Houston, named after former General Sam Houston who, in 1836, won the Battle of San Jacinto which gained Texas its independence from Mexico, is the fourth most populated city in North America and home to approximately two and a half million residents.It is a magnet for tourism, being closely linked with the Space Center Houston, and NASA’s astronaut training and flight control complex together with many other interesting attraction.
Buffalo Bayou Park
Buffalo Bayou Park is a beautiful 160-acre green space running through the city, with the slow moving waters of Buffalo Bayou as its centerpiece. This urban park is home to extensive walking and biking trails, a dog park, sculptures, and plenty of shady areas to relax. If you want to get active and enjoy some of the great outdoors, rent a kayak, canoe, or stand up paddleboard and enjoy a paddle along the bayou. Rentals are available at the park, and various tours are offered, ranging from one to three hours in length. Similarly, guided cycling tours are also available from outfitters in the city. A particularly unique site in Buffalo Bayou Park is the Cistern, an old underground drinking-water reservoir from 1926, which now hosts changing art installations. Today, visitors can go on a short guided tour.The park is also home to a huge colony of Mexican free-tailed bats that inhabit the Waugh Drive Bridge. Approximately 250,000 of them fly out from the bridge each evening at sunset.
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Houston’s biggest annual event, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, is a fun-filled, 19-day event that brings the whole city out to celebrate in February or March. If you are going to be here during this time, you are in luck, and if you are wondering when to visit Houston, this might be the time to plan your trip. This is an activity the whole family can enjoy, and it’s so much more than just a rodeo and livestock show.If this is your first time to an event of this kind, you will be pleasantly surprised by the diversity of things to do. On the grounds are carnival rides, games, and food stands, and enough entertainment to keep you busy indefinitely.
Houston’s Street Art
While it is often overlooked by tourists, Houston’s street art, or what many people know as graffiti, is outstanding, with installations by some of the top names in street art throughout the US and around the world, including COPE2 and Houston’s own Gonzo247. These colorful murals adorn the walls of establishments in various locations throughout the city and are well worth taking the time to drive around and see.The unofficial curator of Houston’s street art is the charismatic artist known as Gonzo247. He is one of the city’s most famous street artists and the creator of the giant “Houston is Inspired” mural at the corner of Travis and Preston Streets and the smaller “Houston” mural at Leeland and St. Emanuel Streets. This latter area is also home to a large concentration of impressive installations that grace the walls of numerous one- and two-story buildings off Leeland Street at Chartres Street and St. Emanuel Street. But works can be found scattered all over the city on walls of various sizes.
Space Center Houston
Space Center Houston, the official visitor center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, is a must-see attraction in Houston. And with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, now is a perfect time to visit.This is a huge complex, where you can walk through the space shuttle replica Independence and the enormous shuttle carrier aircraft it’s mounted on. In the visitor center, you can wander inside a replica of America’s first space station, Skylab, and touch a rock from the moon. This is also the place to learn about NASA’s upcoming missions, including travel to Mars. If you are here on a Friday around noon, you can even meet an astronaut. From the visitor center, you can take an open-air tram tour to Johnson Space Center, home of mission control, to see where astronauts train for space missions. This tour also takes you to Rocket Park to see actual rockets on display. Tickets are free but limited, and you can get a timed ticket to avoid waiting in lines.