As we planned our winter vacation and told about our plans of going to Houston, TX, many of our friends told they’ve no idea of what the city is all about. For us, Houston was almost as unfamiliar. But Houston, you were full of fun stuff to see and do. And we felt that there was this vibe of new beginnings, innovation, ideas and fun in the air. Like spring time, when you know you did plant bulbs in the previous fall and know to expect something fun, but still get surprised every day. After coming home it was fun spotting this article by Thrillist:
But anyways. How to choose what to see within three+ days? Well, doing your homework is always good. Writing down stuff that calls you. We also did something we are not exactly known for: we bought a CityPASS for both of us online in advance. That way, we knew we’d make an effort seeing some of the major sights. About our chosen hotel Marriot Marquis we’ve talked more about in our earlier post and it’s location couldn’t have been better. Save time for hanging out there too – worth it. Trust us!
CityPASS has a variety of sights you can choose from. We didn’t do all as we had other items on our list, too, and time was limited. Here is one list of 4 recommended things to do/experience, some come with City Pass, some not.
- Houston sans Space Center? Nooooooo. You have to visit. The projects and missions that have been finished with better or worse luck and the ones that will take place somewhere out there in the future. We wish that everyone paid some attention to the idea of space travel and thinking the fact that we might actually not be here alone.
Go early, avoid weekends and holidays. We participated a tour that took us to the actual astronaut training facilities. How cool is that?
- Galveston. Like many ocean side destinations in the US, Galveston has a beautiful beach, a pleasure pier and a historic area with pretty houses. Galveston is also one of the places to board a cruise ship. (A little too far away from H-Town to our liking, though.) Unfortunately the pleasure pier was closed day time as we visited. But we think we could think of staying here for some nostalgic nights in the future. Kemah Boardwalk on the way to Galveston would’ve been one of the CityPASS destinations, but for us checking out the cruise port destination was the first priority and Houston evening & night life called.
- Breweries. H-Town is one of those awesome craft beer cities that surprise you pleasantly each day – we didn’t know that.
Most bars seem to serve local brews and it is one of the great ways to taste what the city’s microbreweries have to offer – they talk about an actual craft beer movement here.
A couple of blocks from our hotel we discovered places like 8th Wonder Brewery. The taproom can be found inside a warehouse and the back yard offers an outdoor venue. These guys also serve food, the food truck was conveniently parked at the patio area. Houston Beer Guide is a place to check out the latest beer themed events and the map shows all local breweries – you can actually visit them. In addition to the local companies, Houston is also the home for one of Budweiser’s breweries. This particular brewery was opened in 1966 and offers daily tours. We happened to get a private tour as at that time of the morning we were the only visitors. As you may have read, we ourselves run establishments selling beverages in Finland (night clubs) and find establishments like this Bud’s brewery extremely interesting. How it’s made kinda way. We were taken through different areas of this fully functioning establishment to explain the process of brewing and along the way our guide told about the history of Anheuser-Busch and this particular location.
- Houston Museum of Natural Science. Even if you’ve been to London and NY, don’t miss this one. You can spend hours and hours here. HMNS has both permanent and changing exhibits, especially the latter ones have had a positive impact on the visitor numbers. HMNS comes with the CityPASS, this includes the permanent exhibitions & the temporary ones that are free of charge. The enchanting Butterfly Center takes you to another world, do that first (that costs a little extra). After that, you’ll enjoy halls filled with ancient Egypt, gems & stones, dino skeletons, Texas and African wildlife and even a cabinets of curiosities exhibition (the museum store has that theme, too, one of the best museum stores ever!) One of the most memorable of the latest exhibits was The Vanishing Arts: Highlights from the Beasley-Hwang Collection HMNS tells about the exhibit as follows:
It’s the culmination of decades of travel to exotic lands. An eclectic collection of unique artifacts acquired by Drs. Palmer Beasley and Lu Yu Hwang as their study of Hepatitis B took them to China, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Mexico and a host of other countries. This exhibit features 50 of the most fascinating objects from this stunning collection.