Houston is the fourth largest city in the US and one of the most underrated ones in my opinion. I lived there for a period of time and it is a city that captured my heart in so many ways. I believe that I’ll get back there when the time is right!

So, want to live Houston like a local? Check out some of my fun suggestions that may or may not have crossed your path in typical vacation planning.

1. Greetings from Houston.

Greetings from Houston :: Gelazzi :: Houston :: TXDon’t we all just love to document our travels in fun ways (i.e. instaworthy). In comes, the Greetings from Houston mural located in the Heights neighborhood of Houston. Located on the side of a gelato shop, you can grab some gelato to cool down on a hot Texas day while getting your pose on. Photo by Nilda Meliza Gomez 

Gelazzi, 3602 White Oak Drive, Houston, TX 77007

2. Grab a beer with the Beatles. 

The Beatles :: 8th Wonder Brewery :: David Adickes :: Houston :: TX :: Photo by Nick Scurfield

8th Wonder is a local brewery specializing in vegan brews in Downtown Houston. You can relax outside, enjoy a beer and the work of artist David Adicke’s giant statue of the band the Beatles.  Photo by Nick Scurfield

8th World Brewery, 2202 Dallas St, Houston, TX 77003

3. Take a moment to reflect and enjoy some chamber music at the Rothko Chapel.

Rothko Chapel :: Menil Collection :: Houston :: TXPart of the Menil Collection, Rothko Chapel is a space featuring the artwork of Mark Rothko and provides a tranquil place to meditate and reflect. Throughout the year, if you’re lucky you can hear some of the best chamber musicians in Houston perform their evening concert series. 

Rothko Chapel,1409 Sul Ross St, Houston, TX 77006

4. Make a picnic basket from Houston Dairymaids and head to Miller Outdoor Theater for a show. 

Miller Outdoor Theater :: Houston :: TX :: Photo courtesy of Miller Outdoor TheaterHouston Dairymaids specializes in local Texas cheeses. Show up for a tasting and put together a basket to take for the road then pop on over to the Miller Outdoor Theater, which features local and travel groups. Perfect for a picnic on the lawn with some entertainment. I vote for a touring broadway show or the ballet! Photo courtesy of The Miller Outdoor Theater 

Houston Dairymaids, 2201 Airline Dr, Houston, TX 77009

Miller Outdoor Theater, 6000 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030

5. Experience the Houston sunset at Turrell’s Skyspace.

Skyspace :: James Turrell :: Rice University :: Houston :: TXSkyspace is a large-scale installation by artist James Turrell located on the campus of Rice University. It’s open to the public at all times, it has a light sequence show daily during sunrise and sunset (available by reservation).

Skyspace, Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion, Houston, TX 77005

6. Have a glass of wine in Houston’s oldest building. 

Historic Downtown Houston :: Houston :: TX :: Photo Courtesy of Dwell

Houston is not known for its architectural history, so if you can find some embrace it! Typically, the most historic neighborhoods are areas of the Downtown and Montrose. Grab a glass of wine at La Carafe, located in the oldest commercial building in Houston. Located downtown, it’s convenient to the Market Square Park and it’s dark, romantic and full of character. Photo courtesy of Dwell 

La Carafe, 813 Congress St, Houston, TX 77002

7. Take a trip beneath the city. 

Buffalo Bayou Cistern :: Houston :: TX :: Photo Courtesy of Buffalo Bayo + Visit Houston TexasThe Buffalo Bayou Cistern is located at the Water Works; a former water reservoir for the city is now the home to site specific art installations in the depths of the city. Photo courtesy of Buffalo Bayo

The Water Works, 105 Sabine Street, Houston, TX 77007

8. Drink Texas style at the West Alabama Ice House.

West Alabama Ice House :: Houston :: TX :: Photo Courtesy of West Alabama Ice House

There’s just something about enjoying a beer in one of Houston’s open-air ice house bars. Mister fans and picnic tables provide a cozy low-key place to hang out with friends. Hungry? Grab a taco at the Estilo Tierra Caliente  truck permanently parked next door. Photo courtesy of West Alabama Ice House

West Alabama Ice House, 1919 W Alabama Street, Houston, TX 77098

9. Prepare to be amazed by the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony.

Waugh Bat Bridge Colony :: Houston :: TX :: Photo Courtesy of Houston Museum of Natural Science

Have you ever seen 250,000 bats before? Believe me, you’ll never forget the site (or the smell). The Waugh Street Bat Colony serves as a home to Mexican free-tailed bats who fly each night at dusk to eat all year long. Photo courtesy of HMNS

Waugh Bridge Bat Colony, 401 S Heights Blvd, Houston, TX 77007

10. Visit notable aviator and film director Howard Hughes. 

Hughes Family Gravesite :: Houston :: TX :: Photo Courtesy of Glenwood Cemetery

Glenwood Cemetery is a historic cemetery located within the inner-loop of Houston. It is the resting ground for many notable Houstonians including former aviator and film director Howard Hughes. Photo courtesy of Glenwood Cemetery

Glenwood Cemetery, 2525 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007

11. Explore Indian culture. 

BAPS Shir Swaminarayan Mandir :: Stafford :: TXThe BAPS Shir Swaminarayan Mandir was built to provide a space for spirituality  for those practicing the Hindu faith. You may visit the Mandir for worship and prayer as well as educational tours. 

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Houston,  1150 Brand Lane, Stafford, TX 77477

12. Run into a former president. 

North Italia :: Houston :: TX :: Photo by Ellie Sharp

Update: George H.W. Bush passed away at the age of 94 on Friday, November 30, 2018. Read more about his legacy here.

The 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush resides in the Galleria/Uptown neighborhood of Houston. The President and his family frequent some of the area restaurants, such as North Italia. Prepare for the entire restaurant to rise upon his entry with a round of applause. Photo by Ellie Sharp

North Italia, 1700 Post Oak Blvd, Ste 190, Houston, TX 77056

13. Go on a mural crawl. 

Butterflies Wall by Fabio Panone :: Downtown Houston :: Houston :: TXHouston is the home of some amazing murals, many of them located in the downtown area of the city. Put on a cute outfit and get ready to pose. Photo by Nilda Meliza Gomez

Butterflies Wall by Fabio Panone, 2201 Preston St, Houston, TX 77003

14. Run among the butterflies. 

Butterfly Exhibition :: Houston Museum of Natural Science :: Houston :: TX :: Photo courtesy of RoadtrippersThe Houston Museum of Natural Science is home to many exhibitions, but one of the coolest is the butterfly center spanning three-stories and a simulated rain forest. Walk freely while butterflies interact with you. Photo courtesy of Roadtrippers

Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030

 15. Become a tequila connoisseur.

The Pastry War :: Houston :: TX :: Photo courtesy of The Pastry War

Who doesn’t love a margarita? Why not try a specialty flight of tequila hand-picked from Mexico? The Pastry War is located in downtown Houston and provides an extensive drink menu and Mexican eats. Photo courtesy of The Pastry War

The Pastry War, 310 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002

Did you try any of these suggestions? I’d love to hear! Follow me on Instagram or shoot me a note at artfulepicure@gmail.com. I have plenty more suggestions, so stay tuned for upcoming posts!

NOTE: All photos taken by Tracy E. Smith of Belle Artiste Studio & The Artful Epicure unless otherwise noted and credited.

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