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Houston Highlights with a Side Trip to San Antonio

Honoring the people and city of Houston as they continue to recover and rebuild from the catastrophic destruction of Hurricane Harvey. In my last post about Amelia Island, I touted the relief organization All Hands Volunteers, but of course, there our many charities and programs to give to. If you are able and haven’t done so already, please considering donating.

Looking to help in other ways? Consider adopting a classroom to help restock basic school supplies so that teaching and learning can resume as close to “normal” as possible.  About a month ago, I signed up on the website Sun, Sand & Second Grade to be matched with a classroom that was flooded during the hurricane.  Thanks to my class’ incredibly supportive families, all of the wish list items were purchased within a couple of days.  Buying a few school supplies is a simple, yet meaningful way to make a difference in the lives of so many who have been impacted by this tragedy.

This post is a compilation of several trips to Texas’ largest metropolis joined by a day trip to San Antonio.

 

HOUSTON HIGHLIGHTS

The Orange Show

If ever there was an example of art being subjective and highly interpretive, this place is it. What an odd place. The Orange Show is visionary expression at its finest: the artist, a Houston mail carrier, chose to transform a vacant lot near his house to pay homage to his favorite fruit. Did I mention this place is ODD? A combination of a park, museum, playground, and art show all wrapped up in one (with a bright orange messy little bow on top, I should add), this is a fun place to explore and small enough that you don’t need a ton of time here.

And if by chance, you too arrive only to find that the exhibit is closed, just know that you have options and there are (creative) ways to get inside. #justsayin #imheretohelp #yourewelcome

The Beer Can House

It’s no surprise that this strange folk art house is run by no other than The Orange Show Center. This Houston institution is devoted entirely to beer and every single inch of it is covered with beer cans, bottles, caps, labels, and other beer paraphernalia.

Its owner and creator was quoted saying, “I guess I just thought it was a good idea. And it’s easier than painting.” Well that’s certainly one way to look at it.

And just in case you need a break from this eccentric and unconventional art scene (it should be noted that there are plenty of fine arts museums in Houston like the Menil Collection and the Museum of Fine Arts, we just haven’t been to them…yet), going to a sporting event is always a good idea.

Pre-gaming before a Houston Texans game:

 

EATING & DRINKING

Underbelly

The best meal we’ve had so far in Houston, this upscale farm-to-table eatery focuses on creating dishes that are dedicated to telling “the culinary story” of the city. This hip restaurant serves innovative and tasty cuisine in a stylish and inviting atmosphere.

Hugo’s

Authentic Mexican food at its best, we really loved this wonderful restaurant. Headed by its highly-lauded and award-winning chef, Hugo’s serves upscale and innovated Mexican fare–highly recommend.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company

Because spending a few hours at a brewery is (also) always a good idea…

Max’s Wine Dive

A really fun spot that prides itself on pairing Texan gourmet comfort food (yes, that’s a thing) with unlikely wines and/or champagne. I love their hysterical and refreshing motto of: Fried chicken & champagne? Why the hell not? A convivial atmosphere with delicious stick-to-your-ribs food. Yum.

Dogwood Houston

A great sports bar bar with an open rooftop patio. Plenty of space and good food to enjoy while catching the games.

Doc’s Motorworks Bar & Grill

You’ve probably realized by now that we tend to visit our family in Houston during football season. And if you haven’t, you may want to start paying better attention.  Doc’s Motorworks Bar & Grill is another fun spot to watch sports while enjoying Houston’s warm weather.

 

SIDE TRIP TO SAN ANTONIO

Less than three hours away from Houston, San Antonio is a bit of a long day trip from Houston, but we’re proof that it can certainly be done. There’s more than enough here to keep you busy for an entire day, but not sure I would need to spend much more time than that.

One of the most recognizable and quintessential sites of San Antonio, the infamous Alamo is an old Spanish mission most known for The Battle of Alamo. Considering its historical significance though, I was a bit underwhelmed by the Alamo and was surprised by just how small the church actually is. I kept thinking that I was missing something and should’ve been more enamored by it, but to no avail. Should you visit the Alamo? Sure, just remember to keep your expectations in check!

Known as the city’s most popular attraction, we loved strolling and cruising the San Antonio River Walk. Located one story beneath the San Antonio streets, the RIver Walk is basically a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River.

You can easily purchase boat tickets at one of the three ticket kiosks located along the River Walk. A general admission ticket aboard a thirty-five minute narrated river boat costs $10.

For delicious Mexican cuisine, head to Mi Terra Cafe y Panaderia, a festive and convivial cafe that is considered somewhat of a San Antonio institution.

 

If there’s one thing that we know about Texas, it’s that everything’s bigger in Texas. So Houston, here’s to big relief, big resolve, big recovery power, and a big big comeback.

Want to read more about Texas? Continue reading about our all-time favorite Texas destination, Austin.

 

Additional related reads: New Mexico, Charleston, Asheville

 

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