51 Things You Should Know About Houston

When people think of Texas, images of longhorns, cowboy boots and barbecue often come to mind. You can find all of those in Houston – the soon-to-be third-largest city in the U.S. – but you can also discover a world far beyond the expected. With its bright economy, affordable cost of living, richly diverse culture and an “anything is possible” collective spirit, Houston is home to a surprising variety of cultural and entertainment offerings and businesses that appeal to residents and visitors alike. From quirky, innovative restaurants and shops to expansive museums and parks to cutting-edge universities and medical centers, Houston offers a little bit of everything.


Arts & Culture

Marvel at the Menil Collection

Enjoy the serenity of the 30-acre campus that is home to more than 17,000 works of art by such luminaries as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko. Stay tuned for the anticipated Menil Drawing Institute opening soon.


Arts & Culture

Ruminate at James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace

This experiential light and music installation by world-renowned artist James Turrell begins 10 minutes before sunset and lasts about 40 minutes.


Arts & Culture

Enjoy the Sound of the Houston Symphony

One of America’s oldest performing arts organizations. The Houston Symphony plays a central role to the city’s cultural scene. They offer performances to all audiences, communities and more.

photo credit: Visit Houston


Arts & Culture

Explore Houston Museum of Natural Science

Mummies of the World, the largest exhibit of real mummies, is here until May 2017. Or explore the hands-on Cabinet of Curiosities collection before you see a 3-D movie.

  • $15–$25
  • 5555 Hermann Park Drive
  • hmns.org


Arts & Culture

Forget the Morning Traffic with The Roula & Ryan Show

Houston’s No. 1 Top-40 station, 104.1 KRBE-FM is home to The Roula & Ryan Show – the city’s go-to morning chat fest with Roula Christie and Ryan Chase.


Arts & Culture

Reach for the Stars at Space Center Houston

Every Friday a veteran astronaut hosts a 30-minute presentation and Q&A with guests of Space Center Houston, free with admission.

photo credit: Visit Houston


Arts & Culture

Delight in Degas and the Masters at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The only U.S. museum to host the Degas: A New Vision on tour. Stroll through the sculpture garden or mingle and grab a bite from one of Houston’s awesome food trucks on site during Happy Hour Thursdays. Become a member today.


Arts & Culture

Release Your Inner Child at The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art

Before it rolls out the 30th Annual Art Car Parade in April 2017, visit the shrine that started it all at The Orange Show Monument – 2401 Munger Street, $5 Admission; the folk art wonderland and next-door neighbor, Smither Park – 2441 Munger Street; and the Beer Can House – an over-the-top shrine to the beer can with more than 50,000 cans covering John Milkovish’s home and fence. Yes, he, his wife and friends drank each of the beers. $5. 222 Malone Street.


Arts & Culture

Meditate at the Chapel of St. Basil

The chapel on the campus of University of St. Thomas is an architectural masterpiece by Philip Johnson. Its gold dome and massive tilted glass cross-shaped window are iconic images in Houston. Find quiet in the prayer garden and labyrinth.

  • Free
  • 3800 Montrose


Arts & Culture

Share Your Selfie!

Snapchat at the Greetings from Houston mural

Have your picture taken in front of the retro postcard-inspired mural that pays homage to Houston icons; the Houston Oilers, a rocket taking off, and of course, oil.

  • 3601 White Oak Drive

Instagram at the Biscuit Paint mural

Painted by Houston-based artist Sebastien “Mr. D" Boileau, the mural was commissioned by the owners of the retail store Biscuit Home to mark its new expanded space. It’s a social media natural.

  • 1435 Westheimer Road

photo credit: Visit Houston


Arts & Culture

Choo Choo Ka Choo at Hermann Park

There are so many points of interest in Hermann Park, including the Houston Zoo, Japanese Garden, Miller Outdoor Theatre, golf course and much more. But don’t leave before you visit the McGovern Centennial Gardens. Venture into a rose garden so lush and expertly landscaped that Marie Antoinette would feel at home. The spiraling hilltop trail leads to a perfect view of the water features and grounds.


