Howdy friends – how y’all doing! If you are looking for a great city-break in an interesting metropolis that epitomises the new Southwest of the USA, you can do no better than to visit Houston, Texas. Houston is nicknamed ‘Space City’ due to its connections to this out-of-this-world industry and, with its many futuristic skyscrapers, this metropolis feels like a space-age destination. Houston’s climate is humid and subtropical. This means that the summers are ‘sticky’ but the winter is mild making it a great destination that you can visit throughout the year.
Anyone for a game of Bridge?
Reaching Houston is easy when you fly into George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). This airport is a major hub and hosts many international flights. The airport is located about 37 km (23 miles) north of Downtown Houston. There is a domestic airport right in downtown, Houston Hobby Airport, which is convenient if you are connecting from another city in the USA. Taxis and rideshares are readily available at both airports. You can also easily reach the city centre on a budget from IAH by using the METRO bus that only costs $1.25 (£0.94). Once in the city, public transport is the most efficient way to travel. METRORail is super-efficient and taxis and rideshares are inexpensive. Note: Houston is not really a “walking city”. While its parks are great for strolling, it is rare to see people walking on the streets.
While in Houston, make sure not to miss these attractions:
- Space Centre Houston – this is the top attraction in the city. People flock here all year round to see the home of NASA Mission Control and where famous Astronauts complete their training programs. With over 400 artifacts, exhibitions, and interactive experiences, you will learn a lot and be impressed by our human ingenuity.
- Museum of Natural Science – this is a great venue where entertainment and learning go hand in hand. From prehistoric dinosaurs to learning about the stars at its amazing planetarium, there is a huge amount to see at this museum.
- Discovery Green – An oasis among the skyscrapers, this park offers a great way to pause your day and breath in fresh air. The 11.78-acre park offers great picnic areas, free yoga classes, beautiful reading nooks and even concerts.
- Minute Maid Park – this is home to Houston’s Major League Baseball team the Astros. If you visit during the season, a game can be an exciting way to spend an afternoon or evening.
- 19th Street – this is the best place for shopping in the metropolis. Located in the Heights, there are blocks of little boutiques, antique stores and trendy cafes that will delight you. I could spend hours browsing the vintage clothing and antique homewares.
- Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo – this is the largest rodeo in the world and a glimpse of the true heart of Texas. It is an exciting sceptical! There are championship rodeo competitions, concerts, a carnival, trail rides and, of course, authentic barbecue. The rodeo runs for 20 days each year and has drawn some huge international artists to perform such as Bon Jovi, Beyonce and even Elvis Presley.
Horse around at the rodeo!
- The Theatre District is lively and full of world class talent. Opera, ballet, orchestra, and theatre are all performed in Houston and the city is renowned for its contribution to the arts. The Houston Symphony is a Grammy Award winning orchestra based in this district.
- Not too far from the city is Galveston Island, which is fun to visit. I’d recommend a full day on Galveston:
-Visit Schlitterbahn Waterpark, one of the best in the country. Water slides, lazy rivers, and rollercoasters will thrill you during a fun-filled day. The park boasts the world’s tallest water coaster.
Make a grand A-Pier-ance in Galveston!
– Spend the day sunbathing on Stewart Beach, located near Pleasure Pier. There’s nothing better than a trip to the seaside if you’re visiting when it’s warm.
Here’s a pro-tip: If you visit during the summertime make sure you catch a movie at the outdoor cinema on Discovery Green. This is a wonderful way to relax on warm evenings!
While Houston is known for its grilled meats, there are so many food options to sample and enjoy. Houston is a foodie paradise. Here are my favourites:
- Killen’s Barbecue – this is the ultimate in Texas barbecue. Chef Ronnie Killen serves up some incredible barbecue dishes as well as soulful bites such as Mac n’ Cheese and his famous creamed corn. The barbecue brisket is the talk of the town and is a must-try!
- Tony Thai – has the best Pad Thai in Texas. Tony’s has mastered the perfect combination of flavours and spices, and their restaurant atmosphere will transport you to the beautiful country of Thailand!
- The Taste of Texas – this is a treat that covers the gamut of Texas specialties. True to its name, the locally inspired dishes are 5-star quality. The restaurant’s specialty is steak, and they hand select the finest quality Certified Angus Beef® steaks to serve in this beautiful and cosy restaurant. Their menu is mouth-watering and includes some top-quality seafood dishes. The Taste of Texas is a great spot for a special occasion.
There’s a lot at steak during meals in Houston!
Here’s another pro-tip: Join other diners queuing up around the block to sample The Breakfast Klub’s famous ‘wings and waffle combo’. A fascinating combination of food that really lives up to the hype!
You can’t visit a big city and not experience its nightlife! Here are my favourite spots to party:
- Char Bar – this is a great place to grab a martini or two. Situated in the trendy downtown neighbourhood, this 1930s martini bar is hidden in an old tailor shop. The bar literally sells tailored suits! This historic building creates an elegant vibe for this venue where you can even have your boots shined!
- The Prohibition Supper Club – this is another period-inspired venue that produces a memorable experience. Dinner and a show can’t even begin to describe the evening. With art deco and opulent décor, you will feel as if you’ve been transported to the Roaring 20s. Enjoy your cocktails or champagne among the glitz and glamour.
- Clé is a huge venue with an amazing dance floor, 3 bars, 5 different indoor/outdoor chill-out areas, a pool with daybeds, VIP cabanas and an elevated party deck. Located in Midtown, this fabulous nightclub is highly-rated and popular for its pool parties and international DJ’s.
When you’re ready to rest, here are my top picks:
- If you’re looking for a unique stay, then look no further than Houston Towers. This quirky renovated home serves as an elegant boutique hotel that is furnished beautifully and looks like something out of a fairy-tale. This beautiful bed and breakfast even offers a lovely swimming pool and is strictly adults only.
- Enjoy the large rooms and cosy décor of the lounge at the Cambria Hotel in Downtown Houston. Enjoy some amazing views from this hotel such as those of Minute Maid Park. This is the perfect location for your first trip to Houston.
- Located in Downtown, Homewood Suites by Hilton is a great and reasonably priced option for your stay. With its modern and comfortable rooms, good reputation and outdoor pool you can’t go wrong!
There’s a lot of ‘space’ in Houston!
Houston is a fast-paced and modern metropolis that still keeps its unique Texan flavour. You’ll be spoiled for choices of entertainment and relaxation. Say “Howdy Y’all” to my good friends there when you visit!