History comes to life in Houston
Hello wanderers and wonderers!
Known for its meat cuts and oil and gas industries, Houston also vibrates with creative energy. The ballet and the theater coexist in harmony with the rodeos and football stadiums. Fasten your seatbelt for 7 action-packed days of exploration and adventure!
To get the most out of your adventure, please make sure to read this itinerary from front-to-back. It is sectioned into three parts: prep, daily itineraries, and an appendix identifying everything you need to print (lodging, train tickets, etc).
FLIGHTS / BUS / TICKETS
Flight costs are annoyingly unpredictable. You’ll save the most money if you book 3-6 months out. Houston’s public transportation network includes buses and light-rail operated by METRO. Hiring a car can provide you with the much-needed flexibility to travel at your own pace and wander off to offbeat places.
Although we advise you to book some of your hotels and excursions before you depart, it’s always good to keep somethings spontaneous! Allow yourself the flexibility (and the budget!) to watch a baseball or basketball game, take a cooking lesson, or book yourself into that boutique hotel you just happen to find.
Better safe than sorry
While Houston is a safe city with a top-notch medical system, it’s always safer to travel with insurance. Not only does it protect personal belongings, but ensures access to expensive medical treatment should the worst happen. If you think you might take part in adventure sports make sure to check whether these are covered too.
For this itinerary, allow 6 nights, 7 days.
ARRIVE: HOUSTON (IAH) in the morning of DAY 1
DEPART: HOUSTON (IAH) in the evening of DAY 7
There are plenty of lodging options available—hotels, B&Bs, hostels—just be sure to secure your accommodation in advance. Airbnb is a great option if you are traveling as a group. (See next page for recommendations.)
HOUSTON, USA | DAY 1 - 7, 6 nights
Some tickets and reservations can be made 1-2 months in advance.
Transfer from Houston Airport to Lodging | DAY 1
Continental Club | DAY 2
Vic & Anthony's | Dinner DAY 3
Car hire from Houston to Washington Crossing State Park | DAY 4
Natachee's | Dinner DAY 5
Transfer from Lodging to Airport | DAY 7
Many of the city's best attractions are a short distance from downtown. Head to the Museum District, where the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the Menil Collection show works by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Walk through the tranquil grounds of Hermann Park, home to the Houston Zoo and the Downtown Aquarium. If you are a science enthusiast, visit the NASA Space Center Houston.
Day by Day breakdown
Welcome to Houston! The city is known for its famous medical center, as a city of oil and energy and for shopping. However, few people know of its many tourist attractions, its excellent culinary scene, the superior hotel infrastructure, and its lively nightlife that make it a city very coveted for all types of travelers.
Most visitors will arrive via George Bush Intercontinental Airport, located 23 miles north of downtown Houston. Ground transportation to Downtown is by bus, airport shuttle, private car, or taxi. There is also a second airport (Hobby Airport), which is closer to the city but is smaller and served only be a limited number of airlines.
Start with Market Square, the historic downtown area on the banks of the Buffalo Bayou, where the city was founded in the 1830s. The buildings in this area have charming personality and it’s a good place to watch people go by. Several appealing restaurants and bars surround Market Square Park, including Warren's, OKRA Charity Saloon, Char Bar, La Carafe, and Bad News Bar. Relax in the courtyard with a beer and watch Houston move from work to party.
FILL YOURSELF UP
In a city known for its excellent cuisine, choosing a place to eat can be a challenge. If you follow the local route, you'll want to take a look at Ninfa's on Navigation, the site where Mama Ninfa started a restaurant that became a chain. The recipes are authentic and the remodeled patio bar offers innovative cocktails. For a different version of the Tex-Mex cuisine try the Real from celebrated chef Bryan Caswell on Westheimer Street. The chili con carne and the inflated tacos are amazing!
MORNING & AFTERNOON
Head to Lankford Grocery in Montrose, one of the hippest neighborhoods in Houston, for a juicy burger. Lankford burgers are listed as one of the best in the city and have even been featured in several food magazines.
Do you need a pair of boots? How about an old cowboy hat or a deer trophy? You can find almost everything you're looking for in the Texas Junk Company. Located in the same neighborhood as Lankford, this site has been open for decades, proving that one person's trash is the treasure of another. You will spend time rummaging between belt buckles, antique furniture and other merchandise.
Houston has a magnificent live music scene. For a mix of fun local groups and Texan groups, go to the Continental Club in Midtown. If the country themes and the two steps Texan are more of your style, visit the Armadillo Palace on Kirby Street for live music or the Honky Tonk Rebels on Washington Avenue where you find a mechanical bull that will test your riding skills.
Assuming you have driven the night before like a true professional, you can pay a visit to Ryan Pera and Morgan Weber, the owners of Revival Market on Heights Blvd. These guys have developed an entire store based on locally produced organic products, from meats from cattle raised by Weber himself to dairy products made by farmers in the Houston area. Take a cup of coffee and a homemade roll to start the adventure of the day.
