Houston is Texas’s largest city in both area and population with over a dozen unique neighborhoods and over 6 million residents. Visitors who come to the city often find themselves overwhelmed especially if they’ve been to other parts of the state. If you want to visit Houston in 48 hours; the key is to focus on exploring a particular district rather than trying to do multiple areas at once. In an effort to visit different place on opposite ends of the city; you might find yourself spending more time on the road rather than at the attractions themselves. With that said, for this particular article, the primary focus will mostly be on the South Loop; that includes the neighborhoods of Montrose, Midtown and the University District where the majority of the attractions are located.
Visit Houston in 48 Hours: South Loop
What to Do
Houston is a cultural mecca for the arts and with the punishing Texas temperatures particularly in the summer, museums provide a comfortable refuge. Fortunately, you can easily spend several days exploring Houston’s Museum District and with so many to choose from, it can be difficult to pick which ones to explore during your stay in Houston in 48 hours.
Those interested in fine arts will enjoy taking a peak at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston whose collection rivals those from New York and Chicago while visitors with keen interests in culture and the natural sciences will find plenty to see at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Their unique and interactive exhibits makes it one of the most visited museums in the country. Another popular attraction especially with visitors with kids is the Houston Zoo. It houses over 6,000 animals and hosts a number of kid-friendly activities ranging from animal feedings to its legendary block parties.
What to See
Apart from museums, one of the highlights of the South Loop is the stretch of houses belonging to The Menil Collection. These bungalow style houses serve as the home of private art and antiquities collection of the Menil family. The center also features a Rothko Chapel that’s a part of the National Register of Historic Places and another chapel decorated with Byzantine frescoes. This outdoor art installation is a definite must-see when you visit Houston in 48 hours.
Though a bit further from the South Loop district, you can hardly miss a visit to the Space Center Houston, the official visitor center to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Check out the insides of a spaceship, learn what it really takes to be an astronaut and view images projected directly from the International Space Station.
What to Eat
All that walking can be tiring so head over to the The Breakfast Klub on Travis Street to fill up on southern comfort food at its best. Try their most popular item: a huge portion of fried chicken and waffles. The Breakfast Klub is open for breakfast and lunch, 7 days a week. Another must-visit place to eat is the tiny hotdog stand of Mr. Yoyo’s, next to Rice University. This popular eatery is beloved by Houstonians so much that they gave it the coveted five stars in Yelp.
Another spot to get a quick but tasty treat is at Les Givral’s. In order to get one of their delicious Vietnamese sandwiches, you’ll have to join the throngs of locals queueing to get one. These cheap and filling snacks are filled with seasoned pork or chicken but they also have vegetarian options. Just make sure you bring cash.
If finer cuisine is more of what you’re looking for, head over to Brennan’s of Houston, the legendary restaurant that’s been serving Houstonians and visitors alike, New Orleans cuisine for over 40 years. Try their shrimp Chippewa, a dish made with shrimp sautéed in cognac and served with Southern grits mixed with goat cheese, considered a visit Houston must-eat.
Where to Stay
Classic comfort mixed with sassy chic pretty much sums up the Hotel Zaza Houston. Some of the rooms are lavishly decorated with French inspired furnishing while some have playful art deco designs. Its location right on the Museum District also makes it an ideal spot to explore the South Loop. The rooms start at $230 and suites start at $325 per night.
1: 2010 US Census figures