Three Reasons Houston Is Perfect For Your Next Vacation

When you think of the Lone Star State, you probably think of Austin or Dallas. While these cities sure are fantastic, this big glorious state boasts one more great place for a vacation: Houston!

Houston, Texas is a fun and affordable city to travel to. While it might not currently top every travel recommendation list, we can’t recommend it enough. To get a true taste of America you’ve got to stop through Houston. Here are three perfect places to visit when you head into town.

One quick note before we dive in: Houston like most of America, really requires you to have a car in order to be able to explore it to the fullest. That’s why we recommend road tripping in, or renting a car at one the Houston car services centers. Either way once you’ve got wheels you can explore the city in all its glory at your own pace.

1- You Have To Check Out The Space Center

One of the reasons Houston is one of our favorite places to visit is because of the space center. One of the hubs of NASA being present in town is no small thing. The space center itself is an attraction just for its historical value. But there’s even more to do once you’re there. Space Center Houston is a museum that is just a few steps away from the epicenter of NASA’s activity.

In fact at this museum, you can experience the life of an astronauts. From VR and motion simulated space flight, to the Starship Gallery, and even the behind the scenes look at NASA on the tram tour, there’s no way you won’t have fun here. It’s a great way to involve kids who are excited about space or science on the vacation.

Regardless of your age, you’re sure to have fun at Space Center Houston.

2- Indulge In Great Food

When you think of food cities across America, Houston might not be at the top of your list. But this is one city that can prove anyone wrong. The food in Houston is to die for.

Houston is the fourth most populated city in the United States. With a population this big, the city attracts some of the best chefs in the country. These chefs bring tons of great flavors from different backgrounds together in one city. Whether you want amazing Mexican food, something classic and Kosher, Asian influenced, or just good old Texas Barbecue, you can find it here.

Houston is absolutely a foodie city. Personally, we recommend diving into some more adventurous eats. When you head into town, pick something you can’t find at home and give it a try. No matter what you choose you definitely won’t regret it! Though of course, make sure you get some Texas-style ribs before you head out!

3- If You Like Thrills Check Out Kemah Boardwalk For Some Fun!

A true piece of Americana still exist in Houston at the Kemah Boardwalk. This little amusement park, allows you to ride anything you like all day, or on a ride by ride basis. It’s inexpensive, fun, and as quick as you want it to be.

There’s nothing quite like a local theme park to cap off a perfect vacation. Whether you’re into thrill rides, or just want to enjoy the Ferris wheel you’ll definitely enjoy a day with the family or a date night here.

In The End

Houston is a gem of a city. Whether you’re visiting for a week, or a weekend, grab some wheels and explore the whole city! You’re sure to fall in love with what you find!

Underwater Adventures at the Downtown Houston Aquarium with CityPASS

Home to over 200 species of aquatic life, the Downtown Houston Aquarium is an impressive & entertaining place to visit with the entire family. You can truly spend an entire day watching the adventures of your favorite sea creatures under 500,000 gallons of wonderment, dining within a full service restaurant and enjoying a variety of amusement rides to thrill kids of all ages. Grab your Houston CityPASS and save 49% off your visit to the aquarium and four other top attractions in the city at just $59 for adults and $49 for kids.

As you make your way through the Louisiana swamp you’ll spy gators, snapping turtles, crayfish, bullfrogs and more that will make you feel like you’re really exploring the bayou. Within the Shipwreck exhibit you’ll view a colorfully diverse array of coral, tangs, groupers and moray eels.


 Aside from the red bellied piranhas and venomous freshwater stingrays they featured in the Rain forest exhibit, we were all happily surprised by the handful of other inhabitants to view, like the emerald tree boa, vibrant birds and tree frogs.

If you’ve ever found yourself curious about the day to day travels of a shark, OCEARCH‘s global shark tracker enables scientists, explorers and even families at home to follow the tagged sharks in real time.

Discovering that the Downtown Houston aquarium has 4 majestic white tigers named Nero, Marina, Coral and Reef in the Maharajah’s Temple was an unexpected surprise. Coral had just awaken from a nap but we were told she’s normally quite the feisty firecracker. The state of the art exhibit is temperature regulated with multi-level areas for the tigers to climb, a large pool for water play and is one of 230 exhibits that have been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Hands down, the stunning restaurant was definitely a feature of the Downtown Houston Aquarium that stood out to me.It felt like a scene from the Little Mermaid with twinkling fish shaped, light fixtures above us. While dining you can take in the mesmerizing views of the beautiful sea creatures swimming by, so why not take a few pictures with family and friends.The sting rays and eels were not shy for the camera at all so snapping pics are a great way to pass the time before your meals arrive.

