Houston General Attractions
Houston General Attractions include Bayou Place, Old Market Square, Shops at Houston Place, The Galleria and Montrose Arts District, but overall, its a little lightweight for a fast growing 6 million person metro area.
DESCRIPTION: A large complex featuring many entertainment and dining options. Revention Music Center hosts popular small concerts and the eight-screen Sundance Cinema presents select Hollywood, foreign and Independent films. Restaurants include Little Napoli Italian cuisine restaurant and The Blue Fish, a highly rated sushi bar along with rave reviews for its atmosphere and drinks, plus the Houston installment of Hard Rock Café.
ADMISSION: Sundance Cinemas and Revention Music Center charge fees for entry
DAYS & HOURS: daily, the action starts after work and stays open late.
ADDRESS: 520 Texas Street, Houston, TX MAP
PARKING: Valet offered daily and self parking off Rusk Street, Capitol Street, and Texas Avenue
Old Market Square
DESCRIPTION: This historic district is considered the spot where the Allen Brothers founded Houston in 1831. Today, there’s a huge collection of restaurants and bars for dining and dancing in this district; the best part is that the early 20th century architecture is unique to Houston and have lots of character.
DAYS & HOURS: daily, many of the bars stay open until 2a
ADDRESS: between Main, Milam Streets, Congress and Preston Streets, Houston, TX MAP
PARKING: at night, garages and paid lots are recommended rather than the street
Shops at Houston Place
DESCRIPTION: With 60 shopping and dining establishments and a couple hotels in a 4-block complex, it is the leading shopping center downtown. It features JoS. A. Bank, Worth the Weight, T-Mobile, Strip House, Massa’s Seafood Grill, Monsoon Wok & Lounge, Ninfa’s and Longhorn Café and among its 60 dining and shopping establishments.
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 7:30 a-5:30p
ADDRESS: 1200 McKinney Street, Houston, TX MAP
PARKING: 4 Houston Center parking garage
DESCRIPTION: A large shopping and dining space with a couple hotels in a 2-block complex, it is downtown’s newest general attraction. It features III Forks Steakhouse, Andalusia Tapas Restaurant & Bar, House of Blues, Lucky Strike Lanes, Polk Street Pub, Cork Wine Bar, The Board Room, Mia Bella Trattoria, The Agave Lounge, Guadalajara del Centro, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant, Yao Restaurant and several boutiques, all just few blocks from Discovery Green. You can also enjoy dinner and a show via their Theatre Under The Stars shuttle service with Hobby Center, dropping you off on the Walker Street side in a spot clearly lit and designated as Houston Pavilions’ Shuttle Stop.
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Sat 10a-9p, Sun 12a-6p
ADDRESS: 1201 Fannin Street, Houston, TX MAP
PARKING: Houston Pavilions
House of Blues Houston
DESCRIPTION: Opened in 2008, this venue designed in a vertical format as the anchor tenant for the Houston Pavilions shopping and entertainment complex. The Bronze Peacock Room pays tribute to an early Houston blues club where Big Momma Thornton and Lightnin’ Hopkins played. The giant hand–painted mural in the restaurant portrays these legends, along with hometown heroes Albert Collins and Johnny “Guitar” Watson. The House of Blues Houston also displays the Crazy Quilt and keeps a metal box of mud from the Delta Mississippi underneath its stage.
DAYS & HOURS: Daily 11a-2p and 4p until close
ADDRESS: 1204 Caroline Street, Houston, TX MAP
PARKING: Houston Pavilions parking garage
DESCRIPTION: The majority of Houston Metro Area is conservative, but during the 1960s and 1970s, Montrose Blvd became a center for the counterculture movement, with street musicians, alternative community centers, hippie communes, head shops and artisan studios. The corner of Montrose and Westheimer was the site of regular demonstrations against the Vietnam War. Street vendors sold underground newspapers and the progressive KPFT Pacifica Radio and two other underground radio stations began broadcasting here in 1970. KPFT’s transmitter was twice bombed by a local Ku Klux Klan group, making it the only radio station in American history to be blown off the air. This area spawned the Westheimer Colony Art Festival, Westheimer Street Festival and over 30 gay bars. Today, its seen as a lively Bohemian area in the city.
ADDRESS: Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX MAP
DESCRIPTION: An architectural treat with exceptional mix of shopping, dining entertainment, The Galleria is the #1 shopping and tourist destination in Houston. The Galleria includes the world famous ice-skating rink – a nice contrast to the blazing hot summers. Restaurants nearby are too numerous to name; featured stores are Abercrombie & Fitch, Zara, PUMA, New York & Company, Louis Vuitton, Solstice, French Connection and more.
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Sat 10a-9p, Sun 11a-7p
ADDRESS: 5085 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX MAP
PARKING: 13,000 free parking on premises
Sam Houston Race Park
DESCRIPTION: Year round horse racing on a near-mile-long turf track and on a one-mile, dirt track. The fairgrounds also host concerts in the Spring/Summer.
DAYS & HOURS: daily 10:30a; Thu-Sat night post time 7p, Sun night post time 5p
ADDRESS: 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West, Houston, TX MAP
PARKING: Valet Parking for live racing days; Premium Parking for live racing days and concerts
Gulf Greyhound Park
DESCRIPTION: Since opening in 1992, the 110 acre park has attracted over 10 million fans. Greyhound races run year round Wednesday through Sunday. Before and between races, you can dine at The Terrace Club restaurant and enjoy a panoramic view of the park which seats 6,600 patrons. Closed circuit TVs are located throughout the facility.
ADMISSION: General $2, Clubhouse $3
DAYS & HOURS: daily
ADDRESS: 1000 FM 2004, Hitchcock, TX MAP
PARKING: Valet $3
San Jacinto Monument & Historical Battleground
DESCRIPTION: Opened in 1939 on the spot where Texas won its independence from Mexico. A 570 foot Art Deco monument as tall as DC’s Washington Monument anchors spot to an adjoining museum that provides Texan context about the Battle of San Jacinto, which was spurred on by cries of “Remember the Alamo!” The observation level at the top is 30 wide and provides a great view of the Houston skyline; the air conditioned 160-seat Jesse Jones Theatre for Texas Studies in the museum shows a 35-minute film of the earliest Spanish colonies to the day of the battle; surround sound and digital projectors enrich the experience.
ADMISSION: Combo ticket $12 Adults, Age 65+ $10.50, Child $8
DAYS & HOURS: Museum, Battleground & Observation Floor daily 9a-6p, Jesse H Jones Theatre daily 10a-6p
ADDRESS: One Monument Circle, La Porte, TX MAP
PARKING: free on premises
DESCRIPTION: A unique (for America) outdoor Chinese museum designed to educate visitors about the history, culture, and varied landmarks of ancient China; see fascinating exhibits, including scaled replicas of Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Army, the Forbidden City and the canal of Suzhou and so much more. note that days of heavy rain generally close the museum.
ADMISSION: Adults $10, Age 60+, Ages 6-18, Age 5 and under $5
DAYS & HOURS: Fri-Sun 10a-5p with guided tours at 11a, 1p, 3p
ADDRESS: 23500 Franz Road, Katy, TX MAP
PARKING: Free on premises