Aerial photo of the Houston, Texas skyline at night

The Ultimate Houston Travel Guide

Welcome to the city that stands tall and proud, where history meets urban elegance, and deep-dish pizza reigns supreme. Chicago, Illinois, is a vibrant metropolis that beckons travelers from around the globe.

Our one-stop guide shares everything you need to know about visiting the vibrant city of Chicago! Our comprehensive travel guide is packed full of insider tips, money-saving tricks, and the best of what the Windy City has to offer. Whether you’re a foodie looking to taste Chicago’s world-renowned deep-dish pizza and Italian beef, an architecture aficionado eager to gaze upon the city’s pioneering skyscrapers, or a culture enthusiast ready to immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and thriving arts scene, we’ve got you covered.

Dive in and start exploring the city that has something for everyone, where every neighborhood holds a new adventure, every restaurant a culinary delight, and every vista a breathtaking view. Welcome to Chicago!

Don't have time to read it all now? Skip to the parts you need to know now:

Top 5 things to do in Houston

The Apollo 17 command module America is on exhibit at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas

1. Space Center Houston

Start your adventure in the Space City appropriately with a visit to the Space Center Houston. As the official visitor center of NASA Johnson Space Center, this is the ultimate destination for anyone interested in space exploration. This premier learning center offers an inside look at NASA’s astronauts in training, historic moon landing artifacts, and even a chance to touch a moon rock. The Space Center Houston should be at the top of your “things to do in Houston” list.

The Museum District at the Red Line Northbound Station

2. Houston Museum District

With 19 different institutions, the Houston Museum District is a paradise for art, history, and science lovers. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, boasts an impressive collection of global artworks. The Houston Museum of Natural Science offers a stunning dinosaur hall, an extensive rare gem collection, and a captivating planetarium. For families, the Children’s Museum of Houston is a must-visit.

A picture of a jaguar at the Houston Zoo

3. The Houston Zoo

Situated in Hermann Park, the Houston Zoo is a treasure trove of wildlife. With over 6,000 animals from 900 species, the zoo provides an immersive experience that’s fun for the whole family. Don’t miss the opportunity to feed giraffes or watch sea lions perform in their daily shows.

View of Downtown Houston from Rosemont Bridge (near Montrose Boulevard) in Buffalo Bayou Park.

4. Buffalo Bayou Park

Escape the city’s hustle and bustle by visiting Buffalo Bayou Park. This 160-acre green space in the heart of Houston offers biking and hiking trails, kayak rentals, and a stunning skyline view. Don’t forget to check out the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, a historic underground reservoir turned art space.

5. Rodeo Houston

No visit to Houston would be complete without experiencing the largest livestock exhibition and rodeo in the world. Rodeo Houston is a must-see event that encompasses the true Texan spirit. It’s not just about the thrilling rodeo competition; the event also features live country music, a carnival with a variety of fun rides, and a world-class BBQ contest. Whether you’re a rodeo enthusiast or a first-timer, Rodeo Houston guarantees an unforgettable experience.

Top 3 Luxury Hotels in Houston

1. La Colombe d'Or Hotel

For those seeking the pinnacle of luxury while traveling to Houston, look no further than the La Colombe d’Or Hotel. This boutique hotel, nestled in the heart of Houston’s vibrant Montrose district, exudes elegance and charm. Each suite is meticulously designed, offering a unique blend of classic and contemporary styles that will surely leave you in awe. The hotel is also home to a remarkable collection of art, making it a must-visit for art enthusiasts. And don’t miss the chance to dine at their renowned restaurant, serving mouth-watering dishes that perfectly embody Houston’s rich culinary heritage.

2. The Post Oak Hotel

If you’re looking for a touch of opulence in your Houston travels, The Post Oak Hotel is the epitome of luxury and comfort. Situated in the upscale Uptown Houston, this five-star hotel offers a blend of sleek design and sophisticated amenities that’s second to none. Each room is crafted with attention to detail, offering panoramic views of the Houston skyline that will take your breath away. Don’t forget to indulge in their world-class spa, or savor exquisite dining at their multiple award-winning restaurants. The hotel also boasts Texas’ only Forbes Five-Star restaurant and a remarkable private art collection.