I’m all for trying new things, so feeding the sting rays at the reef was a must do! Now please keep in mind that this experience is not included with your CityPASS but it’s totally still worth the additional $5.99 for the value pass which includes the entry and the food. If you’ve never done this before it’s really fun, I didn’t realize their mouths were beneath them and when you place your hand below to feed them it’s pretty interesting how they suck up the tiny fish like a vacuum. If they aren’t too grossed out by the idea, kids will get such a kick out of this.


Afterwards we headed back outdoors to check out their 5 amusement park rides. Guests can ride aboard the C.P Huntington train through the Shark Voyage a 200,000 gallon tank filled with a variety of sharks that you can get up close and personal with from every angle. If you’re a fan of being up in the air then take a spin 100 ft. up in the Diving Bell Ferris Wheel or drop 65 feet from the Lighthouse Dive all while catching spectacular views of Downtown Houston. Visitors will also have a good time riding on the back of a dolphin or alligator of the Aquatic Carousel or bounce around on the Frog Hopper. Additional pricing ranges from $3.99 to $5.99 per ride.

Spending the day at the Downtown Houston Aquarium is guaranteed to be a good time for all and with your Houston CityPASS you’ll get the most bang for your buck! 
What would you want to check out first?
Downtown Houston Aquarium // 410 Bagby St @ Memorial Dr. HoustonTX 77002

Taste Of Houston Food Tour: 4 Must Try Montrose Restaurants

Ranked as one of America’s top three most ethnically diverse cities, Houston is well known for its variety of award winning culinary experiences. On a recent trip to Houston, courtesy of CityPASS & Visit Houston I had the chance to experience the array of restaurants and multi-cultural dishes that make the city a must visit destination. Just make sure you bring your appetite and walking shoes to work off all those good eats because there’s no shortage of places to dine at in between checking out the family friendly sites like the Houston Zoo, Space Center or the museum district with your CityPASS in hand.


Staying downtown at the Marriott Marquis Houston was the perfect location because everywhere we ventured off to eat was either in walking distance, or no more than a twenty to thirty minute drive away. After unpacking and taking in the view of the hotel’s larger than life, Texas shaped lazy river, our group headed out on a Taste of Houston Tour through the neighborhood of Montrose with our knowledgeable guide Lisa. When visiting a city for the first time, I’d highly recommend signing up for a food tour like this because not only were we able to try out some of the most popular  and innovative dishes, we learned a lot about the history and culture of the city over the years.

Montrose reminded me in many ways of hanging out in New York City, with a mix of flavorful places to eat & drink, shops, art galleries and more – there’s something to do that will appeal to everyone your traveling with.

Did you know that Tex-Orleans cuisine was a thing? I had no idea until we made our first stop at BB’s Cajun Cafe, where menu offerings include: crawfish, boudin balls, gumbo and 15 varieties of Po’boys. Inspired by his grandmother {Maw Maw}, Brooks Bassler founded BB’s in 2007 and a unique blend of Southern Louisiana style cooking fused with a Texas twist was created. If you’re planning to try the Crawfish, don’t let those juicy little suckers intimidate you! Tie on a bib, slap on some gloves {if you really want to avoid getting those sauces and spices all over} and prepare to dig in. Also note that the only dessert on the menu is Maw-Maw’s bread pudding and trust me, that’s ok. It’s light, sweet, addictive and you may not want to share.


If you’re looking for an eatery with an authentic Tex-Mex menu and a vintage feel, then the El Real Tex-Mex Cafe is this perfect place to dine out at. With a towering Marquee to welcome guests, it was pretty cool to see how they revamped this 1930’s theater into a family friendly restaurant that showcases old school movies. It’s such a charming space with vibrant & colorful walls, strung lights, and displayed old menus, photographs & paraphernalia that take patrons on a trip down memory lane.

I may never look at a crunchy shell taco the same after trying out their perfectly fried puffy tacos for the first time. If you’ve never had one, believe me you’ve been missing out! The three cheese enchiladas were delicious, the chili con carne sauce was so dang flavorful I was pretty tempted to lick my plate clean!



