Houston is quietly the fifth largest city in America, as well as the most ethnically and racially diverse -- which is to say, it’s a great place to explore if your horizons need broadening. One in four Houston residents are foreign-born, bringing with them a world of flavors that collide with traditional gulf coast ingredients; the “Viet-Cajun” crawfish at Cajun Kitchen perfectly captures this cultural mashup. For dinner, take a drive through the posh Montrose neighborhood and dine at Pondicheri Cafe for vibrant Mumbai-style Indian cuisine. Houston’s also home to some of the finest restaurants in the entire country, as well as a number of James Beard-nominated chefs, so you should definitely check out our guide to H-town’s best restaurants at this moment in time.
For art experiences in Houston, your first stop needs to be James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace, one of the coolest structures in the entire country. This stunning performance hall on the Rice University Campus is interesting from every angle, especially at sunrise and sunset when an LED light sequence slowly change the mood of the building. Next, find some inspiration in the Houston Museum District with its 19 museums, galleries, and cultural centers, each with at least one day of free admission per month. A standout among these is the Menil Collection: one of the world’s largest and most acclaimed private art collections, with works by Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol. Houston also has a long history of Blues music, which you can tap into at The Shakespeare Pub: a local favorite with live music every day of the week, mostly focused on local blues talent.
All the best neighborhoods to stay in are “within The Loop” meaning inside I-610. The Heights has lots of great Airbnb options with walkable coffee shops, music venues and restaurants.
By car: Three hours, 45 minutes