Through booms and busts in the oil industry, this Texas city has built and maintained great cultural attractions and diverse culinary experiences.
Houston’s beautiful Downtown District features walkable streets and towering high-rises. Several buildings have free observation decks. Bring kids to the Downtown Aquarium to meet fascinating marine animals. At Discovery Green have a quiet lunch break on the large lawn, ice skate in winter or attend an exciting special event. Find some of Houston’s 10,000 restaurants and clubs and bars around Market Square and throughout the city. Sample Texas Barbecue and ethnic foods from 70 countries.
For spectator sports, watch the Astros play baseball in Minute Maid Park and the Rockets play basketball at the Toyota Center. Get some exercise starting at the Water Works and heading west along the meandering 52-mile (84-kilometer) Buffalo Bayou through Buffalo Bayou Park.
Use the METRORail to travel south of Midtown to the Museum District. Spend several days in the widely varied attractions, including the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Children’s Museum of Houston, Museum of Fine Arts and Holocaust Museum Houston. The Contemporary Arts Museum, the Menil Collection and the Art Car Museum have interesting collections and free entry.
Nearby, walk around the campus of Rice University to see its historic brick buildings, beautiful tree-covered spaces, groomed quads and Rice Stadium, a great college football arena, where President John Kennedy made his speech urging Americans to send a man to the moon. In the large Hermann Park, visit the Houston Zoo and Cockrell Butterfly Center, both with fascinating creatures.
Continue south to enjoy NFL and pre-game tailgating at NRG Stadium. For sports events you won’t typically find outside Texas, visit the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in the same area.
Space Center Houston is one of the area’s top attractions, about a 40-minute drive southeast of Downtown Houston. Step inside the Starship Gallery to see the Skylab Trainer Module, where astronauts trained for space missions. Travel another 40 minutes to the coastline at Galveston. Watch for dolphins leaping through the waves as you ride the free car ferry to Goat Island.