You breeze down the highway in the warm evening, your mind alive and your keen eyes on the horizon. In the state where everything is bigger and wide-open spaces stretch for miles, a sleek splash of streamlined chrome and dazzling jewel tones stands guard over the prairie. You can feel its energy as you approach. It emanates an aura that is stately, yet accessible. This is Houston, the pride of southeast Texas and the perfect place to quench your thirst for discovery. All the excitement yet gentility that you love about the Lone Star State—and, indeed, about America—is encapsulated in Houston hotels, where your fiery passion for world-class art and entertainment whether refined or effortless, are both stoked and satiated. The biggest city in the biggest state of the contiguous United States has a heart big enough to entice your curious mind and leave you feeling awed. Lucky for you, Travelocity’ Houston vacation packages & hotel deals are but a click away.
From art museums to outer space, there are an overwhelming number of things to do in Houston and plenty of cheap hotels in Houston close to the biggest draws. Anticipation gets the best of you as you decide to begin with a visit to NASA’s Space Center Houston (the visitor-friendly gateway to the Johnson Space Center), where you immerse yourself in the surreal world of space exploration and space training. With stars in your eyes and the cosmos on your mind, you reconnect with your home planet of Earth by visiting the Downtown Aquarium. The mysterious, ethereal realms of the briny deep put you in a reflective state of mind and are no less miraculous than the futuristic world of space travel.
Some of the top hotels in Houston are found in the tree-lined Museum District, where you can meander from one artfully appointed museum to another. The Museum of Fine Arts, 6th largest in the nation, was founded over 100 years ago and plays host to more than 56,000 artworks and artifacts. Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is the only museum in the country devoted to the legacy of African-American soldiers; it contains artifacts and exhibits from the Revolutionary War up to the present day. A short jaunt by car brings you to Chinatown, where Asian markets tempt you with their vibrant wares and steaming morsels of dim sum provide the perfect afternoon indulgence. When the warm evening air brings you a second wind of energy, you put on your cowboy boots and follow the sound of country music to a honky-tonk for line dancing…or to a swanky cocktail bar for a thirst-quenching craft beverage. Whichever you choose, you’re connecting with a warm example of Texas hospitality.
Though Houston’s food scene has one of the most diverse culinary landscapes in the country, a restaurant-savvy traveler like you knows that the sweet and tangy flavor of East Texas barbecue is the first priority. The satisfying scent of slow-smoked brisket dripping with piquant sauce emanates from eateries both rustic and refined. Goode Company, family-owned for nearly 4 decades, has several locations throughout Houston with a variety of mouthwatering barbecue on every menu—try the deliciously unique sweet water duck. But barbecue is just the beginning of the gastronomic journey through Texas history you’ll take in Houston. Texas has a long history of cattle ranching, and beef is still central in much of the state’s cuisine. If a superlative steak is more your style, head to Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, where the meat is dry-aged in-house. And the unique cross-cultural fusion of Mexican and American ingredients in the flavors of Tex-Mex food, which originated in Texas and has since come to be enjoyed across the nation and the world, is ubiquitous in Houston. But Houston offers more than just exemplary regional dishes; its vibrant restaurant scene holds delectable menus for every palate. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dining options abound amid eateries serving ethnic foods from around the world.
That friendly, welcoming, world-famous Texas charm is beautifully displayed in Houston’s multitude of parks. Swathes of green land ripe for exploration accent the city’s many bayous and bodies of water. Downtown’s 12-acre Discovery Green lives up to its name, with abundant community-focused activities ranging from fitness classes to movies to music and even restaurant events. Mason Park on Brays Bayou is a picturesque place to look at the water under a shady canopy of leaves while enjoying a picnic with a loved one. Allen’s Landing is not just a quaint waterfront walkway on the banks of Buffalo Bayou fitting for a leisurely stroll; it is also the site of the first port in the city and, indeed, the birthplace of Houston itself: It was here in 1836 that founding brothers John Kirby Allen and Augustus Chapman Allen first settled, mere months after the Republic of Texas was founded. As they looked out at the water from the spot where now you stand, could they see the potential of their little plot of land coming to glorious fruition?
The Glorious Gulf
The dizzying excitement of Houston’s urbane environment could keep you engaged for days, but you’re curious about the vast blue Gulf of Mexico that lies just southeast of the city. Even if you rent a room in Houston, the seaside city of Galveston is only an hour away. With its bright colors and brilliant ocean views, Galveston Island almost makes you forget that it lies along the US mainland and not in an exotic Caribbean location. Here, lush green trees shelter beautifully restored Victorian estates in multiple historical districts. The 1892 Bishop’s Palace is the best place to peruse exquisite Victorian interior design and architecture on a self-guided walking tour. When the balmy sea breezes beckon you to the ocean’s edge, you make your way to the Pleasure Pier, a historic fixture that has been built and rebuilt many times since the 1940s. You relish the nostalgic silhouette of a roller coaster against the blue horizon as festival foods send their mouthwatering fragrances dancing on the warm wind. This is the timeless feeling of an American summer by the sea, and in Galveston the fun keeps going throughout the year: The Pleasure Pier is open on weekends even in the off-season.
With everything that’s bigger in Texas, your oversized appetite for all the best things you expect to find in a big city—art, culture, recreation, history, and nightlife—cannot be disappointed by Houston. When you want an experience that’s just a little bigger, bolder, and more warm-hearted than you’ve ever had before, let Travelocity show you where to stay in Houston, and let your Texas-sized sense of adventure show you where to start exploring. Your thirst for exhilarating experiences will be perfectly quenched as you reluctantly watch Houston’s glittering chrome recede from your rearview mirror…and piqued enough to bring you back to your favorite Lone Star getaway again with Travelocity’s Houston hotel deals.