Houston is a sprawling port city in Southeastern Texas. A recent oil boom and continuing international immigration has brought explosive growth to the city, and it is now the fifth largest metropolitan area in the United States. While at first glance, the city appears to be a 9-5 central business district surrounded by a sea of suburbs and strip malls, there are many hidden gems to be discovered.
The city has a number of districts. Historically, many of these districts were called "wards" and they tended to have distinct populations. Today, the lines are blurring and continual sprawl has created new districts, some with a distinct character.
|Downtown (Skyline District, Theater District, Historic District, EaDo)
Center of the city, still the home of high finance and big business. Houston is second only to New York City in corporate headquarters of Fortune 500 companies. Many of them are located downtown including some of the world's largest energy companies. Downtown Houston also boasts the second largest theater district in the United States and the city has world class permanent organizations such as the Houston Symphony and Houston Ballet. The Rockets, Astros and Dynamo all play downtown.
|Neartown (Midtown, Montrose, Museum District, 4th Ward)
Neartown encompasses Midtown, an older light industrial area cum trendy apartment archipelago; Montrose, a pleasant streetcar suburb that was abandoned and resurrected by Houston's LGBT community; The Museum District, the center of Houston's visual arts and museums; and the historic 4th Ward, a Freedman's town that was built by the hands of recently freed African American slaves and now facing gentrification by Bob Perry's development company.
|North Loop (The Heights, Washington Corridor)
A large district of gingerbread Victorian homes as well as early 20th Century bungalows. Like its sister neighborhood Montrose, The Heights is home to a diverse population from artists and musicians to wealthy professionals. Parts of the Heights are still dry, fostering a large number of BYOB restaurants ideal for those who enjoy their own selected wine.
|South Loop (South Main, Museum District, Med Center)
To the south and east of downtown lie Rice University, the many attractions of Hermann Park, Reliant Stadium, and the Texas Medical Center (or just "the med center"), including some of the world's best hospitals. The Rice Village is a highly concentrated area of restaurants, bars, and shopping.
|West Loop (Uptown, River Oaks, Upper Kirby & Greenway, West Inner Loop)
Uptown or The Galleria Area is known for its namesake, a huge high-end shopping mall complex and has the tallest building in the United States outside of a main downtown area, the Williams tower. Nearby River Oaks is home to Houston's most exclusive and affluent neighborhoods and businesses, home to eye-popping mansions and the River Oaks Shopping Center, one of America's first suburban shopping districts and a great display of Art Deco architecture. This area has many great restaurants, vibrant nightlife, and infamous traffic jams during peak hours.
|Outside 610 (West Houston, East Houston, North Houston, Clear Lake)
Off the beaten track, these areas have plenty to offer for the patient traveler.
Houston has a character that, while very "Texan," is also a great melting pot of many cultures and socio-economic groups. You'll find well-to-do suburban mansions, LA-style shopping strips, Latin-American neighborhoods, towering skyscrapers, historic African-American neighborhoods fighting off gentrification, massive refinery complexes, large Asian communities, and pockets of artist communities. From October to May, the weather is relatively pleasant, and many restaurants and bars take advantage of it with plenty of outdoor seating and beautiful lighting. Houston's proximity to the Gulf of Mexico also makes it a lush, tropical paradise compared to the rest of Texas.
In a sense, Houston is the gritty step-cousin of wealthy Dallas and middle-class hippie Austin. You won't see many cowboys or giant hairdos in downtown Houston (outside of Rodeo season), but you will see a quite diverse mix of people servicing the oilmen, petroleum engineers and high-end doctors.
Houston is the largest city in the United States without any appreciable zoning. While there is some small measure of zoning in the form of ordinances, deed restrictions, and land use regulations, real estate development in Houston is only constrained by the will and the pocketbook of real estate developers. Traditionally, Houston politics and law are strongly influenced by real estate developers; at times, the majority of city council seats have been held by them. This arrangement has made Houston a very sprawled-out and very automobile-dependent city. The benefit of this lack of zoning is that some neighborhoods like Montrose contain a plethora of hidden bars and art galleries nestled among historic neighborhoods - an arrangement not possible in zoned cities across the country.
