Houston is known as the Bayou City, but that barely scratches the surface of what the fourth largest city in the United States has to offer.
Lauded as a top tourist destination because of its diverse theater and arts scene, miles of acclaimed restaurants and family-friendly activities, Houston is perfect for a weekend summer getaway.
Where to Stay
Check into Houston’s newest dual-branded hotel Holiday Inn Express Houston and Staybridge Suites Houston – Galleria Area. Conveniently located in the bustling Galleria area, the hotels are minutes away from many of the city’s top destinations, including Post Oak Boulevard in the Uptown District, the River Oaks District and Memorial Park.
With a price point perfect for families or groups, it will be hard to leave the comfortable rooms, rooftop swimming pool, and complimentary breakfast. Staybridge Suites offers even more great amenities for families, such as a full-size refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave in each suite.
Although you may want to luxuriate in your hotel room, Palace Social is a great way to start your stay in H-town. The iconic Palace Bowling Lanes have been reimagined into a state-of-the-art entertainment establishment that not only has eight lanes of bowling, but an expansive arcade, an esports lounge, virtual reality games, and two multi-sport simulators.
Virtual reality games and bowling work up quite an appetite, and no stay in Houston would be complete without a steak dinner. Gatsby’s Prime Steakhouse, located in the city’s Montrose neighborhood, delivers delicious food and a fun 1920s-themed atmosphere. The buzzy restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating and tasty cocktails at their beautiful jewel box bar.
Stroll n’ Shop
If your indulgent dinner leaves you needing a stroll, head to River Oaks District. The upscale outdoor shopping center is perfect for an evening of posh window shopping or an after-dinner drink at one of the District’s many restaurants. If dessert is what you are craving, try Amorino Gelato, famous for its beautiful flower gelato cones. Or try one of their many flavors of macarons and sorbet, you can’t go wrong.
Time to soak in some Vitamin D at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center or Memorial Park. Two of Houston’s largest and most visited green spaces are located minutes away from the hotel, making getting outside a breeze. In addition to their newly renovated Nature Center, the Houston Arboretum recently unveiled their new Nature Playscape. A perfect playground for families, the play space is inspired by nature and designed to complement the surrounding vegetation. After playtime, hit the trails for a nature hike or check out the calendar to see what fun activities are going on during your stay.
Memorial Park recently underwent Phase One of a ten-year $205 million renovation for the urban oasis. Clay Family Easter Glades is a 100-acre park within a park offering a wetland area, trails and picnic spots. Spending time at either of these lush parks will make you forget you are in the middle of one of the nation’s largest cities.
After a morning outdoors, Mendocino Farms, located in Uptown Park, is the perfect lunch spot for rest, relaxation and great food. Fuel up on one of their large salads or made-to-order sandwiches, and don’t forget that famous lemonade.
Post lunch, immerse yourself in the cultural phenomenon Immersive Van Gogh. In Houston August 12 through October and designed by Creative Director and Italian film producer Massimiliano Siccardi, a 30-year pioneer in immersive content, with music by Italian multimedia composer Luca Longobardi, the production harnesses video and projections to create a creative encounter like no other. Merging state-of-the-art technology, theatrical storytelling, and world-class animation, Immersive Van Gogh vividly brings the celebrated painter’s dreams to life with unprecedented movements in his masterpieces.
The Perfect Ending
Round off your stay in Houston with a delectable meal at Guard and Grace Houston. Dig into a hearty surf and turf or try something from the raw bar. Also, don’t miss out on their carrot-infused cocktails and take note of the beautiful installation of 4,600 copper rods hanging from the ceiling.
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Cover photo Anthony Rathburn/Houston Arboretum
Gabi De la Rosa lives in Houston with her husband and three children. Visit her on Instagram @gabioftheroses_htx