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Houston, Texas

Local Details

Learn more about Houston, Texas using the City Guide below. Plan a trip, find local shopping centers, or just discover what makes Houston, Texas so great!

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City Guide

Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest in the United States. It is huge, both in population and in land area. "Urban sprawl" is a term tailor-made for this city. Houston is an international city home to among the nation's largest Asian, Arab and Latin American populations. Houston's culture is not limited to diverse population - it boasts a world class symphony and theatre district that includes a full-time ballet company and opera.

Understand

Houston is the largest city in the United States without any appreciable zoning. While there is some small measure of zoning in the form of ordinances and land use regulations, real estate development in Houston is only constrained by the will and the pocketbook of real estate developers. Traditionally, Houston politics and law are strongly influenced by real estate developers; at times, the majority of city council seats have been held by developers. Development of the city, then, has reflected what makes life easy on developers instead of visitors or residents.

What this means to visitors is that Houston covers a larger land area with less population than might otherwise be expected. Everything is spread out. No matter where you are, almost nothing will be within walking distance. The entire city is built on the assumption that nearly everyone owns and drives a car virtually everywhere they go.

The city has a number of districts. Historically, these districts were called "wards" and they tended to have distinct populations. Redevelopment has rendered most of those distinctions meaningless, but the modern version of Houston still has districts.

Houston has three areas that look like a typical downtown in a big city with high-rise buildings and, at street level, concessions to pedestrians that include shops and eating establishments.

  • Downtown center of the city, still the home of high finance and big business.
  • The second area is south of the city center, the Texas Medical Center (or just "the med center"). Some of the best hospitals in the world are there.
  • The third area, west of the city center, is called Uptown or The Galleria Area and is knownfor its namesake, a huge high-end shopping mall complex. It also has the tallest building in the United States outside of a main downtown area, the Williams tower.

Situated elsewhere in town, between these three pillars of development and surrounding them, are a dozen or more distinct districts that define the more-accessible heart of the people and the city.

  • Warehouse District - Just north of the original downtown and formerly the site of warehouses and industry. (A short-lived attempt to market the area as NoHo - NOrth of HOuston, get it? - died a well-deserved death and no good, short, snappy name has yet to fully permeate the collective consciousness of Houston, so you might run into more than a few locals who don't recognize the name.) Loft conversions and trendy residents are the rule in this area, nowadays, but there's still some good eats and nightlife to be found.
  • Montrose - Both a street name and a neighborhood, Montrose is Houston's longtime home to a large portion of its gay and lesbian community, as well as host to the city's museums. An area that was once affordable and appealing for its 1920's bungalows, it has now given way to gentrification and high property taxes. Of note in the Montrose is the Menil Collection, a private family collection of 20th Century modern masterpieces, open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 11-7. It boasts a large group of surrealist works and includes a special room devoted to the objects that the Surrealists themselves collected, which inspired many of the works on view. Montrose is one of the few places in the city where walking just might be feasible one day, but with an August average afternoon high temperature of 92 with 54% humidity, it is unlikely that Houstonians will ever surrender their cars.
  • Clear Lake - A large sheltered bay and the area around it is a local recreation center. The area is home to NASA's Johnson Space Center, a smaller medical center, and seafood vendors. The area's boating opportunities are considered second only to those of Miami. Fishing, swimming, hiking, and history are also popular activities in the area.
  • River Oaks - Long known as Houston's most exclusive neighborhood, River Oaks is home to a large collection of eye-popping mansions. Another attraction of the neighborhood is the River Oaks Shopping Center, one of America's first suburban shopping districts and a great display of Art Deco architecture.
  • Post Oak / Galleria - Centered about the Galleria.
  • Midtown - The area between Downtown and the medical center.
  • The Heights - Houston's first suburb, built around a streetcar line, The Heights today is centrally located compared to the far flung modern suburbs. It is a large district of gingerbread Victorian homes as well as early 20th Century bungalows.
  • Southwest Houston - Center of much of the city's suburban development from the 1940s throught the 1970s, today it is one of its most diverse quarters. A plethora of rundown apartment complexes has given the overall area a reputation for crime, but it is also home to some of the city's most desirable neighborhoods, including Meyerland and the charming City of Bellaire.
  • New Chinatown - AKA Little Saigon located southwest of the center is the largest Chinatown in the world, areawise, though the term Chinatown is misleading due to the fact that the majority of the shops and restaurants cater to Houstons large Vietnamese population. Hong Kong City Mall is a very large grocery store/shopping center in this area. This is actually the second Chinatown, the first being a now warehouse district on the northeast side of downtown. There is also a significant (though much smaller) concentration of Asian, especially Vietnamese, influence on the far southeast edge of the city in the Sagemont area.