Arts & Culture

Plug into Station Houston

Downtown Houston’s emerging tech hub is bringing together entrepreneurs, startups and enterprising innovators to foster community, create high-tech density, and grow an ecosystem where people with great ideas can build and launch companies that change the world.


Arts & Culture

Thread the Arts Through Film at Houston Cinema Arts Society

Visual, performing and literary artists choose a feature film about their own art form in The Artist’s Choice Film Series. A moderated discussion follows each screening.


Arts & Culture

Go On Down to Chinatown

With the second-largest Asian population in the United States, Houston has a thriving Chinatown district with shops, restaurants and cultural centers. The district is roughly bounded by Fondren, Beechnut, State Highway 6 and Westpark Tollway.

photo credit: Visit Houston


Arts & Culture

Find Inner Peace at the Rothko Chapel

The nondenominational chapel houses mural canvases of American painter Mark Rothko. Tai chi and yoga classes are offered on the chapel plaza.


Arts & Culture

Score Tickets to Hamilton at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts

Home to Broadway at the Hobby, this Theatre District mainstay features touring productions of some of Broadway’s most popular shows, including Hamilton later this year. After the show, fall into Artista for Chef David Cordúa’s delectable Latin cuisine.


Arts & Culture

Start the Day Right with Deborah Duncan on Great Day Houston

The recipient of countless local and national awards for television excellence, H-town ambassador Deborah Duncan keeps the lifestyle program rolling with grace, aplomb and an unflappable spirit every weekday morning at 9 AM with a live studio audience.

photo credit: Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design


Arts & Culture

Cozy Up with Fresh Arts

This nonprofit organization benefiting artists and art organizations hosts Cultured Cocktails events featuring a different local artist, arts organization or arts project, every Thursday at Boheme Café & Wine Bar.


Food & Drink

Sip Gin and Tonics at BCN Taste & Tradition

Situated in a 1920s Montrose home, critically acclaimed BCN dishes up mouth-watering Spanish delicacies by Chef Luis Roger, alum to the internationally renowned Chef Ferran Adrià from El Bulli. Start with the grilled Spanish octopus and don’t forget the signature gin & tonics.


Food & Drink

Savor the Flavor at FM Burger

Chef Ryan Hildebrand’s new burger concept featuring more than just red meat. Check out the chicken pot pie sandwiches and loaded milkshakes.

  • 1112 Shepherd Dr


Food & Drink

Eat Fajitas Where They Were Born at The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation

The birthplace of the fajita as we know it (1974), this iconic Tex Mex favorite was started by Ninfa Laurenzo in a tortilla factory and morphed into a celebrated foodie destination.


Food & Drink

Go Coastal at Caracol

This award-winning gourmet Mexican-coastal kitchen in the BBVA Compass Plaza offers specialties such as tamal de langosta (corn and epazote infused tamale, sautéed lobster, lobster sauce).


Food & Drink

Pay Your Respects to the Grand Poobah at Cafe Annie

As Houston’s original bona fide celebrity chef and James Beard Award winner, Chef Robert Del Grande set the pace for the city’s culinary evolution 35 years ago with Cafe Annie and has come full circle with the famous dishes that started a global food movement. Do Not Pass Go until you’ve tried the Crab Tostada, the Rabbit Enchilada, and the Coffee Roasted Filet of Beef.


Food & Drink

Find Your Fried Shrimp at Christie’s Seafood & Steak

Billed as Houston’s oldest family restaurant – and celebrating its 100-year milestone in 2017 – Christie’s offers Greek-style seafood fare with a Cajun flair.


Food & Drink

Take a Trip to the French Countryside at Tiny Boxwood’s Café

Originally a nursery in the midst of River Oaks serving gourmet coffee to its patrons, it eventually morphed into an upscale eclectic café serving breakfast and lunch with a continuously changing menu. Outdoor patio surrounded by lush greenery.