For one desiring a walkable visit, the areas close to downtown are gradually becoming more dense and walkable as islands of trendy mixed-use developments pop up. Many areas can be downright hostile to pedestrians and bikers as sidewalks are privately built (if at all) and roads are littered with massive potholes. The city is primarily built on the energy industry and nearly everyone owns a car and drives everywhere they go, even to a destination less than a mile away.
With a few exceptions, almost everything to see or do is in Houston's urban core inside the 610 Loop and more specifically in between downtown, the Galleria, and the Texas Medical Center.
The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau operates the Houston Visitors Center. The center is located in the heart of downtown Houston at 901 Bagby (corner of Bagby and Walker St.), on the first floor of the historic City Hall. Find information on Houston's history, attractions, restaurants, hotels, directions, maps, purchase Houston merchandise and watch an 11-minute film on Houston. You'll find over 10,000 brochures and magazines to help plan your visit to the Houston area. The center is open Monday - Saturday, 9AM to 4PM
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|Nightly lows (°F)||43||47||53||59||68||74||75||75||70||61||52||45|
Houston's climate generally ranges from a hot humid summer to a mild winter. The months of October to April make for fantastic times to visit to avoid the heat. Visitors from areas with mild summers or dry climates should be extremely careful if planning to travel there in the summer months, especially around August. The combination of high heat and thick humidity can result in stifling and oppressive weather. It's by no means "a dry heat"! Even some lifelong residents of Houston complain about the August weather. If visiting in the summer, stay hydrated and try to limit outdoor exposure during the hours between 10AM and 7PM. The nights are very hot too, but not as dangerously hot as during the day. Visitors from cooler, drier places will be amazed at the tolerance levels of some of the locals. You can see people wearing long sleeve shirts, boots and jeans when the temperature is above 100 °F and humidity is in the 90% range. But it can not be stressed enough: this place is extremely hot and if you're not prepared or used to this type of heat, you're in for one rude awakening. But have fun!
Houston is served by two major commercial airports and two smaller regional airports.
The large airports are:
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport, (IATA: IAH). The larger of the two airports and is located 23 miles north of downtown near Beltway 8, between IH-45 North and US-59 North. It is the largest hub for United Airlines and serves 24 domestic and international airlines. METRO bus line 102 departing from terminal C runs to the downtown, which it reaches in 1h 10m for $1.25 . From the downtown, the easiest place to catch the bus is the Downtown Transit Center station of the METRORail. During the day, the bus runs approximately every 30 minutes.
- William P. Hobby Airport, (IATA: HOU). Located 7 miles south of downtown and is located off of I-45 South. It is convenient if you're travelling downtown or south of the city, such as to Galveston. Its main carrier is Southwest Airlines, and it also served by Delta Airlines, American Airlines, and JetBlue.
The smaller airports are:
- Sugar Land Regional Airport, (IATA: SGR). Located 25 miles southwest of downtown on TX 6, just north of U.S. 59. It is a popular choice among the well-heeled corporate aircraft set.
- Ellington Field, (IATA: EFD). Located 19 miles southeast of downtown, just off I-45. Formerly an air force base, now used for general aviation, non-passenger commercial traffic, and government aviation (NASA, Texas Air National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard).
- Amtrak, 902 Washington Ave. Amtrak's Sunset Limited line is the only passenger train route with a stop in Houston, although a daily bus provides a direct connection from the Houston Amtrak station to the Texas Eagle at Longview.
Houston's major freeways include:
- IH-45 North ("North Freeway"): To Dallas
- IH-45 South ("Gulf Freeway"): To Galveston
- IH-10 West ("Katy Freeway"): To San Antonio
- IH-10 East: ("Baytown/East Freeway", not to be confused with "Eastex freeway") to Beaumont
- IH-610 ("The Loop"): Loop around downtown
- US-59 South ("Southwest Freeway"): to Victoria
- US-59 North ("Eastex Freeway"): to Lufkin
- US-290 West ("Northwest Freeway"): to Austin
- SH-249 North ("Tomball Parkway"): to Tomball
- SH-288 South ("South Freeway"): to Freeport
- SH-225 East ("Pasadena Freeway"): to La Porte
- BW-8 ("The Beltway/Sam Houston Tollway"): Loop about twice as far out as IH-610.
