Houston, We Have a Kazzy

Any LoOGers in the Houston area?  I land in about two hours.  If not available, any recs for fun things to do?  I’m staying in the conventiony area.

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42 thoughts on “Houston, We Have a Kazzy

  1. There is a big museum that was good when i was there a couple years ago. I think it was the Mus of Natural History. If you have a car and are a history geek (especially naval history) like me than you have got to go see the USS Texas. Its a ww1/2 era battleship. Its docked about 1 hour outside of Houston proper i think. Very cool.
        • Oh damn, sorry about that.

          It’s true though. Let’s list the reasons Houston sucks:

          1.) Sprawl: you are in Houston for an hour before you’re in Houston.
          2.) The road system. Seriously, what the hell? Several years ago, when Yahoo! Maps was what Google Maps is today, I got directions to the hospital complex near Rice University, from Yahoo! Only Yahoo! couldn’t handle the way the freeways cross each other, at some points 3 at a time, and so it had me changing from one to another in mid air (they’re all flyovers). On top of that, the people drive like ass.
          3.) The Astros. I don’t think I need to explain this one.
          4.) The water. It’s ugly, and good only for bringing hurricanes.
          5.) Hurricanes. Worse than the Astros, but only slightly.
          6.) Sprawl.
          7.) The traffic. With a perfect road system, the Houston traffic would be unbearable. With Houston’s road system, it’s Renaissance-author’s-version-of-hell bad.
          8.) Sprawl.

          Though I will say this for Houston: it has incredible hospitals (some of the best in the world), and it’s got light rail. Also, Patrick Patterson plays for the Rockets. Plus, at least it’s not Port A or Beaumont (e.g..)

    • The Flying Saucer has a good beer selection, although it’s down near the Courts so is a bit far from the Convention Center.

      By good, I mean “vast”. And good.

      If you can get away, I hear the St Arnold’s Brewery tour is quite nice — I’m partial to their beer, and my father-in-law swears their root beer is great. (Not a fan of root beer, but apparently theirs is the old-fashioned stuff. And good).

                • Actually, it’s not that bad. You’d think Hooters-esque with the short skirts, but nope.

                  I’ve been to several places with the same general idea (“pretty girls in tight/short stuff as waitstaff”) and at least the Houston and San Antonio Flying Saucer’s utterly lack the vibe.

                  I think it’s largely the result of the sizeable beer selection. People go for the beer, with the girls as a sidelight at best — whereas most places it’s the other way around.

                  Their daily Fire Sale is generally worth picking up (3 dollars for whatever) and I’m fond of their Flights.

                  If you want less of that, go see a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse. Again, giant beer selection. Not as good as the Saucer’s, but surprisingly close.

                  • Thats good to know. I like beer and I don’t mind a nice looking waitress. I just don’t loke the Hooters vibe, where every guys’ machismo is at 11.

                    I walked passed a draft house that looked close. Maybe I can find another. Thanks.

                    • Alamo Drafthouse is a theater with a large beer selection, decent bar-type food, and, well, movies. Not top-end theater quality, but the beer makes up for it. :)

                      Speaking of, I think St Arnold’s reserve is out now and I want some…

  2. First off, allow me to welcome you to Houston.

    You don’t say how long you’re here in our beautiful, sprawling cosmopolis, so I’m just going to give you stuff happening between Dec 6-16 and let you pick from that. I’m also assuming that you’re near the George Brown Convention Center and will likely be going out on foot or taking the MetroRail to wherever you’re going, so unless you’re riding around in one of those Hoveround things and your battery is low, you should be able to get to most everything on this list. I may add in a few things reachable by taxi.

    I see you like sports… not too far from where you are staying [at LaBranch and Polk, as a matter of fact] is the Toyota Center, home of the Rockets (NBA) and Aeros (AHL). The Rockets take on the Mavericks Dec 8, the Spurs Dec 10, the Wizards Dec 12 and the Celtics Dec 14. The Aeros take on Peoria Dec 9 [Bring Your Dog to the Game Night], San Antonio Dec 11 [daytime game, starts around 11:00 or so] and Edmonton — err, Oklahoma City Dec 16 [the Teddy Bear Toss game]. HBO’s World Championship Boxing returns to Houston Dec 15, with the World Junior Featherweight Championship on the line as Nonito Donaire takes on challenger Jorge Arce. Those little guys, they keep punching until they’re hamburger, you know…

    If you’re interested in the performing arts and don’t mind that they’re all focused singularly on Christmas right now, Houston’s Theatre District is about three to five blocks west of Main St, and includes ballet, symphony, opera, plays and musicals. The Alley Theatre [615 Texas St] is staging Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and David Sedaris’ “Santaland Diaries” essentially every night between now and Christmas. The Houston Ballet is presenting “The Nutcracker” and Mercury Baroque is presenting “A Baroque Christmas” at the Wortham Theater Center [501 Texas St]. The Inertia Dance Company and Houston Symphony are presenting “Hip Hoppin’ Nutcracker” and the Houston Symphony is presenting “A Very Merry Pops” at Jones Hall [615 Louisiana St]. Theatre Under The Stars is presenting “Peter Pan” beginning Dec 11 [800 Bagby St]. The Houston Grand Opera’s season is preparing to return in January with “Show Boat” and “Don Giovanni”, both of which will be a welcome respite after the candy-coated holiday glitz that the rest of the Theater District is presenting during December.

