When we left Colorado, at 6 in the morning, I was flying with my skiing thermals under my jeans and my sheepskin snow boots. I was still cold. When we got off the plane in Houston I thought I was going to melt. It was a mildly warm, sunshine day when we landed a few days before Christmas in the heart of the American winter. A day that could easily pass for summer in many parts of the world. I was out of the ski-boots and into a skirt sans thermals before you could say “hee-haw”.
Houston really took me by surprise. Of course I knew it wasn’t a dusty frontier town populated by saloons and stetson hats. What I wasn’t expecting though, was such a sprawling, modern city. Houston is beautiful. The city centre is filled with galleries, museums, restaurants and theatres. It is a city of art, science, thinkers and the occasional pair of cowboy boots. Despite what I expected, I fell a little in love with Houston.
Houston doesn’t have much in the way of public transport, and Houston is big. Really big. And spread out. So in all likelihood you will need to rent a car. Unless you have friends who will be showing you the way. When it comes to car-rental I would seriously recommend renting a car with a GPS if you don’t have a good one on your phone. Specifically with a lane-assist function. The use of lanes is rather specific. By that I mean you get a bill in the post a little while after your trip if you drive in a certain lane. The highways are also really complicated, so don’t be surprised if you end up taking the scenic route in your first few trips.
The Houston City Pass
If you are spending an extended amount of time in Houston I recommend getting a Houston City Pass. It is a one-time purchase and although it seems a little expensive, it is really worth it. The city pass gives you entry to five different attractions, and it allows you to skip the long queues. Even if you don’t go to all the attractions, it still works out cheaper than buying your tickets one at a time. You can buy your pass online beforehand and pick up the actual ticket at your first attraction. For more info click here.
A Little Of It All
If you want to catch a show, Houston is your city. There is no shortage of mainstream productions, ballets, musicals or fringe shows. Most of Houston’s top attractions are the theatres and performing arts centres. If you don’t feel like taking in a show, there is no shortage of museums – on a range of topics – or galleries. Still not your taste? Get off your boots for the evening and go beer tasting at Karbach Brewing Company and play some of their outdoor games.
I really wanted cowboy boots. Proper Texan cowboy boots. In Houston you are spoiled for choice. The top shops to look out for are Boot Barn and Cavenders. They both sell boots and some other cowboy-looking-gear such as hats and belts. I never realized that there would be such a wide selection of boots as I saw that day. From bright red, right up to the knee heeled and pointy toed boots to the beige cowboy booties I eventually bought. Flashy and jewelled numbers to boots actual ranchers wear while working on their farms can be purchased at these two stores.
Summer in the City
I would not recommend going to Houston in the summer. Even locals get out of Houston in the summer. We were in Texas in the middle of the winter. Days after an arctic blast. The air conditioning was still running full time.
Jokes and short sentences aside, Houston gets uncomfortably hot in the summer, so I would not suggest going there during the June/July period. If you are going in December, pack in a few pairs of shorts along with a light jacket as I often found that a pair of jeans and t-shirt was still too hot.
Houston was a city that far surpassed my expectations. In every way. One that I don’t feel like I’ve seen nearly enough of. In the next few blog posts I will tell you all about what we did, and where we went in the great city of The Lone Star State.