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Road Trip to Houston, TX

We did a weekend trip to Houston, Texas.  Houston has a lot to offer. My friends and I like to eat, shop and see interesting things.  We like culture and we also like to Party! Although sometimes we just like to relax.  We did it all in the city of Houston.

Facts about Houston

Houston is the 4th Largest City in the US by population.  It is home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The Texas Medical Center is located in Houston, which is the largest in the world. Greater Houston is the most ethnically diverse metropolitan area in the United States. At least 145 languages are spoken by Houston residents.

History of Houston

In 1836 General Sam Houston defeated Mexico to gain independence for the territory known as Texas.  The Republic of Texas was established and General Sam Houston became the first President. The city of Houston was founded by the Allen Brothers (Augustus and John) in 1836 when they purchased 6,642 acres for $9,298.80.  In 1846 Texas became America’s 28th State.   

Our Trip

Bill & Nicole in Houston
Bill & Nikki in Houston

We flew to Houston Friday evening after work.  After picking up the rental car, we immediately stopped at an old favorite called Jack in the Box!  One thing we try to do is pick places to eat that we don’t have at home. Jack in the Box is a fast-food restaurant that sells a variety of hamburgers and chicken sandwiches.  Along with tacos and an array of breakfast sandwiches. From there we went on to the hotel so that we could relax and prepare for a full day tomorrow. On our agenda was The Galleria, the Aquarium and the Natural History Museum.  That plus good eats makes for a great day.  

City Pass

We purchased a City Pass.  One of the best and most economical ways to see a city is to use a City Pass.  A City Pass is a pass that allows you to visit multiple attractions in a city all for 1 price.  The Pass is priced much lower than seeing each of the places individually. Some City Passes can be 75-80% off the retail price of individual tickets. Our Houston CityPass offered us the Space Center, Houston Zoo, Downtown Aquarium, Houston Museum of Art, Houston Museum of Natural History and Children’s Museum of Houston. We purchased our City Pass from Travelzoo.

Setting the agenda

On our trip to Houston, we wove our list of restaurants and landmarks around our City Pass to create an exciting weekend.  We decided on the Houston Galleria, Pappadeaux and Phil & Derek’s to go with the Aquarium, Houston Museum of Natural Science (Remember Nikki is a Science Teacher) and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  Plus we added a fast food restaurant from our childhood in St. Louis, that we don’t have in Florida.  We made a stop or two at Jack in the Box. 

Saturday

The Houston Galleria

Houston Galleria
Houston Galleria

Our first stop Saturday morning was the Houston Galleria. The Houston Galleria is magnificent and a true modern wonder.  First, this is 1 of the most successful malls in the world in a day of online shopping. The Galleria opened in 1970 and is the largest mall in Texas, with over 375 stores filling the four floors.  In addition to having all the large anchor stores, we have all heard of. The Galleria houses a multitude of high-end Boutiques and upscale restaurants. However, many people go to see the full-size ice skating rink inside the mall.  The ice rink literally draws people from all parts of the globe and for years has been great for dates! 

Houston Downtown Aquarium

Houston Downtown Aquarium
Houston Downtown Aquarium

After stopping at the Galleria and having an AM snack we went to the Houston Downtown Aquarium.  The Downtown Aquarium is home to over 300 species of sea life. The aquarium is sectioned off into exhibits featuring fish and sea life from that region.  The Downtown Aquarium has a large section on the Gulf of Mexico. Plus some really cool exhibits such as the Shipwreck, a Rainforest and a Louisiana Swamp exhibit.  2 surprises in the aquarium are the snakes and the Albino Tiger! We were not expecting to see either of them there! Next stop the Natural History Museum.  

Stingray at the Houston Aquarium
Stingray at the Houston Aquarium

Houston Museum of Natural Science

The Houston Museum of Natural Science has some major permanent exhibits.  For me what stood out was Space, Paleontology, Hall of Ancient Egypt and the Faberge Collection.  If you love dinosaurs the Museum has lots of skeletons and displays to help guests understand life during the days of the dinosaurs. The Hall of Ancient Egypt exhibit gives you a glimpse into Egyptian civilization.  You get to see things like Mummies, jewelry, tools, and ancient artifacts. This is one of the best Egyptian collections in the Country.