Get in

By plane

Houston is served by two airports:

  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport , (IATA: IAH). The larger of the two airports and is located 23 miles north of downtown near Beltway 8, between IH-45 North and US-59 North. It is a hub for Continental Airlines and serves 24 domestic and international airlines.
  • William P. Hobby Airport, (IATA: HOU). Located 7 miles south of downtown and is located off of I-45 South. It is convenient if you're travelling downtown or south of the city, such as to Galveston. Its main carrier is Southwest Airlines, and it also served by Delta Airlines, American Airlines, and AirTran.

By train

  • Amtrak, 902 Washington Ave, Amtrak's Sunset Limited line is the only passenger train route with a stop in Houston.

By car

Houston's major freeways include:

  • IH-45 North ("North Freeway"): To Dallas
  • IH-45 South ("Gulf Freeway"): To Galveston
  • IH-10 West ("Katy Freeway"): To San Antonio
  • IH-10 East: ("Baytown/East Freeway", not to be confused with "Eastex freeway") to Beaumont
  • IH-610 ("The Loop"): Loop around downtown
  • US-59 South ("Southwest Freeway"): to Victoria
  • US-59 North ("Eastex Freeway"): to Lufkin
  • US-290 West ("Northwest Freeway"): to Austin
  • SH-288 South ("South Freeway"): to Freeport
  • SH-225 East ("Pasadena Freeway"): to La Porte
  • BW-8 ("The Beltway"): Loop about twice as far out as IH-610.

Approximate mileage to nearby cities (in miles):

  • Austin: 160
  • Baton Rouge, LA: 270
  • Beaumont: 90
  • Dallas: 240
  • El Paso: 745
  • Galveston: 50
  • Lake Charles, LA: 140
  • New Orleans, LA: 346
  • San Antonio: 200
  • Waco: 180

By bus

  • Greyhound Lines
    • Downtown station, 2121 Main St.
    • Crosstimbers Station, 4001 North Freeway.
    • Northwest, 1500 West Loop North.
    • Southeast, 7000 Harrisburg Blvd.
    • Southwest, 5690 Southwest Freeway.

Get around

As Houston is a large, sprawling city, and since public transportation is limited, people living in Houston are dependent on the automobile. Houston is not a walking city.

By car

Houston has a number of major highways that make getting around Houston fairly easy. (See list of freeways under the "Get In" section.) A number of obstacles, however, can make driving in Houston a less than pleasant experience. One is construction, which seems to be ever-present, and the other is traffic. Evening rush hour in Houston begins as early as 4pm and can last more than 2 hours. Morning rush hour is between 7 and 9. During rush hour, traffic on the highways can come to a halt. The strip of the West Loop near the Galleria, between US-59 and IH-10, is an area you should definitely avoid during rush hour if possible.

  • Houston Traffic Map
  • The outstanding freeways system

Some of the freeways have an H.O.V. (High-Occupancy Vehicle) lane, which are limited-access lanes located in the median strip of the highway. The HOV lanes are operational Monday - Friday in the morning hours (5am - 11am) in the inbound direction and in the outbound direction in the afternoon and evening (from 2pm - 8pm). The HOV lanes are restricted to cars with 2 or more passengers, however some HOV lanes require 3 or more passengers during peak travel periods (6:45-8:00am and 5-6pm, for the IH-10 west; 6:45-8:00am only for US-290). The HOV lanes are marked with signs bearing a white diamond on a black background. Highways with HOV lanes are: IH-45 North, IH-45 South, US-59 North, US-59 South, IH-10 West (Katy Freeway), and US-290. In addition to its usual Monday through Friday hours, the Katy Freeway HOV lane also runs on Saturday in the outbound direction and on Sunday in the inbound direction.

  • HOV lane map & schedule

By public transportation

Currently, public transportation in Houston is limited to METRO, which operates bus lines as well as a the new and very popular light rail line called METRORail.

METRORail is a seven and a half mile light rail line that runs between downtown, midtown, the museum district, the Medical Center, Reliant Park, and the Fannin South Park & Ride (which is a handy place to park and is located near the 610 loop). It costs $1 for a one-way ticket, $2 for a day pass.

