TA Away Game Travel Guide to Houston

08 Aug 2011 2:33 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

—by Andrew Brawley

Houston is the largest city in the United States that I have not set foot in. I’ve been to every other major city in Texas, so I feel like I’m somewhat familiar with it. However, I don’t feel that qualifies me to write a travel guide for it.

For this particular entry, I’ve employed a good friend / Houston ex-pat / former co-worker who’s currently based in Los Angeles. He is originally from Houston, and is known for frequent visits to his hometown due to social and familial obligations. He’s good people, and I totally vouch for him. Here’s my pal Sam Guilloud and his recommendations for the city that will be owned by Jonathan E. in the not-so-distant future.

Restaurants: don’t be afraid of chains as Houston doesn’t do small individual restaurants. If a restaurant is good, then there are at least five of them.

  • Goode Company: big chain in Houston that’s renowned for its BBQ.
  • Pappas Restaurants: this is actually a superchain of restaurants in Houston that all start with “Pappas” and specialize in seafood, BBQ, Mexican, Italian, etc. If it’s got Pappas in front of it, it’s usually good. i.e. Pappadeaux, Pappas BBQ, Pappasito’s, etc.
  • Ninfa’s: the restaurant that invented Tex Mex. Amazing everything.
  • Taste of Texas: the premiere Texas steak experience. Pick your meat, pick your fixin’s, and gaze upon the wondrous cattle wrangling murals and stuffed buffalo head throughout.
  • Vegetarian options (I’m just assuming you need this since this is for a Portland audience ): Baba Yega in Montrose. Great food and Sunday Brunch is party central.

Sights:

  • Houston Aquarium: I’ve never been, but I hear it’s amazing.
  • The Menil Collection: one of the best contemporary arts museums in the country.
  • Rice Village: great area to walk around, shop, go to restaurants, bars, mingle with college students, etc. 
  • Houston Galleria: the most insane mall you’ve ever seen. Can be a madhouse on the weekends.
  • Uptown: this is a new area of shops and high end restaurants. It “looks” pedestrian friendly, but don’t be afraid to drive between locations.

Tips:

  • Fly into George Bush Intercontinental Airport. It’s the most technologically advanced airport this side of Asia. Bonus points if you take your picture in front of the bronze statue of George HW Bush. A stunning immortalization of him walking into the wind with his tie and coat jacket blown back for dramatic effect. Brings tears to the eyes.

Bring:

  • Mosquito repellent: Houston is a garden of freeways and skyscrapers built on top of a swampy hive of mosquitoes. These things are Texas sized will drain all your blood if you let them.
  • Sweaters and Shorts: don’t be afraid to rock a sweater with your flip flops and shorts because between April and October, Houston is about 100 degrees and 80% humidity, but we keep our indoors a frosty 60 degrees year round. It’s the most air conditioned city in the world so be prepared for both extremes.
  • License to drive: you’re not getting anywhere without a car. Period. People on foot are mocked and stared at for the freaks they are. You wouldn’t want to be walking in that heat anyway.

Don’t Bring:

  • A sense of shame: Houston is known for its zero zoning laws meaning it’s strip club heaven, most of which are in what out-of-towners may consider to be odd places. Don’t be afraid to go to one just because it's next to a church/nursery school/playground/retirement home because, really, they all are.

Avoid:

  • Houston Hobby Airport: unless you’re packin’ heat. Sh*t gets real here.
  • NASA: Houston, we have a problem. Especially since NASA is nowhere near Houston. Many first time visitors make the mistake of thinking NASA is centrally located downtown when it’s actually 45 minutes outside of the city in the middle of nowhere. Not to mention that it’s painfully boring unless you’re a serious space buff.


Comments

  • 09 Jul 2016 1:55 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Alan says:
    Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    As someone who just left Houston in December and has been lucky enough to move to the Rose City and join the greatest fans of the greatest club on Earth, I thought I might add a few things…
    NASA: Well, I’ll caveat this with I worked there prior to moving…so take that for what it is…if you have the time, go…the chance to see where the beginning portions of humanity’s exploration of the stars began and to sit in the control room where the Apollo and Shuttle missions were led is still awe inspiring to many and I highly recommend…walk the length of the mighty Saturn V they have on display and see just how tiny the command capsule was and think about spending 20 days stuffed into that small space, 1/4 million miles away from Earth…the future of NASA is very unclear right now, so seeing things like this while they are around is definitely something to do if possible
    HEAT: Like nothing I can describe…at 7 PM in Houston, it should feel something like living on Venus…and it’ll cool off to a nice 90+ at around midnight. Definitely be prepared and hydrated…if you have never been to the US South in the summer, it is hard to truly describe…the heat and humidity are smothering
    Robertson Stadium: The stadium is near Hobby Airport and the original poster is correct…this is a rough neighborhood…cabs are hard to come by near the stadium and should be scheduled well in advance. Do not consider walking especially at night unless in a very large group and even then, maybe not the best idea. Not trying to be fatalistic, but the stadium is not located in the safest of areas.
    Maple Leaf Pub: If you don’t have tickets, go here early and act Canadian…the bar loves its hockey, but also loves football and many times has given away free tickets to both to myself and others. Also, a great spot to watch the match if you can’t get in since they will not likely ask you things like “Why don’t they use their hands?”…which was an interesting question to try and answer during the 2010 World Cup
    Niko Niko’s: Pretty excellent Greek food in the Montrose area
    Also, if you do get to go, I can definitely say that after having only been here for 8 months, a place like Houston, in my opinion, will only make you realize just how lucky we are to live in the Great Rose City and be a part of the Timber’s family!
    RCTID
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  • 09 Jul 2016 1:55 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Andrew Brawley says:
    Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 5:31 am

    Alan, thanks for the assist.
    Link  •  Reply
  • 09 Jul 2016 1:56 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Eddy says:
    Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I am part of La Bateria, and I can’t wait to see how many of you guys come down here….we are not a friendly supporters group or take kind to visitors
    Link  •  Reply
  • 09 Jul 2016 1:56 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Andrew Brawley says:
    Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    That’s too bad, cuz we don’t take too kindly to those who don’t take to kindly to things.
    Link  •  Reply
  • 09 Jul 2016 1:57 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Josh Thompson says:
    Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    “we are not a friendly supporters group or take kind to visitors”
    lol
    kill yourself.
    Link  •  Reply
  • 09 Jul 2016 1:57 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Andrew Brawley says:
    Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Calm down kids. Watch this and chuckle.
    http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/151316/not-taking-kindly
    Link  •  Reply
  • 09 Jul 2016 1:57 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)
    Eddy says:
    Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    soccer rivalries…..ahhh its what makes this sport beautiful. Of course we dont take kindly but we never let it evolve into violence.
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