Introduction to Houston
Things to do in Houston Texas
Being a transplant from up north to Houston, I figured I'd provide an outsider's view on the many wonderful thing to do here in Houston. As many of you may know, Houston is a huge city. What many of you may not know is how much Houston has to offer. Did you know Houston is the third largest market for Broadway plays? Did you know Houston has it's own professional baseball, football and soccer teams? Did you also know Houston's soccer team (the Dynamo) is one of the consistently highest ranked teams in the MLS?
Houston also has many cultural museums, from the Rothko Chapel to the Menil Collection. It's not just some cowboy town!
Arts and Culture in Houston
Houston has a very large arts and culture scene. With a lot of money brought in through the energy sector, a lot of national and international talent and art has been imported into the city. Here are a few you should check out:
Rothko Chapel - Technically part of the Menil Collection, since the Rothko Chapel was set up by Dominique and John Menil. It's a homage to Russian artist Mark Rothko. Not meant to be a true chapel of any religion it has on display many inspiring pieces of work. Should not be missed!
Menil Collection - Continuing on with the contribution the Menil's made to Houston is the Menil Collection. The de Menil's used the vast wealth they accumulated from Schlumberger (the Oil and Gas Company) to acquire a large collection of some the most important and influential artists. Which many well know artists displayed like; Max Ernst, René Magritte, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol. It's eclectic with a lot of post modern artwork and even an extensive Byzantine collection.
MFAH (Museum of Fine Arts Houston) - A very well rounded museum that has many different types of art to satiate the most varied tastes. With 60,000+ pieces of artwork, it'd be easy to be lost for days in this museum.
Houston Symphony (at Jones Hall) - Many top acts from the nation and world stop in Houston at Jones Hall. From David Sedaris to Yo Yo Ma, Houston Symphony gets all the headliners!
Houston Artopia- This is an event that takes place every January in Houston. The event showcases local artists, including many performing artists. The event is paired with local restaurants. Tickets sell out well in advance each year and space is limited, but you're coming to Houston in January, Artopia is worth looking into!
Worldfest Houston - Worldfest is one of the oldest and largest international film festivals in the United States. It usually takes places in April each year for about a week and a half. With many auxiliary events to compliment the event. Film makers from around the world come to showcase their films
Live Music in Houston
Houston is often overlooked by many who visit Texas for live music. With Austin only three hours away, people dismiss Houston. Well, that has begun to change. Several music festivals have popped up recently that are beginning to revel even Austin!
Summerfest (Free Press Houston) - Started a few years ago with several small acts, Summerfest has grown into a well known and large music festival even outside of Houston. I bet people from Austin even admit to coming to Houston for the festival! Normally takes place the first week in June.
Bestfest (Houston Press) - Bestfest's first year was in 2011 but turned a considerable crowd with several well known headliners. It's to be expected it will become an annual festival and staple to the live music scene in Houston. It last occurred in September so be on the look out.
Houston Press Music Awards - This event normally occurs in November and highlights many local bands in Houston. Multiple venues are used to showcase a very eclectic range of music.
Houston Livestock and Rodeo - This is by far Houston's largest 'festival'. It begins in late February to mid-March each year and has many many components, one of which is live music. Many national country headliners descend on the city for the Houston Rodeo. It's large enough that many of the events occur at Houston's own football stadium; Reliant Stadium.
Here is also a quick list of venues for live music in Houston:
Sports in Houston
Let me start by saying Houston is NOT Dallas. Cowboys fans need not visit (<3). Houston has many major sports teams and they're all fairly competitive on the national realm.
Houston Texans - Houston's NFL team. The Texans have had a few good years now and look to place well in the 2011/2012 season. Tickets are easy to get and Houston has one of the liveliest tailgating scenes in the nation.
Houston Astros (MLB) - The Astros are one of those teams you love to hate here in Houston. That's not to say locals won't argue and defend for the team if they hear out-of-towners trashing their baseball team. The Astro's are fairly new to the city and haven't found their grove yet. None-the-less, the games are fun to go to. Minute Maid Stadium is an amazing stadium, with no bad seat in the house!
Houston Rockets (NBL) - From Hakeem 'The Dream' Olajuwon to Scottie Pippen to Charles Barkley to Yao Ming. The Houston Rockets have had many top-tier talent. Games are played in the Toyota Center, where seats go for premium due to it's small size. None-the-less, games are fun to watch and you're just steps to other local venues and bars.
Houston Dynamo (MLS) - The Dynamo are one the top ranked soccer clubs in the US. Games are played outside and so the Houston Climate is not always friendly to sitting outside for extended periods. However, later season games allow for cooler temperatures. The Dynamo are in the process of building a brand new sole purpose stadium right near Toyota Center and Minute Maid Stadium.
Houston Aeros (AHL) - The Houston Aeros are by fat my favorite sporting event to attend in Houston. Although, Houston does not have a NHL team, the Aeros were ranked second in the AHL in 2011, losing in the fifth game of the Calder Cup. Tickets are easy to obtain, and the games are extremely family friendly. Often with themes like; Veteran's night, Bring your Dog night, and many more!
Houston has lots to offer. From world renown art and culture to top-ranked sports teams, Housotn truely does have it all! One last note is Houston is a very affordable city. Because of it's location and it's status as a large port of various goods, Houston has remarkable affordability for a city it's size. Houston is often 30-40% less expensive than cities like Washington, DC, New York City, San Francisco and even Chicago. Yet, Houston is the fourth largest city (by population) in the nation. So you'll never be bored by Houston's world class amenities!