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WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN HOUSTON

The number One attraction MUST SEE in Houston is the NASA Johnson Space Center located at 1601 Nasa Parkway, about 26 miles from the Center of Houston. Here you will be able to see parts of the massive Space Center, including the Apollo Mission Control Center, Rockets, feel what it was like at launch time in the Blast Off Theater, see real moon rocks and learn about Space, Astronauts, multi-purpose vehicles, Skylab, Gemini mission and lots more. You need at least half a day to see most things here. A CityPass also gets you a discount on Tickets, but you may need to hire a car or Uber transport to get here.

Downtown Houston is very much a working city, with commuters heading here from the suburbs to work in the high rise buildings that are all downtown.

In Downtown too, you will find the George R. Brown Convention Center, with conventions, exhibitions and activities throughout the year. Right in front of the Convention Center is Discovery Green, a large park area and the Houston Center Shops. The free Greenlink buses pass by the Convention Center, around Discovery Green and past Green Street shops too as they head further to pass by Hermann Square – a small city square, City Hall (where the Visitor Information Center is located), Harris Country Courthouse and Tranquillity Park.

Two blocks away off Bagby Street is Sam Houston Park, which has a number of sculptures in the gardens there. This is also where you will find the Heritage Society at 1100 Bagby Street Tel: (713) 655 1912. They run historic tours and also events in some of the best houses in Old Houston. See www.heritagesociety.org

There are also a number of Historic homes in Houston, in Audubon Place, Westmoreland, First Montrose Commons, Broadacres and Houston Heights Districts.

The North Line METRO will take you from Downtown south to the Museum District and Hermann Park. There are two different stations in the Museum District.

In the Museum District, you will find a number of Art Galleries and Museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts at 1001 Bissonnet Street (See www.mfah.org); the Museum of Natural Sciences at 5555 Hermann Park Drive and the Houston Zoo at 6200 Hermann Park Drive. The Children's Museum is located at 1500 Binz Street (See www.cmhouston.org ); the Holocaust Museum is at 5401 Caroline Street ( See www.hmh.org ); Buffalo Soldier's Museum at 3616 Caroline Street (see www.buffalosoldiersmuseum.com and there are a number of other museums here too.

For a very different Museum experience visit the National Museum of Funeral History – see www.nmfh.org at 415 Barren Springs Drive. Tel: 281 876 3063.

Hermann Park is a great urban space in its own right – and here you will find walking trails, picnic locations, water fountains, lake areas, a beautiful reflection pool, Pioneer Memorial Obelisk, stautue of Sam Houston on his horse, a small train to take you to parts of the parkland, café, Japanese Garden, open air Sculptures and artworks and the Bayou Parkland wilderness area. The Park covers around 60 acres and is one of the best places to come to in Houston.

Houston also has a large Aquarium at 410 Bagby Street @ Memorial Drive – See www.aquariumrestaurants.com Here you will find 6 acres of grounds with a Ferris wheel and other rides and a restaurant where you are surrounded by a glass wall that separates you from the fish and sharks that are swimming around you. The Aquarium has a number of underwater environments to see, including a Rainforest, Louisiana Swampland, Sunken Temple, Shipwreck, Stingrays and Gulf of Mexico underwater experience.

Also if looking for a Theme Park – head to Kemah Boardwalk – 215 Kipp Avenue, where the Theme Park amusements including a two storey carousel, a wooden Rollar Coaster and other rides are located on a boardwalk that is next to Trinity Lake. See www.kemahboardwalk.com Tel: 877 285 3624. It is about 33 miles from downtown Houston, about a 45 minute drive, depending on traffic. There are also places to stay here too.

The big four sports and event arenas in Houston are –

The Convention Center is located at 1001 Avenida De Las Americas. See www.houstonconventionctr.com

FOR SHOPPING see –

  • Galleria – 5085 Westheimer Rd. 400 shops and restaurants.
  • Highland Village – 4055 Westheimer Rd. See www.shophighlandvillage.com
  • River Oaks – 4444 Westheimer Rd. See www.riveroaksdistrict.com
  • Conroe Outlet Center – 1111 League Line Rd.
  • Traders Village Markets – 7979 N. Eldridge Rd. 2000 traders converge on this market that operates on weekends. See www.tradersmarket.com

THEATER DISTRICT

Houston has a Theatre District downtown where there are a number of cinema theatres as well as live Theatre performances happening, with visiting 'big name' shows also coming to town. Houston Grand Opera and also Houston Ballet are also here. To find some of the shows see www.spahouston.com (The Society for the Performing Arts) to see what's on.

  • Jones Hall – is located at 615 Louisiana Street
  • Wortham Center – 500 Texas Avenue has 2 big theatres in the Complex – the Alice and George Brown Theatre and the Roy and Lillie Cullen Theatre.
  • Bayou Music Center is at 520 Texas Avenue
  • Theatre under the Stars is at 800 Bagby Street.
  • Alley Theatre – 615 Texas Avenue. See www.alleytheatre.org
  • Hobby Center – 800 Bagby Street. See www.thehobbycenter.org

WAREHOUSE DISTRICT

This is where you will find the Craft Brewer, Saint Arnold. See www.saintarnold.com/tours located at 2000 Lyons Avenue.

The warehouse district is on the other side of the Buffalo Bayou, and is becoming a trendy part of Houston.

Doing a Beer Tour is a good way to meet other fellow travellers and have some fun at the same time – Check out www.texasbeerbus.com Tel: 832 373 4316. Also www.buffbrew.com 5301 Nolda Street. They run tours only on Saturdays. Another brewery is Karbach Brewery – see www.karbachbrewing.com/tours located at 2032 Karbach Street.

