So you're headed to H-Town, the birth-place of Beyoncé, "chopped and screwed" and Mission Control, where petroleum runs through the locals' veins and humidity is redefined. It's a sprawling city with much to do and lucky you, you're going at the perfect time. It's Super Bowl season! So get out and explore, eat to your heart's content and follow my instructions ...
» Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park: Have a picnic on the open green and get a solid Instagram picture with the 78,500-gallon fountain.
» Hermann Park:The closest park to NRG and home to the Houston Zoo, Garden Center, Museum of Natural Science (hit up the butterfly exhibit) and Hermann Golf Course.
» The Galleria:The mall has more than 370 different stores and services covering more than two million square feet. Also lots of benches perfect for waiting on wives and girlfriends.
» The museum district.
Houston is home to some of the greatest eateries in the state of Texas. The cuisine has distinct influences from all across the south, from Mexico to Louisiana. Here are some things you must try:
» Whataburger:The burger chain started in Corpus Christi but has spread across the state. Open 24/7, pop in late night for a honey butter chicken biscuit and patty melt.
» Classic HTown soul food
» Obviously barbecue, specifically brisket and ribs
» Fajitas,from the Spanish word "faja", meaning "strip", which refers to the cut of beef used; also known as sizzling deliciousness.
» Chicken fried steak. Smother it in gravy and get a side of Texas toast.
» Tacos, breakfast and otherwise: Fill them with brisket, chorizo, egg, potato, cheese, green chilies, whatever your heart desires. Traditional Tex-Mex cuisine calls for a flour tortilla rather than corn, black beans over pinto and yellow cheese over white.
» Queso: It isn't just cheese. It's a lifestyle. It's melty and velvety, festooned with tomatoes, onion, chilies and occasionally chorizo. Don't disrespect the queso.
» Say"Houston We Have a Problem." The joke is tired and a surefire way to make all the locals hate you.
» Wait to see the bats at Waugh Drive Bridge: It's not the right season. The best time to catch the bats is in the summer and early fall.
» Go to Galveston. Just trust me on that one.
» Montrose: The best area to hit is Lower Westheimer, but heel-wearers and heavy drinkers beware: The sidewalks are hazardous.
» Midtown: For the 20-somethings and early 30s crowd, great for bar-hopping and definitely the place to get rowdy.
» Downtown: Closest to NRG but typically more expensive.
» Market Square Park: Houston's historic center. Home to some of the oldest bars in town. Can't go wrong anywhere.
There is public transport in Houston, but your best option is usually going to be Uber or Lyft. You can take the METRORail to get around downtown, NRG, the museum district and medical center, or you can use a low-cost bike share program, but biking can be perilous. Texas isn't known for its abundance of bike lanes.
If you're not into ride sharing, the City of Houston has authorized a flat taxi fare of $6 for all trips in the downtown area, or use the Wave for a night on the town. The Wave is a hybrid between a taxi, limo and public bus that shuttles folks around Houston's nightlife areas, including Midtown, Montrose, Downtown, Uptown, Rice Village and the Washington Avenue corridor.
If you want to see the best grocery store in the world, pay a visit to H-E-B. I don't know how to describe why H-E-B is so great. It's just one of those things, like Lil' Sebastian in Parks and Rec. If you aren't from Texas, you don't get it.
The Houston rodeo.