By taxi

  • Outside of Downtown, don't expect to catch a taxi on the streets, but there are various cab stands located at various parts of downtown proper. Taxis in Houston are generally dispatched by various companies the largest being Yellow Cab, 713-236-1111 or from their web page.

Talk

Obviously, English is the main language spoken in Houston. Especially in outlying areas (though much less so in the actual city), some locals speak with thick Texan accents, and may be difficult for non-native English speakers to understand. Also, Houston has many ethnic neighborhoods, and although you probably will not find yourself in an area where nobody speaks English, knowing at least a few phrases of Spanish or another language will come in handy.

See

  • Space Center Houston, 1601 NASA Road 1, Webster (located 25 miles south of downtown Houston in the NASA/Clear Lake area), 281-244-2100. Summer hours: June 10am-7pm, July 9am-7pm, August 10am-5pm, 10am-7pm Weekends. Winter hours: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm.. Indoor fun space museum with lots of hands-on space-science exhibits and artifacts from the full history of U.S. space exploration. A big hit with kids, but informative for adults. A highlight are the two tram tours of NASA's Johnson Space Center, one of which includes a visit to Mission Control and actual Apollo and Mercury launch vehicles, the other focuses on astronaut training facilities. $17.95 Adults, $13.95 Children (4-11), discounts for seniors. Parking $5.
  • Battleship Texas and San Jacinto Battleground Monument, Battleground Rd., LaPorte (From IH-610 east, take SH-225 east for 11 miles to Battleground Road (SH-134), continue north approximately 2 miles. Turn right on Park Road 1836 for the Monument or continue on SH-134 another mile to reach the Battleship.). Open every day (closed for major holidays), 10-5 (battleship), 8-6 (monument). San Jacinto Monument is free. Tour a World World II battleship. The monument commemorates the battle at which Texas won its independence from Mexico. Adults $5, Children (6-18) $3, Children (5 and under) free. Senior discounts..
  • The Galleria, Westheimer at Post Oak. Huge shopping mall in the center of the Galleria area (also known as uptown), filled with high end retail stores, several hotels and even includes an indoor year-round ice skating rink used by Tara Lipinski.
  • Hermann Park, 713-524-5876 (fax: 713-524-5887). Approximately 455 acres (about half the size of Central Park in New York City). George Hermann gave the parkland to the City of Houston in 1914. It is accessible via the MetroRail. Located by Miller Outdoor Theataer, the Houston Zoo, Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Hermann Park Golf Course.
  • Miller Outdoor Theater, 100 Concert Drive, in Hermann Park, 281-373-3386 (fax: 713-942-0863), vary. Free professional theater offering a wide variety of shows in warmer months (which in Houston, span April through November). Hillside (lawn) seating is always free, some shows have ticket seating under the pavillion, varies by show..
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science, One Hermann Circle Drive, 713-639-4629 (webmaster@hmns.org), Permanent venues include the butterfly center, exhibit halls, planetarium, and IMAX theater, others vary by availability. Adult $9, Child $7, other venues vary.
  • Houston Zoo, 1513 N. MacGregor, 713-533-6500 (zooinfo@houstonzoo.org), 9-6. Adult $8.50, Child $4, free on some holidays.
  • Hermann Park Golf Course, 2155 N. MacGregor, 713-526-0077, $31 FR-SU, other times less.
  • Japanese Garden, Main St & Sunset Blvd, Hermann Park, 713-284-8300,10 - 6, summer. Designed by world-renowned Japanese landscape architect, Ken Nakajima, the garden was built to symbolize the friendship between the United States and Japan, and to recognize Houston's thriving Japanese community.
  • Forbidden Gardens, Outdoor museum (expensive and sadly incomplete) replicating some of China's historic scenes
  • Museum of Fine Arts Houston, 1001 Bissonnet Street, 713-639-7300, 10-5 Tu-We, 10-9 Th, 10-7 Fr-Sa, 12:15-7 Su, closed Mo, except holidays.. Adult $7, Senior/Child $3.50, Thursdays free courtesy of Shell Oil.
  • Contemporary Arts Museum, 713-284-8250, 10-5 Tu-We, 10-9 Th, 10-5 Fr-Sa, noon-5 Su, closed Mo. Free admission.
  • Highland Village Shopping District, Upscale shops and restaurants near River Oaks.
  • Diverse Works, 1117 E. Freeway (N. Main at Naylor), 713-223-8346 (Tickets@diverseworks.org). noon-6 We-Sa. Alternative artwork center. Varies, some free..
  • Marq*E. Outdoor shopping mall with many attractions including a giant movie theater.
  • Williams Tower, 2800 Post Oak, The 3rd largest skyscraper in Houston and largest in the world outside of a downtown or central business district. A short walk from the Galleria, also check out the ever-romantic Water Wall.
  • Houston Ship Channel Boat Tour,10:30 and 2:30 Tu, We, Fr, Sa, 2:30 Th and Su.. See one of the busiest ports in the world. Advance reservations required. Free, reservations required..
  • Kemah Boardwalk, A small theme park and recreational area on Galveston Bay in Kemah.

