Houston Strengthens Its Position as a Favorite Leisure Destination

September 21, 2021

 

Houston, the fourth-largest US city is participating at the IPW 2021 taking place in Las Vegas from September 18 to 22, presenting several projects that reconfirm the strength and unique attractions which make H-Town a favorite leisure destination.

Important projects in the last 20 months include hotels, attractions, restaurants, theaters and parks, among others. This year Houston is seeing the reopening of attractions and the return of big events like Comicpalooza, the largest pop culture festival in Texas, Houston Restaurant Weeks, sports games, concerts and free shows at the Miller Outdoor Theater. Recently, Houston has been highlighted by various national and international media, including Time magazine, which this past July placed Houston on its list of the “World’s Greatest Places 2021”.

WHAT’S NEW

Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) – It is no secret that Egypt boasts a rich history of masterful rulers, but there is one name that reverberates through time like no other – Ramses the Great. Considered one of the most celebrated builders of Egypt, this visionary pharaoh expanded borders, brokered the world’s first peace treaty, and became a symbol of achievement to which all who followed would measure themselves. Now the relics that carry his name will inspire millions through an all-new touring collection. Cityneon, in partnership with World Heritage Exhibitions, Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Supreme Council of Antiquities of the Arab Republic of Egypt, has announced a brand-new, state-of-the-art museum experience exploring the life of Ramses. The 10-city global tour of Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs is set to open on November 20, 2021 in its world premiere engagement at Houston Museum of Natural Science.

A once-in-a-lifetime experience, Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs is set to the stage of remarkable Egyptian landmarks through never-before-seen drone footage acquired with unprecedented access to many of Egypt’s most iconic locations. Guests begin their expedition through a 120-degree curved HD projection screen, providing a dramatic panoramic view of Egypt and unique insight into the life of Ramses the Great, also known as Ramses II. After viewing the entry video, visitors will be immersed in surround-sound audio choreographed with programmed lighting. They will further explore the life of Ramses and the 19th century surprise discovery of his mummified remains.

POST HOUSTON opening late 2021 – POST Houston, the new mixed-use development is already taking shape in the former Barbara Jordan Post Office Building, at 401 Franklin Street in Downtown. POST Houston will feature a large international market hall (with 30 participating restaurants from locations such as Houston, Austin, California, Norway, and Spain), one of the country’s largest rooftop parks and farms, co-working spaces, retail stores, and 713 Music Hall, a live music venue with capacity for 5,000 people, operated by the concert giant Live Nation. With state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, 713 Music Hall will offer a unique concert experience.

ATTRACTIONS

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) – The Museum District in Houston celebrated the opening of the new Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, inaugurated on November 21, 2020. The Kinder Building is the third gallery building of the MFAH and is devoted to the display of the museum’s outstanding and fast-growing international collections of modern and contemporary art.

Two new exhibits are coming to MFAH this fall. Georgia O’Keeffe, Photographer (from October 17, 2021 to January 23, 2022 at the Caroline Wiess Law Building) is the first exhibition devoted to O’Keeffe’s work as a photographer. At the Calder-Picasso (from October 31, 2021 to January 30, 2022 at the Audrey Jones Beck Building), Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso, two of the foremost figures in 20th-century art, come together for a fascinating encounter. This internationally traveling exhibition features paintings, sculptures, mobiles, and works on paper spanning the artists’ careers. Conceived by the artists’ grandsons, the exhibition focuses on the two artists’ exploration of the void, or absence of space. Though their lives and work shared many parallels, the two men were not close, known to have met on only four occasions.

Houston Zoo Centennial – 2022 marks the 100-year anniversary of the Houston Zoo, the second most visited zoo in the U.S.A.  Approaching this milestone, the Houston Zoo is creating a series of transformative exhibits, new public amenities, and enhanced public spaces. These projects are being completed in a six-year, multi-phase plan across the Zoo’s 55-acre site. South America’s Pantanal exhibit, a habitat where visitors can explore the tropical wetlands of Brazil right here at the Houston Zoo, opened in 2020. The largest initiative in the campaign, opening in the fall of 2022, is the Galápagos Islands.

The first major exhibit of its kind to showcase the remarkable wildlife of the legendary island chain, the Houston Zoo’s Galápagos Islands will immerse guests in an environment evoking the archipelago’s unique landscapes and oceanic habitats. No place on our planet better exemplifies the wonders of unique species, the delicate balance of ecosystems, or the pressing need for conservation action than the Galápagos.

Houston Botanic Garden – The new Houston Botanic Garden, located on Park Place Boulevard just minutes from Downtown, was inaugurated on September 18, 2020. The Houston Botanic Garden features a collection of themed gardens including Global, Culinary, Stormwater Wetlands and the Coastal Prairie. Each garden provides a unique opportunity for visitors to explore hundreds of species related to a specific environment, from tropical to subtropical to edible and medicinal plants. Education and research are a critical part of Houston Botanic Garden’s mission, so a number of programs and cultural events are planned throughout the year, including cooking demonstrations, lectures and performances.

For the Holiday season, the new light installation Lightscape opens to the public at the Houston Botanic Garden on Saturday, November 21, and runs through January 2nd.  Visitors to this exhibit will enjoy the magic of light displays set along a beautifully illuminated path winding through the Garden. The captivating illuminations — including installations unique to Texas created by local and international artists — will dazzle the senses. The trail will feature a one-of-a-kind experience blending new works with favorites from previous Lightscape installations around the world, such as the Winter Cathedral, an impressive towering arch tunnel sparkling with 100,000 lights, first launched at the Royal Botanic Gardens in London in 2014.

