Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > America - USA > Texas
Reload this Page >

Some Misc. Questions About Houston

Some Misc. Questions About Houston

Old Feb 18, 14, 3:57 pm
  #1  
In memoriam
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Near Jacksonville FL
Posts: 3,987
Some Misc. Questions About Houston

I bought my husband a trip to Houston as a Christmas present. Might seem odd - but Houston is now host to perhaps the best Magritte exhibit we'll ever see in our lifetimes - at the Menil from now until June 1. Magritte happens to be my husband's favorite artist - so he loved this present .

Anyway - we haven't been to Houston in ages - and I have some misc. questions. We won't be renting a car. Not only are car rentals relatively expensive these days - we don't like to drive after we've been drinking at dinner. And - we don't like navigating through "car centric cities" like Dallas or Los Angeles or similar - even with a GPS. We'd rather spend a few more dollars - and have others do the driving for us.

What's the best way to get to/from IAH to the Hilton Americas downtown (where we'll be staying) for a couple of older people? The hotel lists 3 options - limos - cabs and something called the "Super Shuttle". Comparing the 3 - cabs seem like the best option cost/benefit wise - but perhaps I'm missing something?

Also - although the hotel has some type of "local shuttle" - what's a good cab company to use if the hotel shuttle isn't great? I assume there are a lot of cab drivers in Houston for whom Spanish is a first language. And that's not a problem (my husband and I both speak Spanish). OTOH - if the Houston cab drivers are like those in Miami and won't turn on their A/C - that's a problem.

And - if there are any good public transportation options - I'd like to know about those too.

Finally - is there anything in the general "downtown area" that we should see that we won't likely run across reading the "10 Best Things" in Houston stuff on the internet? Robyn
robyng is offline  
Old Feb 18, 14, 4:58 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Sao Paulo via Houston via Washington D.C via Boston via New York
Posts: 1,166
Er, IAH to downtown can either be Taxi if you don't care about price and if you do, then super shuttle which is just a shared ride bus. Taxis aren't as prevalent as say LA, driving around Houston isn't bad either if you did want to rent a car. As far as where to be, you'll either be on Montrose/Westheimer area, also downtown there are some new bars/resturauants, but it's pretty quiet outside of work days. You'll want to check out the places around Market Sqaure park.
macdonaldj2 is offline  
Old Feb 18, 14, 10:38 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Houston, Tx
Programs: UA Plat
Posts: 95
Most of the cab drivers I have had tend to be from foreign but not from a country with Spanish as a first language. I haven't had any issues on be able to speak to the drivers. If your worried about it get a smart phone app like "sayhi" that can translate for you. Cab should cost about 60-70 bucks from IAH to downtown. Yellow cab is the main cab company and they have a good app if you use a smart phone. Supershuttle is per person, I think last time i took was 20 or 25 bucks and not worth it. You could be the last drop off and have to everyone elses drop off before they go downtown.

In the downtown area I don't feel there is a lot to do. Only things I can think of are the aquarium which will probably be in most top ten lists, sporting events, or discovery green. Discovery green is an area just outside your hotel that has a nice pond and is park that is neat area to just relax at.

You are located well centrally and a slight walk to the metro rail. With the metro rail you can get to the museum districts and see a lot more things. Google metro rail houston and you can find more info about the rail, I don't use it so I can't really tell you much about it. Its mainly set up for commuters not tourists.
pong1092 is offline  
Old Feb 19, 14, 12:31 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: IAH
Programs: UA 1K on final to 2MM
Posts: 140
Taxi from IAH

If you decide on taking a cab from the airport then you should notice a sign inside of the cab that states the fixed price from IAH to downtown. Usually a small savings off the meter but it seems the taxi drivers never seem to remember the fixed rate if you don't remind them. For things to do you might check the website for Discovery Green as there is often evening entertainment in the park. The park itself is literally across the street from your hotel. You can take the metrorail to the museum district for easy access to the museums near the train stop but it is too far to walk from the train stop to the Menil museum.
bankerflyer is offline  
Old Feb 19, 14, 2:51 pm
  #5  
In memoriam
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Near Jacksonville FL
Posts: 3,987
Thanks for all this information.