Do

  • Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Reliant Stadium and Reliant Park. March, yearly (Feb 28-March 19 for the 2006 season). The world's largest rodeo. Includes rodeo events, calf scramble, and music concert. It is known for its big-name music acts as much as it is for the rodeo. The livestock show attracts professional breeders who bring in their world-class livestock to be judged. There is also a carnival on the grounds.
  • FotoFest, Exhibitions and art installations, film and video programs, lectures and forums created by FotoFest for FOTOFEST2006 were held March 10 - April 23, 2006.
  • Bayou City Art Festival, Built on an 8/10 mile asphalt loop surrounded by lush trees, foliage, and picnic areas, the annual, juried, fine art event boasts a stress-free outdoor gallery brimming with 300 artists working in 19 artistic media. March 23– 25, 2007 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Houston Children's Festival, is the largest celebration for children in the United States, the Houston Children's Festival offers over 350 events packed into a couple of hectic days. 31 March - 1 April 2007.
  • WorldFest-Houston Film Festival, (now its 40th year!) continues with its totally dedicated Independent Film screening format for the upcoming April 20 - 29, 2007.
  • The Houston International Festival, (AKA iFest) Annual international festival featuring juried arts, crafts, food, music, games and events for adults and children. April 21-22 & 28-29 2007 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Art Car Parade, is the Worlds Largest and Oldest Art Car Parade. The event features over 250 Art Cars, 200,000 plus live spectators and media from all over the world, making Houston ground zero of an international phenomenon. Saturday, May 12, 2007.
  • Latino Book & Family Festival, Hosts a world class array of panels, authors, celebrities and entertainment for your enjoyment and enlightenment. September 29-30.
  • Greek Festival, Includes children's activities, Athenian playground, food and entertainment. OPA!! Held October 5-8, 2006.
  • The Texas Renaissance Festival, is one of the nation's largest, most acclaimed renaissance theme parks where the sights, sounds, tastes and beauty of the 16th Century come alive every Saturday and Sunday for 8 weekends October through November, from 9:00 AM to dusk.
  • Splashtown, Great water park located in the suburb of spring next to I-45. Splashtown is no longer part of the Six Flag's Chain of Amusment/Water Parks. Six Flags has recently sold the park to developers that will keep the park open until further notice.
  • The Orange Show, 2402 Munger St (IH-45 South (Gulf Freeway) to SH-35 (Telephone Rd) exit), +1-713-926-6368 (oranges@orangeshow.org, fax: +1-713-926-1506), [24]. 10AM-5PM Sa-Su. One-of-a-kind attraction dedicated to the eccentric, artistic and scientific. Features the Beer Can House and annual Art Car Parade. $1.
  • Random outdoor art work, things to notice
  • Super Happy Fun Land, is Houston's venue for experimental electronic music, underground jazz, and outsider art!
  • Aurora Picture Show, is a non-profit microcinema housed in a former church building in Houston, Texas.
  • Giant Sculptures of Presidents' Heads
  • Great Day Houston, Be part of the Great Day Houston LIVE studio audience.
  • The After Party, Be part of the The After Party studio audience (for groups).
  • Shooting, If you visit a shooting range you'll need a US drivers license to get to rent a gun.

