Houston is NOT stereotypical "South" or "Texas"
As I've mentioned before, I think it is often forgotten by others that Houston is a large, diverse, and international port city much like Los Angeles, Miami, New York, or Seattle.
What many also don't know is that the performing arts programs in Houston are nationally recognized to those in the business, and definitely top notch. Only New York's Broadway district is larger than Houston's Theater District. The Museum District is also very good and considered to be one of the top three centers of cultural activity in the country.
Rice University, often considered to be in the new class of Ivy Leagues, is located in Houston. Many Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winners choose to teach in Houston when they could have gone elsewhere.
Along with Rice, Houston houses the nation's largest medical center district, many technology companies, and NASA. Just among these, Houston is home to a large number of scientists, physicians, researchers, and engineers.
Additionally, Houston is home to the third largest number of working artists in the nation.
Houston was also named as one of the top 10 vegetarian-friendly cites by PETA, and is the only city in Texas on the list.
The city also has one of the country's largest gay populations.
... So much for stereotypes or the idea that Austin is the state's most progressive city!
So please, whatever you do, don't call us "rednecks" or "hicks" because we are far from it. Of course there are a few areas where you might find people more fitting of these stereotypes (such as Channelview, Pasadena, and some areas on the northern outskirts) but these are hardly representative of the city as a whole (though from Hollywood and the media you might think otherwise). We live in the nation's fourth largest city, and we love our arts, our sciences, and our diversity.
Just don't go here.
The Richmond strip used to be THE place to party about 5-6 years ago. This was before the revitalization of the Downtown/Midtown sections of Houston. Now, the bars and clubs on the Richmond Strip are typically filled to bursting with skanky people. If you want to have a nice, classy time, do not go to the Richmond Strip. For instance, on a typical Saturday night, you will see a group of young women, shamelessly stuffed into their cheap lycra clothing with fat bulging out from all sides (one of them at least 6 months pregnant), dancing up on tables with the intent to score as many finger-f***s as is humanly possible, with a group of equally-skanky men eager to oblige. On top of this, the cover charge is usually $10+. You can get plenty of wild times and beautiful people in the Downtown/Midtown area, without the skankiness and cover charges. Generally speaking, you can wear whatever you want to these places.
One of THE best places ever!
It is a pity I couldn't take pictures as both time being there was on a business dinner. But if you are familiar with the Brasilian restaurant way, this one is the best I saw outside of Brasil. VERY good meat, really delicious. And they waiters just keep coming with the sticks of delicious meat. The salad bar and desserts are good as well (however, the creme brulee is way too creamy for European taste). All in all, in my top 3 restaurants I have ever been!
Good Thai next to the University of Houston
The best food around the University of Houston, wonderful Thai cuisine!
Yet... what's wrong with the staff??? They can be very unfriendly, slow, especially if the restaurant is full like at lunch time and they are busy.
I still go there from time to time at lunch because it is the only decent food to be found around UH. Watch out: when they say a dish is spicy, they mean it!
'Houston, we have a...
'Houston, we have a problem...'
If you come to Houston, you HAVE to take a tour of Space Center Houston; NASA's Johnson Space Center visitor's center. Here you can see and do everything to 'walk on the moon', see a shuttle cockpit, and learn about the history of the space program. As the slogan goes, 'it's as close to space as you'll get on earth.'