I did discover the metrorail info on the Museum district website sometime yesterday. Seems like there's a *lot* to see in the Museum district. Also - the Museum district is very close to a lot of highly rated restaurants. So we can - for example - go to lunch at Underbelly and then go to the Menil. Using the metrorail - our feet - and perhaps a cab or two. We only have 3 full days - and spending 2 in the Museum district doesn't seem out of line considering what's there.

In terms of transport to/from the airport - I'll check with the hotel and find out what its limo rates look like (for $25/more or so - a limo is worth it - for $100 - it isn't).

I assume late April is pretty late for "spring flower season" (we're directly east of Houston and it's too late here). But - if I'm wrong and there are any gardens you can recommend - let me know. Robyn
robyng is offline  
Old Feb 19, 14, 8:01 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Houston, Tx
Programs: UA Plat
Posts: 95
Definetly to late. Your going to be here for the start of the heat. Early march is the best time for flowers. Azalea trail is the only flower thing I know of in Houston. http://www.riveroaksgardenclub.org/AzaleaTrail.cfm
pong1092 is offline  
Old Feb 19, 14, 11:02 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Catania, Sicily/South Jersey (PHL)/Houston, Texas/airborne in-between
Programs: United Global Svcs, AA ExecPlat, WN RR, AZ Freccia Alata+, Hilton gold, SPG/Marriot Gold, Hertz Prez
Posts: 3,182
Do you have to stay at the Hilton Americas DT? It is a fine hotel, and there is more to do downtown than most here are alluding too but someplace like the Hotel ZaZa in the heart of the museum district might be more convenient and you can walk/use rail into DT (they also have hotel shuttles-with big longhorns on the front it is not cheap though). Just throwing that out there but maybe you are on points or prepaid at Hilton.

You mentioned you are "older people" so I am not sure what demographic, if you will, you are in when it comes to "fun". Do you want to do any shopping or just see the sights and eat great food? Mainly art or historical things also? You can certainly fill two days in the Museum District with the MFAH, Natural Science museum, Holocaust museum, Contemporary arts, health museum and a few other galleries. The Univesity of St Thomas has the Rothko Chapel and Rice Univesity has a couple of galleries. I could suggest more with a bit of a timeline from you; I did a fair amount of tours for foreign visitors to the city during my undergrad days on a summer internship, albeit a long time ago...and I still enjoy helping visitors

BTW, The Menil is slightly outside of the main core of the museum district and not really on the rail line (yet).

Houston does have a double decker bus tourist company (around DT and the musuem area), and the greyline tours which can go out to NASA and even Galveston depending on which they are running. These could be options also.
http://www.houstoncitytours.us/
http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life...4825477.php#/0

http://downtownhouston.org/

It doesn't seem like you will get down to the Space Center, and every big city has a Zoo but there is also the Houston city pass which gets you into several of the museums at one price:
http://www.citypass.com/houston?mv_s...n=none&mkwid=e

If you are not going to make at least three of those it will not be worth it, and depending on your age you might get discounts from the musuems themselves.

Have fun, and eat well!
FlyingHoustonian is offline  
Old Feb 20, 14, 7:10 am
  #8  
In memoriam
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Near Jacksonville FL
Posts: 3,987
Originally Posted by FlyingHoustonian View Post
Do you have to stay at the Hilton Americas DT? It is a fine hotel, and there is more to do downtown than most here are alluding too but someplace like the Hotel ZaZa in the heart of the museum district might be more convenient and you can walk/use rail into DT (they also have hotel shuttles-with big longhorns on the front it is not cheap though). Just throwing that out there but maybe you are on points or prepaid at Hilton.
I picked the Hilton because it seemed like the nicest most convenient hotel where I could get a smoking room (luxury hotels like Hotel Zaza - Four Seasons - etc. - are all 100% non-smoking). Also - in terms of big chains - I'm Hilton Honors. So - unless there's a much better big chain hotel - I'd rather stay at a Hilton property as opposed to another chain.

