Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Houston, Texas

Fri Jun 7, 2013 2:29am EDT
 
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By Melanie Warner

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Houston is known for its energy companies, urban sprawl, humidity and NASA's Johnson Space Center.

But lately the Bayou City has been gaining accolades for a robust cultural scene. From the performing and visual arts to food and festivals, the nation's fourth-largest city is gaining recognition as a sophisticated and multi-cultural center.

Art permeates the city, with major exhibits throughout the year at venues such as the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Menil Collection, with its low-slung, modern Renzo Piano-designed building. In July, ArtHouston takes over the city with a sprawling art walk, featuring exhibits in more than 30 galleries.

Houstonians are adventuresome foodies, enjoying the culinary explorations of world-class local chefs, like superstar Bryan Caswell whose restaurants include the Tex-Mex haven El Real and dives like Lankford Grocery & Market.

Visitors to Houston are advised to wear comfortable shoes and bring loose clothing, especially in the steamy summer.

FRIDAY

5 p.m. - Houston has a variety of hotels. The hip Hotel Za Za, which is within walking distance of Hermann Park and Houston Zoo and is near the Museum District. It is famous for its brunch and sleek pool. Other lodging options include the Magnolia Hotel Houston and the Hotel ICON.

7 p.m. - Cocktail hour in Houston doesn't require a jacket, but local bartenders will take you back to a time when it did with their classic mixes and new brews. Anvil Bar & Refuge in the heart of Houston's arty Montrose neighborhood is a sure bet, or venture off the beaten path to the Poison Girl, which has a back patio and tremendous selection of bourbon.   Continued...

 
Superstar Chef Bryan Caswell's Tex-Mex food haven El Real occupies a converted movie theatre and lights up Westheimer street in Houston May 29, 2013. REUTERS/Richard Carson