Approximate distance to nearby cities (in miles):
- Austin: 160
- Baton Rouge, LA: 270
- Beaumont: 90
- Dallas: 240
- El Paso: 745
- Galveston: 50
- Lake Charles, LA: 140
- New Orleans, LA: 346
- San Antonio: 200
- Waco: 180
- Greyhound Lines.
- Downtown station, 2121 Main St.
- Crosstimbers Station, 4001 North Freeway.
- Northwest, 1500 West Loop North.
- Southeast, 7000 Harrisburg Blvd.
- Southwest, 5690 Southwest Freeway.
- Megabus. Low-cost bus line with service from Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans. Fares from $1 and up.
- Downtown, 815 Pierce St (north of Travis St).
- El Expreso. Mexican trans-border bus line, also serves destinations throughout southeastern United States.
- Downtown station, 2201 Main St.
- Harrisburg, 7701 Harrisburg Blvd.
- Southwest, Bissonett at Southwest Freeway (US 59)
- Autobus Americanos. Mexican trans-border bus line with services to various points in Mexico.
- Harrisburg, 7700 Harrisburg Blvd.
- Southwest, Hillcroft at Southwest Freeway (US 59)
- Turimex Internacional. Mexican trans-border bus line with services to various points in Mexico.
- Harrisburg, 7011 Harrisburg Blvd.
- Southwest, Hillcroft at Southwest Freeway (US 59)
- Omnibus Mexicanos. Mexican trans-border bus line with services to various points in Mexico.
- Third Ward, 3200 Telephone Rd.
You can get to Houston easily from Mexico (from as far as Mexico City and Michoacan) on a bus. In the bus stations of many major cities in Mexico you will see buses advertised to go to Houston.
There are many private bus companies in Houston that exclusively serve Mexico.
Houston has a number of major highways that make getting around the city fairly easy. (See list of freeways under the "Get in" section.) A number of obstacles, however, can make driving in Houston a less than pleasant experience. One is construction, which seems to be ever-present, and the other is traffic. Evening rush hour in Houston begins as early as 4PM and can last more than 2 hours. Morning rush hour is between 7 and 9AM. During rush hour, traffic on the highways can come to a halt. The strip of the West Loop near the Galleria, between US-59 and IH-10, is an area you should definitely avoid during rush hour if possible.
Some of the freeways have an H.O.V. (High-Occupancy Vehicle) lane, which are limited-access lanes located in the median strip of the highway. The HOV lanes are operational Monday - Friday in the morning hours (5AM - 11AM) in the inbound direction and in the outbound direction in the afternoon and evening (from 2PM - 8PM). The HOV lanes are restricted to cars with 2 or more passengers, however some HOV lanes require 3 or more passengers during peak travel periods (6:45-8AM and 5-6PM, for IH-10 west; 6:45-8AM only for US-290). The HOV lanes are marked with signs bearing a white diamond on a black background. Highways with HOV lanes are: IH-45 North, IH-45 South, US-59 North, US-59 South, IH-10 West (Katy Freeway), and US-290. The Katy Freeway HOV lanes have been expanded into the Katy Toll Road, a 24-hour multi-lane HOV with paid Single-Occupancy Vehicle access cost-adjusted based on HOV usage.
By public transportation
METRORail is a 12.8 mile (20.6km) light rail line that runs between Northline transit center, downtown, midtown, the museum district, the Medical Center, Reliant Park, and the Fannin South Park & Ride (which is a handy place to park and is located near the 610 loop). Two additional lines serving the southeast and east end of the inner-loop are expected to open in 2015 & 2016 respectively. It costs $1.25 for a one-way ticket. (Also see the stay safe section.)
- Taxis are easily found in Downtown, Uptown, Midtown and the Medical Center as well as the suburb of Galveston and both airports. Taxis in Houston are generally dispatched by various companies the largest being Yellow Cab, 713-236-1111 or from their web page.
Traveling via a limousine has become more popular lately. Many Houston limousine companies offer full ground transportation options such as town cars, classic cars, stretch limos and luxury vehicles that can be utilized for special occasions like airport transportation, parties, school dances, business functions and weddings. Consider hiring a limousine service to handle your travel needs.