Learn

Houston is home to many universities, including:

  • Rice University
  • University of Houston
  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center
  • Houston Baptist University
  • University of St. Thomas
  • Texas Southern University
  • Houston Community College (HCC)
  • University of Houston-Downtown

Buy

  • Galleria, 5085 Westheimer Rd. (at Post Oak Blvd.), 713-622-0663,10-9 Mo-Sa, 11 - 7 Su. Free parking (if you find the right lots). A huge indoor shopping mall with 375 stores. Upscale shopping. Food court and fine restaurants. Indoor ice-skating rink.
  • Baybrook Mall, 500 Baybrook Mall (IH-45 South at Bay Area Blvd.), Friendswood, 281-488-4620. 10-9 Mo-Sa, 11-7 Su.
  • Memorial City Mall, 303 Memorial City (IH-10 West at Gessner), 713-464-8640 (welcome@memorialcitymall.com). Has many department stores and also an indoor ice skating rink.
  • Katy Mills Mall, 5000 Katy Mills Cr., Katy (25 miles west on IH-10), 281-644-5000 (katymills@themills.com), 10-9 Mo-Sa, 11-6 Su. In the nearby city of Katy, about 25 miles west of downtown Houston.
  • The Woodlands Mall, 1201 Lake Woodlands Dr, The Woodlands (30 miles north on IH-45), 281-363-3363. 10-9 Mo-Sa, 11-7 Su.

In general, prices in Houston are lower than in other major US cities.

Eat

Houston has outstanding dining options, and is widely considered the most restaurant-oriented city in the United States, with a wide variety of ethnic restaurants, superb Tex-Mex, a great number of steakhouses, fine dining, as well as chains. For some of the best surprises, stop by any nondescript taqueria and order nearly anything at random.

Budget

  • Lenox Barbecue & Catering, 5420 Harrisburg Blvd., 713-926-2649.
  • Goode Company Barbeque, 5109 Kirby Dr.. One of the city's most reputed barbecue restaurants. $5-10.
  • 100% Taquito, 3245 IH-59 (Southwest Fwy. at Buffalo Spwy.), 713-665-2900. Trendy, authentic Mexico City-type taco joint.
  • Tokyo Bowl, 2402 Bay Area Blvd., 281-480-5311. Japanese fast food. $10.
  • Mai's, 3403 Milam, 713-520-7648 (fax: 713-523-9043),10-3am Su-Th, 10-4am Fr-Sa. Vietnamese food, popular with the late night crowd $10.
  • Pappas Bar-B-Q, 1217 Pierce St., Texas barbeque by the Pappas brothers.
  • Chuy's, 2706 Westheimer Rd., Tex-mex with flair.
  • Taqueria Del Sol, 8114 Park Place Blvd.. Authentic Mexican food.
  • Mission Burritos, 2245 West Alabama. A few (two?) locations, but 2245 West Alabama has more charm. Biggest, best burritos in town; they always have a 'Burrito of the Month' that is a sure bet
  • Amy's Ice Cream, 3816 Farnham (Off Shepherd, just north of US-59), 713-526-2697. 11:30-midnight Su-Th, 11:30-1am Fr-Sa. Texas' own super premium, all natural ice cream. $5.

Mid-range

  • Kanomwan, 736 1/2 Telephone Rd., 713-923-4236. Wonderful Thai restaurant in historic 3rd Ward; home of the "Thai Nazi" (a la "Seinfeld").
  • Taste of Texas, 10505 Katy Freeway (IH-10 between BW-8 and Gessner). "The finest steaks and prime rib (only Certified Angus Beef) money can buy." Award-winning wine list, lobster, freshly baked breads, etc. Menu is translated into 12 different languages.
  • Nit-Noi, 2426 Bolsover, 713-524-8114. Thai cuisine. Several locations.
  • Chabuca's, 316 NASA-1, Webster, 281-554-8000 (reservation@chabucas.com, fax: 281-332-5029). South American style food and buffet, great atmosphere.
  • Kim Son, 2001 Jefferson St., 713-222-2461 (info@kimson.com). 11-midnight Fr-Sa, 11-11 Su-Th. Houston's biggest Vietnamese restaurant, several other locations.
  • McGonigal's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk (Near Shepherd and US-59), 713-528-5999 (theduck@mcgonigels.com). Pub atmosphere and great food. $10-15.
  • Ruggles Grill, 903 Westheimer Rd., 713-524-3839. An American bistro, several locations.
  • Mystery Cafe, 2400 West Loop South (Sheraton, IH-610 at Westheimer), 713-944-2583. "Where MURDER is always on the menu!" $52.95/person.
  • Niko Niko's, 2520 Montrose, 713-528-4976. 10-10 Mo-Th, 10-11pm Fr-Sa, 11-9 Su.

