Houston Suggestions?

Jul 31st, 2007, 06:37 AM
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Houston Suggestions?

My husband and I are making our first trip to Houston in a few days to visit family who are just moving there. They don't know the area yet, so does anyone have any recommendations on what to see and where to eat?

I definitely want to visit the museum district, but don't have any other ideas. We're really into photography, so we'd be looking for interesting places to take pictures too.

As for food, we love trying new stuff are are into all kinds of ethnic foods. My husband is a vegetarian.
qualia is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 06:59 AM
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Hi, qualia - the museum area of Houston is really nice. The Museum of Fine Arts is amazing; nearby is the zoo, and also the Museum of Natural Science (IMAX, butterfly pyramid), and Miller Outdoor Theater where they stage free shows/concerts outdoors; you can bring a picnic and sit outside on the hill to watch the shows.

For great shopping, hit The Galleria - huge shopping area with designer shops and an indoor ice skating rink.

You can also take in an Astros game; the stadium is really nice and has a retractable roof that they open if the weather is nice. We've been having loads of rain, so bring a raincoat/umbrella.

Heading towards Galveston, you can go to the Space Center - they have a lot of activities for kids and a tram that will take you out to see the rockets on display. Kemah is also in that area - really fun restaurants along Clear Lake where you can sit by the water and eat. Also kind of a boardwalk here with rides and a train that runs around all the restaurants and shops. My husband and I went sailing here on a boat called the Captain Kidd - really nice.

And of course, you have to get margaritas, Mexican food, steaks, and BBQ. Two great restaurant websites are b4-u-eat.com and houston.citysearch.com - you'll turn up a lot of info. if you search through those. Houston has amazing ethnic restaurants; you can find almost anything you want.

The theater district is great also - check out the Alley Theatre, Jones Hall, and the Wortham for shows that are ongoing.

The downtown skyline is beautiful and would make for some great shots. Also downtown is a park with historic homes, churches, etc. that you can tour.

Finally, if you make it to Galveston, you can hit the beach (water will be murky, but fun) and go to Moody Gardens; they have an aquarium and a rainforest pyramid there that are fun to tour.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 07:08 AM
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qualia, here's a list of popular restaurants in the area:

For BBQ: Pappas, Goode Co. Otto's. For Mexican: Chuy's, the original Ninfa's, Escalante's (more upscale), and Pappasito's (usually pretty crowded).

For vegetarian food, you might try Baba Yega's - they have good fresh food and I believe some vegetarian items. In terms of ethnic restaurants, you'll turn up lots of Asian restaurants, particularly Vietnamese and Middle Eastern spots. Have a great trip!
volcanogirl is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 07:15 AM
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Wow, that is a lot of awesome info. Sounds like we will have plenty to do. Thanks so much!!!
qualia is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 07:18 AM
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Not knowing where your friends live, I'll just give you places I take my visitors that are close to where I live. If I didn't put in the address, just google. These places are all well known.

Click on "view master list of locations" to see locations and details. This is a great list of all kinds of things to see in Houston.

There is a really cool exhibition of contemporary Asian art at the Museum of Fine Art now. First exhibition of this scope in the U.S. Also the Menil museum is in the museum district, and the Museum of Natural Science, Children's Museum, Health Museum, etc. I always take visitors to eat at NikoNiko's after going to the museums. Close, and great Greek food. Order at the counter, not fancy, nice patio. They have eggplant salads, spanikopita, etc. for the vegetarian.

The Beer Can House is neat to see, also David Adickes big presidents heads. These are near The Heights, which is an area with fun and funky stores.

Teotihuacan Mexican on Airline is really really good Tex-Mex and seafood. Vegetarian can have cheese enchiladas and guacamole.

Indika is a cool somewhat upscale restaurant not far from the museum district, and they have vegetarian dishes.

For Mexican vegetarian, my favorite dish is the spinach enchiladas at Pico's.--Also the chiles in nogada. You can get them filled with pork or vegetables.

If the Astros are in town while you're here, those games are fun (even though the Astros are not their usual good selves this year). The ballpark is new and airconditioned.

You might like walking around Rice Village (between Kirby and University and Bolsover and Greenbriar). Lots of stores, both chain and local ones. Do not miss Variety Fair at 2415 Rice Blvd. It is an amazing old fashioned five and dime and you just won't believe what you'll find there. In Rice Village, Yum Yum Cha has good dim sum. Also Prego (Italian) is good. Nit Noy (Thai) is in The Village, too.

For exercise and people watching, run or walk the 3-mile loop around Memorial Park. Rice University has a similar loop--not as many people to watch, but it's shady.
And one more thing--a favorite field trip for guests is to Spec's Liquor Warehouse near downtowm at 2410 Smith. It is so huge--lots and lots of deli items, wine-related gifts, etc. Pay with cash and you get a discount.

For general restaurant recommendations, check out www.b4-u-eat.com. Put in your zip code or the type of food you like. I have found the reviews to be usually very accurate.

