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What to see and do in Houston – a guide to notable attractions and landmarks

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Houston is a city of contrasts where tradition, arts, and culture go hand in hand with future-facing innovation, from the cutting edge architecture that characterizes the Downtown of the city to the home of space exploration’s brightest and best at NASA’s mission control, based at the city’s Space Center. Whether you’re stargazing or strictly earthbound, you’ll find a host of theaters, museums, wide open spaces, and plenty of state-of-the-art shops in Uptown Houston and Galleria.

Downtown/Theater District

 

Houston’s Downtown area is a real smorgasbord of cultural experiences and bright lights, none more so than the Theater District, whose centrepiece is the dazzling Bayou Place, home to theaters, bars, eateries, and lots of live music. It’s not just glitz though, with the Historic District still showcasing the city’s 19th century architecture along its tree-lined avenues, as well as being home to one of the best hangout spots in town – Market Square Park

Museum District

 

A lot of major cities have a thriving museum scene, but it’s rare to find a dedicated Museum District such as the one in Houston, where you can expand your grey matter and sate your curiosity about all manner of things historic, cultural, and artistic. Highlights of the region include the Children’s Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Contemporary Arts Museum. Check before visiting, as many offer free entry at certain times of the day, while others are always free.

 

Uptown/Galleria

 

Uptown is a vibrant blend of commerce, residential, and business, with largely innovative architecture echoing the sort of forward-looking atmosphere of the region. From high-end restaurants to all-under-one-roof malls, there’s lots to splash out on in Uptown, and nowhere more so than the fashionista heaven that is the Galleria. This enormous complex is home to over 375 stores, but it isn’t just the clothes that are impressive - the mall has a huge glass atrium well worth making the trip for itself.

 

Johnson Space Center

 

One serious jewel in Houston’s crown is the Johnson Space Center, where you’ll get as close as possible to experiencing the wonders of the Space Race thanks to a wide range of interactive experiences and exhibitions, catering to adults and children. Educational, sure, but the Center is first a foremost an out and out blast for any fans of the final frontier, packed with stunning hardware from the early age of space exploration and get up close to everything from space suits to control panels.

 

Kemah Boardwalk


For some wholesome family fun, with a serious smattering of thrills, the Kemah Boardwalk, located around 20 minutes away from Downtown, is a waterfront pleasure palace. With everything from restaurants to retail, there’s also a whole host of white-knuckle rides if you’re brave enough, as well as the chance to take to the water yourself in a Boardwalk Beast boat. Taking you out into the waters of Galveston Bay, a trip on the Beast will leave you wet but with some unforgettable angles on the area.