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First time in Houston

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Glasgow, United...
posts: 23
reviews: 2
First time in Houston

Me and my boyfriend are planning on spending two weeks in Houston in August/September this year.

We were wondering about:

-What the weather will be like

-What are the best things to visit (daytime and nightime)

-How is public transport for travelling to nearby places?

Thanks! :)

Houston, TX
posts: 2,920
reviews: 25
1. Re: First time in Houston

The weather will be hot and humid. As far as your other questions, give us an idea of what you like to do and people can give you better suggestions. There are so many places you can visit in two weeks with Houston as a base, so knowing what you are interested in will help. Public transport again depends on what you would like to do. Two weeks is a very long time to spend just in Houston.

Have a look at the Dallas-Fort Worth area, San Antonio for the Spanish culture influence, Austin for the live music scene, far west Texas for Big Bend National Park, the Texas Hill Country, possibly a dude ranch stay, even New Orleans.

Houston
Destination Expert
for Houston
posts: 1,466
reviews: 178
2. Re: First time in Houston

LindaLoo--To be more specific, temperatures typically range in the 35-38 degree range (Celsius) (95-100 Fahrenheit), with humidity in the 80's or more.

Much of what TxOffWeGo has given you in way of suggestions is far cities that are anywhere from 165 miles to 600+ miles (265-1000 km) away. Taking a bus to San Antonio and/or Austin should be no problem, but would be a big problem to the Big Bend National Park, the Hill Country or a dude ranch--you'd need to rent a car. You'll probably need a car to explore any given area properly anyway.

I agree that two weeks is probably too long to plan on staying in Houston, unless you really love dining out (Houston is one of the best restaurant cities in the country, with virtually every ethnicity represented), shopping, visiting museums and art galleries, etc. Get out and see more of Texas--you'll be glad you did.

Kingwood, Texas
Destination Expert
for Houston
posts: 2,518
reviews: 46
3. Re: First time in Houston

As trhe others have said hot nad humid. I know most Brit's (Scot's) like sunshine and hot but not the humidity.

If you can rent a car that will be the best and in the end the cheapest. Public transport within Houston and within Texas is not that good. There is however a new bus called Mega Bus that goes to San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and New Orleans. San Antonio and New Orleans you can get about by foot and public transport but not the other cities. I think you should plan on going to New Orleans it will be worth it. Beyond that let us know your interests, so we can guide you, especially in Houston.

Edited: 11:57 am, February 19, 2013
Glasgow, United...
posts: 23
reviews: 2
4. Re: First time in Houston

Thanks for the info guys!

I have some family in Houston so we will be with them for a few days and then we will be spending the rest of the time alone.

We are in our late 20's early 30's. We love watching all types of sports so if there are any big games of any sort on around that time we would love to go. Are there any theme parks/water parks or that type of thing close by? I love to go shopping so any reccommendations for that would be very appreciated! Also what is the nightlife like?

We would definately be looking to travel outside of Houston, probably using public transport as neither of us feel to confident about driving over there!

Overall we are really easy going so anywhere or anything that you would reccommend for us to go see would be a great help!

Thanks for the help!! :)

Houston, TX
posts: 2,920
reviews: 25
5. Re: First time in Houston

While there probably won't be any "big games" happening in your time frame, there will be sporting activities going on. Check the website for the Houston Astros to see about baseball. Also have a look at the Houston Dynamo site for soccer--that might be interesting for you as well. Rice University and the University of Houston will be playing football (our kind, not yours); check their schedules as well.

Re theme parks and water parks--Galveston has Moody Gardens and the Schlitterbahn. San Antonio has Fiesta Texas and SeaWorld. There is a small waterpark north of Houston called Splashtown. You can check all of these out online. The easiest way to reach any of these places will be by car--perhaps with the family during your visit with them.

Galleria area is known for its shopping and restaurants and nightlife. Washington Avenue in an area called The Heights has several bars and clubs, as does the Downtown area.

Things are pretty spread out around here. Although you aren't really keen to drive, hiring a car may be your best best. Trying to make your way around by public transportation will cost you more time, and in the heat it can be pretty unpleasant standing around outside waiting for a bus. You haven't mentioned where you will be staying--some areas are better served by public transport than others.

