Mar 062012
 

An image problem

People were underwhelmed when I said I was going to Houston, Texas for a few days and looking for tips. Most of those I talked to hadn’t been there, but had a negative perception of Houston. Others who had actually been there, but quite some time ago, also had a negative perception. Instead of making me less enthused about my upcoming trip, I felt the excitement of a challenge.

Downtown Houston from moving taxi

The challenge: To find out what’s good about Houston

Mr. TWS has been to Houston on business many times, but hasn’t seen much beyond the offices he visits and hotels, where he mostly just appreciates reliable wi-fi and wake up calls.

So what’s going on in Houston? Here are some things I’m thinking of doing.

The rodeo is in town! How much more “Texas” can you get than that? The Southern Living website mentioned a must-do at the rodeo is to talk to a cowboy – “You’ll know who they are”. So I’ll be looking for spurs and ten gallon hats. They also said to eat something fried, whether it’s a corn dog, Oreo cookie or a twinkie. I think I can handle that, but I might want to have some Tums handy. I’m not used to that kind of fare.

One of my main goals for this trip is to find some awesome barbecued ribs. One of my husband’s co-workers, a Houston resident, has a recommendation for what he believes are the the best in the universe. I also had a suggestion from @FoodieIntl on Twitter who knows a ribs place that is worth a day trip from NYC a few times a year. I’m considering both options.

The historic district is within walking distance of my hotel, the Hyatt Regency Houston. If I decide to rent a car, I can go to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, a 25 mile drive or spend some time on the beach in Galveston, 50 miles from Houston. I might like to see the Museum of Fine Arts or National Geograhpic’s King Tut exhibition which is in its final weeks here. I know there’s much more and I’m ready to explore. Let me know if you’ve got any ideas!

Downtown Houston from hotel

What’s your perception of Houston, Texas?


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  17 Responses to “Houston, You’ve Got a Problem”

  1. LOL. I once mentioned I was thinking about going to Houston and I was told that it was the armpit of Texas. Not exactly an enticing image. Looking forward to some more positive ideas from your journey.
    Steve recently posted..Leap Day at Disneyland: What We Did Wrong

  2. I would love to visit more cities in Texas, but have to admit, I don’t know much about Dallas or Houston except that there is a lot of traffic between the two! Oh, and I hate Houston’s airport! I would say rent a car- why not?!- and adventure around the city. Plus, those ribs sound delicious! And texas bbq is totally different from other bbq in the south!
    jade recently posted..Eat like a Spaniard to Lose Weight

  3. Having never been to Houston, my perception is hot and humid! I would definitely jump at the chance to visit though. Sometimes the best things are found in places we really didn’t want to visit but did!
    Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista recently posted..Domestic Security in Wales a la Edward I

  4. Been to Dallas heaps, but never to Houston. I imagine they’re quite similar. Dallas I found a bit eerie: no people to be seen anywhere, bit like a ghost town filled with cars. Been a long time,though. Things may have changed.
    Sophie recently posted..Sophie’s World chosen as one of the top 10 travel blogs in 2011

  5. Hahahaha. Great post. I actually published a story a couple of years ago with the same title–but it had nothing to do with Houston. :)
    Christopher recently posted..Monday Reader — Reading Worth the Read

  6. My guess is that Houston is a nice place to live, but not the most interesting place to visit. I think of sporting events and megachurches when I think of Houston.
    The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) recently posted..Lake Placid’s Ubu Ale: The best beer ever?

  7. I’ve never been to Houston before but I know what those fried dishes and ribs mean… a unique and memorable gastronomic experience.
    Debbie recently posted..jamorama

  8. I can’t wait to check out Houston! I believe it’s the largest American city I have yet to visit. Looking forward to seeing what you discover.
    Scott – Quirky Travel Guy recently posted..Travel memory: Vacation in Orlando

  9. I don’t have a good perception of Houston – bad airport, lots of freeways, crime, flat and little to do outdoors. In fact I refused to move there a few years ago.
    However it is supposed to have a wonderful art gallery – The Menil Collection (described as one of the greatest & most eclectic private museums in the US), listed in 1000 Places to See Before You Die. And I did love going to the NASA Space Center.
    Leigh recently posted..An Easy Hike in Ramsey Canyon Preserve, Cochise County, AZ

  10. Never been to Houston but I guess I’d choose the NASA Space Center if I had the chance.
    Have a great time there! I’ll be looking forward to your next story.
    Adrian B. recently posted..The Jungfrau

  11. L.O.V.E. your headline and juxtaposing first sentence. Well done!

  12. Yet another great title – you should hire yourself out to title other people’s work, I know I’d pay.
    robin recently posted..Gran Día

  13. Despite having spent a summer in Plano ( O_o ) I have never really explored Houston. I have to admit that it is not a city that comes to mind when I think of places I want to explore.

    Now, if you do find some amazing BBQ… :)
    Caanan @ No Vacation Required recently posted..Can I Help You Across the Street, Old Lady

  14. Can you believe I’ve never been to Texas (outside of airports)?! I don’t think I’ve heard anything, good or bad, about Houston before so I’m curious about your impressions.
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..Sidetrip: Long Beach, California

  15. You will be surprised that Houston is actually a really underrated city. You should stay in the Museum District which is fabulous. Montrose is a very quirky, cool neighborhood. You might check out the Heights too. Midtown has some good spots, Discovery Green park downtown is good, and for a more uppity vibe look at the Galleria area and Uptown.

    Houston has actually made quite a few complimentary lists lately (top 10 this or that) and has throngs of people moving here, and staying, who love it. I’m not sure why you heard bad things, those people probably just aren’t familiar with it (Houston doesn’t spend a lot on marketing efforts like Austin does) or haven’t been in decades. As for the person who said armpit, that’s ridiculous, they must be mixing it up with Port Arthur which is known as the Armpit of Texas.

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