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Houson vs Galveston - how to spend a Saturday in May

Toronto, Canada
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Houson vs Galveston - how to spend a Saturday in May

We are a 40ish Canadian couple looking forward to 10 days in Texas in late May - Houston, San Antonio, Austin. We are landing in Houston on a Friday night and leaving for San Antonio on Sunday morning. For our 2 nights in Houston, we will be staying downtown at the Four Seasons. We need help deciding how to spend our Saturday.

The coast is tempting us and we are trying to decide whether to spend Saturday exploring Houston sites or heading to Galveston for the day. We are 100% motivated by food, drink, and a scenic walk. We have a car but dont want to spend the day in it.

We are leaning toward Galveston - mostly because the rest of our holiday is inland - but don't want to spend a charmless day in a touristy place if Houston offers better food and drink walking adventures.

Any advice?

Houston, TX
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1. Re: Houson vs Galveston - how to spend a Saturday in May

I suggest spending your Saturday in Center City Houston, with perhaps a short shopping trip to the Galleria Mall later in the day. Drink and dining is very much better there, as are Museums, Herman Park or Rice University circle walk in the morning to observe the native walkers and runners. Menil Museum is a somewhat overlooked gem in Houston, if you have a soft spot for a variety of art and ancients.

Galveson is a pleasant place, but the above delivers better value for the typical visitor.

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: Houson vs Galveston - how to spend a Saturday in May

Jackta, thanks for taking the time to respond. Sounds like we will enjoy a day in the city centre.

Houston, TX
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3. Re: Houson vs Galveston - how to spend a Saturday in May

City Centre as referred to by jacta is not downtown Houston, but an area to the west of town adjacent to 2 freeways--I-10 Beltway 8. There are some office buildings, a few shops and some restaurants there. I would be hard pressed to spend more than about 1.5 hours there, including a leisurely paced meal.

Downtown Houston is, as most urban centers are, very quiet on the weekends. There is a park called Discovery Green which hosts weekend events.

Coming from another large urban area, you might enjoy a day in Galveston rather than in the city. Possibly you would prefer a walk along the beach or seawall to one inside a large shopping mall. While the water isn't that dazzling blue it is elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, there are lots of places to eat, drink and enjoy yourself in Galveston. Bring your hat and sunscreen--it's already summer here!

Houston, TX
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4. Re: Houson vs Galveston - how to spend a Saturday in May

Should also have said that it's only about an hour's drive from downtown to Glaveston, so not too much time in the car for the journey.

Houston, TX
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5. Re: Houson vs Galveston - how to spend a Saturday in May

Center City Houston is just what the name says, and covers Downtown, Midtown, EaDo, the Montrose and the Museum District. Staying at the Four Seasons puts you right in the middle of it. While the office workers are gone, the rest of the food, drink and fun remains.

A good and free website for vsitors is www.visithouston.com, And grab a copy of Houston Press once you're here, or look it up at www.houstonpress.com for current listings of music venues and the like.

City Centre is indeed a shopping and hotel complex far away from Center City Houston.

Houston, TX
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6. Re: Houson vs Galveston - how to spend a Saturday in May

Sorry for any confusion jacta. Your post referred to Center City Houston and the OP replied about City Centre, which is the name of the shopping/restaurant area on I-10 and what would come up if they googled city centre Houston. When I googled your term, what came up was the City Centre complex info. I'm not familiar with the term Center City as you use it and didn't want the OP to end up one place when they expected something different such as museums and Hermann Park.

I still think that for someone from another large urban area a day in Galveston would be a nice change.

Texas
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7. Re: Houson vs Galveston - how to spend a Saturday in May

Given the choice I would also venture down to Galveston. Check out The Strand district, as well as the street of Post Office. And you can walk along the seawall or East Beach and watch the ships come in the channel. There are lots of great options for food and drinks. If you finish early you can head to Kemah and grab dinner and walk along the little boardwalk area before heading back to Houston.

Houston, Texas
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8. Re: Houson vs Galveston - how to spend a Saturday in May

I believe the confusion here comes from the differences between the US and the British/Canadian spellings of "center" and "centre," respectively. The confusion is further compounded by Houston's having a shopping and entertainment complex named "City Centre," which is not anywhere near the center of the city.

For the OP's information, most hotels in Houston cater to business travelers, so rates are usually considerably higher during the week than on weekends. Since you'll be arriving on Friday night and leaving on Sunday, you'll be able to take advantage of the weekend rates.

Galveston, in my opinion, is OK. If you're looking for white sand and blue water, you'll probably be disappointed. The Strand is interesting, but the restaurants won't compare with those in Toronto, unless you're looking for something unique to this area, which more or less limits you to Tex-Mex. As a former South Louisiana resident, I can't really recommend any of the "Cajun" restaurants around here, with the possible exception of Rajun Cajun.

If it were my choice, I'd choose the center of Houston over Galveston because of the excellent restaurants, parks, museums, and walking paths, plus the proximity of the Galleria.

Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: Houson vs Galveston - how to spend a Saturday in May

I am only halfway through these posts (thanks to everyone) but realizing that I spelled Houston wrong in the title. That's embarrassing, eh? Canadians usually add letters to words (colour, neighbour, etc.).

Houston, Texas
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10. Re: Houson vs Galveston - how to spend a Saturday in May

I don't know if you've already left for your trip but I wanted to comment on Galveston so you know what to expect should you decide to venture there. It is by no means a beautiful beach and in fact, I'd be hesitant to swim in the water. It's a quaint island with fun shops but the water and the sand are just not pretty (I grew up in Houston). I'd prefer to spend the day inland if you've never been to Houston before. We have lots of shopping and walkable areas as others have mentioned. And lots of good food!