Houston Tourist Attractions
Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States and one of the great metropolises of the south, is situated only a few miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico near the border with Louisiana.
It is a centre for the processing of oil from the Texan oilfields and the offshore drilling rigs; in 1962 it became the headquarters of the Mission Control Center of the United States' space program; and, with its large port, it is a commercial centre of major importance. The port is linked with the Gulf of Mexico by the 50 mi. Houston Ship Canal, which can take ocean-going vessels. The economic importance of Houston, which is also a great banking centre, is reflected in the impressive skyline of its skyscrapers. The fact that things were once very different is shown by the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show held each year in February, the largest event of its kind in the United States.Houston is "mighty proud" of the fact that its name was the first word to be spoken on the moon. "Houston. Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed," announced Neil Armstrong when the successful landing took place on 20 July 1969. One of many superlatives applied to Houston is "Air Condition Captial of the World". There is scarcely a building without air conditioning.HistoryHouston was founded in 1836 by two brothers, John and August Allen, and named after Sam Houston, a hero of the Texan war of liberation and first President of the independent Republic of Texas, of which it was the capital from 1837 to 1839 and from 1842 to 1845, when Austin finally took over that function. During the second half of the 19th c. Houston was overshadowed by the coastal town of Galveston, but became increasingly important following the construction of a ship channel to the Gulf of Mexico between 1873 and 1914. When Galveston was almost completely destroyed by a hurricane in 1900 Houston succeeded it as the leading port in Texas.SightsThe skyscrapers of downtown Houston offer within a relatively small area a cross-section of modern architecture - the 75-storey pentagonal column of the Texas Commerce Bank Tower (by I.M. Pei; viewing hall on 60th floor), the green glass facade of the Allied Bank Plaza (by Edward Basset; 71 storeys), the Pennzoil Place high-rise complex with its prismatic trihedral forms (by Philip Johnson) and the postmodern Republic Bank Center (also by Philip Johnson). The towering lobby of the Hyatt Regency is not to be missed. The "ravines" between the tower blocks are not too crowded as people prefer to take refuge from the heat in the air-conditioned, 6 mi. underground tunnel system that connects all the important downtown buildings.
Space Center Houston (NASA)
25 mi. south-east of Houston, on the west side of Clear Lake, is the Houston Space Center, with the world-famous Mission Control, the monitoring centre for all NASA manned space flights. In the Visitor Orientation Center is a space exhibition, with film shows, models of space capsules, astronauts' rations, samples of moon rock and a variety of objects from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo manned space programmes. Visitors can try on astronauts' helmets, steer a spacecraft in the simulator and, in the extensive grounds of the Space Center, wonder at huge space rockets and perhaps meet a real astronaut on his way to the Mission Simulation and Training Facility, where in the course of training he may be hurled around in a centrifuge measuring 100 ft across.
Official site: www.spacecenter.org
Address: 1601 Nasa Parkway, Houston, TX 77058, United States
Houston Civic Center
The focal point of the city's cultural life is the huge complex of the Houston Civic Center (Capitol St., between Milam and Bagby Sts.), with the Jones Hall for the Performing Arts (home of the Houston Symphony Orchestra), the George R. Brown Convention Center (conventions, exhibitions, concerts), the Nina Vance Alley Theater, the Music Hall, the Sam Houston Coliseum (sporting events, concerts) and the Wortham Center (opera, ballet). On the same site is City Hall.The attractive Tranquility Park commemorates the Apollo moon landing programme, with bronze plaques giving information in 15 different languages.
Tranquillity Park commemorates Apollo flights with five towers and reflecting pools.
George R. Brown Convention Center
The George R. Brown Convention Center is located in downtown Houston. It hosts various events throughout the year including conferences, conventions, trade shows, and celebrations.
Official site: www.houstonconventionctr.com
Address: 1001 Avenida de las Americas, Houston, TX 77010, United States
The Houston Memorial Park has long been a popular urban oasis and recreation area for cycling, hiking, playing ball and walking pets. Unfortunately the park has been in decline, with mature trees affected by drought and other problems, having to be cut, leaving the park looking desolate. The conditions affecting the park were studied for over a decade but problems persisted. It was determined a new management plan needed to be implemented, although it was already too late for many of the large trees which needed to be cut down to prevent forest fires.
Official site: www.memorialparkconservancy.org
Address: Box 131024, Houston, TX 77219, United States
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
The Bayou Bend Collection of 17th-19th c. furniture and art is housed in the home of millionairess Ima Hogg.Check the calendar for upcoming exhibitions. Surrounding the building is a 14 acre garden of native and exotic plants.