Splurge

  • Mark's American Cuisine, 1658 Westheimer Rd., 713-523-3800. Lunch: 11-2 Mo-Fr, Dinner: 6:00pm-11:00pm Mo-Th, 5:30pm-midnight Fr, 5:00pm-midnight Sa, 5:00pm-10:00pm Su. Award-winning four-star restaurant by owner and chef Mark Cox. Housed in an old church for a unique atmosphere. Reservations required.
  • Tony's, 3755 Richmond Ave., 713-622-6778. Houston's ultimate dining experience. Tony Vallone has set the tone for fine dining in Houston for decades. Parisian chef Olivier Ciesielski interprets contemporary cuisine with classic French care. Reservations required.
  • Da Marco, 1520 Westheimer Rd., 713-807-8857. One of Houston's best restaurants--known for great wine and Italian fare. Reservations required.
  • Cafe Annie, 1728 Post Oak Blvd, 713-840-1111. Insanely expensive prices, but very good American cuisine. Reservations required.

Drink

  • West Alabama Icehouse, 1919 West Alabama. Open since 1928, is a bar that provides outdoor seating and free hot dogs. Because of the outdoor seating, people are allowed to bring their dogs, play horseshoes, and basketball. There is usually live country music on Friday nights.
  • Little Woodrow's, 2301 W Alabama St (between Kirby and Greenbrier), 713-529-0449. Serves beer and wine. Steak night once a week. Pool tables and Golden Tee.
  • Gingerman, 5607 Morningside Dr., 713-526-2770. The original of a small chain, has a loyal community following. Serves lots of local and specialty beer, including hard-to-find and cask ales. $4/pt.
  • McGonigal's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk (Near Shepherd and US-59), 713-528-5999 (theduck@mcgonigels.com). Local bar, probably the best bet to find a variety of special and cask ales. $4/pt.
  • The Outpost Tavern, 18113 Egret Bay Blvd. (At NASA-1), 281-333-1235 (OutPostFriends@ATT.net). Dingy local bar with a colorful crowd, (inaccurately) portrayed as an astronaut hangout in movies like Space Cowboys and Rocketman (but no less worth the visit).
  • Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, Main at Texas, down town. A staggering variety of beers, some wine, scantily clad staff. $3-$6/pt.
  • BJ's Restaurant and Brewery, 515 W. Bay Area Blvd., Webster, 281-316-3037 (fax: 281-316-4213). 11 am - 12 am MO-TH, 11 am - 1 am FR. A brewpub with several house brews and a variety of microbrews available. $4/pt.

Local Beer

  • The Saint Arnold Brewery, located in Houston, is billed as Texas oldest microbrewery. Their brews are often sold in local bars. Very popular beers are the Texas Wheat, Oktoberfest (August through October), and Christmas Ale (November through December).
  • BJ's Restaurant and Brewery has a location in Webster. Until recently, all their beer was brewed on site, but it is now subcontracted to the Saint Arnold Brewery. The Jeremiah Red, Tatonka Stout, and Berry Burst Cider are loved by locals. There are other locations in Houston including Bay Area Blvd. in Clear Lake.

Sleep

Budget

  • Microtel Inn & Suites Houston (Clear Lake City), 1620 Nasa Rd , Tel: (281) 335-0800.
  • Houston International Hostel, 5302 Crawford Street, +1 713 523-1009. Beds start at $14.95 per night.