Food & Drink

Justify Cocktails for a Cause at OKRA Charity Saloon

Mixologists trade drinks for votes at this charitable bar where four nonprofits duke it out for the bar’s proceeds each and every month.


Food & Drink

Cook Like the Locals with Kitchen Underground

Visit kitchenunderground.com and be the first to know about new cooking classes with local cooks, writers and artisans.


Food & Drink

Get Your Lox Fix at Kenny & Ziggy’s Deli

Featured in the documentary Deli Man, this casual spot serves up large portions of traditional Jewish fare, such as lox and bagels and chicken noodle soup that can soothe any soul.


Food & Drink

Watch the Day Go By at West Alabama Ice House

Open since 1928, this neighborhood bar attracts bikers and brokers alike. Outdoor seating with fair beer prices, authentic Mexican street tacos courtesy of Tacos Tierra Caliente, and a dog-friendly environment.

  • 1919 W. Alabama Street


Food & Drink

Learn the Story of Houston Food at Underbelly

At this highly revered restaurant and wine bar, the Korean braised goat & dumplings are a must-have. Extensive wine list, or bring your own for a $15 cork fee.


Food & Drink

Boot Scoot at Armadillo Palace

The venison chili and hamburger are bestsellers at this old-fashioned dance hall and restaurant. Cover charge starts at $10 on nights with live music.


Food & Drink

Tap into Local Craft Beer at Saint Arnold Brewing Company

Named after the patron saint of brewing, Houston’s oldest craft brewery also serves pub grub like santo queso & pretzels. Best-selling beers include Fancy Lawnmower and Elissa IPA.


Food & Drink

Knock Twice and Cross the Border at Last Concert Café

Built in 1949 and featured in Larry McMurtry’s novel Terms of Endearment, LCC is a hallowed spot in Houston’s funky warehouse district. Go for the margaritas and enchiladas, stay for the live music and hula hoop in the backyard sandpit.


Food & Drink

Sip Rare Whiskey at Reserve 101

Swing by for a shot of good whiskey or stay for a tasting. With well over 300 whiskey selections available, even the pickiest drinker will find a great libation.


Food & Drink

Give in to Sandra Lee’s Texas Apple Strudel at Steak 48

Add another reason to make a reservation at the city’s hotter-than-hot steakhouse, which is baking up a very special Texas Apple Strudel by Food Network star and cookbook author Sandra Lee. Indulge in an order of strudel for $8 and 100 percent of the proceeds go to the NFL Foundation between now and game day.


Outdoors & Entertainment

Kick It Up at BBVA Compass Stadium

The 22,000-seat venue is Houston’s newest downtown stadium and home to Major League Soccer teams Dynamo and Dash. The state-of-the-art venue was awarded the LEED® Silver certification in December 2012, helping revitalize East Downtown (EADO).


Outdoors & Entertainment

Let the Music Play at White Oak Music Hall (WOMH) and The Raven Tower

White Oak Music Hall

Locally conceived, developed, designed and programmed, WOMH is a game-changing 5-acre, 3-stage indoor/outdoor live music complex just north of downtown featuring hundreds of live performances a year with a lineup as diverse as Houston itself.

The Raven Tower

The Raven Tower, Houston’s bar in the sky, provides one of the best skyline views in town along with a kick-ass patio stretching along Little White Oak Bayou tailor-made for chillin’ to live music, sippin’ on Texas craft brews on tap, and noshin’ on food truck fare.


Outdoors & Entertainment

Tour the Town on Two Wheels with B-Cycle Bike Share

With more than 33 stations and 225 bikes located in Downtown, Montrose, Midtown, The Heights and the Museum District, and more than 150 miles of interconnected bikeways in the metro area, Houston is waiting to be explored at your own pace.


Outdoors & Entertainment

Go Subterranean at the Cistern at Buffalo Bayou Park

Built in 1926, this former drinking water reservoir will make you feel like you’re walking in an Ancient Greek underground city in a fantasy novel.