3. Four Seasons Hotel Houston

For those planning a trip to Houston and seeking luxury accommodation, the Four Seasons Hotel Houston is a destination in itself. Located in the heart of downtown Houston, this five-star hotel provides an oasis of comfort and luxury amidst the bustling city. Each room offers a soothing ambiance with modern decor and breathtaking views of the city. The hotel features a rooftop pool, a top-tier spa, and a state-of-the-art fitness center, ensuring your stay is both relaxing and invigorating. Be sure to explore their culinary offerings, which range from delectable Southern cuisine to handcrafted cocktails at the trendy lounge.

Top 3 budget Hotels in Houston

1. Hotel Derek

If you’re traveling to Houston and seeking a chic, modern stay, look no further than Hotel Derek. Situated in Houston’s fashionable Galleria district, this boutique hotel offers a stylish twist on traditional Texas hospitality. Each room features bold colors, contemporary design, and stunning city views, promising a stay that’s as comfortable as it is visually appealing. The hotel is just a stone’s throw away from some of Houston’s best shopping and dining venues, making it a perfect base for urban exploration. Don’t forget to unwind in their outdoor pool or enjoy a drink at the hip Revolve Kitchen + Bar.

2. Hyatt Place Houston North

When traveling to Houston, finding the right balance between comfort, convenience, and affordability is key. The Hyatt Place Houston North offers just that. Located near George Bush Intercontinental Airport, this hotel is perfect for travelers who desire quick access to the city’s main transportation hub. With spacious rooms, modern amenities, and a 24/7 on-site market, Hyatt Place ensures your stay is as comfortable as it is convenient. The hotel is also a short drive from several Houston attractions, including the Sam Houston Race Park and the Greenspoint Mall. For business travelers, the hotel offers flexible meeting spaces and free Wi-Fi.

3. Aloft Houston Katy

For those traveling to Houston and looking for a trendy, comfortable stay, Aloft Houston Katy is a top choice. Positioned in the heart of Houston’s vibrant Energy Corridor and just a short distance from Katy Mills Mall, this hotel offers a prime location for both business and leisure travelers. The rooms at Aloft are stylishly designed with modern amenities, offering a comfortable haven after a day of exploration or work. Take a dip in their outdoor pool or unwind with a cocktail at the lively W XYZ Bar. For the tech-savvy traveler, Aloft provides keyless entry and free high-speed Wi-Fi. Experience the perfect blend of style, comfort, and convenience at Aloft Houston Katy on your next trip to Houston.

Colorful mural in downtown Houston

Houston Culture & Traditions

Houston, often referred to as the ‘Culinary and Cultural Capital of the South,’ is a vibrant city that boasts an array of diverse cultures and traditions. This mix has given birth to a unique local culture that is as dynamic as the city’s skyline. Let’s delve into the rich tapestry of Houston’s culture and traditions, and uncover what makes the Space City so special.

1. The Multicultural Mosaic

Houston is often celebrated as the most diverse city in America, a fact that is reflected in its cultural fabric. With over 90 languages spoken and communities from all corners of the globe, Houston is truly a melting pot of cultures. Explore Little India on Hillcroft, feast on authentic Vietnamese cuisine in Midtown, or experience the Latino influence in the Historic East End. Each neighborhood offers a glimpse into a different culture, making Houston a global city in the heart of Texas.

2. Art and Culture

Houston’s arts scene is a vibrant mix of traditional and contemporary expressions. The city is home to the Houston Theater District, where you can experience world-class performances at the Alley Theatre or the Houston Ballet. Meanwhile, the Museum District houses 19 museums that cater to a variety of interests, from fine arts to natural science. The city’s love for art is also seen in its colorful street murals and the Art Car Parade, an annual event showcasing elaborately decorated vehicles.

