Dave and I are starting to develop a standard line of commentary for each large city we visit this summer.
“There are so many things to do.”
“We’re not used to all these restaurant choices.”
“I love that you can walk so many places.”
“This is so much more multi-cultural than we’re used to.”
“When we settle down again, we should live in a place like this.”
Houston was no different. The first thing we did after arriving late on a Monday night was go on a walk (well, after Dave ate some Whataburger). From our friend’s apartment, we could walk past the Menil Collection, the Rothko Chapel, tons of restaurants and shops, and when we were feeling especially adventurous, we even walked to Rice University. Even though it was a Monday/Tuesday, we were able to pop into a bar after midnight and grab a drink. Glasgow and other small cities/towns have their own charms, but Dave and I haven’t enjoyed the simple freedom of doing what we want when we want for the last couple of years. We are thoroughly enjoying taking advantage of our opportunity this summer to explore some of the most popular and interesting cities this country has to offer.
For our first day in Houston, we headed to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. I got to see the actual Water Lilies painting by Claude Monet. I practically drooled on it. I’m probably starting to sound like a broken record about my love for art, but it’s such an intrinsic part of my life. And I think accessibility to art says a lot about a city. Houston gets big points from me for its art offerings. The MFAH was beautiful, the employees were friendly, and they just have a fabulous collection. From big names like Monet and Picasso to ancient gold artifacts to the Turrell light exhibit, it has something for everyone (at least, everyone who has the tiniest interest in pretty or cool things to look at).
We took a jaunt to Galveston our second day in Houston, where the water was perfect, the streets were cute and all the art galleries are closed on Wednesdays. It was a nice day trip, where my husband and one of his best friends were able to play on the beach and leave me behind as the third wheel (which I am quite used to with the two of them).
While our Houston days were throughly enjoyable, our Houston nights were my favorite. I’m not the go-to-a-club-and-get-wasted kind of person, so Houston’s unique nighttime offerings were perfect for me. On our second night in Houston we were so lucky to be able to watch Chucho Valdes perform at the Miller Outdoor Theatre. First of all, outdoor theatres are just wonderful. Particularly free ones that allow you to bring your own food and drinks. Dave and I, our friend Kevin, and his girlfriend Sarita plopped down on the lawn with our blankets, Little Debbies (Kev has high taste in snacks) and a cooler of drinks to enjoy a beautiful, entertaining night. I don’t know much about Cuban or African music, except that I like it, but according to the woman who presented him and the ever-knowledgeable Wikipedia, Chucho Valdes is one of Cuba’s greatest jazz pianists. The music was fabulous, and so was the concert’s atmosphere.
Our third night in Houston we finally explored the bar scene, but it was far from the typical, boring bar scene I have seen in the smaller cities I normally visit. Our first stop was The Grove restaurant and bar, which hosts Sundown at The Grove – where $15 gets you a flight of beer and unlimited mini courses to pair with your beers. Holy cow, it was delicious and way more than they should give you for that price. Dave, Kevin, Sarita and I had a great time on their rooftop patio, even with the minor monsoon coming down throughout our dinner.
From The Grove we headed to Boheme, a bar whose atmosphere clearly matches its name. A blood orange margarita and a few laughs later, we moved on to The Big Easy, a blues club with live music and dancing. There was a man dancing on roller skates. It was so cool and so weird all at the same time. Dave and I chickened out on the dancing front, but I was more than happy watching those brave enough to take the floor. Several of the couples were quite talented.
I kind of want to develop a ranking system for all the places we’re visiting, but I’m enjoying them each too much. Houston, may I see you again one day!