Mid-range

  • AmeriSuites Houston Intercontinental Airport/Greenspoint, 300 Ronan Park Place, (281) 820-6060. Located just eight miles from Houston Intercontinental Airport and 10 miles from downtown Houston.
  • Courtyard - Galleria, 3131 West Loop S. Close to the William P. Hobby Airport and only a 40-minute drive from Houston's major Airport, the George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
  • Fairfield Inn - East, 10155 I-10 East. Seven miles from Downtown Houston, the Fairfield Inn Houston Hotel and only 30 minutes from Houston's international airport, the George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
  • Fairfield Inn - Galleria, 3131 West Loop S. A quarter of a mile from uptown, near Houston's Galleria Mall and within easy reach of many of Houston's popular tourist attractions including Houston's Astrodome, Houston Museum District and Houston Space Center. Situated in close proximity to the William P. Hobby Airport. Also, it's only a 40-minute drive from Houston's major airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
  • Hampton Inn - East, 828 Mercury Dr, 713-673-4200. Near Jacinto city, east of Houston, only seven miles from Downtown Houston, and all the most interesting and most popular Houston tourist attractions. Only 30 minutes drive from the George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
  • Holiday Inn - Airport, 15222 John F. Kennedy Blvd, 281-449-2311. A midscale hotel right outside the main Houston Airport and half an hour's drive north of downtown Houston. The hotel runs a frequent shuttle to and from the airport, and guests staying at the hotel have the benefit of free on-site parking.
  • Holiday Inn - Greenway, 2712 Southwest Freeway, 713-523-8448. 16 miles from Houston Hobby Airport, 27 miles from Houston Airport, and just 20 minutes from downtown Houston.
  • Holiday Inn - Medical Center, 6800 S. Main St, 713-528-7744. Great location close to the Texas Medical Center, the world-class hospital complex 4 miles south-west of downtown Houston, 13 miles from Houston Hobby Airport and 25 miles from Houston Intercontinental Airport. The hotel provides complimentary transportation across the Center and further into Houston.
  • Holiday Inn Select, 14703 Park Row, 281-558-5580. A convenient location just 0.5 mile from "Energy Corridor" in Houston and only 16 miles from downtown, while both the main Houston airports are 33 miles away.
  • Marriott Houston North Greenspoint, 255 N Sam Houston Pkwy East 281-875-4000. Conveniently located off Beltway 8, adjacent to the Greenspoint Mall, and just 15 minutes from George Bush Intercontinental Airport, this full-service Marriott Houston hotel is within walking distance of area shopping, restaurants and corporations. Enjoy legendary Texas hospitality in our 390 newly renovated rooms and suites. Refresh yourself in our indoor / outdoor pool, whirlpool, and sauna.
  • Marriott Houston Hobby Airport, 9100 Gulf Freeway, 713-943-7979. Only minutes from the heart of downtown Houston. Perfect for meetings, conventions, or a weekend escape from the ordinary.
  • Marriott Houston North Greenspoint, 255 N Sam Houston Pkwy East, Houston, Texas 77060, Phone: 281-875-4000 Fax: 281-875-6208. Conveniently located off Beltway 8, adjacent to the Greenspoint Mall, and just 15 minutes from George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
  • Microtel Inn & Suites - Clear Lake, 1620 Nasa Rd 1, 281-335-0800. Economy/budget hotel offering guests free local and free long distance calls in the continental United States, and free wireless high-speed Internet access in every room of their hotels, as well as advance online check-in and check-out with unlimited access to online folio information.
  • Wyndham - Greenspoint, 12400 Greenspoint Dr, Conveniently located just north of Houston in Greenspoint, Texas. Across the street from Greenspoint Mall, the area's largest shopping center. Minutes from Mercer Botanical Center and SplashTown Water Park. Within a half-hour of the city's major sports venues and businesses. Eight miles from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)

Splurge

  • Alden Hotel, 1117 Prairie Street, (832) 200 8800. Located in the heart of Downtown, Alden boasts a modern minimalist interior and is one of Houston's top boutique luxury hotels.
  • Granduca Houston, 1080 Uptown Park Boulevard, (888) 472-6382. Located in the heart of prestigious Uptown, Granduca, Houston's newest luxury hotel, offers the ambiance of an Italian palace along with the upscale touches of a five-star hotel.
  • Hotel Derek, 2525 W. Loop South, (713) 961-3000. Located in the heart of prestigious Uptown, one block from the world-renowned Houston Galleria shopping and dining.
  • Hotel Icon, 220 Main St. (Congress St.), (713) 224-ICON. Located in the heart of Downtown, this is a top luxury hotel with a touch of Southern detail.
  • InterContinental Houston, 2222 W. Loop South, (713) 627-7600. Located in the heart of prestigious Uptown, one block from the world-renowned Houston Galleria shopping and dining.
  • Omni, Four Riverway, (888) 444-6664. Centrally located in the prestigious Post Oak neighborhood, the hotel is near the Galleria - Houston's premier shopping venue - and only minutes from downtown. A proud recipient of the AAA 5-diamond award, the hotel is surrounded by impeccably manicured grounds and two sparkling pools.
  • Omni - Westside, 13210 Katy Freeway, (888) 444-6664. A luxury hotel featuring an atrium lobby complete with indoor lakes and waterfalls, tropical fish and glass elevators. Located in the exclusive energy corridor just 30 minutes from George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport.