Houston is so spread out and (most of the time) hot and humid that bicycles are often best used for exercise or to get to somewhere that is close by. On the other hand, if you have a little bit of stamina and perseverance, Downtown, Midtown, Rice, Uptown and the Medical Center/Hermann Park/Museum District area are within a 30-minute ride. Multi-modal transportation is also possible, since most city buses have easy to use racks in the front that can get traveler and bicycle near to a final destination.
The city of Houston has 290 miles of marked bike routes, plus another 80 miles of hike and bike trails in city parks, with concrete plans for even more expansion. For more information on the Houston Bikeway program, including a complete map of all marked bike paths, visit the City of Houston Bikeway Program website.
Houston is home to more than 100 languages. Signs can be found in Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese, among others, but English is the lingua franca. Knowing some Spanish may help in certain neighborhoods, but most people will speak English.
Travelers planning to visit multiple attractions may benefit from the Houston CityPASS, which grants admission to 6 Houston attractions within 9 days of first use for a much reduced rate and includes expedited entry in some cases. The included attractions are: Space Center Houston; Downtown Aquarium; Houston Museum of Natural Science; Houston Zoo; Option Ticket One with choice of either Museum of Fine Arts or The Children's Museum of Houston and Option Ticket Two with choice of either George Ranch Historical Park or The Health Museum.
- Astrodome. Dubbed the "8th Wonder of the World," it was one of the world's first fully indoor stadiums and the birthplace of astroturf (that was vacuumed by people in astronaut suits between innings). It was abandoned when the Astros threatened to move unless Minute Maid Park (nee' Enron Field) was built. The stadium is no longer open to visitors, but it is still a spectacle.
- Wildcat Golf Club.
- Houston Country club.
- River Oaks Country Club.
- Buffalo Bayou
- Eleanor Tinsley Park - The beautiful city skyline backdrops this scenic portion of the park. It remains one of the most popular outdoor spaces for recreation and relaxation.
- Lost Lake - At this location, visitors can rent kayaks and discover the water trails.
- Discovery Green
- Houston Arboretum
- Hermann Park
- McGovern Centennial Gardens - Home to a diverse collection of gardens including an arid garden, a rose garden, a woodland garden, an interactive family garden, and more. Visitors can also enjoy walking the spiral path to the top of a 30-foot mount.
Events & Festivals
- Houston CaribFest. Celebrating Caribbean/West Indian Cultures.
- Art Car Parade, Runs along Allen Parkway. May. A parade that must be seen to be believed. For example, last year there were cupcake motorcycles, fire breathing chicken cars, and many other spectacular cars. There are vendors nearby selling water, hats, and food as well. It can get very hot! Free.
- Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Reliant Park. March. HLSR is one of the largest live entertainment and livestock exhibitions in Texas. It runs for 20 days and includes activities for everyone. The rodeo in Houston is considered the city's "signature event" akin to "Mardi Gras" in New Orleans.
- Houston Gay Pride Parade, Downtown. June. The Houston Gay Pride Parade and Festival is an annual event that celebrates the city's LGBT community. The parade is a colorful and campy affair. You see people of all ages and ethnicities including families, drag queens, and people dressed in campy, kitch, or costumes. Free
- Texas Renaissance Festival, Todd Mission, TX, October & November. Located an hour outside of Downtown Houston, the Texas Renaissance Festival ("Ren Fest") runs during the weekends from the months of October to November. Guests are welcomed to attend in costume. Tickets run from $20-40.
- 1 Houston Astros, 510 Crawford St.., ☎ . The city's Major League Baseball team, playing at Minute Maid Park in downtown, moved to the American League in 2013 after a half-century in the National League.
- 2 Houston Texans, Two NRG Park, toll-free: , fax: . Houston's National Football League (NFL) team plays at NRG Stadium in the South Loop area, next to the now-vacant Astrodome.
- 3 Houston Rockets, 1510 Polk St, ☎ , toll-free: . The city's NBA (basketball) team plays downtown at the Toyota Center.
- 4 Houston Dynamo, 1001 Avenida de las Americas, Ste. 200, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Houston's Major League Soccer team opened its new BBVA Compass Stadium in May 2012. Located in the East End, it is the first major soccer-specific stadium in the US in a downtown area.
