since disbanded two-time President's Cup Champion Laredo Bucks hockey team, which played at the Laredo Energy Arena. The first Bucks coach from 2002 to 2011 was Terry Ruskowski, a Canadian native and champion ice hockey player. Despite a "lifetime contract" given in 2007, Coach Ruskowski left the position in May 2011 after several disappointing seasons.
The Laredo Bucks, owned by Julian "Kiki" DeAyala and Glenn Hart, were part of the Southeast Division of the Central Hockey League. The team began in the 2002–2003 season. The Bucks were awarded Franchise of the Year in their first year of operation. The Laredo Bucks were the 2003–2004 and the 2005–2006 Central Hockey League President's Cup Champions and the 2003–2004 Governors' Cup Regular Season Champions. They made the playoffs early in their formation and went to the finals 4 consecutive years, winning twice. They made a playoff appearance 8 consecutive years out of their 10 years of excistense. They set a new CHL/WPHL record for consecutive finals appearances,set a winning record of 21 straight home games. They also set a record for most winningest team percentage in the 2003-2004 season, posting a .813 percent going 48-8-8 on the season. They were 5 time Southeast Division Champions and 4 Time Southern Conference Champions.
The Laredo Heat is a United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League team. The team's home stadium is the Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex. The team was founded in 2004. It plays in the Mid-South Division of the Southern Conference In the 2006 season the Laredo Heat finished Runner-up yet made it only to the first round of the Open Cup. In the 2007 season, the Laredo Heat were the Southern Conference champions. And in 2007 Laredo heat won its first PDL Championship.
The Laredo Lemurs, a professional baseball team based in Laredo, played their first season in the independent American Association in 2012. They won the South Division in their inaugural season, but were eliminated in the first playoff round. They play their home games at Uni-Trade Stadium.
The Laredo Rattlesnakes are a professional indoor football team in the Lone Star Football League due to begin play in the 2012 season. The Rattlesnakes will play their home games at the Laredo Energy Arena.
The Laredo Energy Arena, formerly Laredo Entertainment Center, is located at Loop 20 and Jacaman Road. The LEA was strongly pushed to fruition by former Laredo Mayor Betty Flores. LEA was home to the former Laredo Bucks. The 178,000-square-foot (16,500 m2), $36.5 million facility seats 8,002 people for ice hockey and arena football, and up to 10,000 for concerts. It has fourteen luxury suites, four meeting rooms and a private club for two hundred charter members. It was completed in mid-2002 through an increase in the Laredo sales tax of .25 percent. Sports that can be played at the LEA include Hockey, Arena Football, Indoor Soccer, Basketball, Wrestling, and Boxing. The arena also hosts many events such as The Laredo Hunting and Fishing Show, Miss Texas USA, Laredo Home and Garden Show, and high school graduation ceremonies. Well-known artists and bands that have performed in the arena include Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Ke$ha, Pitbull, Flo Rida, Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, Tool, Aerosmith, KISS, Elton John, Styx, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ricky Martin, George Lopez, T.I., Ludacris, Cher, Hilary Duff and WWE.
Student Activity Complex is located on State Highway 359. It is utilized for United Independent School District's students. It was opened in the summer of 2002 and it contains the city's first artificial grass stadium. The SAC was also the home of the Laredo Heat. The capacity is 8,500 spectators. Sports played at the SAC include football, soccer, and baseball.
Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex (also known as Dustdevil Field and TAMIU Soccer Complex) was built in 2006 and renovated in 2007. The soccer complex is located at the Texas A&M International University campus. The complex has two soccer stadiums with a seating capacity of four thousand each. The Dustdevil Field is the new home stadium to the 2007 champion team Laredo Heat member of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL) and the TAMIU Dustdevils women and men's soccer teams member of the Heartland Conference, NCAA Division II.
The original Shirley Field was located next to the Civic Center and R&T Martin High School on San Bernardo Avenue. It was built in 1937, along with Martin High School. Shirley Field was the location for outdoor athletics for Laredo Independent School District and also hosts the annual Border Olympics events. It seats up to about 6,000 fans with additional seating at the 2 endzones. Professional Mexican soccer teams have played various exhibition games here, noting that the real grass allows for "better" soccer games. The various sports played on the stadium are football, soccer and track & field events. Major renovations are slated for this historic stadium. On November 2009 Shirley Field was demolished and it will be rebuilt by the 2011 football season. The total cost of the reconstruction is expected to be $12,000,000 and it will seat 8,000 fans and feature artificial turf.
Krueger Field is located in north Laredo and is owned by United Independent School District. The stadium has a capacity of 5,000 and is used to play football and soccer high school games. It is home to United High School's and John B. Alexander High School's football and soccer teams.