3. Houston’s Music Tradition

From country and blues to hip-hop and Tejano, Houston’s music scene is as diverse as its populace. The city has given birth to music legends like Beyoncé and ZZ Top. Venues like the House of Blues and the Continental Club offer live music nightly, while annual events like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo attract top performers from around the world.

4. The Rodeo Culture

Speaking of the rodeo, this is a tradition that is quintessentially Houston. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is not just about the cattle and cowboys; it’s a celebration of Texas culture, complete with live concerts, carnivals, and barbecue cook-offs. This annual event is a must-experience for any visitor wanting a true taste of Houston’s spirit.

5. Sports Tradition

Houstonians are passionate about their sports. With teams in all major leagues, there’s always a game to catch. Cheer on the Astros at Minute Maid Park, watch the Rockets shoot hoops at the Toyota Center, or experience the frenzy of a Texans game at NRG Stadium. Participating in the city’s sports culture is a great way to connect with locals.

From its cultural diversity and vibrant arts scene to its love for music, rodeos, and sports, Houston is a city that revels in its unique blend of traditions. It’s this blend that makes Houston a fascinating destination, offering something for everyone. So come, immerse yourself in the Houston culture and experience the warmth and vibrancy of the Space City.

Money Saving Tips for Visiting Houston

Leverage Public Transportation

One of the best ways to save money when visiting Houston is to make good use of its public transportation system. The METRORail offers a budget-friendly way to navigate the city, with access to many key attractions like the Museum District, the Houston Zoo, and the NRG Stadium.

Free Museum Days:

Did you know that many of Houston’s top museums offer free admission on specific days or times? For example, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Houston Museum of Natural Science offer free general admission on Thursdays. Be sure to check the museums’ official websites for up-to-date information.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors:

Houston is home to many beautiful parks and outdoor spaces that are completely free to enjoy. Walk, bike, or picnic in the expansive Hermann Park, or explore the scenic trails of Buffalo Bayou Park. Visiting these outdoor gems is a great way to experience Houston’s natural beauty while saving on entertainment costs.

Eat Like a Local:

Houston’s culinary scene is diverse and delectable – and it doesn’t have to be expensive! Venture into areas like Chinatown and the Mahatma Gandhi District to find delicious and affordable cuisine from around the world. Food trucks are another great option for budget-friendly, yet mouthwatering meals.

Book Accommodation Smartly:

With a bit of savvy planning, you can find great deals on Houston accommodation. Consider traveling in the off-peak season or booking your stay well in advance to get the best rates. Websites like Booking.com or Airbnb often have competitive prices for Houston hotels and rentals.

security Tips for Visiting Houston

Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, is a bustling metropolis brimming with culture, cuisine, and exciting attractions. Like any major city, however, visitors should be aware of safety considerations to ensure a secure and enjoyable trip. Here are five essential security tips for your Houston adventure.

1. Be Streetwise

Being streetwise is crucial when navigating a big city like Houston. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. It’s wise to plan your route in advance and stick to well-lit, busy streets, particularly at night. Be sure to keep your personal belongings close and secure.

2. Utilize Secure Transportation

Houston’s public transportation system, including the METRORail and METRO buses, is generally safe and efficient. However, like any public transportation, keep an eye on your belongings and stay alert. If you’re using a rideshare service, always verify the driver’s identity and the car details before getting in.

3. Secure Your Accommodation

Whether you’re staying in a luxury hotel or a budget-friendly Airbnb, it’s essential to ensure your accommodation is secure. Always use the room safe for valuables, and make sure doors and windows are locked when you leave. If you’re staying in an Airbnb, read the reviews to ensure previous guests felt safe and secure.

4. Stay Hydrated and Weather-Aware

Houston’s climate can be hot and humid, particularly in the summer months. Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen to avoid heat-related illnesses. Also, be aware of potential weather changes, such as heavy rain or storms, which can cause flash flooding in certain areas.