Contact

Phone

Houston has multiple telephone area codes and mandatory 10-digit dialing. For any number, even within your own area code, you need to dial areacode + number. For local calls, you do not dial a 1+ or a 0+ before the number. Some calls within Houston are considered long distance, and for those you need to dial 1 + areacode + number.

Houston's area codes are: 713, 281, and 832.

Radio

  • 88.7FM, KUHF: National Public Radio news and programs, classical music
  • 89.3FM, KSBJ: Christian
  • 90.1FM, KPFT/Pacifica: alternative radio, defenders of human rights, BBC world news
  • 91.7FM, KTRU: Rice University Radio: Very fun; music you won't hear on any other radio station, but without being eccentric to the point of being un-entertaining. Childrens' program on Sat afternoon
  • 90.9FM, Texas Southern University: jazz mainly
  • 92.9FM, KKBQ: Country
  • 93.7FM, The Arrow: Classic Rock, Dean and Rog in the mornings
  • 94.5FM, The Buzz: Recent Rock
  • 96.5FM, Rock, Pop, Adult Contemporary
  • 97.9FM, KBXX: The Box, Urban
  • 99.1FM, Adult Contemporary, Soft Rock, Love Songs at night
  • 100.3FM, KILT: Real Country Variety
  • 102.1FM, KMJQ: R&B and Classic Soul, Quiet Storm at night
  • 103.7FM, Rock station with all kinds of different types of rock, Walton and Johnson in the mornings
  • 104.1FM, KRBE: Contemporary Hits: Top 40, Roula and Ryan in the mornings
  • 104.9FM, KPTY: Hip-Hop & R&B
  • 106.9FM, The Point: Basically eighties music with a hint of some late seventies and early nineties
  • 107.5FM, Oldies
  • 610AM, KILT: Sports Radio 610: Sports talk
  • 740AM, KTRH: News, traffic, weather, talk shows
  • 790AM, KBME: ESPN 790, "The Sports Animal", Sports talk
  • 950AM, KPRC: Talk Radio 950, Talk shows

Stay safe

Houston is a big city and, like any other big city, has crime. Use common sense. Violent crime however has increased somewhat after the arrival of evacuees of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina.

METRO Rail

Is the starter line an expanding system which starts at UofH Downtown, through downtown proper, into Midtown, the Museum district, Medical center and the Reliant Complex near the south side. Houston Natives have a tendency to park along the rail line or the south side lot to go into downtown or medical center as it's easier to get in and out of those areas with the train without the hassle of parking and traffic.

Please, be careful when coming near the METRORail track, especially at intersections.

DO NOT IGNORE THE SIGNS, since the trains move very quickly and run at almost all hours of the day and night. It runs almost silently. At many streets, left turns are not permitted. Also watch the signs and signals, because some will change as trains approach. Do not drive on the tracks, there are large raised white domes that separate the roadway and the rail line. In some areas signs may indicate driving (or walking) on the tracks is permitted (currently only in the Texas Medical Center) but make sure it is safe to do so.

Drive across the tracks only when you are sure it is safe to do so especially at night. The train's whistle is quiet and can often not be heard by a driver inside a car.

Cope

Get out

Daytrip ideas:

  • Galveston, Only about an hour's drive southeast from the city, Houstonians go to Galveston island for its beaches, the Strand, Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston, and Moody Gardens.
  • Surfside, Another beach, less crowded than Galveston. About an hour from Houston.
  • Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, TX (about 174 miles west of Houston). Huge waterpark, rated #1 waterpark in America by the Travel Channel.
  • Kemah - Nice Boardwalk with Great Restaurants. South of Houston. On the way to Galveston Island. Kemah Boardwalk
  • Downtown Houston Tunnels. 25 miles of tunnels run under Downtown Houston with restaurants and retail shops throughout Downtown. Good for a rainy day.
  • Bluebell Creameries See the Texas countryside in Brenham and tour the creamery. About one hour (75 mi) north west of Houston along US 290.
  • Houston Chinatown. Located in Southwest Houston, Chinatown is emerging as a tourist attraction in Houston.

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Goods & Services in Houston, Texas.

Find out the little necessities in life like, Grocery Stores, Department Stores, Gas Stations, Dry Cleaners, Nail Salons, Fast Food, Auto Repair, Plumbers, Shopping Centers and Post Offices.