Fall in love with Houston

Houston is big, covering 600 square miles to be exact. As one of the fastest growing cities in the US, it’s no surprise that just like its size, its growing in popularity. From museums to sports to a hip emerging district, evolving menus and a whole lot of soul – there’s something for everyone in this metropolis. Our friends at Booking.com, the global leader with a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, have found a few reasons why you’re sure to fall in love with this Texas sized Texan city.

Sport

Houston is a city with a deep-rooted sporting culture, with something to offer fans of every sport. There are several monumental stadiums that play host to the likes of the Super Bowl and the NBA Finals, and which also light up with local games year round. For football (soccer) fans, Houston’s Dynamo and Dash clubs play regularly at the BBVA Compass Stadium. For baseball there’s the Astros at Minute Maid Park. For American football check out the Houston Texans at the NRG Stadium. For horse racing there’s the Sam Houston Race Park. And for basketball, the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center is a great shout. If you haven’t booked in advance, don’t fret because there are often last-minute tickets available. And if you’d rather take part than be a spectator, Houston’s love of sports means that the choice of clubs and classes to join is vast – from recreational baseball to offshore fishing and golf. Regardless of what sport you’re into, most Canadian fans (74%) like to be close to a stadium, which is why a stay at the Luxury Rentals at Texas Medical Center is the perfect spot, and only a 9 minute walk to one of Houston’s sport’s venues, NRG Stadium.

Fine Art Museums

Houston has a host of world-class fine art museums, 19 of which are conveniently located within a 1.5 mile radius in the tree-lined streets of its Museum District. The Museum of Fine Arts Houston should be the first port of call for culturally-minded visitors, being one of the USA’s largest art museums with over 65,000 works of art on display dating from antiquity to modern art masters such as Yayoi Kusama (tip: admission is free all day on Thursdays). There’s also the interactive Children’s Museum of Houston for family travellers and Hermann Park, a landscaped garden with a small train. Hop on board for a train ride that takes you through a painted tunnel installation by Houston-based artist, Trenton Doyle, where walls are adorned with a cartoon landscape. And you can stay in the midst of the action at the Hotel Zaza Houston Museum District.

Theatre

Houston truly gives New York a run for its money when it comes to theatre, with most productions taking place in one concentrated area, the Houston Theater District. Here, over 10,000 seats are available for shows that range from the traditional to the cutting edge. A good place to start is the Wortham Theater Center, a cultural complex which houses the Houston Ballet (the USA’s fourth largest ballet company) and the Houston Grand Opera. The Alley Theatre is another distinguished venue, with the likes of Vanessa Redgrave having graced its stage, while the Society for the Performing Arts puts on an array of internationally-acclaimed and musical and theatrical performances. For an al fresco (and free) theatre experience, visit the Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park, where you can bring your own picnic and recline with cushions and a blanket on a balmy Texan evening. Just a few hundred metres from the Alley Theatre, the Aloft Houston Downtown is well-placed for theatre-going travellers.

Live Music

Though the capital of Texas, Austin, calls itself the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’, Houston offers some stiff competition with its own rich musical tradition (it’s the hometown of Beyoncé, no less). It’s a melting pot of different genres, with retro guitar bars, jazz clubs and contemporary bands performing every night of the week. Worth visiting are some well-known venues including Fitzgerald’s, one of the oldest clubs in town, the Continental Club, with retro neon lighting and swing music, and Rudyard’s English Pub, featuring live, local acts. And, as of recently, Houston has become a destination for music festivals with the launch of In Bloom. This two-day musical extravaganza – 2018’s edition happens on 24th and 25th March – is leading the charge for large-scale, summer concerts in the city. Stay at distinguished boutique hotel, La Colombe d’Or, just a 15-minute walk from Rudyard’s.

Culturally Diverse Food

Houston’s restaurants provide a huge range of flavours from all over the world, from fusion cuisine to all-American classics. For the freshest, most delicately-flavoured fish tacos try Berryhill Baja Grill, for the juiciest and smokiest Reuben Sandwich, there’s Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen and for fragrant thali, try Pondicheri. You can also taste melt-in-your-mouth sashimi and sushi at Kukuri, while high-quality Vietnamese eateries can be found all over the city. And when it comes to brunch, the Houston scene is very strong; explore the Montrose neighbourhood for some seriously good seasonal menus and hidden gems at places like Riel Restaurant, where you’ll find traditional USA breakfast dishes (buttermilk pancakes as well as and mouthwatering Crab Benedict and Herbed Waffle with Cane butter). Check into the Hotel ICON, Autograph Collection in Downtown Houston, with an on-site restaurant and a plethora of good, surrounding eateries.

James Chung

Founder & Editor in Chief of Hello Vancity magazine. Email james@hellovancity.com

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