There is no better place to discover classic Texas charm and appreciate Houston’s dramatic skyline than in and around Discovery Green.
Located downtown Discovery Green is nearly five hectares of spacious green lawns including a large lake, amphitheatre, children’s playground, interactive water feature, and public art works with the glistening Houston skyline setting an impressive backdrop.
Discovery Green was one of 10 international urban design projects recognised in this year’s Green Good Design Awards.
This is a favourite spot for locals and visitors to the United State’s fourth largest city with more than 2.3 million residents.
The name was selected from a city-wide competition as reflecting a green, active, and vibrant area while also capturing Houston’s role as a centre for discoveries in the fields of energy, space and medicine.
The centre point is a shaded walkway featuring 100-year-old oak trees that were transported to the site. Nearby two systems of jets create a myriad of water activity atop a gently sloping granite surface, with five-metre high arching jets serving as landmarks and smaller jets cycling on and off to invite park visitors for a closer look or some fun in the spray. These parklands are a great base to experience everyday life in Houston and are open daily from 6am to 11pm with free admission.
Discovery Green offers as much peace and activity as the visitor wants. Sit, read and talk or play bocce, shuffleboard, horseshoes and chess.
However, the high energy sports are just around the corner at the 18,000 Toyota Centre where the Houston Rockets lay-up and dunk with the help of star recruit Yao Ming.
At the opposite end of Discovery Park is The Astros baseball stadium at Minute Maid Park This is one of the best designed facilities of its kind and has a retractable roof making it the perfect spot to escape Houston’s humid summers.
Directly opposite Discovery Green there is always something to see at the George R Brown Convention Centre with over 1.2 million square feet of exhibition space, including 117 meeting rooms.
Not far away is the House of Blues and over its entrance are the words ‘In Blues we Trust’. Enter and you will find out why this is a must-do experience for lovers of live music. The original Blues Brother and Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd is no longer a business partner in the establishment, but you can still buy a bottle of his namesake Canadian vodka in a skull shaped bottle.
Also popular during any visit to Houston is the 17-block Theatre District filled with culture, music, dance and theatre.
Just southwest of downtown is the Museum District that encourages patrons to walk to the many venues in this neighbourhood.
For the latest designer fashions and somewhere to shop until you drop visit The Galleria that has more than 375 world-class stores and dining spots and includes two hotels and an indoor ice rink below a towering glass atrium.
For the more price conscious visit Academy Sports and Outdoors for some real bargains and a great place to shop for souvenir sports T-shirts and clothing.
Downtown Houston is clean and well maintained. Getting around is made easy with over 2200 taxi cabs serving the sprawling outlying precincts, and a flat $6 fare for rides within the CBD.
All the senses are well and truly stirred as you would expect in a multi-cultural city, particularly as a result of its large Hispanic and Mexican population. Breakfast with a difference is Heuvos Rancheros. This classic Mexican meal is made up of fried eggs, Virginia ham, Cotiga cheese, refried beans and salsa on corn tortillas. It’s a hearty start to the day but in the evening nothing beats a Texas steak.
Spencer’s for Steak and Chops offers only all-natural locally grown beef. This is the ultimate steakhouse and its flavoursome offerings will not disappoint.
The restaurant is a short stroll from Discovery Green and part of the $285 million Hilton Americanos hotel complex.
The hotel lounge bar has a stunning custom-made, abstract mural of the world, with Houston as the centre bridge that links North and South America.
Here you are certain to experience southern hospitality with Houstonians, as the locals call themselves, among the friendliest people you will meet in the United States.
They are only too happy to highlight why Houston has this year been added to a number of ‘best’ destination lists such as Best Cities for Young Professionals, Top 10 Underrated Cities, and Top Destination City.
Categories: Travel and leisure