A stopover in Houston
A stopover in Houston
Your flight from Auckland will arrive in Houston just after 12 noon. Freshen up at your stopover accommodation, then head off for your first taste of Houston hospitality. We recommend open-air dining, to help reset your circadian rhythms.48 hours
Things to do when you first arrive
- Stretch your legs around Discovery Green, a refreshing city park with art installations, lawns, gardens and fountains. There are performance spaces here too, so you might even see a free show
- Find a high place for a drink - there are some great open-air rooftop bars and upper-level terraces in the city. Consider El Big Bad for a margarita, Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar for a whiskey sour or the Monnalisa Bar at Hotel Sorella for a poptail (that's a popsicle cocktail)
- Choose an outdoor restaurant for dinner. You could go for a Tex-Mex favourite, like Irma's Southwest Grill, the Original Ninfa's or Spanish Village. Or maybe you'd prefer an ethnic restaurant, such as Huynh for Vietnamese, Phoenicia for Middle-Eastern or Coltivare for Italian
- If the weather's not ideal for outdoor eating, get cosy at Rainbow Lodge - a romantic log cabin restaurant, or Brennan's of Houston - creole fine dining at its best
- If you're still feeling lively after dinner, finish up at a late night venue - Poison Girl, The Dirt Bar or Indigo at Midtown
After a full night's sleep, you'll be ready to hit the Houston highlights. Start with a Texan-size breakfast, then use the hop-on hop-off double decker buses to get an overview of the city. Later on, find your way to Alexrad Beer Garden for a relaxed sundowner.
Things to see and do today
- Kick the day off with a bigger-than-Texas stack of pancakes or try eggs benny Houston-style, with crab meat and lobster. Recommended breakfast joints include Main Street Bistro, Boondoggles, Red Oak Café and the Seabrook Waffle Co.
- Houston's Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing services uses double decker buses that are open air on top. They circuit around six stops, including Buffalo Bayou, the theatre district, historic Texas Avenue, the Aquarium and the mid-town museum district
- Hop off to visit the Houston Museum of Natural Science - it has a superb permanent collection, including a wicked array of dinosaurs, as well as world-class visiting exhibitions
- Another great hop off is the Museum of Fine Arts, which embraces masterworks as well as mind-boggling modern collections
- Get yourself the ultimate sun protection - a cowboy hat, modelled on the animal-skin hat made popular by John B Stetson in the 1800s. There are some great, lightweight examples available these days - check out Cavenders or Boot Barn and try a few for size
- Finish the afternoon at Axelrad Beer Garden, where you can lounge in a hammock while you sip a craft ale or two. If you want a casual dinner, you're welcome to buy pizza from Luigi's next door and bring it into the garden
Today has a space theme. Fuel up with another Texan breakfast - maybe wings and grits or chicken and waffles - then head to the Houston Space Centre. At the end of the day, catch a very special sunset at RICE University, then finish with a farewell meal at a Texan BBQ restaurant.
Things to see and do
- Try a Mexican breakfast today at Habanero's Tacos, Dona Maria or the Teotihuacan Mexican Café. Huevos Rancheros, breakfast tacos or a breakfast burrito will energise you for the day ahead
- Launch yourself at the Houston Space Centre. See the space shuttle, numerous rockets, the facility where astronauts do their training and lots more. A guided tour is a smart idea, if you want to hear all about the various space missions. You'll be here for much of the day, so grab some lunch at one of the on-site eateries
- Before the sun goes down, get yourself over to Rice University to see James Turrell's masterpiece 'Twlight Epiphany'. It's a massive art installation that uses space, sky and lighting to create a mesmerising show
- Top the day off with the ultimate barbecue dinner. Get yourself to somewhere like Goode Company BBQ, The Brisket House or Ray's BBQ Shack for smoky, slow-cooked beef brisket and the best ribs you've ever tasted
Refreshed and renewed, you're ready to continue your USA holiday by picking up a car, jumping on a train or catching a domestic flight.