5. Emergency Preparedness

Familiarize yourself with local emergency numbers – 911 is the general emergency number in Houston. It’s also a good idea to know the location of the nearest hospital to your accommodation. If you have a specific medical condition, carry information about your condition and any necessary medication with you at all times.

Houston is a vibrant and welcoming city with plenty to offer visitors. By following these safety tips, you can enjoy your Houston experience with peace of mind, knowing you’re prepared and secure. So get ready to explore the Space City and make lasting memories.

Houston's Food Scene

Classic Texas BBQ

Texas Barbecue

When it comes to authentic Houston cuisine, Texas BBQ stands tall. This culinary tradition is deeply ingrained in Houston’s food culture, making the city a mecca for BBQ lovers. Texas BBQ in Houston is all about slow-cooked, smoked meats – think juicy brisket, tender ribs, and succulent sausages, often served with a side of coleslaw, beans, and a hearty slice of Texas toast. The city is teeming with barbecue joints, each boasting their unique recipes and smoking techniques. From the award-winning pitmasters at Killen’s BBQ to the family recipes at Gatlin’s BBQ, Houston promises a mouthwatering BBQ adventure that’s sure to satisfy your palate.

Breakfast tacos on a decorative china plate

Breakfast Tacos

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but in Houston, it’s also the most delicious, thanks to the city’s love for breakfast tacos. A Houston staple, breakfast tacos are the perfect blend of Tex-Mex flavors – soft flour tortillas filled with eggs, cheese, and a variety of fillings ranging from bacon and sausage to potatoes and fresh salsa. Visit the Original Villa Arcos for some of the best breakfast tacos in Houston, or explore local favorites like Laredo Taqueria. Start your day the Houston way with a hearty breakfast taco feast!

Fried chicken and waffles on a white plate

Chicken and Waffles

If you’re after a dish that combines sweet, savory, and soulful, look no further than Houston’s take on chicken and waffles. This beloved comfort food is a staple on many Houston brunch menus, featuring fluffy, golden waffles paired with crispy, perfectly seasoned fried chicken. A drizzle of syrup brings it all together for a dish that’s truly more than the sum of its parts. The Breakfast Klub is a legendary spot for chicken and waffles in Houston, serving up this classic combination to long lines of devoted fans. Experience the magic of Houston’s chicken and waffles for a meal that’s sure to hit the spot.

Top 3 Fine Dining Restaurants in Houston

1. brenner's on the bayou

Embark on an unforgettable culinary journey at Brenner’s on the Bayou, a Houston legend renowned for its exceptional dining experience. Ranked as one of the top restaurants in Houston, this coveted American Steakhouse serves prime steaks, fresh seafood, and decadent desserts, making it an irreplaceable stop on your Houston travel itinerary. Coupled with an eclectic wine list that leaves nothing to be desired, Brenner’s on the Bayou is more than just a restaurant – it’s a feast for the senses.

2. masraff's

Savor the best of Houston’s culinary landscape at Masraff’s, a city icon renowned for its contemporary Euro-American cuisine, meticulously crafted cocktails, and a wine collection recognized by Wine Spectator. Locals and international visitors alike find themselves drawn to the refined dining experience provided by this popular choice in Houston’s restaurant scene. Owned and operated by the father-son duo Tony and Russell Masraff, the establishment offers a high-energy bar and lounge, a romantic candlelit dinner on the patio, and a private room for celebrating life’s milestones.

3. The Chef's Table Houston

Step into the culinary embrace of The Chef’s Table in Houston, an outstanding restaurant that offers a unique dining experience that shouldn’t be missed on your visit to the city. Nestled at 110 Vintage Park Blvd, this gem in the Houston dining scene serves a tantalizing array of American, Steakhouse, Seafood, International, European, and Portuguese cuisines, accommodating varied palates from lunch till late night​​. The restaurant exudes a classy yet comfortable atmosphere, making it an ideal spot for a sophisticated night out or a cozy dinner with friends​.

