With the sun shining and our ultimate Texan ride, a silver mustang convertible, awaiting us, we were incredibly excited and eager to continue our great American trip across the Cowboy State. Hitting the highway in the direction of Houston, it wasn’t long before we were pulling up alongside our centrally located boutique hotel, the Zaza Houston, to drop off our bags and have a quick freshen up before heading out to our first port of call…
NASA SPACE STATION
With the top down on the mustang and our speakers blaring we hit the highway south to the NASA Space Centre. Home to exhibits that detail some of the most iconic events in history, including the Apollo 18 mission to the moon (proposed by JFK to be achieved by the end of the 1960s decade, so only 43 years late…and counting), the NASA space center and rocket park is a great cultural learning center. We spent our time here roaming amongst original space suits, landing capsules and lunar space stations and made the most of the opportunity to get a close up view of the Apollo 18 shuttle. It’s a truly awe-inspiring triumph of mechanics (despite never being launched) and we were told that if it were to travel from London to Houston it would only take 17 minutes. Pretty impressive in light of the ten hours it took us to fly here.
With our enthusiasm for Texas truly taking off, we hopped back in the Mustang and ventured south to the quaint coastal town of Galveston. With long coastal roads and an impressive pier lined with charming bait stores and restaurants selling fresh shellfish, it’s easy to see why Texans come here in their droves to kick back and enjoy fantastic views over the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a charming town that’s dotted with beautiful colonial style architecture. Add to this the great surfing conditions and mouth-watering cuisine on offer and you’ve got a must-see destination on any Texas itinerary.
Back in Houston we took some time out to head downtown to the tourism bureau offices where we met the Vice President of Houston tourism to get an insider’s low down on the city and what he loves the most about this place that he calls home. You’ve got to agree, there’s no better way to get under the skin of a destination than by hearing about it from a locals perspective, so this was an invaluable highlight.
We also paid a visit to the museum district and Houston’s Museum of Fine Art, the highlight here being American artist James Turrell’s light installation exhibition which effectively experiments with light and space. The museum also houses works of art spanning from ancient Egypt to modern installation pieces and even has its own tranquil sculpture garden. Definitely worth a visit.
A TEXAN BBQ
Whilst driving out to the historic heights region of Downtown Houston we stumbled across Gatlins, a road side BBQ joint with a few tables scattered outside. Now, there’s a reason Texas is world-renowned for its BBQs, and it was here that we found out why. We ordered ribs, dirty rice and loaded fries covered in Brisket (a Texan specialty of well-cooked beef that’s been shredded and dipped in marinade) and it was, by all accounts, incredible. From there we drove down to Westhiemer Street, an alternative up and coming part of Houston where the cities large population of young professionals dine, drink and socialise. It was here that we ventured into Underbelly; a hip hangout that specializes in locally brewed beer and creole style sharing dishes. And the perfect end to our time in Houston? Well of course it had to be a spot of cocktail-induced line dancing at the aptly named Wild-West club, what else?
We only had a short time in Houston, but, as we’re sure you’ll agree, we definitely made the most of what this fantastic city had to offer.