San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site#21 in Best Things To Do in Houston
History aficionados will be intrigued by the San Jacinto Battleground. The State Historic Site is where an important, if not the most important, battle for Texas' independence took place. When Texas was still part of Mexico, settlers in the region grew to despise Mexico's then-dictator and mobilized to gain independence. After many hard fought battles were lost by Texans, Gen. Sam Houston, who the city of Houston was named after, strategically planned his next attack while the Mexican Army, which at the time had been divided and was much smaller, wasn't expecting it. Houston and his army became the victors of the Battle of San Jacinto, known for shouting "Remember the Alamo" and "Remember Goliad!" as they wiped out most of the Mexican troops.
Shortly after capturing General Santa Anna, whose infantry had almost completely fallen, Houston was able to force the Mexican president to sign a treaty that authorized Texas' independence. It was this treaty that paved the way for even more eventual expansion in the USA. What stands at the battleground today is a history museum and the San Jacinto Monument, a 570-foot tall column that is billed as the tallest masonry memorial structure in the world (it's 15 feet higher than the Washington Monument). There's actually an elevator you can take to the top of the monument, where you'll be greeted with sweeping views of the battleground, Houston and the Houston Ship Channel.
Recent visitors enjoyed their visit to the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, saying it was a great history lesson. Many suggested wandering the grounds to find the markers that indicate which part of the battle took place where. Travelers admit that the museum is small but note it contains a wealth of information. Others were wowed by the incredible monument, though some had mixed reviews of the views because of the many oil refineries nearby.
The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site is located 23 miles east of Houston. The site is free to visit, but if you'd like to take the elevator to the top of the monument, there is an extra fee. The battleground, monument and museum are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. However, the observation deck closes at 5:30 p.m. Free parking is available on-site. For more information about the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, visit its website.
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#1 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
No trip to Texas is complete without a visit to a rodeo. And in Houston, there's no better place to watch riders saddle up than the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. When competition season rolls around (typically between late February and early March), crowds descend on NRG Stadium to watch daily rodeo shows that feature a variety of competitions, such as bareback riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, barrel racing and more. Livestock shows, which also occur during rodeo competition season, feature traditional events such as livestock auctions, calf scrambles and horse shows.
Travelers who were visiting Houston during rodeo season said the events are a blast. Those who said they've been to rodeos or livestock shows before say the Houston Rodeo is one of the best they've ever attended, and encouraged families to bring kids as they'll be fascinated by all of the animals. Even if you aren't particularly into rodeos, visitors say a trip here is still worth your time because the venue offers so many attractions, activities and events. Some of these include an amusement park, concerts (which in the past have included the likes of Kacey Musgraves and Cardi B), parades, barbecue contests, trail rides and more.
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