Official site: www.mfah.org/visit/bayou-bend-collection-and-gardens
Address: 6003 Memorial Drive at Westcott Street, Box 6826, Houston, TX 77265-6826, United States
Houston Arboretum & Nature Center
The Arboretum & Nature Center is a nature sanctuary in the heart of the city. Set on 155 acres, there are some 5 miles of walking trails with opportunities to see native plants and animals. The landscape is one of forests, pond, and prairie habitats. The Nature Center building features educational exhibits as well as a store.
Official site: www.houstonarboretum.org
Address: 4501 Woodway Drive, Houston, TX 77024-7708, United States
Port of Houston
To the east of the city is the Port of Houston. There are free sightseeing cruises on the "Sam Houston". A good general view can be had from the platform on Pier 8.
Port of Houston Turning Basin
View of the docks and busy basin from an observation platform. Take a 90 minute boat tour of the Port of Houston.
Museum of Printing History
The Museum of Printing History is dedicated to preserving the history of printed communication, especially relevant in today's world of digital communication. The collection contains ancient writing, rare books and manuscripts, antique printing equipment, historic printed material such as bible leafs, government documents, early newspapers and periodicals.
Official site: www.printingmuseum.org
Address: 1324 West Clay Street, Houston, TX 77019, United States
Lawndale Art and Performance Center
This organization was originally built to be a center for art exhibitions, music, and performance art, particularly for controversial art and performances which were not widely accepted by other art venues. The museum features contemporary art, primarily by local artists.
Official site: www.lawndaleartcenter.org
Address: 4912 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002-9720, United States
Cy Twombly Gallery
The Cy Twombly Gallery features works by this contemporary artist, including paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. The gallery was commissioned by Dominique de Menil (Menil Collection) and based on designs by Twombly himself.
Official site: www.menil.org/collection/CyTwomblyInDepth.php
Address: 1501 Branard Street, Houston, TX 77006-4721, United States
The Grand Opera stages a number of productions each year and is internationally recognized as an innovator in musical theater. The company is known for producing new works. It also tours to locations in Europe and Asia.
Official site: www.houstongrandopera.org
Address: 510 Preston Street, Houston, TX 77023-4645, United States
Houston Center for Photography
The Houston Center for Photography displays exhibitions of photography and related arts. The center is free of charge and a good place to see variety of photographic works. Audio recordings provide information on the works you are viewing.
Official site: www.hcponline.org
Address: 1441 West Alabama Street, Houston, TX 77006-4103, United States
Military Museum of Texas
The Military Museum of Texas collects, restores, and displays military equipment and memorabilia from World War II until the present. The true focus is on the sacrifices of those who have served.
Official site: www.texasmuseum.org
Address: 8611 Wallisville Road, Houston, TX 77029, United States
Blaffer Gallery is a public university art museum that serves as a resource for the study of art, art history, architecture and other related interests.
Official site: www.class.uh.edu/blaffer/
Address: University of Houston, 120 Fine Arts Building, Houston, TX 77204-4018, United States
Gilbert and Sullivan Society
The Gilbert and Sullivan Society is a volunteer based amateur G&S opera company. It features new talent in its productions which run each summer.
Official site: www.gilbertandsullivan.net
Address: Box 741267, Houston, TX 77274-1267, United States
Houston Railroad Museum (Closed Temporarily)
THIS ATTRACTION IS IN THE PROCESS OF RELOCATING.The Houston Railroad Museum focuses on restoring and displaying vintage railroad cars and other railroad equipment.
Official site: www.kingswayrc.com/gcst
Address: 7390 Mesa Drive, Houston, TX 77028, United States
National Museum of Funeral History
The National Museum of Funeral History is definitely a one of a kind museum and more interesting than the name would suggest. This museum has the largest display of funeral service memorabilia, but more importantly it deals with the cultural traditions and rituals of mourning in ancient civilizations and modern times.The museum celebrates the lives of many famous people, including celebrities and historical and religious figures. Of particular note is a display on Presidential Funerals.
Official site: www.nmfh.org
Address: 415 Barren Springs Drive, Houston, TX 77090, United States
Six Flags AstroWorld (closed)
ATTRACTION IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED.Over 100 rides, attractions and shows.
Astrodomain, Astrodome (Closed)
The Astrodome opened in 1965. It eventually closed and the facility was all but condemned in the late 2000s.
Six Flags Waterworld (closed)
ATTRACTION IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED.A waterpark with surf area and children's area.
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