Top 3 Restaurants to Get Houston's Famous Dishes

1. Pinkerton's BBQ

For all the die-hard BBQ lovers planning a trip to Houston, Pinkerton’s Barbecue is a must-visit destination. This classic Texas pit barbecue joint, set in a homey, lodge-like atmosphere, serves up deeply flavorful and dreamy barbecue that’s worth a drive. Owner and pitmaster Grant Pinkerton starts his meats over mesquite and finishes with white oak, a process that elevates BBQ to an art form. Standout dishes include the crusty beef rib, great brisket, zingy Czech sausage, and inventive sides like jalapeño cheese rice and mustard potato salad. ​

2. Villa Arcos

Villa Arcos is renowned for its homemade tortillas, savory barbacoa, and delectable breakfast tacos. Nestled on Navigation Boulevard in Houston’s vibrant East End, this eatery is a must-visit for anyone seeking to taste Houston’s authentic Tex-Mex fare. Their breakfast tacos have been lauded as one of the best in the city, and their cheese enchiladas are highly recommended too. In a city known for its diverse culinary scene, Villa Arcos stands out for its authenticity and quality, making it a perfect pit stop for travelers exploring Houston’s culinary landscape.

3. The Breakfast Klub

Kickstart your day in Houston with a hearty breakfast at The Breakfast Klub, a popular Midtown spot known for serving the best breakfast in the city.  Dishing out Southern comfort food in a cozy, laid-back environment, The Breakfast Klub offers a variety of mouthwatering dishes like Katfish & Grits, Pork Chops & Eggs, and flavorful omelettes. Make sure to try ‘The Klub’ – a satisfying combination of chicken, eggs, and bacon or sausage. With its welcoming vibe and diverse crowd, The Breakfast Klub is the perfect place to experience authentic Houston hospitality while indulging in delicious breakfast classics​

Houston Transportation

METRORail:

The METRORail is a light rail system that traverses key parts of the city. With three lines – the Red Line, Green Line, and Purple Line – the METRORail connects downtown Houston to the Museum District, NRG Park, and various other destinations. It’s a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to get around.

METRO Buses:

In addition to the METRORail, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) operates an extensive network of bus routes. The METRO buses are another affordable way to traverse the city and reach destinations not covered by the METRORail.

Taxis and Rideshares:

Taxis and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft provide convenient and flexible transportation options in Houston. These services are especially useful if you’re traveling in a group or carrying a lot of luggage. Always ensure to verify your rideshare driver’s details before entering the vehicle for safety.

Bicycles:

Houston is becoming increasingly bike-friendly, with numerous bike lanes and trails throughout the city. The Houston BCycle program offers bike-sharing stations in downtown Houston and other locations. Biking is not only a healthy and green way to get around, but it also allows you to take in the sights at a leisurely pace.

Rental Cars:

Given Houston’s size and the distance between attractions, renting a car can be a practical option for many visitors. Numerous rental companies operate in the city, including at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the William P. Hobby Airport. Be mindful of Houston’s peak traffic hours when planning your journeys.

Walking:

Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of walking! Many of Houston’s downtown attractions are within walking distance of each other. Walking is a great way to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant street life and discover hidden gems along the way.

Houston Weather & Climate

63ºF

winter

Winter in Houston is quite mild compared to many parts of the United States. Temperatures average a comfortable high of 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius) and a low of 43 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius). While snowfall is rare in Houston, the winter months can bring occasional cold fronts. Despite this, winters are generally short and daytime temperatures are typically comfortable, making it an appealing time for those escaping harsher climates.

78ºF

spring

Spring in Houston is a delightful time of year. With an average high of 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius) and a low of 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius), spring offers comfortable temperatures perfect for enjoying Houston’s numerous outdoor activities. However, be prepared for the occasional spring shower as this is one of the city’s rainier seasons.

