Culture and knowledge in Houston

There are heaps of iconic cultural sites to take in when you visit Houston.

Some incredible historical events have gone down in the immediate region and you'll find a swag of galleries and museums to discover as well. Exploring them will take you to the far corners of the city, giving you a chance to check out Houston beyond the inner city district.

See a real Saturn V rocket and the place where astronauts train for their missions before launching into space.

Remember the Alamo!

If you've ever wondered why Texas is known as the 'Lone Star State', then visiting the San Jacinto battleground should answer your question.

The Lone Star Flag at Texas Monument, Houston USA

In an 18-minute battle that began with Texan troops shouting "Remember the Alamo!", Texas won back its independence from Mexico to become the Republic of Texas. Sam Houston, the leading commander, became a national hero and thus Houston city got its name.

The story is way more in-depth than that though, and checking out the striking San Jacinto Monument and museum will give you the background better than any book can.

There are three options to get the full experience: a mini movie of the battle, an exhibit showcasing items from the battle, and a ride to the top of the monument. It's intriguing to see the remnants of the battle, including the weapons and uniforms of the soldiers.

 

For art's sake

The Menil Collection is one of the largest once-private artwork collections on public display in the USA. It's an incredible compilation of surrealist pieces, so if you're into the likes of Andy Warhol, Picasso or Max Ernst, then this is the place to go to see them in the flesh. The museum is open to the general public and is completely free of charge, although it's nice to pop a contribution into the donation box.

The nature of the artworks and their worth mean the collection is quite heavily guarded. It can feel a little overwhelming at first, but take a moment to find calmness in the carefully curated oasis. In a sweet departure from the norm, each piece is displayed without any description, so that you can take your own meaning from the art. 

Out of this world

If you've heard the familiar phrase "Houston, we've had a problem", then you probably know that Houston is the focal point for all things space-related in the States. The Space Center is just 30 minutes from downtown Houston and it pays to get there as early as possible to avoid the crowds and long queues, especially on the weekend.

Guests are taken behind the scenes on the NASA Tram Tour to see NASA Johnson Space Center. The tram tours are definitely a highlight, it's your chance to see the Historic Mission Control from the Apollo Missions, a real Saturn V rocket and the place where astronauts train for their missions before launching into space.

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