Combined Suggestions, Houston
Favorite thing: Houston Greeters is a local organization (part of the Global Greeter network, which is in cities all over the world) that will allow visitors to spend time with local Houstonians, who will share their particular favorite spot in the city. There are many greeters and many activities to enjoy.
Houston is a large and sprawling city. I do NOT recommend visiting Houston in July or August. It is generally TOO HOT and TOO HUMID! It was already pretty hot and humid in May, but nice overall.
What I like best about downtown Houston is some of the architecture. The Pennzoil Building is one of the great architectural wonders of Houston. If you are nice to the guard in the lobby, you just may be able to get a little tour, although the guy who showed me around has probably moved on to bigger and better things.
You should also visit the Galleria (west of Houston proper). This is a really neat mall with a year-round ice-skating rink inside the mall.
Fondest memory: There is nothing better than a photography date with the most beautiful woman in the world (sorry... the pictures are not for public viewing).
Visit downtown and the medical center and the AstroDome area and Astro World.The Port of Houston area.The San Jacinto Momument\Battleship of Texas is down 225 East about 15 miles or so from downtown.The Johston Space Center in Clear Lake is not far either about 12 miles or so east down hwy 45.
Fondest memory: The hurricanes and Tropical storms.Especially the thrilling Hurricane Carla back in '61.Watching the Astros in the AstroDome.
... bask in its diversity!
Houston is my adopted hometown because of its many faces. It's got a down-home Texas country heritage combined with a cosmopolitan multicultural attitude. It's got the finest restaurants and clubs and the heartiest dive bars and restaurants where you can eat so much chicken-fried steak it will come out of your ears!
Houston has almost no racial tension despite the fact that it is a minority-majority city deep in the Southern United States. That means more than 1/2 the population is minority ... but it doesn't mean anybody rubs it in anybody's face. In fact, you can bask in the diversity.
There are festivals most of the year around from just about every nationality of the world. Once in one weekend I went to the Caribbean festival and the Mediterranean festival and saw 2 of the most beautiful cultures from 2 disparate parts of the world ... ate their food and danced to their music!
No doubt there are problems here, though. Tourists should be as aware as the citizens here that crime is prevalent and everyone should take precautions and get to know the areas of town that are considered more safe. But I guess I've traveled enough to know that no place on earth is completely safe and you must ALWAYS be looking over your shoulder for someone who's bent on ruining your party!
Make sure you go downtown ... It's been revitalized lately and even natives are discovering new and exciting places that have just recently opened up. If you've been here before you wouldn't even recognize downtown! There are actually people walking around at night and on the weekends dressed up and ready to have fun!
Also, make sure you go to a blues bar and enjoy the music native to Texas ... it's a rockin' good time!
And please don't leave H-town without going to the Space Center ... Remember, the first word spoken on the moon was 'Houston' (the rest is ... 'the Eagle has landed.')