- 5 Houston Dash, 1001 Avenida de las Americas, Ste. 200, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Houston's newest pro team, which started play in April 2014 in the National Women's Soccer League. The team is owned and operated by the Dynamo and also plays at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Houston Motocross, reliant. May 22. Factory motocross racers from all around the world. to race once a year. Free.
Houston has four universities whose sports teams play in the top-level NCAA Division I:
- 6 Houston Cougars. The teams representing the city's largest school, the University of Houston, currently compete in the American Athletic Conference. Most athletic venues are on campus, with the best-known being TDECU Stadium, which opened in 2014 at the site of the former football home of Robertson Stadium, and Hofheinz Pavilion (basketball).
- 7 Rice Owls. Rice University, the city's most prominent private school, has remained in Conference USA during the near-constant conference changes in the early 2010s. As with UH, Rice's main venues are on campus, among them Rice Stadium (football), Tudor Fieldhouse (basketball), and Reckling Park (baseball).
- 8 Texas Southern Tigers. Especially of interest to African American visitors, or those interested in African American culture, are the teams representing Texas Southern University, the city's historically black university. The Tigers compete with other HBCUs in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Unlike Houston and Rice, whose football teams play in the top-level FBS, Texas Southern football is in the second-level FCS. Most venues are also on campus, but the football team plays off-campus; it shares BBVA Compass Stadium with the Dynamo, and occasionally uses NRG Stadium.
- Houston Baptist Huskies. Houston Baptist University, a relatively new addition to Division I, is located in the Sharpstown area along the Southwest Freeway. The Huskies joined the FCS-level Southland Conference in 2013, and started a football program at that time.
Houstonians like theater and the community supports many types of performing arts companies. Most professional theater is centered in the Theater District, but other companies are located in different districts around town. The lively culture of Houston also includes numerous community theater organizations and several well regarded university programs.
Houston is home to one of the top universities in the country, Rice University. Its beautifully wooded campus is ideal for an afternoon stroll or jog with loved ones. It is also home to the University of Houston and St. Thomas.
As of the census for 2011, Houston, TX has over 6,200,000 people living there. That being a factor, the city is a great place where you will find jobs of all sorts. Ones from working at the local McDonald's ranging to working in the hospital. The only downfall about the job opportunities is that most people from out of town tend to take them. There are a lot of people that will drive over 2 hours just to get to work everyday in the city of Houston.
Many of the shopping malls are concentrated to the west of downtown in Uptown.
In general, prices in Houston are lower than in other major US cities.
A very popular place to go shopping in Houston is the Houston Galleria. The Galleria is the largest mall in Texas and the ninth largest in the United States. They have anything you could ever think of and more. At the Galleria you can find people shopping at high end stores such as, Bebe, Coach, Neiman Marcus, Cartier, Gucci, Macy's, Tiffany & Co., Saks Fifth Avenue, The Sharper Image, Ralph Lauren Collection, Louis Vuitton and Houston's only Nordstrom. You can also find people ice skating in the ice rink on the bottom floor. Also, you will find nail salons, 375 fine stores and restaurants. And to top it off at the Galleria there are two Westin hotels. The Galleria is widely recognized as the number one shopping and tourist destination in Houston.
- Individual listings can be found in Houston's district articles
Houston has outstanding dining options, and is widely considered the most restaurant-oriented city in the United States, with a thriving community of ethnic restaurants, superb Tex-Mex, classic Texas steakhouses and Gulf Coast seafood, as well as chain restaurants. Houston's fine dining scene has exploded in recent years, with Downtown, Montrose, Midtown, and the Heights (including the Washington Corridor) as the epicenter of what's hot-and-happening now.
Although high-quality, authentic Mexican food can be found just about anywhere in the city (for some of the best surprises, stop by any nondescript taqueria and order nearly anything at random), the best ethnic dining is generally found in West Houston - in particular the area west of Highway 59 and south of I-10, with everything from Middle Eastern to Ethiopian to Bosnian. The bustling Mahatma Gandhi District around Hillcroft St. is the place to go for top-notch Indian and Pakistani cuisine. In years past, you'd go east of Downtown or to Midtown for your Chinese or Vietnamese fix (respectively); nowadays the new Chinatown (or sometimes "Asiatown") is the new one-stop shop for your cravings. Lying just north of I-10, Long Point Drive and North Gessner sport crowded Korean joints, fantastic taco trucks, and hidden Thai gems.
