Houston, Texas, is one of the biggest cities in the USA. As a traveler, the first thing which you will notice about the city is that it is huge. It covers a whopping area of 600 square miles and gives a new meaning to the term “urban sprawl”.
Apart from its huge size, Houston boasts of a vibrant and multicultural community. It is also one of the best destinations for holding meetings and conferences because the city and its residents are very serious about business. Other than business, the city is also a favorite destination of art and food lovers! Talk about being diverse in every way!
Districts of Houston
This is the city center and is the home of all big businesses and finance companies. The number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Houston is only second to New York City. Other than being the hub of business, the downtown is also home to the Houston Symphony and the Houston Ballet. This is exactly where the city is different from other cities in America. It is an effortless mix of business and pleasure.
North Loop is home to some of the biggest bungalows built in the 20th century as well as to Victorian ones. This district is the choice of residence for many performers and musicians.
The South Loop comprises of the biggest medical center in the world (Texas Medical Center) and also consists of other attractions like the Reliant Stadium and Hermann Park. “The Rice Village” is located in this district and is a hot spot of bars, shopping and restaurants.
This is where some of the most affluent residents of the city live at and it is also famous for the “Galleria” - a popular high-end shopping mall.
Home to the LGBT population of the city, this district offers a diverse shopping and nightlife experience to the visitors.
Where is Houston?
Houston is located at the south-eastern part of Texas. Closest cities include Dallas and San Antonio.
Getting to Houston
Getting to Houston is very easy as the city has as many as four airports, of which two are big and two are small. The biggest airport is the George Bush Intercontinental Airport which serves 25 national and international airlines and is also the hub of United Airlines.
Attractions in Houston
As mentioned before, different districts of Houston offers different types of entertainment. While on a tour of the city, it is best to get around by car because of its size.
The Houston Pass
This is the thing every traveler needs to get while visiting Houston. It is a city pass offering entry to six popular attractions of the city. It is valid for nine days and entitles you to discounts up to 49%. The six attractions include the following:
- Downtown Aquarium
- The Kemah Boardwalk or the Houston Zoo
- Downtown Aquarium
- Children’s Museum of Houston or the Museum of fine arts
- Houston Museum of Natural Science
Shopping in Houston
Houston is haven for all those who love shopping. As mentioned above, the Galleria is the most sought after destination for shoppers in Houston. Along with housing brands like Cartier, Gucci, Bebe, Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, the mall also boasts of nail salons, restaurants and as many as 375 stores! International shoppers have the luxury of shopping here without paying any taxes.
Other top shops of Houston include:
- Asher Gallery (gifts, clothing, jewelry, home décor)
- The Guild Shop (Clothing, art, vintage items, books)
- Cactus Music (DVD-s, posters, t-shirts)
- Retropolis (Dresses, handbags)
- Texas Junk Company (The destination for cowboy boots!)
Dining and Nightlife in Houston
Houston at night is truly an affair to remember for anyone who is lucky enough to experience one. There is the option of tasting the local beer at the Saint Arnold Brewery, which is the oldest brewery of Texas (sadly only during the day). The Brewery offers free sample beer to each and every guest.
The dining scene of Houston includes everything from coffee shops to Vietnamese cuisine. Most restaurants in the Downtown area are open till 3 am and you can always crash at any one of them after enjoying a few rounds of bowling at the “Lucky strike lanes” bowling lounge.
Some of the popular options in Downtown include:
- Hearsay ( Pub)
- Flying Saucer(Restaurant cum bar)
- Frank’s Pizza(Pizza made in New York style)
- Little Bigs( Burger joint)
Excursions and Tours in Houston
- Galveston Island – Located about 45 minutes away from Houston, the island is off the Texas Gulf Coast and is a major port of call for many cruise ships. Galveston city on the island has many museums, gardens, and a scenic historic district. The island is a popular summer retreat for many Texans.
- Surfside – Located about an hour’s drive south of Houston, this small beach town is ideal for a quiet getaway.
- Coastal Texas Drive – This drive along the State Highway 35 from Houston to Corpus Christi gives a taste of coastal Texas along with many man-made and natural attractions. Although the complete route can take the whole weekend, you can drive up to Bay City through Pearland and Brazoria for a day trip.
Event Tourism in Houston
Houston, as well with being a tourist hub, has also gained importance as an event city in the recent years. Thanks to the good quality hotels and the venues equipped with the latest technology to meet all the needs of international congresses, conferences, symposiums, fairs and trade shows, Houston is now among one of the best cities to hold large scale international events.