Veterans Field is a baseball park which was previously known as West Martin Field. Its capacity is about 5,000. Major renovation is happening to update the 1950 ball park. Veterans Field was also the home to the five-time champion Mexican Baseball League team Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos from 1985 to 2003. Veterans Field is also home to the Texas A&M International University's Heartland Conference NCAA Division II Dustdevils baseball team.
The Uni-Trade Stadium is currently under construction and the project should be completed by the 2012 baseball season. The project consists of building a new Baseball field near the Laredo Energy Arena (LEA). The project was first approved by the city council and was voted in favor of (with 61.32% of the votes in favor 38.68% against) constructing it with money collected since 2004 by a .25 percent sales tax increase. There is a surplus of about $15 million. The stadium will be home to the Laredo Lemurs.
Prior to the construction of the Laredo Entertainment Center most major concerts and shows were performed at the Laredo Civic Center. The Laredo Civic Center complex has an auditorium with 1,979 seats and a banquet and exihibit hall with 1,635 seats.
Laredo is served by the Laredo International Airport. Daily flights are available to Houston (George Bush Intercontinental Airport) and to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Tri-weekly flights to Las Vegas, Nevada and bi-weekly seasonal (May–August) flights to Orlando, Florida are available. After Laredo Air Force Base closed in the mid-1970s, the federal government handed over the old air force base and property to the City of Laredo for a new municipal airport. From the mid-1970s until mid-1990s, the airport utilized a small terminal for passenger airline service and several old hangars for air cargo and private aircraft. A new state-of-the art passenger terminal was built along the newly constructed Loop 20 to accommodate larger jets and to increase passenger air travel through Laredo. Expansion of air cargo facilities, taxiways and aprons, air cargo carriers such as DHL, FedEx, UPS, BAX, and others have responded by adding commercial air cargo jet services. Laredo also has two medical helipads, at Laredo Medical Center and Doctor's Hospital.
El Metro is the mass transit system that operates in Laredo with 21 fixed routes and Paratransit services with approximately 4.6 million passengers per year. El Metro works with a fleet of over 47 fixed route buses, 2 trolleys and 18 Paratransit/El Lift vans. El Metro hub is located in downtown Laredo at El Metro Transit Center. The Center also houses Greyhound Bus Lines and provides fee-based daily parking for downtown shoppers and workers.
Rural transportation is provided by the Webb County operated "El Aguila Rural Transportation" (the Eagle) bus services. El Aguila provides fixed daily routes from Rural Webb County (Bruni, El Cenizo, Mirando City, Oilton, and Rio Bravo) to the downtown Laredo Transit Center.
Major highways in Laredo and their starting and ending points:
Major highways in Nuevo Laredo and their starting and ending points:
Mexican Federal Highway 85 Nuevo Laredo-Mexico City
Mexican Federal Highway 2 Matamoros-Nuevo Laredo-Colombia-Ciudad Acuña
Tamaulipas State Highway 1 Nuevo Laredo-Monterrey
Nuevo Leon State Highway Spur 1 Colombia-Anáhuac
During the month of January Laredo sponsors the Laredo International Sister Cities Festival which was founded in 2003. The festival is an internaional business, trade, tourism, and cultural expo. All of Laredo's sister cities are invited to participate. In 2004, the Laredo International Sister Cities Festival received the best overall Program award from the Sister Cities International. The following list is of Laredo's sister cities:
According to Nielsen Media Research, the Laredo region is ranked 185th market by population size in the United States. Notably television networks missing from Laredo's airwaves are PBS and ABC. Laredo once had a full-power local ABC affiliate, KJTB channel 27, from January 1985 to October 1988. KJTB was later bought by Entravision and affiliated the station to Telemundo and changed its callsign to KLDO. Today KLDO is affiliated to Univision. Before KJTB, KGNS, an NBC affiliate had a secondary affiliation to ABC from its founding in 1956 through KJTB's founding in 1985. The first station to broadcast in Laredo was KGNS, followed by KVTV in 1973, then KJTB (now KLDO) in 1985.
CP: Construction Permit
According to Arbitron, the Laredo region is ranked 205th market by population size.
The following Clear Channel AM stations can be heard in Laredo:
PR:Suspected pirate radio stations since they are not licensed with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States or COFETEL in Mexico. Some pirate stations are suspected due to the fact that there are other licensed stations nearby that share the same frequency such as 106.5 Radio Voz and KMAE from nearby Bruni, Texas and 103.3 Radio 33 and XHAHU-FM from nearby Anáhuac, Nuevo León, each city less than 50 miles from Laredo.