With hometown stars such as Monica Pope (T'afia) and Bryan Caswell (Reef, Little Big's, El Real) making their debut on TV shows such as Top Chef and on the Food Network, and more and more chefs and restaurants getting name-checked in media (like GQ's Best Of lists, or Bon Appetit's recent declaration of Houston as the best food city in Texas) and earning award nominations (Randy Rucker's Bootsie's Heritage Cafe was up for the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant - the "Oscars of the restaurant world"), Houston's dining scene seems slowly but surely to be staking out room on the national stage.
Like any city with a respectable, trendy food scene, Houston's top restaurants seem to be all about what's seasonal and local these days (oh, and Houston is just now getting into gourmet food trucks), as well as becoming increasingly prominent in stores as well. Fresh produce to seek out include tomatoes, sweet "1015" onions (not as sweet as the Hawaiian variety, but pretty impressive), watermelon, strawberries, peaches, corn, carrots, and squash blossoms. Look for local cheese from the Houston Dairymaids - who make just about any variety you can think of - and bread baked daily and shipped to restaurants from the Slow Dough Bakery. Houstonians are just as crazy for crawfish (no "crayfish" down here, Yankee) as Louisianans are, as well as catfish and Gulf seafood such as red snapper, blue crab, and shrimp; gaining in popularity are local species that were previously overlooked, such as blackfin tuna, tilefish, grouper, almaco jack, and black drum. Houston has always had a steady supply of oysters from Galveston Bay, but the program of oyster "appellations" has only recently been revived, meaning high-quality specimens are labeled with their reef of origin, just like the well-known varieties from the east and west coasts - look for varieties such as Ladies Pass and Pepper Grove.
- 1 The Saint Arnold Brewery. Billed as Texas' oldest microbrewery. Their brews are often sold in local bars. Very popular beers are the Texas Wheat, Oktoberfest (August through October), and Christmas Ale (November through December). The brewery tour is open Monday through Friday from 3PM to 4:15PM, and Saturday 11AM to 2PM.
- Karbach Brewing Co, 2032 Karbach St. Located near 290 and 610, built in 2011. Beer Garden/patio is open M-F 2:30 to 9:00, Sat Noon - 9PM and Sunday Noon - 5:30PM. Currently also constructing an expansion of the brewery and a restaurant/brewpub.
- Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company, 5301 Nolda St. Located in the Washington Corridor. Focused on their Witbier recipe and interesting variation of that. Tours/tasting hours Saturday Noon to 3PM.
- 8th Wonder Brewing Company, 2202 Dallas St. Located in EaDo near BBVA Stadium. Taproom open Th/Fr 5 - 10PM, Sat Noon - 8PM, Sun Noon - 8PM. Great for a few beers before a Dynamo game away from the crush at Lucky's and Little Woodrow's.
- Individual listings can be found in Houston's district articles
Houston has multiple telephone area codes and mandatory 10-digit dialing. For any number, even within your own area code, you need to dial areacode + number. For local calls, you do not dial a 1+ or a 0+ before the number. Some calls within Houston are considered long distance, and for those you need to dial 1 + areacode + number.
Houston's area codes are: 713, 281, 346 and 832.
At the George Bush International Airport, the wireless connection is paid and organized by Boingo (wireless network Boingo Hotspot). From the Boingo welcome page, one can also choose (slow) sponsored free internet connection, which is good for an hour. Sometimes, after one hour the next sponsored connection could be opened.
Like most large US cities, Houston has its share of crime. Residents of Texas are allowed to carry concealed firearms after completing training and a thorough background check. Like many other US cities, certain areas of Houston are considerably less safe including the area within Loop 610 on the east side and some areas in Southwest Houston near Beltway 8 (Sam Houston Tollway).
