Houston is the largest city with more than 1 million inhabitants in the American state of Texas. It became known worldwide after the release of the film "Apollo 13", with Tom Hanks playing the leading role. The famous phrase "Houston, we have a problem!" became a slogan for an Oscar-winning film. By modern standards, it's a young city. But in its short history, it has managed to become the center of aerospace, energy, gas, and oil industries. And that's all thanks to the energetic persistence of the ancestors of Texas cowboys. Houston keeps up with its brothers in culture and tourism. It ranks second in the U.S. by the number of theaters, known for its magnificent parks (there are 337 of them in the city), and beautiful museums (there is even a whole block of them).
Districts of Houston
Museum Quarter is located in the Southwest district. A significant part of Houston's attractions is also concentrated there. There are a zoo and the famous Hermann Park situated in the immediate vicinity. There is also Westheimer Road with restaurants and cafes in the same district and The Gallery, WaterWall, and Williams Tower nearby.
The city's most famous and wealthiest people live in the Western District, in the River Oaks quarter. New Chinatown is located in the same part of Houston. Here you shall find Vietnamese and Chinese markets, cafes, expensive and cheap oriental restaurants.
African and Hispanic people inhabit the southeast area. One of its neighborhoods, Greater Third Ward, is considered to be dangerous. Tourists are not advised to take walks here, especially at night.
North-East is located far from the center and has no attractions.
The Northwest district, in the quarters of Washington Ave and Katy Fwy, is inhabited mainly by the white population with average income. There is a golf field and Memorial Park here.
Houston has many unusual sights. They start right at the airport, where tourists are met by a cow in a suit that says, "Houston, we have landed!". And then it's just a matter of making sure that the camera is always charged. This city will give you a lot of impressions — from space to cultural and culinary.
A year after its founding, Houston became the temporary capital of the Republic of Texas and remained so until 1839. It was home to 1,500 people at the time. During this period, the first pier appeared here, and 30 years later, the construction of a shipping canal began, making Houston a port city. The establishment of the Chamber Capital was an important event in the lives of the citizens.
By early 1860, Houston had become a railroad hub, and in several decades it was the center of all land transportation in Texas. All this contributed to the prosperity of commerce in the city.
A real disaster struck the city in 1900. For over two weeks, the Galveston Hurricane raged here, killing 8,000 people.
A year later, oil was found in Beaumont, near Houston. It gave a boost to the oil industry in Texas.
In 1902, $1 million was allocated for the reconstruction of the navigable canal. Its opening took place in 1914. In the same period, Ellington Field Airport was built. By 1930, Houston was already the largest city in Texas.
During World War II, the country had an increased demand for petroleum products and synthetic rubber. Petrochemical plants and refineries were built in Houston to produce them.
In the 1960s, the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center began operating in the city.
At the end of the last century, the price of oil began to fall, leading to economic problems in the city. The situation got even worse after the space shuttle Challenger had exploded. It had a negative impact on the entire aerospace industry.
Several natural disasters marked the beginning of the XXI century for the metropolis. Hurricane Allison struck in 2001, and Hurricane Ike followed it in 2008, causing billions of dollars of damage. In 2015 and 2016, the city was hit by floods.
Modern Houston is not only the "energy capital of the world," where half of all electricity is generated by solar panels and wind turbines but also a pleasant, green city. It ranks first among all cities with a population of one million inhabitants in the United States by the number of green areas.
Before the trip, you should calculate the approximate budget that you will require for the travel:
|from 78 $/night||from 136 $/night||Start - 2.8 $, 1km - 1.71 $||0.64 $/liter||60 $ for 2 person|
The best time to visit Houston
In winter, the stem of the thermometer frequently indicates +14 ° C. This time of year is rainy. There was snowfall here only 14 times in 80 years.
The end of May and September-October is the best time to visit Houston. In this period, there is no exhausting heat and high humidity. It is a comfortable time for sightseeing and beach holidays on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
A visit to the city can be timed to coincide with one of the many cultural events. For example, attend the rodeo, which takes place annually in March. There is a full house for three weeks at Houston's main stadium. Real cowboys demonstrate their skills just as they do in the movies.
Texas Independence Day (in early March) is celebrated every year on a grand scale. This event takes guests back to 1896. The festival includes the reconstructions of the events of that time, shooting guns and muskets, live music, and a presentation of traditional crafts.
In the middle of April and early May, the city holds the Art Parade — one of the most popular and largest in the world. Here you can see real wonders of tuning.
The driver accepts the payment for the bus fare. It makes sense to stock up a sufficient number of small banknotes and coins, as it is not acceptable to demand change for a ticket.
It is common to leave tips in the service sector (waiters, hairdressers, taxi drivers) in Houston. The amount of 10-15% of the bill will be enough.
It is advantageous to buy Houston CityPass for sightseeing. It allows you to purchase tickets at a reduced price for nine days.
There are enormous parking lots in Museum Quarter for the convenience of visitors. It is possible to move from one object to another on a small electric train.
What should a tourist do in Houston?
- Visit the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. It displays the whole history of American and world astronautics. This unique exposition clearly shows how astronauts prepare for the flight, how they live in the gravity-free state, how interplanetary ships are arranged, and much more. This excursion will be interesting for both adults and children. Houston is also called the "Space City".
- Take a walk at the Houston Zoo. More than 6,000 animals of 900 species live here in conditions as close to nature as possible. There is an unusual pavilion called the House of the Beetles, where you can watch the largest insects in the world.
- Have an excellent time at the Downtown Aquarium. Adults and children will be delighted by the many colorful oceanic fish, shark reservoirs, and contact areas. At the exit of the aquarium, a white Bengali tiger Marina "escorts" guests.
- Have a picnic in Park Falls. A huge urban waterfall, made in the form of a horseshoe, is its main attraction — some 41 thousand liters of water fall from its twenty meters height.
- Go to The Health Museum. It awakens interest in health, the medical sciences, and the structure of the human body. Here you can take a "walk" inside the human body and see how the organs work.
- Enjoy the architecture of the Hindu temple in Houston. This unusual structure was built with donations from volunteers. More than 3000 Indian craftsmen carved Italian marble and Turkish limestone, after which the finished fragments were delivered to Houston.
- Visit the Museum of Natural Sciences. Its exposition is so extensive and fascinating that a tour can easily take a whole day. This museum is, by right, considered to be one of the most popular in the U.S. Over two million tourists visit it annually.
- Take a photo in front of the Beer Can House. It's an unusual and recognizable structure in Houston. Former homeowner John Milkovisch used 50,000 of these cans to cover the house and the surrounding area.
- Spend an evening at the Miller Outdoor Theatre. This place offers free concerts, ballet, performances, and musicals.
- Buy a Houston souvenir at Space Montrose. It displays works created by local authors (from clothing and accessories to stationery and souvenirs).
- Check out the unusual museum of art cars. This private contemporary art museum is also known as the Garage Mahal. Here you can get acquainted with the unusual art-tuning of vehicles.
- View the Menil Collection, which contains more than 17 thousand pieces of fine art. They were presented to the city by a couple of philanthropists, Menil. The entrance to the museum is free.