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Happy in Houston

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Nobody really thinks of Houston as a traveler's destination, but it's a city that's actually very cool if you take the time to get to know it (and it even topped Forbes' list of America's Coolest Cities in 2012). As the US's fourth largest city, Houston is vibrant, dynamic and full of opportunity and diversity.
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6000 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030, USA
FREE
At Miller Outdoor Theatre, you can attend fantastic performances nearly every week during its eight-month season. All shows are totally free to the public, and events include dance and music festivals, classic movies, student showcases, and the...
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3601, 3601, 2009 W Gray St, Houston, TX 77019, USA
Built in 1939, this is Houston's oldest continually operating movie theater, showing lots of independent and foreign films, as well as monthly midnight showings of Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Room. Try to get tickets for a showing in the...
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2800 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX 77056, USA
It might not be Niagara Falls, but as you pass through the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park, the mist that brushes your cheeks is sure to cool your body and settle your spirit on even the hottest summer day. Created nearly 25 years ago, this public...
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2032 Karbach St, Houston, TX 77092, USA
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Founded in 2011, this craft brewery's local following is growing fast. Don't be put off by the short drive outside the 610 loop and slightly bleak surroundings—the $7 tours (4 beer samples included) are well worth it. Tours run Monday and Friday...
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4053 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77027, USA
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At Escalante's you'll find upscale Tex-Mex and some pretty good margaritas. It's a Houston-only chain with a lively, colorful atmosphere and attentive service. This location is part of an area called Highland Village, which is a great outdoor...
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3000 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77098, USA
There’s no better way to spend a Saturday morning than at a farmers market, where the region's bounty takes center stage. At the Urban Harvest Eastside Farmers Market, you’ll find local vegetables, fruits, dairy products, farm...
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3004 Canal St, Houston, TX 77003, USA
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Check out the Moon Tower Inn if you are feeling adventurous. This place is a bit remote, on the outskirts of downtown, but they serve outstanding gourmet hot dogs (yes, gourmet hot dogs) made from animals ranging from wild boar to elk and...
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9348 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036, USA
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Here you'll find very authentic Sichuan-style Chinese food in the heart of Houston's sprawling Asian community. The chef is a Sichuan native who's not bashful about his use of the region's distinct peppercorns and chili oil. Mala seems to be the...
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2704 Navigation Blvd, Houston, TX 77003, USA
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For an authentic Houston experience, head to the Original Ninfa’s on Navigation, where the food is always top-notch and the longtime servers are revered as rock stars. With chef Alex Padilla at the helm, you can expect everything from...
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1835 W Alabama St, Houston, TX 77005, USA
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Move over, Willy Wonka—there’s another candy shop that’s making everyone’s sweet tooth tingle. The smell of chocolate wafts through the store, greeting you as soon as you walk in the door. Once inside, you’ll find...
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1712 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098, USA
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If you want to have a quintessentially Houston experience, check out the Montrose neighborhood. A great spot to hit is Agora—a cafe that serves small bites, good coffee, and some beer and wine. You pay at the counter.
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3701 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002, USA
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Top Chef alumna Monica Pope's motto, "Eat where your food lives," comes to life at Sparrow. The menu changes often to reflect the seasons and availability of local ingredients. Pope calls the food fresh, unpretentious, and full of flavor. You bet!...
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321 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008, USA
Retropolis is an awesome vintage clothing resale co-op. Think Buffalo Exchange, but with clothes from the 60s to the 80s. Its West 19th St. location in the Heights neighborhood will bring you to a fun, walkable shopping street in a historic part...
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339 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008, USA
If you want a unique Houston shopping experience, make the drive up to the shops on West 19th Street in the Heights neighborhood. This is an old shopping center that has been revitalized, and is now home to all kinds of cool, local businesses....
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2520 Airline Dr, Houston, TX 77009, USA
Behind Canino's is an open-air Hispanic market called Airline Farmers Market. While it doesn't offer hyper-local products, the brush with this part of Houston's culture makes up for it. You'll find things like fresh produce, all sorts of dried...
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5015 Westheimer Rd #1260, Houston, TX 77056, USA
Inside Houston's biggest shopping destination, the Galleria mall, you'll find an ice skating rink set beneath an impressive glass atrium. It's open seven days a week, year-round, and it's a great place to blow off some steam (and maybe even...
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1830 W Alabama St, Houston, TX 77098, USA
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Divino on West Alabama serves some great Italian food in a congenial atmosphere, and their staff is very knowledgeable about wine, with a selection to match!
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1500 Binz St, Houston, TX 77004, USA
The Children's Museum of Houston is a kid's wonderland. Filled with interactive exhibits, the Children's Museum not only makes for a fun-filled day, it's also an educational center that teaches children real-world skills through experiential...
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5607 Morningside Dr, Houston, TX 77005, USA
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If you're looking for a really relaxed local bar, head to The Ginger Man on Morningside. This beer bar has been here for a really long time, and is a good place to find real Houstonians, especially Rice professors and students.
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Rice Boulevard, Houston, TX 77005, USA
Just next to Rice University, there is a shopping district called Rice Village, or just "The Village," which covers about a 16-block area and includes more than 300 shops, bars, and restaurants. You'll find a mix of national chains like Urban...
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3614 W Alabama St, Houston, TX 77027, USA
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Ah, Tiny Boxwood's—this place is super relaxing. It's a bit tucked away, inside a plant nursery complex, but absolutely lovely once you find it. It's a great place to get brunch and a delicious lemonade.
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3900 Yupon St, Houston, TX 77006, USA
FREE
Rothko Chapel is a must-see for anyone visiting Houston. Founded by philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil, the Rothko Chapel is a tranquil and beautiful sanctuary for people of every belief, dedicated in 1971. Open every day.
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1533 Sul Ross St, Houston, TX 77006, USA
FREE
The Menil Collection—so named because the works once belonged to philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil—is perhaps the most famous museum in Houston. The main collection alone features works by titans like Vincent van Gogh,...
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1423 Branard St, Houston, TX 77006, USA
This shaded park near the University of St. Thomas is right next to The Menil Collection. The park is very shaded and nestled between streets lined with classic 1920s bungalow houses. This place really captures Houston!
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1963 W Gray St, Houston, TX 77019, USA
Here, your kids can paint pre-made clay creations, which will then be fired and ready for pickup in about a week. A great, creative way to make your own souvenir of Houston.
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2000 Lyons Ave, Houston, TX 77020, USA
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Houston's beer scene has commanded national attention for years thanks to its quality craft brews, and there’s no better place to sample some than at Saint Arnold Brewing Company. Founded in the mid-1990s, it has the esteemed title of...
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6 BLVD Place, 1800 Post Oak Blvd #6170, Houston, TX 77056, USA
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This is a fantastic high-end restaurant near the Galleria mall, housed in an elegant, modern building with an open but warm atmosphere. Open for lunch, brunch, and dinner, RDG features a menu that is contemporary, with a great deal of...
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2630 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098, USA
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This place is a fixture among the River Oaks crowd—great food and some of the best frozen margaritas of all time. Trying the refried beans is a must, and they have great ceviche as well. Note that as Thursday night progresses, the...
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18-3600 Allen Pkwy, Houston, TX 77019, USA
There's a really cool jogging and biking trail that runs from River Oaks all the way to downtown along the Bayou. This is next to Eleanor Tinsley Park. Check it out for some nice views of the Houston skyline.