TOURS

There are many tour Operators in Houston, and taking a tour will give you more information about the City. You can walk, catch an open-top double decker bus, ride a Segway, ride a B-Cycle, Electric Bike, canoe on the waterways, take a boat tour to see the Shipping Canal or Battleship Texas and other options – so lots of ways to see the City –
Here are just a few of the many options you could choose -

BEACHES

Houston is about 40 to 50 miles from the coast and Galveston Island where the city of Galveston is located, so depending on traffic it will take about an hour or so to get to a number of beaches.

Galveston"Galveston, oh Galveston. I still hear your sea winds blowing…"

Galveston is perhaps best known by one of this all-time favourite Country song 'Galveston' – written by Jimmy Webb and sung by Glen Campbell, which was a huge hit in 1969. The song has been played millions of times around the world, and is still popular today too.

The City of Galveston is located on a long narrow Barrier Island that lies just off the Texan coastline in the Gulf of Mexico, with the Galveston Causeway crossing Galveston Bay to the island, and on the eastern end of the island there are the popular East Beach and Stewart Beach in the East End Nature Reserve. Also a Ferry that takes passengers from Galveston across to Bolivar Peninsula where there are also beaches. Look for Crystal Beach.

The West End of Galveston also has a number of beaches to head to as well in the Galveston Island State Park. Look for Pocket Park 1, 2, and 3 on the Gulf side of the island. The Farm-to-Market Road leads all the way to the western end of the Island at San Juan Pass.

The City has 32 miles of beaches, and a number of Cruise Ships berth here too. They berth at either Terminal 1 at 2502 Harborside Drive or at Terminal 2 at 2702 Harborside Drive. See www.portofgalveston.com Tel: (409) 766 6100.

Galveston was the first Port for Houston in the 1800's, but in 1900 a massive Hurricane hit the city and destroyed much of the city and wharves, leaving a death toll of around 8000 people. Today at the Pier 21 Theater you can see a documentary film about the Hurricane and its destructive path that tore Galveston apart.

A number of Historic homes managed to escape the fury of the storm, or were restored after the Hurricane had passed, so today Galveston has a rich mix of both Heritage and beachside atmosphere.

Some of these great old Historic buildings are –

  • Michel B. Menard Home – built 1838. Located at 1604 33rd Street. Tel: (409) 765 7834
  • Samuel May Williams Home – built 1839. Located at 3601 Avenue P. Tel: (409) 762 3933
  • Ashton Villa – built 1859. Located at 2328 Broadway. Tel: (409) 765 7834. The Galveston Island Visitor Center is also located here in the Carriage House.
  • St Joseph's Church – built 1859. Located at 2202 Avenue K. Tel: (409) 765 7834
  • Custom House- built 1861 located at 502 20th Street. Tel: (409) 765 7834.
  • Garten Verein – built 1880. Located at 2704 Avenue O. Tel: (409) 765 7834
  • Bishops Palace- built 1892. Located at 1402 Broadway. Tel: (409) 762 2475
  • Moody Mansion Museum – located at 2618 Broadway. Tel (409) 762 7668.
  • The Grand Opera House – built 1894. located at 2020 Post office Street. See www.thegrand.com Tel: (409) 765 1894.

Moody Gardens is located at 1 Hope Boulevard. See www.moodygardens.com Tel: 1 800 582 4673. Here you will find 242 acres of waterpark, aquarium, hotel, rainforest pyramid, IMAX theater, restaurants and more. Also here is the beautiful COLONEL Paddle Wheeler that will take you cruising.

Almost next door is the Schlitterbahn waterpark too, located at 2026 Lockheed Road. See www.schlitterbahn.com Tel: (409) 770 9283.

The Moody Gardens Golf Course is at 1700 Sydnor Lane. See www.moodygardensgolf.com Tel: (409) 683 4653.

Galveston Pleasure Pier – 2501 Seawell Boulevard. See www.pleasurepier.com Tel: 855 789 7437. This is a big fun pier with games, roller coaster and other activities.

MUSEUMS -

  • Lone Star Flight Museum is located next to Scholes Airport at 2002 Terminal Drive. See www.isfm.org
  • Texas Seaport Museum – 2100 Harborside Drive. – where you will see the 1877 square rigger Eliza, built in Scotland, as well as the 1937 Mosquito Shrimp boat, Santa Maria. Tel: (409) 763 1877.
  • Ocean Star Drilling Rig Museum – 2002 Wharf Road. See www.oceanstraoec.com Tel: (409) 766 7827
  • Galveston Railroad Museum – 2602 Santa Fe Place. See www.galvestonrrmuseum.com Tel: (409) 765 5700.
  • Rosenberg Library and Museum – 2310 Sealy Street. See www.rosenberg-library.org Tel: (409) 763 8854
  • Haunted Mayfield Manor – 2313 Harborside Drive. See www.hauntedmayfieldmanor.com Tel: (409) 762 6677

There are a number of places to go fishing with Public Piers on Seawell Boulevard on the Gulf side of the island. There is another public pier on Pelican Island, with 51st Street leading across the causeway to the Seawolf Park.

Fishing is extremely popular here in Galveston and there are many Charter boats that will take you out for half a day, a full day or a whole week to fish off the coast here. See www.galveston.com/fishing to see a whole list of these charter companies.

Galveston is a popular place for people in Houston to head to on weekends and holiday times, and it attracts people to its beaches, great fishing, golf and the mix of heritage and beachside culture. In and around the Strand and waterfront there are lots of places for food, fashion, homewares and gifts and there are lots of great places to stay too.

We hope you have a great time in Houston and also Galveston too.

Happy Travelling!

Geoff Stuart

Happy Traveller

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