Travelers to Houston should follow common safety procedures such as staying away from deserted areas in the middle of the night, keeping their valuables stored out of sight, keeping purses/wallets in a secure location, and always putting valuables in a car trunk. For emergency assistance, travelers can contact Houston Police Department by dialing 911. In addition, travelers should dial 911 to report most crimes in progress. For non-emergency assistance and for crimes not in progress such as minor assault, car theft, home invasion, property damage, and theft, dial 713-884-3131 and request police assistance. The Houston Police Department also allows citizens to file online reports for minor property damage and theft if they are under $5,000 in damages.
Houston is like much of the Gulf Coast in that it is very vulnerable to hurricanes in the summer and fall. If a hurricane is forecast to make landfall anywhere near Houston, listen to officials and heed mandatory evacuation orders if one is ordered. The last major hurricane to hit Houston was Hurricane Ike on September 13, 2008.
Houston is very hot and humid in the summer, with temperatures around 31°C-38°C (87°F-100°F), and summer climate in Houston is easily comparable to the average climates in tropical cities like Manila or Panama City during the summer. However, in the winter, Houston can be mild with temperatures ranging from -1°C-18°C (30°F-64°F), and winter climate is usually comparable to winters in the rest of the Southern United States or Southern California.
Unlike other large cities in the nation such as Chicago, New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, Houston doesn't have a local rail rapid transit network in place. METRO Rail is the initial line of what is planned to be a rapid transit system. The line starts at Northline Transit Center, runs through downtown, into Midtown, to Texas Medical Center, and then the Reliant Complex near the south side, for a length of nearly 13 miles. Houstonians have a tendency to park along the rail line or the south side lot to go into downtown or the medical center as it is easier to get in and out of those areas with the train without the hassle of parking and traffic.
Please be careful when coming near the METRO Rail track, especially at intersections.
Follow the signs since the trains move very quickly and run at almost all hours of the day and night. It runs almost silently. At many streets, left turns are not permitted. Also watch the signs and signals, because some will change as trains approach. Do not drive on the tracks as there are large raised white domes that separate the roadway and the rail line. In some areas signs may indicate driving (or walking) on the tracks is permitted (currently only in the Texas Medical Center) but make sure it is safe to do so.
Drive across the tracks only when you are sure it is safe to do so, especially at night as an oncoming train may not be heard by a driver inside a car.
- Meditation Classes for Beginners. Relaxation meditations and meditation classes to increase inner peace.
If that isn't your thing. try the simple thing most Houstonians do when they need to release tensions of big city madness: take a walk in the beautiful parks or go walking and shopping downtown. If you know someone who lives in Houston, you can have a lunch on a gorgeous spring day outside. Sometimes the most relaxing and peaceful things don't always involve money.
Houston is home to many people of different nationalities and language backgrounds. Therefore, many countries have established full service consulates (Consulate General) in Houston to provide consular services for their nationals living in Texas and in the adjacent states in the southeast part of the U.S. as well as visa services for others seeking to visit their respective countries (if required). The Honorary Consulates are there for commercial and business purposes and offer limited or no consular services except in emergency situations. Most of the consulates are located in/around the Galleria/Uptown area and the West Inner Loop neighborhoods, west of downtown. They can also be located in other parts of town too:
- Argentina, 2200 West Loop S, Ste 1025 (West side of I-610 between San Felipe & Westheimer), ☎ , fax: .
- Australia (Honorary), 3009 Post Oak Blvd, Ste #1310, ☎ , fax: .
- Brazil, Park Tower North @ 1233 West Loop S, Ste 1150, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. NE of intersection of I-610 & Post Oak Blvd. Access from Exit #9 (San Felipe Rd Post Oak Blvd) from the northbound lanes and #9B (Post Oak Blvd) from the southbound lanes
- Canada, San Felipe Plaza @ 5847 San Felipe St Ste 1700 (SE of intersection of San Felipe St & Augusta Dr, 1.7mi west of I-610), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. NE of intersection of I-610 & Post Oak Blvd. Access from Exit #9 (San Felipe Rd Post Oak Blvd) from the northbound lanes and #9B (Post Oak Blvd) from the southbound lanes and go west along San Felipe St to Augusta Dr
- Chile, 1300 Post Oak Blvd, Suite 1130, ☎ , fax: .
