When it comes to cities in Texas, Houston is sometimes overshadowed by metropolitan Dallas or hipster Austin.
But as home to 5,000 energy-related firms and nearly two dozen Fortune 500 companies, it’s also a major destination for business travellers. In 2012, some 4.2 million people — 31% of all visitors to the city — came for work.
Fortunately for those business travellers, Houston offers much more than chain restaurants and hotel bars. We scoped out some great attractions to check out during your next visit to “Space City.”
Houston has some fantastic and diverse cuisine. A great pre-meeting breakfast can be found at The Breakfast Klub in midtown, which has a simple, Southern-inspired morning menu consisting of dishes like 'katfish and grits' and 'wings and waffle.'
If you're in town over the weekend, be sure to stop for brunch at Hugo's, an upscale TexMex restaurant in Houston's Montrose neighbourhood, which has live music on Sunday mornings.
Escape Houston's high temperatures with a trip to The Galleria, a super-sized mall in Uptown Houston that -- in addition to hundreds of stores -- contains hotels, offices, a running track, and a 20,000-square foot ice-skating facility.
Houston's 1,500-acre Memorial Park is perfect if you want to blow off steam after a day of work. Outfitted with mile markers to track your running distance, there are also bike trails, tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a fitness center.
Joggers and runners should skip the hotel gym and visit Buffalo Bayou, a waterway that runs through the city alongside a multitude of parks and trails, including a 30,000-square-foot skate park and the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony. The 10-mile stretch is perfect for getting to know the city.
Art nerds and gearheads with an afternoon to spare will want to swing by the Art Car Museum, otherwise known as 'Garage Mahal.' Located in Houston's Heights neighbourhood, it hosts an eclectic mix of decked-out cars and contemporary art.
Skip your lunch meeting and stroll through the tree-lined quads of Rice University, which is often called one of the most beautiful colleges in the U.S. The campus contains a three-mile loop that's great for a quick jog.
As home of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center -- home of NASA's Mission Control and center for flight training -- Houston has earned the nickname 'Space City.' If you have an extra day in town, visit the center to see spacecraft, take a behind-the-scenes tour, and learn about America's aerospace history.
The Museum District in Houston contains 19 museums in a 1.5-radius of the city's famous Mecom Fountain. Many, including the Museum for Fine Arts and Center for Photography, have late evening hours, making it a great stop for some post-work culture.
Hit the links at one of the dozens of golf clubs in and around Houston alone or with co-workers. Public options include the clubby Houston National Golf Club and Greg Norman-designed Meadowbrook Farms Golf Club.
Cool off after a long day of work at Hearsay Gastro Lounge in Houston's Historic District. The bar is known for its creative specialty cocktails and extensive small plates menu.
If you have an expense account, take advantage of Houston's dining scene and book a table at Oxheart, which the Houston Chronicle rated the city's best restaurant in 2013. It's located in downtown's northern warehouse district, and pulls its ingredients from local vendors.
Instead of spending the night at the hotel bar, drop into Boheme Cafe and Wine Bar, a European escape in Houston's Montrose district. Furnished with eclectic fixtures and decor, this snug spot hosts Cultured Cocktails every Thursday night, featuring local artists and discounted drinks.
Get a real Texas experience at Mcgonigel's Mucky Duck, where the slogan is 'The livest music in Texas.' The Irish pub has a different live band every night, and has a full dinner menu and large selection of beer.
Flying solo for the night? Head to the Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park, which hosts free musical and theatrical performances almost nightly for eight months a year. At 90 years old, the outdoor theatre is a Houston staple.
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