Houston, the fourth largest metropolis in the USA, has an exciting mix to offer as a place of space travel, culture and professional sports – it’s worth visiting this hospitable city on Galveston Bay!
Into space: The city’s most famous attraction is Space Center Houston, the official visitor center that is part of NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Here you will get deep insights into the history of manned space flight.
But don’t miss the arts and culture scene either. There is a lot on offer in the city center, from operas to symphonies to plays. If you like museums, the Houston Museum District is the place to be: the Museum of Natural History with its paleontological finds is well worth a visit, or world-famous works of art can be admired in art museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts. Sports enthusiasts are also in good hands in Houston, where they can cheer on no less than five professional teams that look back on a long tradition.
Tip 1: Space Center Houston
Space Center Houston at Webster, southeast of downtown Houston, is the official visitor center of the world-famous NASA Johnson Space Center.
The space exhibit takes visitors to distant galaxies and into the cosmos of international space history. Visitors learn all about the history and present of manned space flight.
Since January 2016, another sight awaits vacationers: the new exhibition Independence Plaza. Stars are a shuttle carrier of the type of a Boeing 747 and a faithful replica of the space shuttle Independence. The complex shows the carrier aircraft on which the space shuttle, which is over 37 meters long and weighs 72.6 tons, is mounted – as if they were about to set off on their next mission. An elevator transports visitors directly and comfortably to the two attractions.
Inside the shuttle itself, visitors can see the cockpit, the lower deck and the cargo bay, among other things. The Boeing 747, on the other hand, is divided into seven sections that showcase various exhibits related to innovation, science and technology. The exhibit continues to be dedicated to problem-solving concepts and provides information on possible career prospects in science, technology, mathematics and engineering.
Of equal importance are the visual narratives of astronauts, engineers and pilots who served in the United States space program.
Tip 2: Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts is an art museum in Houston that opened in 1924. It is the largest museum of art in the state of Texas. The museum, which also has the Hirsch Library, the largest art library in the southwestern United States, is visited by over 2.5 million people annually.
The Museum of Fine Arts collection includes 65,000 objects divided among the departments of African Art, American Painting and Sculpture, Antiquities, Asian Art, Decorative Arts, European Painting and Sculpture, Impressionism and Late Impressionism, Latin American Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, Native American Art, Oceanic Art, Photography, Pre-Columbian Art, Prints and Drawings, and Textiles and Costumes.
Thanks largely to gifts and bequests from major patrons, the Museum of Fine Arts has objects in its collection that have significance far beyond the region. The Glassell Collection, for example, with its gold artworks from Africa, Indonesia, and pre-Columbian America, is one of the most important collections of its kind in the world. Highlights of the collection of European paintings include paintings by Rogier van der Weyden, Frans Hals, Giovanni di Paolo, Giovanni Antonio Canal, Francisco de Goya, Camille Corot and William Turner.
Modernism is on display with works by major artists such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol and Donald Judd. Of particular note is the collection of John A. and Audrey Jones Beck, which is exhibited cohesively.
Tip 3: Houston Rodeo
Houston is firmly in the saddle: With over two million visitors, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™, which has been in existence since 1931, is the largest and best-known rodeo event in Texas, and also includes barbecue competitions, a fair, livestock shows, pig races, auctions and competitions of all kinds.
From late February to mid-March, the metropolis is in a state of emergency and the cowboy boots and bootcut jeans are taken out of the closet. Horses and bulls meet daredevil cowboys – the best of the best compete against each other in various competitions for prize money worth millions. Nowhere are cowboys as alive and the myth of the Wild West as real as in Houston.
The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is not only a guarantee for Wild West flair and experience for the whole family but also distinguishes itself through its charitable contribution to youth development programs. No vacationer should miss this typical Western experience with real cowboys, daredevil rodeo competitions and entertainment of superlatives.
The event kicks off with a grand parade through downtown Houston, followed by daredevil competitions such as bull riding & co.
For 20 days, rodeo competitions will dominate the action in the Texas metropolis on the bayou with the supreme discipline of bull riding as well as bull wrestling and roping.
Not only the prize money, but also the varied entertainment program for every age group impresses at this top-class event. Visitors can look forward to stars of the international music scene.
Tip 4: Discovery Green
Discovery Green is a 12-acre park in the heart of downtown Houston that provides the public with a beautiful outdoor space to relax and participate in a variety of outdoor activities. Together, the City of Houston and the nonprofit Discovery Green Conservancy opened the park in 2008. Today, Discovery Green presents a variety of dynamic programs, workshops and events throughout the year that are free and open to the public.
On the north side of the lake is Kinder Lake, where you can enjoy kayaking and stand up paddling, remote control boating and ice skating in the winter. The park is also home to a beautiful playground for playful young children, the Fondren Performance Space and Anheuser-Busch Stage, which hosts live music and shows, a putting green, shuffleboard and boules court, and a jogging track for fitness.
Tip 5: Waterwall Park
This horseshoe-shaped urban waterfall, designed by award-winning architect Phillip Johnson, pumps 78,500 gallons of water every three hours. The wall of water is 64 feet high and represents the adjacent 64-story Williams (formerly Transco) Tower. The surrounding park was added to the fountain as an amenity and has been a popular tourist spot since its inception.
This urban oasis is the perfect place to stay cool on the hottest days of summer. If you want to have a picnic but don’t want to toast, sit under the refreshing mist of the fountain. This landmark is one of the best photo ops in Houston.