SEISMIQUE – The 40,000-square-foot art-fueled experiential museum, opened December of 2020, is built to capture the imagination of wide-ranging audiences unable to resist the gravitational pull of 40-plus unique exhibits overflowing with dazzling displays of light generated by 9 million LEDs, color, sound, and natural elements.  The first-to-market arts and entertainment space features works by over two dozen established and emerging artists – many of whom are Texas-based – along with advanced technological elements like projection mapping from 111 projectors, holograms, augmented reality, light mapping, motion tracking, gamification and more. Each of Seismique’s installations shares the common denominator of being a dynamic expression of visual art brought to life by a bevy of serious artists.

NEW HOTELS

La Colombe D’Or: Newly renovated (re-opened in March 2021), this 32-room boutique hotel has 400 pieces of original art, a restaurant and garden bungalows with balconies or private patios for a more intimate hotel experience. It is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience in Houston.

Blossom Hotel Houston Medical Center: The 267-room hotel is the only luxury hotel near NRG Stadium. It offers unique amenities, including an ambitious sushi restaurant, karaoke bar and guest services like transport to the Texas Medical Center and translation services.

Hilton Garden Inn and Home2 Suites: Located on the southwest corner of Almeda Road and Holcombe Boulevard on the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus, The Hilton Garden Inn and Home2 Suites by Hilton project will feature a combined 300 rooms. Opening in 2021.

Hyatt House/Hyatt Place Houston Texas Medical Center: The 14-story development will offer 159 hotel rooms under the Hyatt Place flag and 139 extended stay rooms under the Hyatt House brand. Opening in 2022.

Other hotel openings include the Hilton Garden Inn Houston Downtown with 150 rooms (2022) and Thompson Hotel Houston with 170 rooms along Allen Parkway, in front of Buffalo Bayou Park (2023).

RESTAURANTS

Houston’s restaurants continue to bring new concepts and flavors to the dynamic culinary scene that pleasantly surprises foodies. To take a journey through India, visit Musaafer, inaugurated in mid-2020 inside The Galleria. To elaborate the eclectic menu of this restaurant, two chefs spent several months traveling 29 states of India, gathering stories and experiences along the way and bringing home age-old regional recipes. Explore the evolution of the Mediterranean through food at MARCH restaurant, opened March 31, 2021 in the Montrose area. This fine-dining restaurant features a menu that examines the regions in the Mediterranean where boundaries meet and intersect, creating tension, conflict, and diversity through food. For a unique experience surrounded by art, visit Le Jardinier in the new Kinder Building of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Led by Michelin Star Chef Alain Verzeroli, Le Jardinier is a refined, vegetable-forward concept rooted in French culinary technique and inspired by the seasonality of ingredients, utilizing each at the peak of its potential.

 

HOUSTON AIRPORTS

Houston’s airports soared high, once again, at the Skytrax 2021 World Airport Awards by earning in various categories. George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) and William P. Hobby (HOU) airports ranked No.1 in multiple categories including Best, Cleanest and Most Improved U.S. airport by Skytrax 2021 World Airport Awards. The top honors went to Bush Airport, which received the highest ranking among U.S. airports in the World’s Top 100 Airports category and placed second-best airport in North America, achieving both honors for the second consecutive year. Bush Airport climbed six spots in rank to No. 25 among the top 100 world airports. Bush Airport also ranked as the cleanest airport in the U.S and finished fourth in the rankings for Best U.S. Airport Staff.

AROUND HOUSTON

To increase the visitor experiences, Visit Houston is working with 15 regional partners of the program Around Houston. Discover the history, ranching, nature trails, deep-sea fishing and much more Around Houston. Visit historic sites like the San Jacinto Monument, Bishop’s Palace and Spindletop, or plan a family trip to attractions like the Kemah Boardwalk and the Pirates Bay Waterpark. Travelers looking for a Texas ranch experience have options to choose from like Cowboy Solution in Conroe, Horseback Trail Raiders in Beaumont or even Horse & Pony Rides in Galveston Island. Enjoy water fun on the coastline beaches of Galveston, the surf-friendly waves in the Brazosport area and all of the fun activities available at Lake Conroe.  All of this plus golfing and unique shopping and dining experiences, means your ideal daytrip is just a short drive from Houston.

ABOUT HOUSTON

Houston, with more than 7 million residents in its Metro area, is one of the most diverse cities in the United States and a remarkable cosmopolitan destination.  The city is home to an amazing museum district with 18 museums and the Houston Zoo, Space Center Houston, award-winning performing arts groups, professional sports teams and a vast offering of international cuisine. Houston is also known as a shopping destination with more than 12 shopping districts throughout the city. The central location of Houston affords great connectivity for visitors, both in the U.S. and around the world.

PLANNING YOUR OWN HOUSTON EXPERIENCE

The Houston Marketplace makes it easy for people to find, purchase and experience great things to do in Houston. The platform functions similar to Amazon – you can search and add a variety of tickets, tours and experiences from different providers into your shopping cart and checkout with a single transaction. Tickets are delivered via text message and email and are accessible on your mobile phone with no app to download. Find museum tickets, attraction passes and walking tours, plus the most popular Houston Museum Pass and Houston Brew Pass. Special features include value pricing, added coupons and perks, and enhanced personalized wayfinding including real time relevant information and one-touch direction assistance using Google maps.

More information on Houston’s attractions, events, hotels, restaurants and to find everything you need to plan your next visit is available at: VisitHouston.com.

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