A travel booknote: explore the Houston surroundings

Published on 

A travel booknote: explore the Houston surroundings

Ambiance sensor and good addresses provider, this Travel Booknote helps all explorers to discover new horizons.

The Great Plains of Texas start North of Houston while the South plunges into the Gulf of Mexico. The Texas South invites to cultural exploration as an adventure that spices local traditions with a touch of mexicanity. Dallas, Austin, San Antonio or Galveston: all cities with a dual nationality that charm visitors instantly. Five hour drive to the East, the State of Louisiana and New Orleans reach up for you. Our piece of advice: go for it!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A travel booknote: explore the Houston surroundings

Dallas, Texas star

When you hear Dallas, you may think about J.R., the bad guy from the TV series of the same name. Or about JFK, President Kennedy that was assassinated on Dealey Plaza in 1963. Between fiction and reality, Dallas awaits you, only a few hours away from Houston.

Third largest city in Texas, it is one of the best known and the most typical. It is in Dallas that you can feel the genuine Texan atmosphere, away from hordes of tourists.

Ā Discover the Art District with the Dallas Museum of Art, the Irving Arts Center and the Perot Museum, all welcoming you with splendid exhibitions and retrospectives. Do not miss the Six Floor Museum either: located on the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository, it is completely devoted to the life and tragic death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

For all botany enthusiasts, head to the Arboretum, a 15 minute drive from downtown. 19 thematic gardens await your arrival to reacquaint you with your five senses. Between heaven and earth, grass and concrete, don't forget to look up towards the Reunion tower and the Bank of America Plaza, two mythical skyscrapers of the Texan city.

Finally, make a detour through Fort Worth, other cow-boy looking city, fifty kilometres West of Dallas where you can savour the best meat, straight out of a Once Upon a Time in the West saloon. You can also witness a cow parade and, why not, be initiated to rodeo!

Where to eat?

Five Sixty by Wolfgang PuckEnjoy Asian food by Wolfgang Puck, the famous Austrian chef. The restaurant is located up a high-rise offering a stunning view of Dallas by night.

Reunion Tower
300 Reunion Blvd
75207 Dallas
+1 214 571 5784
www.wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/fine-dining/3917

Where to sleep?

ZaZa Hotel
A few steps from the Art District, ZaZa offers a welcoming atmosphere and very comfortable rooms. This great Dallas address does not shy from the bling side though. As a bonus: a swimming pool and a fine restaurant.

2332 Leonard Street
75201 Dallas
+1 214 468 8399
www.hotelzaza.com/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A travel booknote: explore the Houston surroundings

Austin, the new Little San Francisco

Keep it weird, the city slogan, sets the tone for your encounter with Austin. Unusual, welcoming and dynamic, this city will surprise you and you'll love it back.

The Texas capital keeps it cool, with cycle lanes, live music, food trucks, off the wall and trendy shops... Austin is a city filled with history that has bet on modernity.

Start your visit at the famous Capitol, completed in 1888. It spreads over 9 hectares and gathers 17 monuments. Among them, one edifice recounts Austin's past. History and culture are always worthwhile to better catch the mood of a city.

On the stroll side, the lovely Victorian houses of the Bremond Block district will remind you of the past glory of the current administrative capital of Texas. Another fine promenade awaits you in Swede Hill. This historic district welcomed Swedish immigrants in the late 19th century and is riddled with very singular houses. Finally, the trendy district of SoCo is packed with good addresses of shops and restaurants.

As the live music capital of the World, the city welcomes numerous festivals like SXSW and Austin City Limits (ACL). After 8 p.m., bars and restaurants morph into music stages. The nights are lively, and the people hospitable... Here, you are sure to make interesting encounters.

Temperatures rise up quickly in Austin, and you'll have to make sure you keep cool. But don't worry, the city counts about fifty public swimming pools. Outside of town, you can also dabble in the Hamilton Pool Preserve, a natural cave of enchanting nature, or go for a pedalo ride at the Lady Bird Lake.

Finally, rise up to the summit of Mount Bonnel (238 metres), overlooking the Colorado River. The vista is breathtaking, especially at sunset.

Where to eat?

Lambert's
The privileged place to enjoy a fabulous Texan barbecue in a warm and pleasant setting

401 West 2nd Street
78701 Austin
(Early booking is recommended)

Where to sleep?

Archer Hotel Austin
Nicely located, this new hotel offers great service and comfortable rooms. Perfect for a romantic getaway.

3121 Palm Way
78758 Austin
+1 512 836 5700
http://archerhotel.com/austin/

Unusual
Observe bats taking off at the Congress Avenue Bridge. To do so, head to the bridge twenty minutes before sunset. Be ready for a million and a half chiropterans fly away to hunt.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A travel booknote: explore the Houston surroundings

San Antonio, Texas ā€˜little Venice'

Last Texan stronghold against the Mexicans during the Texas Revolution of 1835-36, it has now become a place of pilgrimage for all inhabitants of the State.

