Whether you have a few hours or a few days in Houston, the possibilities for activities are endless.
Are you in the mood for adventure?
Try exploring the Houston Tunnels, underneath downtown Houston. In this adventurous maze, you can find everything from barbershops to gift shops. An entrance to the Houston Tunnel is likely within walking distance of your conference hotel.
Another unique experience Houstonians might not even know about involves going to see bats. I'm not talking about a collection of sports equipment; rather, it's the chance to see 250,000 of these amazing animals on view at the Waugh Drive Bat Colony, less than three miles away from the conference center. It's an experience that can't be missed.
Although the swamps of Louisiana are only a state away, alligators are closer than you think. Brazos Bend State Park, located 45 minutes south of the George R. Brown Convention Center, provides an opportunity for you to see alligators in their natural habitat. Although getting there is a journey, it might be well worth your time if you are passionate about animals.
Have you ever thought about eating 34 floors above the city in a restaurant with a revolving, panoramic view? Spindletop provides a great view of the city while you enjoy their award-winning seafood. But book your plans in advance, because this exclusive restaurant fills up fast.
Are you in the mood to kick back, relax, and have a great time with 15 of your closest friends on one, multi-person bicycle? You might want to check out Pedal Party! Their unique bikes have room for 16 people: Ten pedalers and six non-pedalers . If this looks like fun for you, remember to schedule your Pedal Party ahead of time.
Are you in the mood to experience a guided tour?
Houston Greeters offers an opportunity for free, guided tours of multiple venues. These tours have a range of subjects, from art and architecture, to ballroom dancing, exploring Chinatown, biking, mega-churches, and hole-in the wall restaurants. If you are interested in this opportunity, I recommend planning ahead. These tours might also be great for spouses or partners who want to see the sights while you are at the conference.
Do you like movies and theaters?
If independent movie theaters are more your style, check out the Landmark River Oaks Theatre. Opened in 1939 near Memorial Park, it is Houston's oldest operating movie theater, and features both a bar and an art deco interior. To find out what movies are showing, check out their Web site.
If you enjoy live theater, be sure to visit the Miller Outdoor Theater, located in Hermann Park just south of the Museum of Natural Science. (For more information on museums, see our last blog post.) Visiting the outdoor theater would also give you an opportunity to check out the park itself, just a cab ride away from the George R. Brown Convention Center. For more live theater options, check out the downtown theater district.
The opportunities in Houston are endless. For more information, check out these links:
- Three Perfect Days: Houston
- Houston calendar of events
- Downtown Aquarium
- Saint Arnold Brewing Company
- Sundance Cinemas
What are you looking forward to experiencing in Houston?
Janel Lockwood is the Local Arrangements Committee (LAT) communications chair for NAFSA's 2012 Annual Conference & Expo. Janel began her career in international education at Old Dominion University. There, she completed an internship at the United States-India Educational Foundation in New Delhi, India, and was awarded Outstanding Graduate Student in the Higher Education Administration. She has been working in the field of international education for seven years and is an international student adviser at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Janel is pursuing a doctorate of education at Lamar University. She has been living in Houston for two years, and enjoys the city's diversity.