Hope these suggestions are helpful.
maryanntex is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 07:29 AM
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You're welcome - Houston is a really friendly town; hope your family loves it.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 07:31 AM
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What do you like to photograph?

A cousin of mine living in Hong Kong is a great amateur photographer. One time, he came to Houston and took lots of pictures of the freeways and the 5-level stacks interchanges. Those are indeed quite remarkable structures.

And we still have some of the tallest skyscrapers west of the Mississippi.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 08:03 AM
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Maryann, I have another question, since you mentioned running trails. I was looking for info on trails in Houston and found the hike-bike trail at george bush park? Have you been there? I was wondering how it compared to the two you mentioned? Thanks for all the great tips, they were very helpful!

rkkwan, I like shooting urban architecture. Seems like houston would be a great place for that. I am hoping to get some city skylines while I'm there, but the hazy summer atmosphere can be murder on photos, so I may just scope around for good photography locations for future trips.
qualia is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 08:25 AM
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The trails I mentioned at Memorial and Rice are just for running or walking--no biking. There are areas in Memorial Park for mountain biking, which you can find on the Memorial Park website map (but they might be closed now due to so much rain). There is an asphalt path that goes from Loop 610 all the way downtown along Allen Parkway, and I see lots of bikes on it, as well as runners. I have never been to George Bush Park. It is really far from where I live. Terry Hershey Park (I-10 and Hwy. 6--also far) is good for biking and running and walking. Houston is very very very spread out, so for that kind of activity, it would probably be best to base it on where you're staying. Also, I don't know where you live, but be prepared for a hot and humid Houston. This actually had been a relatively cool summer due to tons of rain, but that rain makes it more humid than ever. You can still get out and exercise--just do it early. That was why I mentioned the shaded path around Rice. If I sleep late on the weekends, I run around it rather than the Memorial Loop, because it's somewhat cooler. Hope this answers your question.
maryanntex is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 08:53 AM
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qualia, in addition to the urban architecture downtown, you might want to check out the Williams Tower - the tallest building outside of downtown; it's near the Galleria and has a neat Waterwall on the property and some greenspace where you can take a picnic. You might get some good shots there as well.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 09:25 AM
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qualia - welcome. You've gotten some great ideas and I agree with the above suggestions, but it really will help us to know what part of town you'll be visiting or if you'll be concentrating on one area. Houston is really spread out as you probably know so some places like Rice Village & Museum District (both near downtown) aren't close to places like Armand Bayou Nature Center (in Clear Lake by NASA) or Mercer Aboretum and Botanical Gardens (north of IAH) - both of which would be good for hiking etc. Hopefully we can provide a little focus and details.

If you search my name, there are several posts on restaurant suggestions, which include several volcanogirl and maryanntex also mentioned.

There is an amazing variety of ethic cuisine in Houston for every taste.

And yes, downtown will give you some great photo ops.
dfr4848 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 10:56 AM
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Having only been to Houston for one day, I only have 1 suggestion. We made the 4 hour trek each way from San Antonio to do the Level 9 Tour at the Space Center/Johnson Space Control.

This tour includes quite a bit more than the normal tram tour they run. It costs $79.95 per person and is 4 hours long. You get to visit quite a bit, but you have to make your reservations early. They only allow 12 people on each tour. The tour is excellent and well worth the cost. To check out more, here is the website.

Lord_Mesron is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 12:09 PM
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Hoping I'm not too late with this, but you might ride the light rail into downtown. It's kinda fun and there is lots to do in the downtown area.

Galleria is great for shopping, but so is Highland Village just up the street and also the Rice Village and West Gray shopping areas. And take a tour of the mansions in River Oaks, where all the "old" money lives.

Great chinese - Kam's on Montrose near the museum district. I'm vegetarian and love this place.

It is very hot and humid in Houston right now and we have had alot of rain.

Hopefully you can come back and visit in the fall when the weather is much nicer. Have a great time!
msdotliz is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 05:51 PM
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Ooh, Highland Village, I can't tell you what percentage of my income I've given up there - Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, West Elm... My husband and I just bought a new house, so it seems I can always find something there that's just perfect.
volcanogirl is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 06:42 AM
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I love the Crate and Barrel in Highland Village. Have you been to MegaMarshalls on West Gray?
msdotliz is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 09:09 AM
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Yes, and yes - been to both. We registered at that Crate and Barrel for our wedding - boy was that fun!

qualia, please do a trip report when you get back so we can hear how things went. We'll try to get the sun to come out for you.
volcanogirl is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 10:55 AM
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It's been sunny most of the day today. And lower rain chances for the weekend. Volcanogirl - what area do you live in if you mind me asking?
msdotliz is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 11:00 AM
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You've got to hit The Chocolate Bar!!

Thuel is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 11:29 AM
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The Chocolate Bar is yummy! I really love the ice cream.

Next door is a store called Candylious. It is a fun store to browse.
moldyhotelsaregross is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 11:31 AM
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qualia -- since you mentioned photographing urban architecture, you might be interested in the I.M. Pei building downtown. See
scorrell is offline  

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