Houston, TX
Destination Expert
for Houston
posts: 419
reviews: 13
6. Re: First time in Houston

If you'll be in town in August/September then there is a chance that the local NFL team will be playing at home and you can attend. Not sure if that counts as a "big game", but there you have it.

Houston, TX
posts: 231
reviews: 8
7. Re: First time in Houston

Maybe you can rent a car and drive to Galveston there are a few things to see and do, on the way there you could visit NASA or Kemah Boardwalk it is a nice place to stroll around. Also in Galveston there is a Boardwalk as well and an are they call the Strand there is an area by the Pier you can visit the old Sail Ship Elisa and have a great lunch or Dinner by the water.

Harrow, United...
posts: 1,668
reviews: 131
8. Re: First time in Houston

Linda - We have very good British friends who have lived in West Houston for 30 years; we have visited probably 20 times and we are going again in June. Let me tell you unequivocally that even to just get around Houston, let alone to visit further afield, you MUST either hire or have access to a car otherwise you simply will not be able to go anywhere. Metropolitan Houston covers an incredibly wide area and has no real Public Transport system such as we have in the UK and Europe. You need to understand that Houston (like most US cities) is absolutely nothing like a European City. The car is King; nobody walks anywhere and, as I say, there is precious little Public Transport. If you have any questions don't hesitate to send me a PM. D

Edited: 5:02 pm, February 21, 2013
Harrow, United...
posts: 1,668
reviews: 131
9. Re: First time in Houston

Linda - Just another thought - we know to our cost that many attractions, like water parks, are only open between Memorial Day (end May) and Labour Day which this year is on Monday 2 September. Yes, seriously; the USA is different!

Edited: 5:26 pm, February 21, 2013
Evansville, Indiana
posts: 13
reviews: 48
10. Re: First time in Houston

I lived in Houston for several years and I know it's going to seem daunting at first to drive but really it isn't too bad. The most confusing thing for any one that didn't learn to drive in Texas on the on/off ramp access roads. When you exit an interstate you will go down the ramp and end up on a one way road that pretty much runs the whole length of the highway. There will be a stop light for each major intersection for you to be able turn off to go to your destination. The weirdest thing is the U-turn lanes. Here is an examble of how to use them. You are West bound on I-10, you need to exit ABC Rd and your destination is the Lowes building that is on the East bound side of I-10. Take your ABC Rd Exit, take the U-turn lane you will now be on the East bound access road and able to turn into Lowes. It seems really confusing at first but you'll get it.

Public transit does not exisit in Houston (at least not if you are used to say Chicago or New York or anything in Europe) so you are going to want to borrow/rent a car for at least part of the two week stay. If you rent a car most places will rent a GPS unit for an additional fee, rent it and save yourself a headache. Other than that with getting around remember the bypasses make two really big rings around the city 610 is an interstate and is free, Beltway 8 is a toll road (keep lots of spare change in the car Texas has lots of tollways).

For night life spend at least one evening in Austin on 6th Street or go over to San Antonio for the River Walk.

Shopping the Galleria is huge (I found the layout confusing). There are lots of little malls all through the suburbs and several open aired malls. Not sure where your family lives in Houston but I'm sure there are some nearby. Also go check out the Woodlands it has some higher end stores and it's more of an outdoor mall setting.

Catch and Astros game while you are in town. You can normally get level 2 seating pretty cheap.

You didn't state if you like outdoor things but what I always suggested to friends that came to visit us was Brazos Bend State Park (it's about 1.5 outside of Houston so you are going to need a car to get there). There are wild alligators in the park (take an easy 1 mile hike around Elm Lake for the best viewing). That time of the year you are going to want to get to the park early because the gators aren't real active when it's hot out. If you've never seen a large alligator up close you have to go here because it is amazing. Bring some bottled water. Like everyone has said it's going to be hot and humid. Stop by the visitors center in the park and see if they have any baby alligators in the tank. The volunteers will normall get one out and let you touch it.