The fourth-largest city
in the US is a sprawling
metropolis of highrises,
malls and parking lots.
Hot, humid and flat, Houston
may not be Texas' prime
destination, but it has
much to offer, including
great museums, beautiful
parks, a hip young population
and a variety of excellent
The days when cows and oilmen roamed the streets of Houston are long gone. Houston dominates southeastern Texas, thanks to a historic commitment to growth typical of the Lone Star state. The lack of zoning and other planning restrictions has resulted in a sprawling, confusing city.
When To Go
Opinions do vary, but many locals say late spring (April and May) and early summer (June and July) are the best times to come, as rainfall starts to taper off and the humidity isn't peaking. In July, the average daytime temperature is a sweltering 94°F (34°C), but humidity is at its lowest level of the year. August and September is hurricane season along the coast, bringing plenty of tropical rain to Houston and surrounds. Humidity is highest in October, when it can be a deranging 93% at the crack of dawn. If you want to catch the rodeo, plan on coming in late February or early March. April is host to many festivals and events and gets, unsurprisingly, very crowded.
Places to See
Diversity is what you'll see when you hit Houston. Your sights will pinball from pretty, relaxed small towns on the outskirts to awesome traffic snarls in the thick of the city, the Johnson Space Center, (almost) untouched beaches, Beer Can House, staggering art collections, bayous, migrating birds and, most bizarrely, the National Museum of Funeral History.
Places to Eat
Houston has some serious eatery action going on - it is home to the largest and most varied collection of restaurants in the state. Cuisine from every corner of the world can be found here, as well as classic down-home fare. You could pack on some serious weight here, so wear your comfy buffet pants.
Places to Sleep
Staying in Houston can be a matter of a dorm in a hostel, a decent motel chain or top-end luxury digs. There are often good weekend deals, but regardless of whether you are sleeping budget or flash, remember that Houston's hotel tax is a whopping 17%.
Night Time Venues
While not as pounding an entertainment hub as Dallas or Austin, Houston's nightlife still has plenty to offer, with the area around Market Sq in downtown definitely gaining a reputation as the centre of activity. Houston's entertainment menu features a healthy range of clubs, live music, theatre and major sporting events.
Houston has two airports: George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is served by major domestic and international airlines; William P Hobby Airport (HOU) is primarily served by discount carrier Southwest Airlines.
Limited bus service is available to Bush Intercontinental Airport, making taxis and private shuttle buses a better bet. Bus service to Hobby Airport is more reliable. Both airports have car rental agencies.
Greyhound is the major bus carrier, with a web of services in all directions, some of which are operated by a contractor named Valley Transit.
Amtrak service is very limited. The chronically late Sunset Limited wanders through town three times a week in each direction on its runs between Los Angeles, New Orleans and Orlando.
As a city built around the car, Houston has highways radiating in all directions.