Outdoors & Entertainment

Roam If You Want To at Memorial Park

Home to the top-rated municipal 18-hole golf course in Texas, the 1,466-acre Inner Loop oasis is a former World War I training camp named for the soldiers who lost their lives in the war. It also happens to be one of the largest urban parks in the U.S. and serves as the city’s go-to green space for joggers, strollers, cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts. Hit up Beck’s Prime or Smoothie King in the park for a post-workout snack.


Outdoors & Entertainment

Enjoy the Great Outdoors in Downtown Houston at Discovery Green

This vibrant 12-acre downtown park, home to Super Bowl Live, features art installments, free concerts, and the largest outdoor ice-skating rink in the Southwest.


Outdoors & Entertainment

Root, Root, Root for the Home Teams

Home to the Houston Astros, Minute Maid Park is Houston’s first retractable-roofed stadium featuring a natural grass playing field. 501 Crawford Street. If football is your game, check out Houston Texans home turf at NRG Stadium – host to the Big Game! 8400 Kirby Drive. Or take in some hoops and watch Houston Rockets front man James Harden stir it up at the Toyota Center. 1510 Polk Street.


Shopping & Services

Think Globally, Buy Locally

Houston has serious indie retail cred with expertly edited offerings that are the first stops off the plane for those in the know. Check out the city’s Uptown Kirby shopping district, where you’ll find women’s boutique Kick Pleat for fashion-forward exclusive brands; explore Sloan/Hall for lifestyle offerings with a tight curatorial edit; and open your eyes to Kuhl-Linscomb, where you’ll find out just how much bigger things really are in Texas.


Shopping & Services

Taste & Tour Wild Stallion Vineyards

This private event center also occasionally hosts music events and Sangria Saturdays that are open to the public. There will also be special hours and events in the week leading up to the Super Bowl, which will be open to the public. Private tasting are for groups of 10 or more and subject to availability.


Shopping & Services

Live it Up at River Oaks District

The go-to destination for Dior, Hermès, Tom Ford, Harry Winston and Stella McCartney. Dine at Steak 48 for hand-cut, wet-aged prime steaks or Hopdoddy Burger Bar for casual-gourmet fare. And catch a movie at iPic, where the popcorn is free and the reclining chairs come with blankets and pillows.

  • 4444 Westheimer


Shopping & Services

Wine and Unwind at Four Seasons Hotel Houston

Book a spa treatment and gain full access to the 2,500-square-foot fitness center, which includes a coveted Woodway treadmill. Follow it up with some vino from the most robust by-the-glass wine list in town or take a load off with whiskey and nibbles at the hotel’s newly launched lobby bar and restaurant Bayou & Bottle.


Shopping & Services

Find a Frock at Chloe Dao

Owner — and Season Two Project Runway winner — Chloe Dao specializes in made-to-measure dresses, but her boutique also sells flirty off-the-rack frocks.


Shopping & Services

Tame Your Mane at Ceron Salon

With a portfolio that includes magazine covers of Cindy Crawford and Becca Cason Thrash, Ceron is the city’s most recognized stylist.


Shopping & Services

Luxuriate at Paloma Nail Salon

With non-toxic nail beauty in palettes from Chanel, Dior, Deborah Lippman, RMS, SpaRitual and JINsoon, Paloma is taking mani-pedis to new-found heights.


Shopping & Services

Go Gaga for the World-Famous Galleria

Anchored by Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Macy’s, the world-famous Galleria houses 400 fine stores and restaurants, an indoor ice-skating rink, two high-rise hotels, and three office towers. A recent facelift gives it even more cache with the additions of the gleaming new Saks Fifth Avenue store and The Webster, along with foodie faves Shake Shack, Nobu, Fig & Ivy, and Yauacha.


Shopping & Services

Find your Pursuit

As one of the most philanthropic cities in the world, Houston offers no shortage of worthy organizations raising much-needed funds to cure diseases, support the arts and raise the quality of life for all of us. Case in point: Pursuit Ride – a 3,500-mile bike ride that raised more than $13 million in support of the Center, one of Houston’s oldest organizations serving adults with disabilities.