Egyptian Mummy
Egyptian Mummy

Most people have heard of Faberge Eggs. The Faberge collection gives you a certain appreciation for art design and craftsmanship.  The attention to detail in such small pieces of delicate art. The Planetarium covers multiple areas of space. The museum has several displays and the Planetarium seems to have a different movie topic about every half hour. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is a place you can go to learn while being wowed by the wonderful visual displays.  It is a place you can spend hours and still want to come back for more. Our trip left us hungry and we left heading to Pappadeaux.

Dinosaur Remains
Dinosaur Remains at the Houston Museum of Natural Science

Pappadeaux

Pappadeaux
Pappadeaux Houston, TX

One of our favorite restaurants is Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen.  We have eaten at Pappadeaux in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, and Chicago.  If you like Creole and Cajun food, then this is a place for you to check out.  Bold flavors with a dynamic presentation that shows off the many colors and of each dish.  However, it is the aroma. This is an upscale restaurant with a full bar. Pappadeaux offers an array of Seafood dishes sure to meet your taste.  It is a wonderful place for celebrations of all kinds. Whether it’s a birthday, graduation, anniversaries, reunions, group event, romantic or family dinner, Pappadeaux will be able to handle your event.  Great service and good food are what they are known for.  

Sunday

Bill, Nikki & Michelle
Bill, Nikki & Michelle at Sunday Brunch

Our Sunday plan was simple.  Get to Phil & Derek’s for Brunch.  That was supposed to be the showstopper!  We were going to hit the Houston Museum of Art.  Then head to the airport to catch our plane back to Orlando.  We had had a full day on Saturday. We rested up and were ready for Brunch.  Phil & Derek’s had come highly recommended to us and we wanted to see what all the fuss was about. We wondered if it was really going to be all that we were told.  Well, let me just tell you now that Phil & Derek’s exceeded all our expectations.

Phil & Derek’s Restaurant Jazz Lounge 

Phil & Derek's
Phil & Derek’s

The highlight of our visit was Sunday Brunch at Phil & Derek’s.  I mentioned at the beginning that my friends and I love to eat. Phil & Derek’s is an upscale restaurant that offers a Sunday Brunch where you can sit inside or on the covered patio.  Make reservations or you might not get in. The restaurant offers a full bar, omelet station, waffles made fresh, and a series of standard menu items. Those items include Chicken & Waffles, Jambalaya, Catfish & Grits, Red Beans & Rice, Potatoes and Greens.  Whatever you do don’t miss the Peach Cobbler. The restaurant offers some breakfast items along with a flavored carafe of mimosas for only $5 each. I am not sure who’s Grandma is in the back making it but they deserve praise, honor and a raise! Great atmosphere excellent service staff and really good food!

Houston Museum of Art

Museum of Fine Arts
Museum of Fine Arts

Our final stop was the Houston Museum of Art. The Art Museum is a wonderful mesh of art, history and visual stimuli.  An Egyptian collection was definitely a highlight for me. The collection had many works of Egyptian Art displayed in it. We saw a European collection of Neoclassical paintings. Along with some other period pieces.  There is also a large collection of American Art and Paintings.  Including a display of stained glass art. For those who are art lovers, you will enjoy.  If you are an enthusiast of Egyptian or African Art the collection is well worth seeing.   

Houston has a lot to offer.  We did a weekend trip there.   If you like to eat, shop and see interesting things then Houston is a place you should visit.  Houston offers a great nightlife if you like music, clubs, comedy or parties. It is also a place to go when you just like to relax. 

Helpful Links for Houston:

City Pass Houston: https://www.citypass.com/houston

Houston Downtown Aquarium: https://www.aquariumrestaurants.com/downtownaquariumhouston/

The Houston Museum of Natural Science: http://www.hmns.org/

Phili & Derek’s Restaurant Jazz Lounge: https://philanddereks.com/

Houston Visitors Center

701 Avenida de las Americas

Houston, TX 77010

1.800.4.HOUSTON

www.visithoustontexas.com

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Bill Collins

Bill Collins is a former Army Officer turned veteran traveler. I have traveled to 28 different Countries mainly concentrated in the Central & Latin America and have spent the last 16 years exploring the Caribbean Islands.

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