Only a few years ago, downtown Houston's skyscraper-lined canyons were a ghost town at night, save for the occasional underground club or white-table restaurant. Then, at the turn of the millennium, downtown experienced a Renaissance—the place was suddenly booming, filled with bars, nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, limousines, Rolexes, silicone—it was an honest-to-goodness "scene." For whatever reason, the boom stalled, and today downtown is reinventing itself again, this time with national retailers like American Apparel, House of Blues, and Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes, and new residential high-rises. The party crowd has moved on, but a real community has taken root.
Getting around downtown Houston on foot is easy: the city is laid out in a grid system, so it's hard to get lost. Right below your feet, there's a whole other city in Houston's Tunnel System, which links 77 downtown buildings via 7 mi of passageways replete with restaurants, stores, barbers, doctors' offices, banks, and more. The air-conditioned tunnels are a great way to get around during the unbearable heat of summer.