Although still anchored by the oil and gas industry, the massive metropolitan area comprising Greater Houston is a blend of Southern, Hispanic, Creole and other global influences. Travelers to the Bayou City will experience world-renowned restaurants, award-winning visual and performing arts venues, and an abundance of cultural and outdoor activities. A vacation destination for family trips or romantic getaways, the nearby island of Galveston is also home to one of Texas’ largest Mardi Gras celebrations and unique festivals, as well as destinations like Schlitterbahn Waterpark, Moody Gardens and more.
Get to know the Bayou City through essential destinations in downtown like the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park or sports venues like NRG Stadium (Home of Super Bowl LI), the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park and the Houston Rockets’ Toyota Stadium, which all play host to sporting events and live entertainment—from concerts to the annual Houston Rodeo—all year long. Check out Chinatown for some of the largest array of authentic Asian cuisine and culture in Chinatown, or visit longtime local retailers and globally-influenced boutiques in Rice Village, the retail and entertainment hub for students of Rice University. Explore the hip, quirky residential neighborhoods of Montrose, Midtown or The Heights for a booming nightlife (and weekend brunch) scene, not to mention one-of-a-kind shopping, colorful street art and local flair. Visitors will enjoy indulging in some retail therapy at the Galleria and Uptown Park. Luxury-oriented developments like the River Oaks District and Highland Village offer fine dining, chic shopping and a trendy, upscale nightlife scene.
Make the trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Center and blast off into a world of history, space, science and technology. Enjoy the great outdoors and Houston’s artsy culture at its signature downtown public park, entertainment hub and green space known as Discovery Green. Additionally, respite from the hustle and bustle can be found along the picturesque trails of Buffalo Bayou or the Houston Arboretum. Visit the Museum District or Hermann Park Conservancy for a concentrated assortment of notable attractions like the Houston Zoo, the Houston Museum of Nature and Science and The Menil Collection.
A jaunt to Galveston offers more than a quaint coastal view: Architecture- and history-lovers, shoppers, bird-watchers, sunbathers and those who appreciate fine dining all fall under this small island’s magical spell. History buffs will appreciate a trip to the Battleship Texas Historic Site and Museum, where visitors can tour the last remaining battleship to have survived both world wars and is now permanently docked along the Houston Ship Channel. Also along the Gulf Coast and just a 40-minute drive from downtown Houston, Kemah Boardwalk is an epicenter of entertainment. With its retro, laid-back vibe—not to mention its expansive array of dining options and classic carnival rides, games and activities—the beachside attraction serves up a healthy dose of nostalgia that’s more than worth the drive.