Texas, United States
Downtime has become an art form in Houston's Museum District, Midtown bistros and honky-tonks in revitalized Washington Corridor. But schedules get rearranged for Dynamo stadium soccer games, azalea tours around River Oaks mansions and shopping at the Galleria's 400 stores.
Getting Around Houston
The best way to get around Houston is by car. The city has a $6 flat-rate cab fare anywhere within the Central Business District and also offers The Wave, a Jitney shuttle service that's customizable. The Wave's hours are from 6 p.m.-1 a.m. on Thursday and Sunday; 6 p.m.-3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Fares: $5 single route; $8 cross route; $10 single route all-night access; $15 cross route all-night access.
Nearby Airports
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport-IAH
  • William F. Hobby Airport-HOU
Airport Taxis
  • $52-IAH to Downtown
  • $26-HOU to Downtown
Things to Do and See in Houston
Galleria / UptownEast DowntownWashington CorridorMuseum DistrictRiver OaksMontroseWest HoustonHouston HeightsReliant ParkMidtownGreenway / Upper Kirby
Huge chrome rings suspended above each intersection mark the shopping mecca of Houston and southeast Texas. The Galleria houses more than 400 stores and restaurants, including five anchor department stores, two hotels, an ice rink, and three office towers. Where Post Oak curves back toward the Loop, you'll discover Uptown Park, an Italian-inspired shopping villa. Take Westheimer just inside the Loop to Highland Village, a chic one-block stop of shops and eateries. If the weather's nice, head to the 64-foot Waterwall Fountain at Williams Tower behind the Galleria for a picnic or stroll in the shade of 188 heritage live oak trees.
With easy access to Houston's Downtown, EaDo offers a diverse mix of Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants and groceries alongside charming coffee shops. Although rough around its north and east edges, bars and nightclubs in the area are a major draw, and soccer fans can catch a game at the new Dynamo stadium.
Gleaming new townhouses and renovated single-family homes flank new hotspots, wine bars, and honky-tonks with live music. Seedier establishments are long gone, but mid-range restaurants remain in this recently revitalized district.
Sprawling northward from Hermann Park, the Museum District includes 18 institutions in a tree-lined, walkable neighborhood. The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the nation's largest fine art museums, and the paleontology wing of the Houston Natural Science Museum is an adventurous romp through millions of years of natural history. For cross-cultural historical perspectives, visit the Asia Society Texas Center, the Holocaust Museum and the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum. Take the kids to the award-winning Children's Museum and the splendidly landscaped Houston Zoo.
Built in the 1920s as a planned community, River Oaks remains an exclusive neighborhood. Drive through manicured streets among grand mansions for the annual Azalea Trail Home & Garden Tour, showcasing Houston's explosion of colorful azalea blossoms in early spring. Attend an indie film at the ornate art deco River Oaks Theatre, the oldest working theater in Houston, and get retail therapy at River Oaks Shopping Center.
This eclectic neighborhood offers five-star restaurants and local dives, ethnic eateries and gay bars, coffee shops and tattoo parlors. Enjoy the surrealist collection at The Menil, then cross the broad, breezy park to find serenity at the Rothko Chapel. Check out local art galleries, antique shops and offbeat boutiques along the Westheimer Curve. This sleepy historic area dating back to 1911 became Houston's gay culture hub and boomed with arty urban renewal in the 1990s. Along tree-lined streets, picturesque bungalows and modern townhouses are now interspersed with bed & breakfast establishments.
This stretch houses hundreds of businesses, including some of the largest international power companies. The Energy Corridor is a well-planned business community that employs, houses and entertains thousands of Houstonians. To help keep Houstonians fit, Terry Hershey Park offers over 50 miles of trails and 26,000 acres of park land.
Northwest of downtown lies the original suburb of Houston: Houston Heights, dating back to the late 1800's. Today the area draws singles and families with a village feel in the heart of the city, including mom-and-pop joints, local hardware stores and nurseries, and welcoming coffee shops. Hip art galleries, boutiques and thrift and antique stores line 19th Street. Houston Heights Boulevard is a wide street with a green path for joggers and strollers admiring the area's restored historic architecture.
The Texas Medical Center claims to be the largest medical facility in the world, home to over 50 institutions and thousands of physicians and research scientists. This powerhouse is Houston's largest employer and treats more than 5 million patients annually at facilities such as the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Hermann Hospital, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital System. Packing even more people into the area is Reliant Park, home of the Texans football team and multi-use venues for college sports, concerts and conventions.
Originally called Southside, this area between downtown and the Museum District east of Montrose retains some of its original history and buildings, plus plenty of trees and green space. Beyond dicey areas underscored on its east and southeast boundaries is the trendy heart of Midtown, packed with hip restaurants, new multi-use living developments and over 20 art venues for gallery-hopping. Here you'll find live local music and clubs, including gay country dance-bar institution the BRB (Brazos River Bottom). For morning-after chicken and waffles, head to neighborhood soul food staple The Breakfast Klub.
Greenway / Upper Kirbymore on Greenway / Upper Kirby »
Upper Kirby offers boutique shopping and distinctive dining galore at the modern West Ave urban village, plus the charming old-school Avalon and Kirby Oaks shopping centers. The pick of local ale houses is McGonigel's Mucky Duck, a classic Irish pub and low-key music venue. West along Richmond Avenue is Greenway Plaza, a bustling ten-business tower complex topped by Tony's, one of Houston's most celebrated restaurants.
Our friends at Eater.com pick the city's best restaurants each quarter, and we trust their opinion. See full list »
Burger Guys
For inner-loopers who despaired of a long drive out Westheimer, the Burger Guys heard your plea and opened a second location downtown. In addition to the creatively-topped, akahushi burgers and signature duck-fat fries, they're making their own ice cream and serving salads.
The Pass and Provisions
Casual Provisions features pizza, pasta and one of the best bar staffs in Houston. The Pass offers conceptual tasting menus and is currently one of the city's toughest reservations. Either way, it's a must-try restaurant.
Oxheart Restaurant
Whether one asks Alison Cook or Andrew Knowlton, Oxheart is Houston's best restaurant. While Justin Yu's 30 seat, tasting menu only restaurant isn't for everyone, those open-minded enough to pay Oxheart a visit will be rewarded with the most inventive, creative cooking in the city.
The announcement that it will close in August surprised many of the restaurant's fans. Now's the time to get in for another meal of Feast's rustic European cuisine that lists the source for every major ingredient on the menu.