Tucked away in the 20-acre Sam Houston Park downtown, you will find an impressive bit of Texas history. Visit the Heritage Society Museum & Tour, which features historical records, then take the outdoor tour of noble buildings restored to their original glory. Pathways lead to an assortment of prestigious homes in Greek and Victorian styles. The 1868 Victorian-style Pilot House also happens to be the site of the city's first indoor kitchen. All the homes on the tour are unique in structure and furnishings. There is also a quaint church built in 1891 by German farmers.
Pack your lawn chairs and your cooler, and prepare to have a relaxing good time at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Visitors sit on the hillside or under the polygon canopy to enjoy the weekly shows that start in the spring and run through the fall. Sponsored by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, free admission guarantees you can enjoy a lovely evening without hurting your entertainment fund. From folk music to grand opera, serious Shakespeare to outrageous comedy, concerts to full Broadway musicals, this outdoor theater appeals to all ages. Special children's programs are even available on occasion.
The selection of exhibits at Houston's Museum of Fine Arts covers both modern and ancient art and represents the talent of artists from Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. You will find Frederic Remington's fine Western art mingling with medieval pieces and the work of early European masters. Paintings are abundant, but the lovely sculpture garden here is also worth viewing. Both the Glassell School of Art and the Hirsch Library for Art History call this museum home. Film buffs love the museum for its weekly showings of classic and foreign films. A gift shop and restaurant are both on hand to satisfy your hunger after a day of exploring.
Alkek Velodrome is the only facility for high speed cycling training in the entire state of Texas. Although many of the open hours are taken up with professional training sessions, the velodrome also offers hours for public usage. Sessions for skaters are also available, which makes this attraction popular with both serious skaters and cyclists.
Memorial Park is a popular Houston attraction complete with a beautiful three-mile playground. There are walking paths, picnic sites, baseball fields, pine trees, gardens and ponds. Appreciate nature's beauty and make the most of the sunny weather. The locals love to jog here, but you can also rent a bike and hit the trail. There is also a public golf course with a clubhouse and restaurant, a tennis club, and a workout facility nestled on the grounds.
Houston will be forever grateful for George Hermann's generous gift of land in the early 1900s. The park spans over 445 acres (180 hectares) and is one of Houston's oldest public parks. People from all walks of life gather here for various events throughout the year. A monstrous statue of Sam Houston welcomes you to the park. Those seeking an educational outing for themselves or the kids will find many options inside the park. The Museum of Natural Science, Houston Zoo, Burke Baker Planetarium and an IMAX theater are all popular attractions. Lighter family entertainment is available in the form of pedal boats, train rides and other activities.
Dating from 1843, this is the oldest Episcopal parish church in Houston. Silas Mcbee's gothic-styled church, built in 1893, has outstanding brickwork and sandstone-topped parapets. The vast nave of dark-stained wood creates a commanding interior. The stained-glass window, called Caritas, was installed by Tiffany Studios and can be viewed on the side of the nave closest to Fannin Street. William Ward Watkin was the architect for the Golding Memorial Chapel that was added in 1939. The iron fence and palm trees in the area provide a lovely Victorian-influenced space for relaxing conversation.
Downtown Houston's tunnels comprise a multi million-dollar system that gives new meaning to the term "underground." Those who venture beneath the city will be delighted at what they find hidden there. Restaurants, gift shops, and more fun spots line the corridors. The temperature below is always pleasant and allows the busy people of downtown to navigate in comfort, regardless of the season. Major buildings that are connected by the tunnel system include One Allen Center, One Shell Plaza, Alley Theatre and Wortham Center. If you are not familiar with the layout, you might want to pick up a tunnel map, or take a guided tour offered by several tour operators.
The revival of this park area where the Allen brothers arrived over 150 years ago to start a new business venture has been exciting and stimulating for the downtown area. Surrounded by four primary streets (Travis, Milam, Congress and Preston), the area features restored historical buildings, fine restaurants, entertainment and nightclubs all within walking distance of each other. Lovely painted benches, artifacts and pictures line the walkways, combining the old with the new for all to enjoy. Different "points of view" can be discussed freely in a friendly atmosphere under the aptly named sculpture by James Surls.
This massive hall has been the prestigious home of the Houston Symphony for many years. It was built in 1966 to add an opera house to Houston's expanding list of artistic offerings. Located downtown in the theater district, it has also played host to other musical productions over the years, including Broadway musicals and sold-out concerts. Underground parking is available and convenient.
If there is a theater in Houston that everyone knows, this is it. Located downtown in the Theater District, it stands tall and proud, rather like a contemporary castle, and casts an enchanting spell. This Tony Award winning theater knows how to put on an impressive performance. It consists of two stages. The Hubbard Stage is the largest, with 824 seats, and the Neuhaus Stage hosts smaller performances, seating 310. The season is planned well in advance, so call ahead for information and buy your tickets early or you might find yourself missing the show. Parking garages are available for a small fee.
If you are driving by downtown Houston, this magnificent theater will surely catch your eye. It is the stately home to both the Houston Ballet and the Houston Grand Opera. The impressive stage and interior are worth a tour even if you do not have a chance to take in a show. The Nutcracker, produced by the Houston Ballet, is the most popular annual arts show in the city. If opera is your cup of tea, then you will definitely want to pick up some tickets for the latest production.