Saint Arnold Brewing Co. is the oldest craft beer brewery in Texas. Every evening, it opens its doors to the public for tasting tours. You can also take a look at what goes on behind the scenes during the whole production process. The tasting room, inspired by a beer garden, is a festive space where you can spend the afternoon.
When you think of Texas, meat comes to mind and Houston shelters some of the best meat restaurants in the Lone Star State. Vic & Anthony's in the center is perfect for tasting a porterhouse and wines from an award-winning list. Among other favorites at the center are III Forks and Morton's.
Day 4 - Day Trip
To: ARMAND BAYOU NATURE CENTER
Via: Car hire
Duration: 40 minutes each way
Are you ready for an outdoor adventure? Today is a great day to hire a car to Armand Bayou Nature Center in the Texas Gulf Coast to "reconnect with nature." The 2,500-acre natural sanctuary Armand Bayou Nature Center. The round trip covers a stretch of 2-3 miles. Both practicing canoeists and novices in this sport are welcome.
Armand Bayou Nature Center is located between the city of Pasadena and Galveston Bay. You can start the morning with a canoe ride through the park to observe several wild animals, including alligators, deer and waterfowl. It is better to opt for a guided tour.
GO DEEP INTO NATURE
ABNC is the largest urban forest reserve in the United States, containing 1,012 hectares of swampy forests, meadows and boggy habitats, natural conditions that once abounded in the Houston and Galveston areas. There are miles of trails that would take you through the park's three different ecosystems: the tall grass meadow, the swamp, and the forest.
To see how farmers lived in the nineties of the nineteenth century, visit the farmhouse Martyn Farm House, which will allow you to take a look at rural life for more than a century. Next, head to the Bison Observation Deck, from where you can see two bison acquired by the Armand Bayou Nature Center in 2008.
NOCTURNAL WILD TOUR
For a more spooky adventure, consider touring the park at night on a water tour or on the prairie. The guides, helping you with powerful lanterns, will show you the nocturnal creatures that call this natural sanctuary their home. You can see raccoons and armadillos, among others.
The corner of Fairview and Taft is an excellent starting point to start your exploration of Montrose. In this intersection you will find Boheme Café & Wine Bar, Reeves Antiques and Cuchara Restaurant. Do not miss seeing the Funnel Tunnel sculpture in Montrose before stopping for a coffee in Inversion.
GET YOURSELF A SHIRT
Nothing compares to a new shirt made to fit that fits your body perfectly. That's exactly what you find when you visit, arguably, the best Houston tailor shop - Hamilton Shirts - where the making of shirts has been a true art for more than 125 years. You can choose a readymade shirt with your measurements or you can take your own measurements to create a mold on paper and make a shirt that is just to your body type and style. These shirts are usually worn by personalities that appear on magazine covers such as GQ and Esquire.
DINNER AND SHOW
Stroll south to Westheimer Curve, where you'll find many antique and consignment shops. Finally, travel through West Alabama to Mid Main in Midtown, have dinner at Natachee's, shop at the exotic My Flaming Heart store or at The Tinderbox and enjoy a show at Continental Club.
Rent a bike near Houston Zoo, located on the south side of Hermann Park. You can find the B-Cycle station on the south side of Boat House. Follow the trail around this 445-acre park and see Lake McGovern Lake, the reflective pool Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool, the peaceful Japanese Garden Japanese Garden and the park's art facilities. You can not miss the famous sculpture Boogie Woogie by Patrick Dougherty and the colorful bubbling shapes, Dillidiidae , by Sharon Engelstein.
Beyond the park, you have innumerable options of activities in the Museum District, where there are 20 institutions dedicated to art and culture. Get off the bike to explore and hang out at the Museum of Fine Arts or the Contemporary Arts Museum. Finish your exploration with a meal at a restaurant in the area such as Lucille's, Bodega's Taco Shop and Pinewood Café.
You will not find a more civilized place to have a drink than the Anvil Bar & Refuge. This former tire store is converted into the hotspot of Lower Westheimer serves a set of creative cocktails created by master mixologist Bobby Heugel. Everything on this site is inviting: from its warm timbers and elongated bar to the expert bartenders who call regular customers by name.
Getting an evening flight out of Houston is ideal so you can soak up every bit of the city on your last day.
If you want to go to a ball game you are in the right place. Houston is home to a professional football team (Texans), a professional baseball team (Astros) and a professional basketball team (Rockets). No matter what time of year you visit Houston, there is always a game scheduled and you will definitely want to be part of the action.
Join a walking tour along Buffalo Bayou, which illustrates how some of the oldest buildings in the city were restored and revitalized, becoming restaurants, hotels, lofts and nightclubs. Take a break in the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, which is the oldest African-American church in the city. It was founded in 1875 by freed slaves, with Reverend Jack Yates as his first pastor. Finish off the tour at Heritage Society, the only outdoor interactive historic museum in Houston. Located in a 10-acre park in the heart of downtown, the museum has a church and eight historic houses that were built between 1823 and 1905.
