Travelers often associate a visit to Houston with the words “business trip.” Although that term may appear limiting, there’s good news on the agenda: plenty of distinctive destinations beckon outside the city’s convention centers and hotel rooms. With more than 8,000 restaurants, Houston is drawing national attention for its high-quality food scene; its downtown Museum District that boasts more than a dozen attractions; and its multi-faceted nightlife, from honkytonks to stylish dance clubs.
For those who find themselves “stuck” in Houston on a three-day business trip—as well as those who rightfully choose to explore this dynamic, cosmopolitan city—here are five mini-itineraries that delve beyond the Bayou City’s shimmering surface:
- Kick It Cowboy Style: There aren’t many Houstonians wearing oversized belt buckles or cowboy hats these days, but Texas’s influence on the city remains apparent. After a hard day of work, head to Kirby Drive for Lone Star-style smoked brisket at Goode Co. Barbeque, followed by a night of two-stepping to classic country music at the adjacent Armadillo Palace.
- Explore Magnificent Museums: If you have traveling companions in tow, encourage them to explore Houston’s Museum District. Start with the enormous Houston Museum of Natural Science, which covers everything from prehistoric creatures to modern oil-drilling techniques. Grab a traditional Texas lunch at El Real Tex-Mex Café, then spend an afternoon at the stunning Houston Museum of Fine Arts or Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston.
- Work Out Like a Local: For business travelers accustomed to a morning workout routine, join the locals on the three-mile running/exercise trail at inner-loop Memorial Park. Nearby Buffalo Bayou is a popular urban greenbelt that draws bikers, joggers, art lovers, and walkers with the towering Houston skyline as a backdrop.
- Discover Huge Flavors: To find out why Houston is topping national food lists, head to the city’s West University area for unprecedented flavor combinations at Uchi or Underbelly (and be sure to make reservations). Afterward, stay in the neighborhood for live blues music at the Big Easy Social and Pleasure Club.
- Travel through Time: Take an extra day to witness a true otherworldly experience at the legendary NASA Space Center southeast of Houston. Afterward, head to the San Jacinto Battleground Historic Site, where Texas famously won its independence in 1836. Top the day off with a seafood dinner at the bayside TopWater Grill.