There is a lot of history in...
There is a lot of history in and around Houston. For example, here is the San Jacinto Monument. This monument commemerates General Sam Houston's winning the war against Mexico and declaring the independence of the state of Texas.
Car is king in Houston!
You need a car to go around Houston. Rent one if you are a tourist. Get a good map, and it is easy to find your way around. It will help to know the names of the freeways, in addition to their numbers (ex: I-10 W = Kathy freeway; beltway 8 = Sam Houston freeway, etc... go see my map in the introduction!).
You will always find easy free parking in Houston. That's the least the city could do: with no decent common transportation, at least it is easy to park! The only exceptions, however, are Downtown during weekdays, and Medical Center all the time where parking can cost more then $10 an hour.
There are two Brazilian grills in Houston, Rodizio and Fogo de Chao. Rodizio is the cheaper more laid back one, and Fogo is the more expensive formal one. They are about a mile from one another on Westheimer near the Galleria. I prefer Rodizio because it's very casual, the waiters are cute, and the food is delicious! If you've never had Brazilian grill, you have to try it. The "meat servers" walk around with huge chunks of meat on skewers and slice off a piece onto your plate. There are about 8-12 different kinds of meats to choose from (chuck roast, tenderloin, pork tenderloin, turkey breast wrapped in bacon, honey ham, etc) and occasionally there are exotic meats (buffalo, alligator,etc). I always take friends from out of town there when they visit b/c it's a totally fun way of eating and the food is awesome. Plus, the meat servers are cute! The honey ham with grilled pineapple. A word of caution: don't fill up on the salad bar! Focus on the meat! Oh, and get one of the lime-aid mixed drinks!
While you're downtown check out City Hall and...
City Hall is a wonderful building with a great park behind it. There you'll find many park benches and a reflecting pond. It's very peaceful. However, I believe there were a few homeless people sleeping on the benches and that always kinda....makes me nervous as a single girl walking alone. (Sorry, I watch way too much CSI and Law and Order Special Victims.)
Across the street is Jones Hall and a beautiful water fountain. That's a great place to have lunch and there are often musicians playing here.
It's a great place to read a book, take a break from work, and take a beautiful picture of Houston. Hear all the buzzing about during the work week as well.
It's caddie-corner from Hobby Center so you might show up early and see it for yourself.
Now for the history! (Taken from the website below)
"Two brothers, J.K. and A.C. Allen, founded Houston on August 30, 1836 just a few months after the end of the Texas War for Independence. They named the new settlement for the hero of that war, General Sam Houston.
From 1841 to 1939, Houston municipal government was headquartered at Old Market Square, on a site donated to the City by Houston's founder, the Allen brothers. The City Hall on Market Square was destroyed by fire in the 1870's, and again in 1901, and rebuilt each time.
Construction [of the current building] began on March 7, 1938. The cornerstone was laid on October 1, 1938. A time capsule was placed in the cornerstone, containing a Bible, copies of the City charter, Houston's three daily newspapers and the City Auditor's report for 1937. The construction job took 20 months. Work was finished in July 1939. The work was done by 100% A.F. of L. union labor. Wages on the job site ranged from 40 cents an hour to 1.85 an hour. An estimated 800,000 hours of labor were expended on the job.
The Mayor and City Commissioners moved from the old City Hall to the new one on December 3, 1939. The old building was converted to a bus terminal. It was destroyed by fire in 1960.
Total cost of the new City Hall, including landscaping and furniture, was estimated at $1,670,000. Forty-five percent of the cost was covered by the W.P.A. grant. Landscaping was done by the Japanese Nursery, 7200 Lawndale. The $28,000 electrical fixtures contract went to Livers Lighting and Bronze Company, Kansas City, Missouri. $80,000 worth of furniture and office equipment was purchased from the Thomas Watson Company, Jamestown, N.Y. An additional $17,000 in office equipment was purchased from the Willhide Equipment Company. Basement offices, originally used for a tobacco stand and coffee shop, were built by Brown Construction Company.
The doors to the building are of a specially cast aluminum. In the grillwork above the main entrances are aluminum medallions of the "great lawgivers" from ancient times to the founding of America: Akhenaten, Julius Caesar, Moses, Charlemagne, King John and Thomas Jefferson. The lobby is walled with lightly veined marble. The entrances to the Tax Department are inlaid with bronze, nickel and silver. All elevator lobbies are treated with marble base, walls and wainscoting. Wood trim and wood doors are of figured gum, a Texas product.
City Hall also was one of the first totally air-conditioned office buildings in Houston.
Houston's City Government has over 500 buildings utilized by the over 23,000 City employees. The core of this local government is located in the downtown Civic Center. This includes City Hall and the Annex, the Central Public Library, the Hobby Center, Jones Hall, the Wortham Theater, George R. Brown Convention Center, Tranquillity Park, Sam Houston Park, and Hermann Plaza. Located north of Interstate 45 from the Hobby Center site is the Police Station with the Municipal Courts Building next door."
Go see a rodeo!
The city of Houston hosts one of the biggest rodeos of North America, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo each year every March. It is a huge event and is located at Reliant Park, the monster-size stadiums of Houston (see my Houston "Sports Travel" for a picture of the stadiums and location info). Go to http://www.hlsr.com/ for the official website.
I, however, prefer to go to a more "human-size" event, like the many local county fairs that always offer rodeo entertainment. I recommand the Huntsville Prorodeo, a great rodeo to go to, whether you have never seen one before like me, or if you are a big fan of it. I enjoyed it particularly because it is relatively small in size and local. The people were extremely nice, friendly and helpful. This rodeo is also one of professionals which is a high point for a rodeo fan. Plus, the county fair around it is always fun, for both adults and kids. I strongly recommand it, it is worth the drive from Houston!! It takes place last weekend of March in Huntsville, a town 65 miles (104 km) North of Houston. Please, go see my Huntsville (Texas) page for more pictures and info!