Known for its down-South charm, sangria-red sunsets, and booming nightlife, Houston is more than just big oil and bigger dreams, it’s one of the country’s most vibrant and unique destinations. This guide will show you how to have an epic weekend in Houston.
If you only have 72 hours in Houston, you’ll want to find a hotel that puts you in the middle of all the action. The Lancaster offers luxe boutique lodging in the heart of the buzzy Theater District, as well as a complimentary car service that will shuttle you to the numerous local attractions.
Once you’ve checked in, grab a bite at Perbacco, an unpretentious local mainstay serving up traditional Northern Italian fare. Settle in with a plate of snapper Napoli, and people-watch over a glass of Chianti. The restaurant’s a pre-show hotspot for theater-goers, so expect to see some of Houston’s glitterati in tuxes and tails.
After dinner, take a 7-minute stroll through Tranquility Park to The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, a modern venue offering everything from high-powered musicals like Hamilton and Cats, to stand-up comedy, classical concerts, and kids’ productions.
Texas doesn’t do anything in half measures – it’s go big or go home – and there’s no reason why this ethos wouldn’t carry over to its breakfasts, where visitors will find everything from cinnamon rolls with bacon icing to 7-layer croque madames with duck breast. Chow down like a true Texan with a Saturday morning order of chicken-fried steak and black-pepper biscuits at Ousie’s Table.
If you’re traveling with kids, the Houston Zoo and the Children’s Museum of Houston are must-visit destinations, while art buffs will enjoy a walk through the Houston Museum District, where they can check out the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Rothko Chapel. For lunch, settle in with a frozen margarita, a hearty plate of egg-topped enchiladas, and a side of out-of-this-world queso at El Patio, a vintage restaurant that’s been slinging old-school Tex-Mex since 1964.
Houston is so hard to pin down that it’s been given more nicknames than perhaps any other city in the world. From “Space City” and “Hustle-Town”, to “The Big Heart” and “Magnolia City”, Houston is constantly evolving. But the nickname that’s stuck the most is “Crush City”, a moniker derived from the powerful Houston Astros baseball team, and indeed, sports are almost a religion here. Get Saturday night off to a cracking start by catching a baseball game at Minute Maid Park, an NFL game at NRG Stadium, or even a high school football game, which are outrageously big affairs in the Lone Star State. If you time it right, you can even grab a ticket for the rodeo.
For dinner, treat yourself to a meal at Xochi, an upscale restaurant helmed by acclaimed chef Hugo Ortega. Xochi serves rustic Oaxacan dishes – think beef-tongue tacos, scallop-and-avocado crudo, and roasted octopus – with adventurous twists (i.e. candied ants and crickets).
Sunday morning means you only have 24 hours in Houston left, so kick the day off with some down-home fried green tomatoes and braised oxtails at Lucille’s, a cozy Texas landmark offering chef-driven Southern fare in an old Museum District house.
Then rent a bike through Houston’s popular bike sharing program and take a breezy cycle ride through the city. Hit the trails at Terry Hershey Park, an urban Beltway oasis with 6 miles of cycling and hiking paths running along the Buffalo Bayou, or take a more urban route along the Heights Bike Trail, which connects the historic Heights neighborhood to Downtown. The Heights offers plenty of intriguing pit stops, especially along 19th Street, where visitors can pick up a one-of-a-kind souvenir in the boutiques or antique shops.
Keep the weekend’s Tex-Mex vibe going by grabbing lunch at Ninfa’s on Navigation, an eclectic Tejano restaurant serving famously potent margaritas and handmade pork tamales.
If you’re visiting between March and November, you can enjoy Sunday night at The Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park. The theater hosts lively (and completely free) productions, ranging from modern dance performances and film screenings, to concerts and full-blown musicals. Pack a picnic, or just uncork a bottle of wine and spread out a blanket beneath the stars.
For a heartier meal, buzz over to Nancy’s Hustle, an on-trend bistro in East Downtown. It has a focused menu drawing on inspirations from around the world, but with mouth-watering lamb tartare, wood-grilled chicken with lemon jus, and parmesan cheesecake with black pepper honey, Nancy’s mix of casual and upscale dining is sure to please the most demanding palette.
Round off your weekend in Houston with a bar crawl around Downtown. Start at The Pastry War, a Mexican-inspired mezcaleria serving south-of-the-border cocktails and habanero-spiked margaritas. Then grab some pig-head tacos at The Hay Merchant, and a glass of vintage bubbly at chic 13 Celsius.
Offering bundles of Texas charm, fantastic restaurants, thrilling sports, and cutting-edge culture, Houston is a magical melting pot with something for everyone. Book your weekend in Houston today!