The Black Experience
The Breakfast Klub is “kasual” family style restaurant decorated with modern art, lush plants and wood tables. They offer diner-style American eats & stick-to-your-ribs soul food including chicken & waffles.
Frenchy’s Chicken has been serving Houston since it was founded in 1969. Since then, Frency’s has become one of the most popular Creole cuisine restaurants in Houston and surrounding areas.
Joe Black Barber Shop originated in New Orleans and relocated to Houston after Hurricane Katrina. They offer haircuts, “MANicures” and other “special” haircut services.
Lucille’s offers modern takes on Southern classics by a classically trained chef served in a cozy, vintage house.
Hank’s Ice Cream has been a Houston institution for 20+ years. Hank’s produces ice cream the old-fashioned way: slowly, by hand, using fresh ingredients. The bright and humble parlor showcases eighteen delicious flavors each day, rotating from a list of nearly 100.
Mikki’s Cafe & Catering is a well known soul food spot. “Eating here is like eating at Grandma’s house.”
LA Maison in Midtown is a peaceful, relaxing environment within walking distance of Houston’s finest restaurants and most lively entertainment venues. Their newly constructed three-story haven offers seven luxurious guest rooms, each with its own unique décor and amenities.
Kesha’s Kakery is your source for quality, homemade cakes for any special occasion. They offer custom decorated cakes and popular theme cakes all in a variety of flavors and colors.
Luxury Hotels & Villas List
Recommended Airlines & Routes
North America: Vancouver, Philadelphia, Albuquerque, Chicago, Austin, Baltimore, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Boston, Toronto, Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, Cancún, Denver, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago, Havana, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, Guadalajara, Puebla, San Diego, León, Dallas, Calgary, Tegucigalpa, Monterrey, Managua, San Jose, Guatemala City, Austin, Edmonton, Mérida, Querétaro, Jacksonville, Chihuahua, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Columbus, Fort Worth, Charlotte, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí, Veracruz, San Pedro Sula, Cancún, Acapulco, Seattle, Denver, El Paso, Detroit, Boston, Memphis, Nashville, Vancouver, Portland, Oklahoma City, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Louisville, Morelia, Milwaukee, Albuquerque, Tucson.
Europe: Paris, Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam.
Asia: Tokyo, Istanbul, Singapore, Tokyo, Istanbul.
Africa/Middle East: Doha, Dubai
Australia and Oceania: Sydney, Auckland
South America: Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Quito, Lima, Rio de Janeiro, Havana, São Paulo, Santiago
Alaska Airlines has constantly been voted as the best airlines to travel in the US with a high customer satisfaction due to entertainment options, leg room, and complimentary refreshments. Spirit and Frontier offer the most economical options. United Express Airlines has the best connectivity with international destinations from HOUSTON.
Apps, Transportation & The ‘Gram
Splitwise | eliminates the headache of bill splitting & a must for group travel
Tripadvisor | a favorite resource for finding off-the-beaten-path restaurants and things to do. However, all reviews are subjective, so don’t obsess over scores
Whatsapp | free text messaging to other Whatsapp users
NobelApp | make cheap calls locally and back home
TRANSIT BOOKING SITES
skyscanner.com | easy to use the website for finding low airfares
google.com/flights | helpful fare prediction technology
https://www.visithoustontexas.com | for metro timetables and hours
https://www.amtrak.com/stations/hos | Regional train timings and tickets
https://www.uber.com/en-CA/cities/houston/| Uber is a popular mode of transportation in HOUSTON.
For reposts of your shots, @tag and use the following hashtags:
HOUSTON | @houstontexans #houston #houstontexas #houstonlife
USA | @usatodaytravel #ustrip #usatravel
Armand Bayou Nature Center | @armandbayounaturecenter
Travel Noire | @travelnoire #travelnoire
Houston is the 4th most populated city in the US (only behind LA, New York, and Chicago). It is the largest state in the southern U.S.
2,312,717 Houston Residents
AIRPORT CODE: IAH
The 75-floor JP Morgan Chase Tower is the tallest building in Texas. It stands 1,002 feet tall.
12:00 - 2:30 PM LUNCH
7:00 - 11 PM DINNER
21.8 MILLION visitors to Houston in 2017.
The Houston Rodeo attracts a larger crowd than any rodeo in the world.
TIME ZONE: Central Daylight Time (GMT-5)
23+ Resident Nationalities | 145+ Languages Spoken
The Houston Museum of Fine Arts is the largest art museum in the state.
Nicknames “The Bayou City”, “Baghdad on the Bayou”, “H-Town"
Houston’s Astrodome is the first multi-use domed stadium in the entire world.
TIPPING RULE OF THUMB Restaurants | Tipping is a part of the culture in the US. Tip 15%-20% of the bill. Cabs | Leaving 15%-20% of the total amount is the general practice.
SEE YOU, HOUSTON!