Houston, we’ve an issue. Or moderately, we did have an issue. For years, outsiders dismissed the oil-wealthy Texas metropolis as nothing greater than a sprawling jumble of asphalt freeways, neat suburban houses and bland company HQs that solely David Brent would get enthusiastic about. In recent times, nevertheless, the Bayou Metropolis has unbuttoned its shirt, polished its boots and began to have enjoyable.
The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landings in 2019 introduced a palpable buzz to the town. However, Nasa’s Johnson Space Centre, which acted as command-submit for 1969’s epochal Eagle-has-landed mission, isn’t Houston’s solely declare to fame. It’s additionally, lest we neglect, the town that gave us HRH Beyoncé (in Downtown Queen Bey’s lyrics adorn banners within the streets). And other than that, town has loads of cultural charms to pattern.
To have a good time 50 years since Neil Armstrong first took these leaden steps on the moon, Mission Control at Space Centre Houston has been painstakingly restored to look precisely the way it did in 1969 (assume discarded headsets, retro Coca Cola cans, ashtrays and nicotine-stained partitions).
Each time “America’s Top 10 Cultured Cities” listicles seem on-line, Houston invariably makes a cameo, partly due to its Museum District. Check out Museum of Fine Arts (tickets: $17/£13), an implausible primer to post war American artwork with Pollocks, Warhols and Rothkos galore.
Each night time round nightfall, a murky cloud of 200,000 Mexican free-tailed bats soars from beneath Waugh Drive Bridge in Buffalo Bayou Park for their nightly insect feed. Very often, there are lots of individuals there to observe them too. The pageantry of this biblical-like swarm of winged mammals set in opposition to Houston’s skyscrapers is spectacular. Buffalo Bayou Park may also be admired on kayak excursions or Houston’s BCycle bike-share scheme.
Houston attracts a number of enterprise travellers in the course of the week, however this implies lodge charges drop dramatically at weekends.
Hotel Magnolia was inbuilt 1926 and was beforehand the HQ for the Houston Post Dispatch and Shell. Not like different stylish boutique lodgings, its complimentary bedtime cookies and convivial completely happy hour lend a welcoming vibe, as does its raffish library and billiards room. Doubles from $159 (£127), room solely.
Sara’s Inn is Houston’s longest-operating B&B. A Queen Anne residence (an architectural style popular from the 1890s to the 1910s), it options 11 vintage-laden rooms, some with four-poster beds, winding staircases and claw-foot bathtubs.