You mentioned you are "older people" so I am not sure what demographic, if you will, you are in when it comes to "fun". Do you want to do any shopping or just see the sights and eat great food? Mainly art or historical things also? You can certainly fill two days in the Museum District with the MFAH, Natural Science museum, Holocaust museum, Contemporary arts, health museum and a few other galleries. The Univesity of St Thomas has the Rothko Chapel and Rice Univesity has a couple of galleries. I could suggest more with a bit of a timeline from you; I did a fair amount of tours for foreign visitors to the city during my undergrad days on a summer internship, albeit a long time ago...and I still enjoy helping visitors


BTW, The Menil is slightly outside of the main core of the museum district and not really on the rail line (yet).

Houston does have a double decker bus tourist company (around DT and the musuem area), and the greyline tours which can go out to NASA and even Galveston depending on which they are running. These could be options also.
http://www.houstoncitytours.us/
http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life...4825477.php#/0

http://downtownhouston.org/

It doesn't seem like you will get down to the Space Center, and every big city has a Zoo but there is also the Houston city pass which gets you into several of the museums at one price:
http://www.citypass.com/houston?mv_s...n=none&mkwid=e

If you are not going to make at least three of those it will not be worth it, and depending on your age you might get discounts from the musuems themselves.

Have fun, and eat well!
We're mostly art/historic sightseeing/dining tourists. When it comes to my husband - he says that sightseeing is a way to kill time between meals . If there's any great shopping near downtown - I'd be glad to spend an afternoon doing it. But a place like the Galleria seems a bit out of the way to go for the "usual suspect" luxury shopping. I was also looking to see if there's a walkable design district somewhere (I like contemporary furniture/lighting/etc.). But Houston seems to be like Atlanta - stores scattered here and there.

When it comes to being older - that pretty much affects our taste in things. Especially food. We're not big into burgers and pizzas and the like. Or extremely loud restaurants with heavy metal music. My husband has some mobility issues - but he can pretty much walk 3-4 miles a day without any problems (I can too). If we get too tired by day 3 or so - and/or it's 90+ degrees - we can get off our feet and take something like a bus tour. But we'll cross that bridge if and when we get to it. Note that since we're from Florida - we have more heat/humidity tolerance than average people.

We live pretty close to the Space Center here - and it's not of much interest to us. Except for watching a launch now and then from a good viewing location. We like zoos - but have seen so many that we're pretty picky about them today.

Anyway - thanks for the links - and any suggestions are much appreciated. Robyn
robyng is offline  
Old Feb 22, 14, 8:24 pm
  #9  
Moderator: Budget Travel forum & Credit Card Programs, FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: YYJ/YVR/SEA
Programs: UA lifetime MM / *A Gold
Posts: 13,268
Originally Posted by robyng View Post
I picked the Hilton because it seemed like the nicest most convenient hotel where I could get a smoking room
Um, about that ....

Used to stay at Hilton a few times back when work took me all over, and NEVER saw a Hilton where smoking is permitted. In fact I did a Google search because I was under the impression that Hilton went all smoke free, at least in N. America.

And you will find that the museum district is quite impressive, one of Houston's (few IMHO) hidden gems

OK, there is some good dining as well. And shopping I'm told (not a shopper).

BTW, I've taken the public bus from the airport one time (I am a budget traveler), and it's not a pleasant experience. I do Supershuttle often in Dallas, and while not great, it's OK. Going to a downtown hotel is probably better than residence, as places will be closer together, but you could easily spend and extra half hour if you are last to be dropped off. Or 20 minutes waiting for other pax to load.

And I agree with the poster who said Houston is pretty easy to drive around in - but I would check how much parking costs.
EmailKid is offline  
Old Feb 25, 14, 1:00 pm
  #10  
In memoriam
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Near Jacksonville FL
Posts: 3,987
Originally Posted by EmailKid View Post
Um, about that ....

Used to stay at Hilton a few times back when work took me all over, and NEVER saw a Hilton where smoking is permitted. In fact I did a Google search because I was under the impression that Hilton went all smoke free, at least in N. America.

And you will find that the museum district is quite impressive, one of Houston's (few IMHO) hidden gems

OK, there is some good dining as well. And shopping I'm told (not a shopper).

BTW, I've taken the public bus from the airport one time (I am a budget traveler), and it's not a pleasant experience. I do Supershuttle often in Dallas, and while not great, it's OK. Going to a downtown hotel is probably better than residence, as places will be closer together, but you could easily spend and extra half hour if you are last to be dropped off. Or 20 minutes waiting for other pax to load.

