12 Must-Do Experiences in Houston

Houston may best be known as a major international business hub and the Energy Capital of the world, but it’s also a cosmopolitan city that offers something for everyone: fine art, history, museums, and delicious food. Whether you crave a world-class evening enjoying the opera at Houston’s Wortham Center or prefer an authentic Tex-Mex meal accompanied by a hand-crafted brew, there’s no shortage of activities to experience.

1601 NASA Pkwy, Houston, TX 77058, USA
Who hasn’t daydreamed about being an astronaut at least once? Thankfully, Space Center Houston makes it easy to learn about the great beyond. It’s the area’s No. 1 attraction for international visitors and the first Smithsonian Affiliate in the greater Houston area. The center features more than 400 space artifacts and several exhibits related to the past, present, and future of America’s human spaceflight program. It’s also home to the world’s largest collection of moon rocks and lunar samples for public view, and offers guests the opportunity to go behind the scenes to see NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
220 Main St, Houston, TX 77002, USA
Originally the Union National Bank Building—built in 1911—the 12-floor landmark in downtown Houston debuted as Hotel Icon in 2004 after a $35 million makeover. The historic structure beautifully maintains its neoclassical architecture with period details like grand arched windows and stately columns and nods to its roots with rich interior design details that make guests feel like they’re stepping back in time. All of this is juxtaposed with contemporary luxuries—from plush linens and velvet seating to Jacuzzi bathtubs and walk-in rain showers. Charmingly (and appropriately), some rooms have antique claw-foot tubs.

Hotel Icon is one of two Marriott Autograph Collection properties in Texas, and its Main Street location sits along the 7.5-mile Metro LightRail line that runs through downtown. That means easy access to Houston’s Central Business District, George R. Brown Convention Center, Texas Medical Center, Hermann Park, and the Museum District.
501 Texas St, Houston, TX 77002, USA
The Wortham Center will remain closed until September 2018 while it recovers from Hurricane Harvey flood damage.

Wortham Center is home to the Houston Ballet and the Houston Grand Opera, the only opera company in the country to win Tony, Emmy, and Grammy awards.
5555 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030, USA
You just never know what you’re going to see when you walk through the doors at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where everything from corpse flowers to terra-cotta warriors have graced the exhibit halls. Permanent exhibits here include the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, which showcases 750 sparkling pieces; the Cockrell Butterfly Center, where creatures in every color of the rainbow flit about; and the Paleontology Hall, complete with a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. There’s also an IMAX theater, a Texas exhibit, and a planetarium here. Admission is $25 for adults, $15 for children and seniors. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
5216 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006, USA
The CAMH, whose exhibits are always compelling and sometimes disturbing, fun, interesting, or emotional, is the only Texas museum dedicated solely to exhibiting and interpreting contemporary art. And the gift shop has the coolest toys, bags, jewelry, and other random gifts.
1500 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77010, USA
Since opening to the public in April 2008, this 12-acre park has quickly become the heartbeat of downtown. Here you’ll find a playground, a man-made lake, a dog park, and the Grace Event Lawn, which frequently hosts events like yoga classes, concerts, movie screenings, art shows, and farmers’ markets. The new adjacent Marriott Marquis Houston even features a lazy river in the shape of Texas! It may look familiar from TV: Discovery Green was one of the main event zones during 2017’s Super Bowl LI.
1424 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006, USA
Craft cocktails have been a thing for a while now, and Anvil Bar & Refuge, opened in 2009, was one of the first places to put Houston’s mixology scene on the map. Specializing in drinks that use local ingredients and house-made syrups, Anvil is the place to go if you’re serious about your spirits. Cocktail options may include the First Name Basis (chamomile-infused Brugal Especial white rum, lemon, hibiscus, and strawberry), the Anvil Pousse-Cafe (a layered shot with Citadelle dry gin, Pimm’s No. 1, Aperol, lemon, and mint), and the on-tap Nitro Cuba Libre (Plantation Original Dark rum, Cruzan Black Strap rum, Mexican Coca-Cola, lactose sugar, and Angostura bitters). While you’re there, be sure to peruse Anvil’s famous list of 100 classic cocktails, which features everything from a Pimm’s Cup to a mai tai.
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