The Theater District downtown consists of several good and renowned theatres for ballet, opera, plays, the symphony, etc. Apparently, Houston is ranked second in the number of total seats in a downtown area available for theatre. And, it's one of only five with permanent professional companies in all the performing arts -- ballet, opera, theater, and music.
I've been going to the Alley Theatre to see plays since the 1970s, and to the Miller Outdoor Theatre for the Theatre Under the Stars productions since the 1960s.
Recently we went to the newest theatre, the Hobby Center to see Spamalot. It was a great play. Hilarious. Our son loved it. I highly recommend the productions available.
JPMorgan Chase Tower offers the highest public view of Houston from the Sky Lobby on the 60th floor. This floor serves as an observation floor as well as a transfer point to shuttle tenants to floors 49-59 and 61-75. The Sky Lobby is open to the public during the working hours of 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday. Entrance is free.
JPMorgan Chase Tower is the tallest composite building in the world. In addition to the ground floor lobby, there is another lobby sixty stories above the plaza level. This sky lobby acts as a transfer point for persons traveling to the upper floors. The view on this lobby is enhanced through the use of wide glass spans and thirteen-foot ceilings. A fascinating aspect of the Tower is its "fifth side", designed to be free of columns to enjoy an uninterrupted 20-mile vista of Houston.
JPMorgan Chase Tower has a total of 50 elevators. Six of those are express elevators to the Sky Lobby, which travel at a speed of 1,000 feet per minute, taking approx. 60 seconds from floor 1 to 60. The height of the Tower is just shy of three and one half-football fields, standing at 1,049 feet from ground level. The tower has 1.98 million square feet of gross building space.
The buildings Downtown are great to look at and there is also a park area with a small lake, church and examples of different styles of historic buildings from the Houston area. It's a very walkable area and well worth an afternoon. Given time you can visit: Sam Houston Park; Bayou Place; The Theatre District; The Aquarium; Tranquility Park; Sesquicentennial Park and Jones Plaza.
Many people complain that downtown is largely a business district, mostly a ghost town after 5pm. It is not the excitement of Manhattan or Paris, yet in recent years’ revitalization has improved the downtown atmosphere. There are many things to do here, & it is a nice place to stay if you are visiting from out of town. There are excellent accommodations here; the Sam Houston Hotel, the Magnolia & the Lancaster are some of the best in town. Many restaurants, pubs & clubs are downtown for nightlife. On the weekends part of Main St. is closed to traffic, many places set up tables outside & vendors sell snacks & refreshments & frequently a stage is set up for live music performances. The Houston Theater District is located downtown & has some of the best facilities & performances for the arts in the world. Bayou Place has several bars, clubs & restaurants, including the Hard Rock Cafe, a cinema & the Verizon Theater for events & music concerts. Minute Maid Park & Toyota Center are located here for sporting events. There are a few historical buildings here to visit, but unfortunately much of Houston's physical history has been demolished due to bad civic planning in the past. Besides the permanent sites & events, there are excellent festivals held here. The Houston International Festival is put on for two weekends every spring showcasing Houston's multicultural population. But if all of this doesn't do it for you, downtown is one of the few locations in town served by the Metro Lightrail, which can take you to the Museum District & Hermann Park if you are looking for other things to do outside of downtown.
The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts is an amazing place. When I found out that Robert A. M. Stern would be designing this building I knew that Houston was in for something special. This $100 million + addition to the Theater District. The two theaters at the Hobby Center that draw the most praise are Sarofim Hall and Zilkha Hall. The beauty must be seen to appreciated. In addition to the arts there is an adjacent restaurant owned by Michael Cordua. (Artista)
Houston's downtown is one of the best in North America in terms of imaginative architecture, cleanliness and safety. At night on weekends it is full of world-class discos, while during the day it is home to business.
The photo is of a fountain in front of the Allen Center which houses the World Trade Center.
Firts once you get to the texan way of life find yourself shoping like crazy in the Galeria mall having an iceskating and eating at the betst pizza bufet in the mall then go rest a while eat at the best steak house Outbak ordening a delicious Australian beer or just feel happy with red lobsters or Taco bell because around the Galeria Mall there is where the Party is starting in one of the many nightclubs where you can easyly get in touch with some nice Texan Cow girls Enjoy!!!
Downtown Houston has lots of amazing buildings and sky-scrapers to please the fan of american architecture. For the pleasure of the eye on sleek and modern lines, it is worth taking a stroll in the area. Especially if you went to the Sam Houston Park, you can easily walk to one of the most pleasant area of downtown (where the picture on the left was taken). It comprises this beautiful modern fountain (Tranquility Park), some of the most beautiful buildings (personal opinion) of the city and the Theater District (home to Houston Performing Art Society, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony and Houston Ballet). Also in this area is the Houston official Visitor Center located in the City Hall (opened daily from 9 am to 4 pm) where you can find numerous free brochures on Houston and Texas, and buy souvenirs.
Besides the architectural interest, I cannot say that downton Houston is warm and inviting. There are no shops, no restaurants really visible, no atmosphere; the streets are lined with ugly parking garage entrances. It seems the people working here go to the "Houston's tunnels", a maze of shops, restaurants and corridors below street level (click here for a map of the tunnels). There is actually a recent attempt to give a soul to the Theater District with Bayou Place which is a big complex of restaurants, stage and movie theaters (at 560 Texas Avenue). Plus the inauguration in January 2004 of the tramway line on Main street seems to have revitalized that street, especially when it is blocked to traffic on week-end evenings. I sincerely hope Houston will finally have a city feeling to it!!
Largest skyscraper outside of a Downtown area in the U.S.
At 64 stories and 901 feet, the Transco Tower is the world's tallest building that is not in a central business district. The skyscraper features the glass and steel severity of the International Style in an art deco-inspired design
Observation deck: Closed
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This is downtown Houston, a shot taken from a park outside of town. When approaching from Hobby Airport, the skyline rises from the ground like the city of Oz. Houston is spread out so that, wherever you are, you've always got something to do.
My favorite part of downtown is Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros baseball team. It's got a retractable roof so, no matter the weather, the game is on...and Houston's summer weather can be rather severe. There's also a bar across the street that used to be, I think, a firehouse. For major league baseball, I found the Astros very affordable..of course, I'm from New York :-)
It is funny to notice these huge buildings start to become a touristic destination, people know their name and quite often what they are...
If you are in the area at a time when the office should be closed, I'd recommend a small drive to downtown... I've done it during Thanksgiving, it was surrealistic to see the deserted buildings and the empty streets and imagine how busy they can be on a weekday...
Sam Houston park is the oldest park in Houston, having opened in 1899. It is located downtown (NW part of it) right next to the skyscrapers. Beside being a pleasant park to stroll though, have lunch and relax, it is the location of a wonderful outdoor museum. The Heritage Society of Houston had several old Texan buildings from the region brought here for preservation, restauration and display. There are about 8 houses (and still more being brought in!) ranging from 1823 (a wood cabin of the pioneers) to 1905 ("Staiti House"). Little signs by each house detail the different styles of houses built in the pioneer days of Texas.
The picture shows you the little St John's church, built by german immigrants in 1891, dwarfed by the downtown skyscrapers.
Visit is free, and the houses and the associated museum are opened Mon-Sat 10 am-4 pm. Sun 1pm-5 pm. Hourly guided tours are available for a fee by the Heritage Society of Houston.
Park in the Heritage Society's lot between Clay street and Allen Parkway (best entrance is heading East on Allen parkway, turn right right after going under I45). On week-ends, yu can also park for free in the streets of downtown.