Playing Davy Crockett, John Wayne was nominated for an Academy Award in The Alamo. This legendary Texan was one of the 169 men taking refuge in the fort, resisting the attacks of the Mexican army in March 1836. This event marked the start of the Independence of Texas. Take the time to visit the fort and have a glance at the small Chapel transformed into a museum. If you want to take it further, Davy Crockett's grave is in the San Fernando Cathedral, West of the San Antonio River. The oldest cathedral in the United States is well worth stopping by.

Despite its size (second largest city in Texas, seventh in the United States), it is better to discover San Antonio by foot. Named in reference to St Anthony of Padua, it is also nicknamed the little Venice, due to the small canals that flow into the San Antonio River. In that respect, the River Walk is a network of pedestrian walkways not to be missed, offering all kinds of animations, restaurants, bars and concerts all along the San Antonio River.

Wander through the King William Historic District, the former German colonists neighbourhood riddled with beautiful Victorian houses, lovely shops and fine bistros.

If Mexican culture is what you love, hit the Market Square, largest Mexican market of the entire United States. Full of hand crafted items, it is the perfect place to find a nice souvenir.

More unusual, the Buckhorn Saloon and Texas Ranger Museum offers period items on display in an old western like saloon. You absolutely have to pay a visit to the museum and the surroundings. It is incidentally a fine address for those who wish to have a cow-boy type of lunch.

To end your stay in San Antonio on a high note, you'll have to taste a delicious chilli con carne, the town special, after watching the Spurs (the local basketball team) play. It's in the bag!

Where to have breakfast?

Guenther House
Quite simply the best breakfast in San Antonio.

205 E Guenther Street
78204 San Antonio
+1 210-227-1061
https://www.guentherhouse.com/

Where to sleep?

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk
Ideally located close to the River Walk, the hotel offers pleasant rooms that overlook the River. As a bonus: access to the gym and spa.

150 E Houston Street
78205 San Antonio
+1 210 227 9700
http://www.hotelvalencia-riverwalk.com/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A travel booknote: explore the Houston surroundings

New Orleans, set off to Louisiana

New Orleans is indubitably the most famous city in Louisiana. Who has never heard of its mythical jazz clubs? During your stay in Texas, do not hesitate to make a detour via the neighbouring State's big city, and discover the many charms of the Big Easy.

It is said to be a nonchalant city because people let the good times roll, but make no mistake, New Orleans lacks no energy, on the contrary. The metropolis is very proud of the richness of its art scene, stemming from a unique blend of cultures and relaxed lifestyles that earned the city its nickname.

After all, why not enjoy life? From morning till night, musicians take on the streets of the French Quarter for improvised concerts. At night, the sound of jazz music reverberates everywhere in the district. A little further in Tremé, you'll witness musical parades. In the posh neighbourhood of Marigny, you'll be able to taste a chic take on the gumbo dish (spiced up stew) or alligator meat.

In New Orleans, each district is a city within the city. Explore them, walk up and down the tiny streets and along the Mississippi, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the art of living.

Where to eat?

Commander's Palace
It is said this is where you can enjoy the best turtle soup, the local speciality. The setting is original, and proper attire required.

1403 Washington Avenue
70130 New Orleans
+1 504-899-8221
www.commanderspalace.com/

Where to sleep?

Terrell House Bed & Breakfast
This typical house is located on a charming property that creates conditions for a truly immersive stay. Breakfast is to die for.

1441 Magazine Street
70130 New Orleans
+1 866 261 9687
www.terrellhouse.com/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A travel booknote: explore the Houston surroundings

Galveston, for a tour in the Gulf of Mexico

Galveston island in the Gulf of Mexico faces the southern Texas coast. The city of Galveston, north of the Island of the same name, is a lovely resort where a lot of Houstonians own a second home and enjoy some free time.

Cotton capital in the 19th century, Galveston was ravaged by a hurricane in 1900. The reconstruction project that followed made history, of which the concrete seawall that protects the city from the gulf waters is the symbol. Beautiful beaches face a town and a city centre that preserved superb Victorian houses in their midst. Visit the most well known: Menard House (1838), Williams House (1839), Ashton Villa (1859) and Moody Mansion (1895).

Following the hurricane, Galveston gave in to Houston's increasing economic dynamism, but it remains one the most active commercial ports of the United States. Enjoy a long promenade along the boardwalk, and get away for the time of a boat trip to discover the coastline.

Where to eat?

Number 13
The place where you will savour a platter of seafood with view onto the harbour.

7809 Broadway Street

7809 Broadway Street
77554 Galveston
+1 409 572 2650
www.number13steak.com/contact-us/

Where to sleep?

Hotel Galvez & spa
Luxury hotel on the seaside. In your room, you can feel the sea breeze on your neck...

2024 Seawall Boulevard
77550 Galveston
+1 409 765 7721
www.hotelgalvez.com/