“Texas is an unself-conscious place. Nobody here is embarrassed about being who they are. Reactionaries aren’t embarrassed. Rich folks aren’t embarrassed. Rednecks aren’t embarrassed. Liberals aren’t embarrassed”
– The late journalist Molly Ivins
1. 25ft-tall underground cistern
The Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern was Houston’s first underground drinking-water reservoir. It was built in 1927 and was forgotten for years. City officials reassessed it and decided to remodel it to be a place for the whole family to visit – it was officially opened May 13, 2016. There are 30-minute walking tours available as well as places to grab some snacks. Immerse yourself in some fun history with a twist.
2. Explore the Bayou
Buffalo Bayou Park is the place locals go to for some down time. It has hiking and bike trails and if you take a walk, you’ll spend hours exploring all the exciting new nooks that you’re bound to stumble upon. Whether you buy artwork from a painter or watch performances by local entertainers, this is the city’s greatest urban park.
3. Local music rocks
Houstonians like music. Really loud music. And whether you’re a fan of live shows or not, with the variety that’s on offer, you’ll undoubtedly find something that will tickle your fancy. Satellite Bar (below) is known for its indie bands and cheap beer while Fitzgerald’s is one of Houston’s oldest live music venues and hosts up-and-coming talent.
4. Eat your heart out
Every new travel destination gives you the chance to go on an exciting culinary journey. In Houston, the locals like to celebrate their food and sure aren’t shy to show off their cooking skills. You can go on a Houston Culinary Tour (below) which will take you through The Heights and Montrose. You can even choose to have a chef-led tour. Wear flat shoes and comfy clothes that allow for some … expansion.
5. Arrive hungry at Killen’s Barbecue
Seriously, a visit to Killen’s is almost mandatory when visiting Houston. The famous barbecue house is most known for its ribs (below). Oh, and the fact that you get free beer while you wait on weekends. Yup, the lines are so long (and totally worth it) that the award-winning chef, Ronnie Killen, makes sure that his guests are well watered if they’re going to wait for food. Hurrah.
6. Get your cowboy on
You’re in Houston, Texas. To not go horseriding would be a travesty. There are various options but we’d recommend the Cypress Trails, which allow for riders of all levels to take part. It’s just 20 minutes from the main city centre and the views on the trails are spectacular.
7. A graffiti extravaganza
Houston is filled with bold graffiti across the city. This is your chance to explore, and at the same time, take snaps of some of the most iconic graffiti murals around. While you’re on the graffiti hunt, make sure to stop at the We love Houston Sign (below) and Before I Die Wall.
8. Movie night
The River Oaks Movie Theatre is a historic theatre that shows foreign and indie films. Once a month you can also catch The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The theatre has traditionally shown controversial films and was often the subject of protests and vandalism as a result. Now, grab a blanket and buy some popcorn and chill as you’re transported to another world.
9. The Water Wall
If you’re looking for a romantic spot, then the Water Wall is certainly it. The 64-storey installation sends thousands of gallons of water across the rocks, and if you catch a sunrise or sunset, the glistening water makes for a fantastic background shot. It’s just opposite the Williams Tour in the Uptown District of Houston.
10. See the city from the sky
No matter how high you hike or which trail the horse ride takes you on, seeing the city from the sky will give you mesmerising views unlike any other. Each ride takes off just before sunrise and as you float amid the clouds you’ll be given some champagne to enjoy. This is a highlight that you simply must add to your itinerary.
– TEXT BY JESSICA FARAH
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This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.