    Every month this fall, the Alamo Drafthouse has come in from the suburbs and has shown a free movie at Market Square Park [420 Travis St – also a good place to get Greek food, at Niko Nikos]. Past screenings include “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”, “The Talented Mister Ripley” and “The Godfather: Part II”. On Dec 8 they will be screening “Love Actually”, which is apparently some sort of penance for showing “Anchorman” and/or “The Godfather” — at least that’s how it usually works in my household… for every “Dark Night Rises” that I subject my wife to, SHE makes plans to take me to see “Les Misérables”… While we’re on the subject of Market Square Park, there are quite a few adult beverage establishments nearby. I don’t drink alcohol [and bars are generally no fun when sober] so I cannot attest to their merits, but they always seem crowded as I walk by. One other thing my wife just reminded me that they recently added in Market Square Park: you can now rent bicycles!

    If you’re into comedy, Brian Regan will be at the Bayou Music Center Dec 8 [520 Texas St] and Katt Williams will be at the Toyota Center Dec 7.

    If museums are your thing, or perhaps the zoo, hop on the MetroRail and ride down to the Museum District or Hermann Park. Fun Fact: After he is sued for divorce in the movie “Rushmore”, Herman Blume [Bill Murray] moved into what was then called The Warwick Hotel, now called Hotel ZaZa [5701 Main St]. This hotel serves as the de facto border between the Museum District and Hermann Park and is a really nice hotel. I hope they took care of that bee problem that suddenly arose while Herman Blume was staying there… They have a fantastic restaurant there called Monarch [the Terrace is really nice now that it’s not boiling hot down here], but it’s reservation only: 713-639-4539. Hermann Park is also adjacent to Rice University and the Texas Medical Center, which is the world’s largest medical center — the equivalent of the population of the ENTIRE CITY OF LOS ANGELES are seen as patients at TMC annually. It’s also occasionally featured on TLC’s “The Little Couple”, as Dr. Jennifer Arnold works at Texas Children’s Hospital.

    For slightly longer excursions, just outside of downtown… well, there’s the Galleria [5805 Westheimer Rd], because who DOESN’T enjoy going to a humongous mall during the holidays? Cavender’s [2505 South Loop West] will outfit you in cowboy boots and western wear. One of the oddest things I’ve been dragged to since I’ve moved down here — The Port of Houston [7300 Clinton Dr] offers a unique boat tour of one of the busiest ports in the world, but oddly enough you have to book in advance — IT’S JUST THAT POPULAR!! They do offer complimentary soft drinks as part of the tour, and if you actually make it through security at the PoH, the tour IS free… have I sold this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to you yet? Luckily for you, reservations can be made online: http://boattours.poha.com/boattour

    I dunno, there’s quite a bit to do here in any given week — I’ve just barely scratched the surface in my jaunts around town, and I’ve been here since 2009. In my defense, this is a metro area larger than the state of New Jersey, and I know people in New Jersey who’ll complain when they have to go the next town over for some purpose. I’d show you around while you’re in town, but I’m in the middle of moving over the next week and won’t have an opportunity. But if you get out and about, ride the MetroRail from one end to the next [it’s worth the cost, just to see the AstroDome in all its faded glory near the end of the line] and talk to the natives — they’re preternaturally friendly down here and most are more than willing to talk to strangers like they’re your best friend — you’ll more than likely have a better time in Houston than some people would lead you to believe.

    • You should work for the city! Thanks! Unfortunately, my trip ends Saturday meaning I miss most of this stuff, especially the James Harden show. But I know where to look if/when I do have some time to myself.
    • I’ve lived in Houston since 1998, and I would cry if i had to leave. I totally confirm all of the above.

      This is the third or fourth best city in the US in terms of live theater and music. Alas, all Christmasy right now

      Fantastic restaurants, hip bars and cafes. Too many to count. And as said above, I also think about the Flying Saucer primarily because of the beers. You were lucky about Bombay Pizza 9i was there yesterday). I was rated Best Pizza in the Best of Houston survey in 2011. i haven’t seen any other Indian Pizza place ever.

      World class Museum of Fine Arts too. Next week an exhibit of masterpieces from Madrid’s Padro Museum will open, and I was shocked to see in London’s National Gallery not one, but two, traveling exhibitions at least six months after they were shown in the MFAH

      And we are having the warmest December in record, with temperaures in the high 70s, at least 15 degrees above the average for the season.

      Yes, Houston is not very pretty to look at, but it’s a great place to live in.

      Enjoy

      • The butterfly center at the Museum of Natural Science is pretty cool. A friend of mine used to run it, and I would take my son every time we were out there. It’s kind of cool to have butterflies from all over the world fluttering around you and even landing on you.

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