92ºF

summer

Summers in Houston are famously hot and humid. The average temperature during this season ranges from a high of 92 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius) to a low of 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius). Houston’s summer weather is often punctuated by afternoon thunderstorms, but don’t worry, these usually pass quickly. Despite the heat, the city is well adapted to the conditions, with air conditioning widely available and plenty of indoor activities to enjoy.

82ºF

Fall

Fall in Houston offers relief from the hot summer. With an average high of 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius) and a low of 62 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius), the weather is pleasant, making it ideal for exploring the city’s parks and outdoor attractions. The city’s fall foliage, while not as dramatic as in other regions, adds a dash of color to the cityscape.

Houston fun facts

Did you know that Houston, with its tropical climate, outpaces even the famously rainy Seattle when it comes to annual precipitation? Despite Seattle’s reputation, it’s Houston that takes the lead, receiving an impressive average of 49 inches of rainfall per year. This unexpected weather fact highlights Houston’s dynamic climate, offering lush greenery and an abundance of outdoor activities that cater to nature lovers. So, whether you’re planning a scenic hike or a city tour, don’t forget to pack an umbrella for your Houston adventure!

Among the many intriguing aspects of Houston are its numerous nicknames, each telling a different story of this dynamic city. Known as the ‘Bayou City’ for its network of slow-moving waterways, Houston is also dubbed the ‘Space City,’ a nod to its pivotal role in space exploration. Locals affectionately refer to it as ‘Hustle Town,’ underscoring the city’s energetic vibe and rapid development. And indeed, the moniker ‘City With No Limits’ aptly embodies Houston’s boundless potential and spirit. As you plan your visit to this multi-faceted city, delve into the rich narratives that each nickname holds!

Immersed in a rich space exploration history, Houston boasts a unique claim to fame – being the first word spoken on the moon. When Neil Armstrong made his legendary lunar landing, it was to Houston that his historic words were addressed, thus forever intertwining the city’s name with this groundbreaking achievement in space exploration. As you explore the ‘Space City’, you’ll find that Houston’s commitment to aerospace innovation continues to this day, making it a must-visit for all space enthusiasts.

Houston, a bustling cosmopolitan city, is home to the largest shopping mall in the Lone Star State. The city’s vibrant retail scene is dominated by the Galleria, an expansive shopping complex boasting a dazzling array of high-end boutiques, popular retailers, and diverse dining options. Whether you’re a seasoned shopper hunting for the latest fashion trends or simply seeking a leisurely day out, a visit to Houston’s colossal shopping hub is an essential part of your Houston travel itinerary.

Houston is not only a space and shopping destination but also a globally recognized healthcare hub. It’s home to the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, which serves over 10 million patients annually. With state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge medical research, Houston’s healthcare prowess underscores its position as a city of innovation and advanced technology. Whether you’re in the medical profession or simply fascinated by medical breakthroughs, Houston’s world-leading medical center is a testament to the city’s commitment to health and wellbeing.

Did you know that Houston is the second fastest-growing city in the US, hot on the heels of New York? This rapid growth can be attributed to the city’s robust economy, underpinned by thriving sectors like medicine, engineering, oil, gas, and aeronautics. As you tour ‘Hustle Town’, you’ll witness a city that’s not only growing, but evolving, and embracing the future with open arms. Experience the energy of Houston and its blossoming industries during your visit, and see firsthand why so many are choosing to call this dynamic city home.

see other articles about Houston

Aerial photo of the Houston, Texas skyline at night

The Ultimate Houston Travel Guide

Discover the vibrant heart of Texas with our Ultimate Travel Guide to Houston. Uncover hidden gems, indulge in the best local cuisine, and learn fun facts about this dynamic city. We’ve also packed in essential money-saving tips to make your Houston journey unforgettable yet budget-friendly. Dive in and get ready to explore Houston like never before!

Read More »

Did you enjoy this article? Share it with friends!

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email
Scroll to Top