Vacation in Houston: A How-To Guide

SAVE MONEY, GET CONNECTED, AND STAY LOCAL THIS SUMMER WITH THESE TIPS ON HOW TO VACATION IN HOUSTON–AND WHERE TO GO TO DO IT.

It’s summer, and that means that families, couples, and solo adventurers are on the hunt for fun weekends and mini-trips. Creating great memories and experiencing new things is a top priority for the season before schools, unpredictable weather, and big holidays parade back into our lives.

So to help you find something fun to do this summer, we have decided to suggest an amazing vacation to the fourth-largest city in the US, a wonderful place for interacting with nature, trying new food, and enjoying a uniquely diverse culture—all at an affordable cost! Sounds too good to be true, right?

You’ve probably already guessed where we’re going with this: Yes, we are suggesting a “Staycation” in our beloved city, Houston. Don’t be one of those locals that asks, “What’s 288 Lake?” or says “I’ve never been to a free show downtown” – show off your pride for Houston by taking advantage of the amazing and totally Staycation-worthy things to do around town.

Don’t know how to Staycation? No problem. It’s easy: Save Money, Get Connected, Stay Local.

SAVE MONEY

Planning a week of fun in Houston can be organized just like any other trip to a different city, only you get to save a lot of money. When considering travel costs, hotel costs, and eating-out-every-meal costs, your trip to a different city can easily eat thousands of dollars out of your savings. And if you have yet to experience all of the amazing (and a lot of the times, free!) things your own city has to offer, why spend the money somewhere else?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the biggest expense for a vacation is transportation… taking up nearly HALF the travel budget. Most families spending $2,100 a year just to get to their vacation destination.

Save that money and the time into your vacation days by staying in town and discovering all that it has to offer, that many city-dwellers ignore or fail to take advantage of.

GET CONNECTED

To make this a true family trip and not a simple outing, it’s best to get connected to one another and your experience by disconnecting from phones, tablets, laptops, emails, and anything that requires an internet connection. Keep the smartphone in the glove box.

Also, do your weekly chores before your planned days off—so that you don’t have to stop mid-way through your relaxation time and do laundry. Stay away from the mundane rituals you keep at home and step into adventure, even if it’s just for a few days and close to home.

By creating a plan, setting goals and fun items for each day, putting aside smartphones for a few hours, and allowing some time for pure relaxation, you will be able to get the most out of your Houston trip.

STAY LOCAL

There are so many things to do in Houston, and a lot of things are cheap or even free. Luckily, your friends at Circa Real Estate are very familiar with the area and can help you find some fun ideas.

CITY ART

Have a few older children at home? Plan an afternoon of your vacation to take a self-led Street Art Tour. With amazing graffiti all over Houston, you can easily plan out hours of fun jumping to different murals around the city. Take some time to learn about the artist and his or her inspiration for the art. And, usually, the art is at a shopping area where you can double up and have some fun in town during your tour.

Here are a few of our favorites:

“I Love You Wall” at Circa Real Estate and Harold’s
“You Are My Sunshine” wall on 19th Street
The “Black & White Wall” at The Secret Group’s entertainment venue
“The Abstract Happy Beach Wall” and “Synchronicity of Color” near and at Discovery Green
“Beauty of Diversity Wall” and “Giant Red Haired Lady” in Midtown

—to name a few!! Highlight your trip around town with a stop at the Art Car Museum, a walk through one of Houston’s sculpture gardens, or of course an afternoon at one of Houston’s many wonderful traditional and contemporary art museums.

NEW FOOD

It’s no exaggeration that Houston is one of the most diverse places to get amazing food, not to mention… There is a lot of it. But perhaps you have tried most of the local favorites… What about the new restaurants that have been welcomed by the city this year?

In case you missed it (Hah!) Houston played host to Super Bowl LI earlier this year. That event brought in a lot of people and a slew of new local businesses, including new restaurants. Look around for new places to try that you may not have heard of, such as Bosscat Kitchen & Libations on Westheimer, FM Kitchen & Bar on Washington, King’s Bierhaus in Oak Forest, Bayou & Bottle or Xochi in downtown, and the Brasserie du Parc at Discovery Green….. To start.

Houston is the mecca for food culture—go out and experience something new!

BE OUTDOORS

From kayaking on the bayou to trying stand-up paddling at 288 Lake—to catching a free movie at Market Square Parks’ “Theatre Under The Stars” collaborations or enjoying carriage rides through downtown—there is so much outside in Houston to enjoy.

Memorial Park has wonderful hiking paths that most people have never ventured through, and you can end your hike with a family round of golf, a game of volleyball, or a stop at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center (free) or Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens (free).

Try out disc golf, take a Bayou City Bike Tour, check out the Waugh Drive Bat Colony, or take carrots to the Houston Police Stables and hang out with some our city’s four-legged heroes.

LEARN SOMETHING

The Museums of Houston are some of the best in the country. It would take a few days to traverse all of the museums in the city, like…

Houston Museum of Natural Science
Holocaust Museum
Museum of Fine Arts
Contemporary Arts Museum
Children’s Museum
Menil Collection
Health Museum
Buffalo Soldier National Museum
Printing Museum
Space Center Houston
Art Car Museum

If you need help narrowing it down, the Houston Museum of Natural Science is featuring its HMNS After Dark experience, an exhibit featuring Texas maps dating back to 1513, a Gladiators showroom, and a Cabinet of Curiosities. For every age, and every family member, there is something amazing to find, experience, and learn about.

Overwhelmed? You should be!

Houston is one of the most amazing cities, filled with activities and opportunities to experience amazing things. We have amazing food, great access to a beautified bayou network that features parks, gardens, and art, and never-ending fun for the entire family. But don’t ask us—we’re biased.

Find out for yourself, and take a few days to “Staycation” in one of the best cities our country has to offer: Houston!

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