And I agree with the poster who said Houston is pretty easy to drive around in - but I would check how much parking costs.
Unlike Marriott and others - Hilton is still not 100% non-smoking in north America. It pretty much varies property by property - so you have to check each property individually.

The museum district looks . It also has a website with lots of useful visitor information:

http://houstonmuseumdistrict.org/

I really like the Houston Museum District Map on the website. It - for some reason - refused to print out on my printer. So I called the office - and a gentlemen there sent me a "hard copy". He seemed friendly (hope that is typical ).

In light of the prices quoted - the shuttle doesn't seem to make much sense to me for a party of 2 or more people unless travelers are on a pretty strict budget and want to avoid public transportation.

Car rentals are expensive today. Parking too. Also - we don't like to drink (at dinner) and drive after - especially in a strange city. So we'll use a combination of cabs - public transportation - and our feet to get around. Will probably wind up costing about the same as a rental car (or perhaps somewhat less) - but we won't have to worry about things like navigating/parking/drinking and driving/etc. Robyn

Last edited by robyng; Feb 25, 14 at 1:05 pm
robyng is offline  
Old Feb 27, 14, 3:10 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Dallas, TX, AA 3MM EXP, WN
Posts: 1,806
Also fly to Hobby, a lot more convienient and closer to downtown
MrMan is offline  
Old Feb 27, 14, 7:14 pm
  #12  
Moderator: Budget Travel forum & Credit Card Programs, FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: YYJ/YVR/SEA
Programs: UA lifetime MM / *A Gold
Posts: 13,268
Originally Posted by MrMan View Post
Also fly to Hobby, a lot more convienient and closer to downtown
Unless chasing UA miles, that is an excellent suggestion. I was chasing CO miles, so schlepped it to IAH from Galveston
EmailKid is offline  
Old Feb 28, 14, 7:30 am
  #13  
In memoriam
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Near Jacksonville FL
Posts: 3,987
Originally Posted by EmailKid View Post
Unless chasing UA miles, that is an excellent suggestion. I was chasing CO miles, so schlepped it to IAH from Galveston
I wasn't chasing UA miles. I was cashing them in before devaluation. Had some left over after booking our flight to Singapore - and used them to pick up a couple of saver tickets to IAH. But the suggestion is for people who aren't in my situation. Robyn
robyng is offline  
Old Mar 3, 14, 6:36 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Catania, Sicily/South Jersey (PHL)/Houston, Texas/airborne in-between
Programs: United Global Svcs, AA ExecPlat, WN RR, AZ Freccia Alata+, Hilton gold, SPG/Marriot Gold, Hertz Prez
Posts: 3,182
I'll echo that car rentals are fairly cheap in Houston even with the rental tax. Advance fares can be under 60$ a day total and it would open up more restaurants like great Bosnian at Cafe Pita+, or several good Ethiopian places, great Italian (though there ar
FlyingHoustonian is offline  
Old Mar 19, 14, 2:10 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Houston, TX
Programs: UA MileagePlus, *A
Posts: 56
Your hotel is conveniently located. Crossing the Discovery Green park, there is a Mediterranean groceries called Phoenicia where you can get pita bread sandwich and good dessert. MKT bar is next to it.
A couple of blog east just passing Hwy 59 is old Chinatown/Asiantown. A number of good Vietnamese restaurants are here: Huynh, Cafe TH, Kim Son.
Take Metro light rail to northern part of Downtown to Theater District. You might want to check out what's on stage. Irma's mexican restaurant in this area is highly recommended.
When you visit Museum District, do take a relax time at Cullen Sculpture Garden (across Museum of Fine Art). It is a little pocket of modernist sculptures. On weekdays local food trucks offer quick lunch option in this garden.
If your cab take I-45 south to your hotel from IAH, when you approaching Downtown (where I-45 crossing I-10), you will see US President head sculptures (google map: American Statesman Park). They are creation of David Adickes. Well, there are more president heads at Adickes' studio at I-10 and Sawyer (next to a Target store). Google Adickes Sculpturworx Studio.

Also, here is a list of top 10 eateries in Houston Downtown (2013). Ignore Goro&Gun.
http://www.houstonpress.com/2013-05-...n-restaurants/

Enjoy Houston!
wahs is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread