Houston and Galveston Experience

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Tour Houston By METRORail

Board METRORail at UH-Downtown (One Main Street), housed in the "M&M" Building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The University moved here in 1974 and quickly built up the neighborhood campus. As you travel over the bayou, look to your left and you'll see Allen's Landing (1001 Commerce St.) It was here in 1836 that brothers August C. Allen and John K. Allen stepped ashore and founded the Bayou City.

Exit at the Main Street Square stop (Main St. between Walker & Dennis) for downtown's pedestrian-only central plaza, with dramatic water fountains and landscaping, plus easy access to shopping. The flagship Macy's (formerly Foley's, at 1110 Main St.) spans an entire city block and is 10 stories tall. A block south at 1212 Main is The Tipping Point, home of limited-edition sneakers. They have great books, too.

Back on the train! The next action-packed stop is Ensemble Theater/Houston Community College. Exit here, and in addition to the theater and the school you'll find a midtown block of Main Street filled with stores and entertainment options. Hungry? Stop in at the hippie-dippy Tacos-A-Go-Go (3704 Main St.) for cheap, homemade, and delicious Tex-Mex (breakfast is served all day). Next door is the comic, toy, and vinyl emporium (and art gallery) Sig's Lagoon, open late for interesting shopping. Also on this block are nightlife spots like the Continental Club, The Big Top, and The Mink, as well as Latin-inspired Julia's Bistro.

At the Wheeler rail stop, it's just a short walk to Lawndale Art Center, in the former Barker Brothers Studio at 4912 Main St. (originally designed in 1931 by noted Houston architect Joseph Finger, who also designed City Hall). Lawndale exhibits contemporary works in all mediums; see what's new at www.lawndaleartcenter.org.

Minutes later, you're at the Museum District stop on San Jacinto between Ewing and Binz. No matter which way you turn, you'll be at a major museum within minutes. You're also steps away from the Hotel ZaZa (formerly The Warwick), Houston's newest, splashiest, and showiest hotel, where everything is over the top—including many of the guests.

The Hermann Park/Rice University stop brings you to Houston's leading university and its leafy 300-acre campus, as well as the city's "Central Park." Sail through the skyscraper canyons of the Texas Medical Center —the largest in the world —and before long you'll find yourself at the Reliant Park stop, where the massive retractable-roof Reliant Stadium is home to the rodeo and the NFL's Houston Texans. It replaced the nearby, now-empty Astrodome.

—Tim Moloney

Updated: 12-2008

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