The Revitalization of Downtown Houston
Walking around downtown Houston (1 on "General tips" Houston area map) is likely to give you a dread feeling of coldness, emptyness and bleakness. Nobody around, only garage and parking lot entrances, tall skycrapers taking sometimes one block by themselves, boarded up empty shops along the streets. Houstonians are hiding in the buildings where they work, go to restaurants and shop in the tunnel and skybridge system that links one building to the other. Parts of downtown occasionally get lively when events are taking place or at times of entertainment venues (Theater District NW of Downtown, baskettball and baseball stadiums East of Downtown). It is quite a shame because there is so much potential in this part of town where the most impressive architectural achievements are to be seen!
Now, Houstonians are hoping to change this sad state of affair! The big hope is that Main street will be revitalized by the new tramway line. A real effort of renovation is being made along Main Street with nice fountains, pleasant tramway stops and slow opening of shops and restaurants at street levels. To promote this part of town, Main street becomes a pedestrian only street on Friday and Saturday evenings. There is also talk of developping the banks of Buffalo Bayou (Northern edge of downtown) in a way akin to the Riverwalk of San Antonio.
Anyway, let's keep our fingers crossed that downtown Houston one day will have a real city atmosphere with crowds and street level shops and restaurants!
Hard Rock Cafe
In each city we visit we buy a T shirt by the Hard Rock Cafe.
In Houston, the HRC is in the Theatre District
Open : 10AM- 11PM (excepted Friday & saturday : 1AM)
No free parking.
Great Texas Bar BQ
OK, you will never get 2 Houstonians to agree on thier favorite BBQ place, I just choose Goode Co. off the top of my head. Great food, wonderful selection, jalepeno cheese bread to die for and all the cold beer you could want!
And next door they have the "Goode Company BBQ - Hall of Flame" with everything you need to start your own Texas tradition at home.
Here's their motto:
" You might give some serious consideration to thanking your lucky stars you're in Texas"
Nuff said. PECAN PIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have to try it to understand.
Great Tex-Mex Food, Great Price!
This Northwest side establishment has only one big problem, it is so popular and people enjoy it so much, that is generally packed full of hungry diners. But this problem, if you want to call it that, should clue you in to what a great place this is to eat Tex-Mex food! The restaurant itself is nothing real fancy, simple decor with traditional Mexican items adorning the walls. But the food is delicious! Prepared very fresh, items such as enchiladas, fajitas, tamales, and flautas all have a mouthwatering flavor to them. The margaritas here are some of the best around, but be careful! They are so tasty they can sneak up on you, and before you know it, you might be falling out of your chair! :) The staff is very efficient under the usual busy atmosphere, and are as friendly as can be. And with more than reasonable prices, and an even cheaper lunch menu, you just cant go wrong dining here. Well, other than the Margaritas of course, they have some great chicken enchiladas here! :)
Houston Museum Of Fine Arts
Located within the Houston Museum District, the Museum of Fine Arts is one of the most frequented museums in all of Houston, and has one of the finest collections of art in the United States. Well over 50,000 pieces of art are on display here, both permanent as well as special & on-loan collections. Both the Law and the newer Beck buildings have works from all over the world, including everything from Ancient Egyptian & African tribal pieces, to Renaissance & Baroque period pieces from Europe. There are large collections of paintings and sculptures from as far away as Asia and the South Pacific Islands, and pieces from places much closer, with an extensive display of Native American and Latin American works. For many of the collections, the museum has audio palyers with headphones to guide you through each piece and give you some extra insight on them. Much of the museum structure itself is a work of art; the Beck building, opened in 2000, has many interesting works built right into it. And be sure to walk through the underground tunnel that connects the two buildings. If you work up an appetite looking at everything, there is a Cafe Express in the Beck building with a full menu of food and refreshments. Cameras are allowed for the permanent exhibits, but many of the special & on-loan collections are not allowed to be photographed. And if you have the time, there are also two other smaller branches of the museum: Bayou Bend & Rienzi. They are not however located in the Museum District, so you will need transport getting to them if you would like to visit them. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, Mondays it is closed. General admission for adults is $7, but on Thursdays it is free! This is an excellent art museum with some wonderful pieces of art, not to be missed!