Traditional Mexican food is taken up a notch at Hugo’s where you’ll indulge in such refined cuisine {all made from scratch} you could only expect from Hugo Ortega, former dishwasher – now a 2017 James Beard award winning chef. Housed in a beautifully restored, Latin inspired building that’s reminiscent of old Mexico, guests can indulge in ceviche, made from the freshest seafood brought straight from the docks daily and the most decadent desserts. We literally swooned when the Churros Rellenos con Dulce de Leche, Mexican hot chocolate and house-made chocolate ice cream made it’s way to our tables. You’ll be happy you stopped by any day of the week but If you’re visiting on the weekend, their infamous Sunday Brunch is highly recommended. 




Hanging in central Houston instantly got way cooler once Goodnight Charlie’s opened. With honky tonk partying and wine on tap, this venue that pays homage to legendary cattle rancher Charles Goodnight, makes for a fun way to end the night or kick off any weekend! We were all stuffed after our earlier tour visits but sipped on cocktails while taking in the breeze while swaying on their outdoor swings with clever holders for drinks. With live performances Thursday – Saturday of Zydeco, Bluegrass and country music and tortillas made in house you’ll enjoy hanging here because of it’s laid back atmosphere that resonates with the true spirit of Texas.
Make sure to sign up for the Taste of Houston Food Tour hosted by Food Tour Corp if ever in Houston because it provides such a great look into Texas’s 4th largest cities rich history and culture while experiencing their evolving culinary scene. 


Grapevine Texas Festivals and Events

Make your plans now to visit Grapevine, the number one festivals and events destination in Texas, in 2014. With annual festivals and events happening nearly every month, this is the perfect year to visit Grapevine and experience events that celebrate wine, family-fun, chocolate, history, a vintage railroad and more! Officially recognized as a World Festival & Events City by the International Festival & Events Association, Grapevine welcomed more than one and a half million visitors to the city’s festivals and special events in 2013. So, mark your calendars now and find out why everyone’s coming to Grapevine in 2014.

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  • Sweetheart Wine Trail, February 8 and 9: Love is in the air on the Sweetheart Wine Trail in Grapevine. This romantic escape features three tastings and food samplings at each participating Grapevine winery tasting room, a large souvenir wine glass and a bottle of premium Grapevine wine.
  • Jazz Wine Trains, March 21 and 22:  Jazz up your weekend on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s Jazz Wine Trains! The one-of-a-kind wine tasting experience features live Jazz entertainment, a delicious boxed dinner and samplings of Grapevine wines.  
  • 11th Annual Day Out with Thomas™, March 28, 29 and 30 and April 4, 5, and 6: Hop on board the rails with Thomas the Tank Engine™ at the 11th Annual Day Out With Thomas on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. Activities include a train ride, storytelling and video viewing, temporary tattoos of Island of Sodor friends, and an Imagination Station with arts, crafts and more. Guests will also have the opportunity to meet Sir Topham Hatt, the Controller of the Railway on the Island of Sodor. The train ride is 25 minutes.
  • 10th Annual ChocolateFest, April 4 and 5: This annual fundraiser benefits Travelers Aid D/FW, an organization committed to assisting individuals and families facing a travel related crisis. On Friday, April 4, delicious delights await at An Evening of Chocolate and Wine featuring chocolates, wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres and live music at Delaney Vineyards, 2000 Champagne Boulevard from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Advance purchase is required.  On Saturday, April 5, enjoy a plethora of sweet treats at A Day of Chocolate & Art with chocolates, cooking demonstrations, art exhibits and sales at the Palace Art Center in Historic Downtown Grapevine from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Grapevine Farmers Market and Grapevine Market, April 10 – October 18: Experience the festive open-air European-style Grapevine market and show for an eclectic array of items including handmade jewelry, distinctive home décor, quality antiques and more. Open in Liberty Park, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Live a healthy lifestyle with delicious locally-grown produce and other products from North Texas vendors at The Grapevine Farmers Market. Open behind the Town Square Gazebo, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • 22nd Annual Blessing of the Vines and New Vintage Wine & Gallery Trail, April 12:   Celebrate this annual European tradition dating back hundreds of years in Grapevine, the headquarters of the Texas wine industry.  On Saturday, April 12 at 11 a.m., experience Blessing of the Vines at Delaney Vineyards. This 400-year old custom is performed to ensure robust vines and savory grapes. Admission is free. After Blessing of the Vines, enjoy the New Vintage Wine & Gallery Trail throughout Grapevine from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Visit each of Grapevine’s wineries and sample the new vintage releases as well as enjoy live entertainment and food at each winery.
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