- China, 3417 Montrose Blvd, ☎ , fax: . M-F 9AM-11:30AM, 1:30PM-3PM.
- El Salvador, 8300 Bissonet St, Suite 400 (Big office building NE of intersection of Bissonet & Gessner Rd, across street from Emanuel Memorial Pk Cemetery), ☎ . Mon-Fri 9:00AM - 4:00PM.
- France, 777 Post Oak Blvd Ste 600.
- Germany, 1330 Post Oak Blvd Ste 1850, ☎ , fax: . M-F 9AM-noon.
- Honduras, 3731 Briarpark Dr, Suite #155, ☎ .
- India, 4300 Scotland St, ☎ , , fax: .
- Indonesia, 10900 Richmond Ave, ☎ . M-F 9AM-5PM; Consular & Visa M-Th 9AM-1PM, F 9AM-noon.
- Ireland (Honorary), 2630 Sutton Ct, ☎ , fax: .
- Israel, 24 Greenway Plaza, Suite 1500 (Greenway Plaza), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mexico, 4507 San Jacinto St, ☎ , fax: . They also have additional consulates in Austin, Dallas, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, El Paso, Laredo, McAllen and San Antonio
- Pakistan, 11850 Jones Rd, ☎ .
- Portugal (Honorary), 3300 S Broad St, ☎ .
- Russia, 1333 West Loop S, Suite #1300, ☎ . Mon-Fri 9:00 AM-12:00 PM. NE of intersection of I-610 & Post Oak Blvd. Access from Exit #9 (San Felipe Rd Post Oak Blvd) from the northbound lanes and #9B (Post Oak Blvd) from the southbound lanes
- Spain, 1800 Bering Dr Ste 660 (Along Bering Dr south of the), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com.
- Taiwan (Taipei Economic & Cultural Office (TECO)), 11 Greenway Plaza, Suite #2006, ☎ , fax: . NW of intersection of Greenway Plaza Blvd & Edloe St, just north of the Edloe St Exit from I-69/US Hwy 59.
- Turkey, 1990 Post Oak Blvd, Suite #1300, ☎ , toll-free: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mon-Fri 9:00AM to 4:00PM.
- United Kingdom, 1301 Fannin Street, Suite #2400, ☎ , fax: .
- Ukraine (Honorary), 123 N Post Oak, Suite #410, ☎ . Mon-Fri 9AM-3PM.
- Uruguay (Honorary), 1220 Ripple Creek Dr, ☎ , fax: .
- Venezuela, 2401 Fountain View Dr. Suite 220, ☎ , fax: . Mon-Fri 9:00AM - 1:00PM.
- Vietnam, 5251 Westheimer Rd, Suite 1100, ☎ , fax: . Mon-Fri 9:00AM - 12:00PM (By appt. during afternoon hours).
- Galveston— Only about an hour's drive southeast from the city, Houstonians go to Galveston island for its beaches, the Strand, Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston, and Moody Gardens.
- Surfside— Another beach, less crowded than Galveston. About an hour from Houston.
- Webster, southeast of the city, is the location of Space Center Houston, the visitor center of NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
- Schlitterbahn, in New Braunfels(about 174 miles west of Houston). Huge waterpark, rated #1 waterpark in America by the Travel Channel.
- Kemah— Nice boardwalk with great restaurants and amusement rides that is south of Houston and on the way to Galveston Island.
- Blue Bell Creameries— See the Texas countryside in Brenham and tour the creamery. About one hour (75 mi) north west of Houston along US 290.
- A Taste of Coastal Texas— An itinerary leading you through sights along the Texas Coast down to Corpus Christi.
|Routes through Houston|
|Tucson ← San Antonio ←||W E||→ Beaumont → New Orleans|
|San Antonio ← Weimar ←||W E||→ Baytown → Lake Charles|
|Dallas ← Huntsville ←||N S||→ Webster → Galveston|
|Laredo ← Stafford ←||S N||→ Lufkin → Marshall|
|San Antonio ← Weimar ←||W E||→ China → Beaumont|
|Austin ← Brenham ←||W E||→ END|
|Waco ← Bryan-College Station ←||N S||→ Sugar Land → Galveston|
|Corpus Christi ← Pearland ←||S N||→ END|