Give this Texas city a chance. Yes, Houston's history is sticky with oil, and its contemporary landscape climbs with skyscrapers belonging to Citgo, Shell and many, many more. But what you might not know is that Houston has grassy parks, eclectic galleries, a burgeoning art scene and Tex-Mex restaurants that all vie for attention downtown. And outside of Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston is one of the greatest places in Texas to shop: Ever heard of the Galleria? There are also plenty of nice hotels to lay your head and a variety of fun things for the kiddies to see, such as the zoo and the children's museum. Those with a keen interest in space can learn all about NASA's program at Space Center Houston and science nerds can check out the comprehensive Museum of Natural Science. So, yes, it's a huge sprawling city of more than 2 million, but with pleasant weather pretty much year-round, an abundance of entertaining festivals and plenty of things to do, you should give it a chance.
The best time to visit Houston is from February to April or from September to November. Thanks to its close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Houston experiences warm weather (as well as affordable hotel prices) pretty much year-round, but come spring and fall the temperatures are pleasant and there are a variety of festivals to enjoy. You may be able to score a deal in the summer since Houston residents head elsewhere as temperatures climb, but you'll have to contend with the heat and oppressing humidity. Houston also experiences mild winters and snowfall is rare, but temperatures drop when the sun goes down so make sure to pack layers if you're traveling in December or January.
Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center
Considered one of the Best Foodie Cities in the USA, Houston has always produced excellent eats. But in recent years, the rest of the country (and the world) has finally started to take notice.
Two culinary staples in H-Town: Tex-Mex and barbecue. Ask any local and you'll find strong opinions of where to find the best Mexican-inspired fare. But most agree The Original Ninfa's on Navigation is a great place to start. If you're exploring the museum district and the Houston Zoo, you can try the upscale Picos Restaurant or the M&M Grill that offers fajitas and breakfast burritos with Halal meats. You could also check out a Pappasito's Cantina location, where Beyoncé has been spotted.
Another popular food found in Houston? Barbecue, baby. From baby back ribs smothered in sauce to slow roasted tender brisket, this city has no shortage of BBQ joints. Locals and experts say some of the best spots to visit are Killen's Texas Barbecue, helmed by renowned chef Ronnie Killen, Gatlin's BBQ and Jackson Street BBQ.
While any first-timer to Houston has to sample the Tex-Mex and barbecue staples, travelers would be remiss to ignore the city's other culinary offerings. Houston's diverse population contributes a wide variety of flavors to its restaurant scene. Sample the buffet at Aladdin's Mediterranean Cuisine; find Cajun cuisine at Brennan's of Houston; try small plates and Japanese whisky at Izakaya; or pick of the Peli Peli outposts to dine on South African fare. If you're in the mood for a fine dining experience, visit Caracol, run by six-time James Beard nominee Hugo Ortega, or dine on classic French dishes at Etoile Cuisine et Bar. No matter what you're in the mood for, you won't go hungry in Houston.
Aside from its barbecue roots, Houston is also known for being one of the Best Nightlife Cities in the USA. From classic honky-tonks with live music to hip-hop dance clubs with well-known DJs, the city supplies an almost endless stream of options for night owls. If you're looking to two-step, head to Wild West Houston. Hoping to dance along to hits from the 80s and 90s? Try Numbers (it's been around since 1978). If you're looking for a more contemporary nightclub experience (complete with bottle girls and flying confetti), visit Clé: in addition to its indoor bars and dance floors, it hosts day parties at its outdoor pool. If these clubs don't pique your interest, never fear – you can download the ShoutOut App to learn more about bar specials and events going on throughout the greater Houston area.
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