Houston, You’ve Got a Problem

An image problem

People were underwhelmed when I said I was going to Houston, Texas for a few days and looking for tips. Most of those I talked to hadn’t been there, but had a negative perception of Houston. Others who had actually been there, but quite some time ago, also had a negative perception. Instead of making me less enthused about my upcoming trip, I felt the excitement of a challenge.

Downtown Houston from moving taxi

The challenge: To find out what’s good about Houston

Mr. TWS has been to Houston on business many times, but hasn’t seen much beyond the offices he visits and hotels, where he mostly just appreciates reliable wi-fi and wake up calls.

So what’s going on in Houston? Here are some things I’m thinking of doing.

The rodeo is in town! How much more “Texas” can you get than that? The Southern Living website mentioned a must-do at the rodeo is to talk to a cowboy – “You’ll know who they are”. So I’ll be looking for spurs and ten gallon hats. They also said to eat something fried, whether it’s a corn dog, Oreo cookie or a twinkie. I think I can handle that, but I might want to have some Tums handy. I’m not used to that kind of fare.

One of my main goals for this trip is to find some awesome barbecued ribs. One of my husband’s co-workers, a Houston resident, has a recommendation for what he believes are the the best in the universe. I also had a suggestion from @FoodieIntl on Twitter who knows a ribs place that is worth a day trip from NYC a few times a year. I’m considering both options.

The historic district is within walking distance of my hotel, the Hyatt Regency Houston. If I decide to rent a car, I can go to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, a 25 mile drive or spend some time on the beach in Galveston, 50 miles from Houston. I might like to see the Museum of Fine Arts or National Geograhpic’s King Tut exhibition which is in its final weeks here. I know there’s much more and I’m ready to explore. Let me know if you’ve got any ideas!

Downtown Houston from hotel

What’s your perception of Houston, Texas?


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17 thoughts on “Houston, You’ve Got a Problem

  1. Steve

    LOL. I once mentioned I was thinking about going to Houston and I was told that it was the armpit of Texas. Not exactly an enticing image. Looking forward to some more positive ideas from your journey.

  2. jade

    I would love to visit more cities in Texas, but have to admit, I don’t know much about Dallas or Houston except that there is a lot of traffic between the two! Oh, and I hate Houston’s airport! I would say rent a car- why not?!- and adventure around the city. Plus, those ribs sound delicious! And texas bbq is totally different from other bbq in the south!

  3. Sophie

    Been to Dallas heaps, but never to Houston. I imagine they’re quite similar. Dallas I found a bit eerie: no people to be seen anywhere, bit like a ghost town filled with cars. Been a long time,though. Things may have changed.

  4. Debbie

    I’ve never been to Houston before but I know what those fried dishes and ribs mean… a unique and memorable gastronomic experience.

  5. Leigh

    I don’t have a good perception of Houston – bad airport, lots of freeways, crime, flat and little to do outdoors. In fact I refused to move there a few years ago.
    However it is supposed to have a wonderful art gallery – The Menil Collection (described as one of the greatest & most eclectic private museums in the US), listed in 1000 Places to See Before You Die. And I did love going to the NASA Space Center.

  6. htownhipster

    You will be surprised that Houston is actually a really underrated city. You should stay in the Museum District which is fabulous. Montrose is a very quirky, cool neighborhood. You might check out the Heights too. Midtown has some good spots, Discovery Green park downtown is good, and for a more uppity vibe look at the Galleria area and Uptown.

    Houston has actually made quite a few complimentary lists lately (top 10 this or that) and has throngs of people moving here, and staying, who love it. I’m not sure why you heard bad things, those people probably just aren’t familiar with it (Houston doesn’t spend a lot on marketing efforts like Austin does) or haven’t been in decades. As for the person who said armpit, that’s ridiculous, they must be mixing it up with Port Arthur which is known as the Armpit of Texas.

      1. htownhipster

        I’m sorry I somehow totally missed your newer posts! But they’re great, I really like all of the pictures, really helps tell the stories.

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