With frostbite creeping up on us all over the continental U.S., cities sitting well south of the Mason-Dixon are looking increasingly inviting. As the winter convention season heats up, you may find yourself traveling down to southern Texas, with Houston next up in our continuing series of business travel destinations ripe for some personal time. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the wilds of Space City, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.
Perhaps the most conveniently located eatery, at least when thinking about proximity to the George R. Brown convention center, also happens to be one of the best in the area. The Grove is situated in the Discovery Green area, and if the excellent cuisine isn't enough, the view and the building that it's housed in are worth the trip. You'll pay a small premium for the vista, but if you need a few clients to leave happy, it'll probably be worthwhile.
If you're craving something a bit faster – and a whole lot more casual – stroll a few blocks northwest to the Hubcap Grill. It's a no-frills, walk-up burger joint that also happens to have quite the beer selection. Just ask the counter to surprise you, and add a side of sweet potato fries. Everything here is as fresh as it gets, but be aware that you'll need cash (or a nice watch, perhaps) in order to pay.
Unfortunately, Space Center Houston isn't in the downtown core of the city, but if you find yourself with a free morning or afternoon, it's well worth the cab fare. In fact, I'd recommend visiting this place sooner rather than later. Given the budget cuts surrounding NASA, and space exploration programs in general, Houston's space legacy may fade to the background a bit. Still, the exhibits here are impressive, and if you're even remotely interested in technology or travel, you'll find plenty to enjoy here.
For those just looking for a little peace, quiet, and nature, it's worth the 15 minute ride to the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. It's 14 acres of finely manicured natural bliss, and it's pretty astonishing how far away from the hustle and bustle you can get here. If you end up with more time and energy than planned, Memorial Park as well as the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center are just next door. Make sure you bring that macro lens – the flowers are always smiling!
Before heading out, I'd recommend a stop by Cork Soakers. The cleverly-named wine bar is just a hop from the convention center, and if the excellent wine collection doesn't win you over, the atmosphere will. You'll also find an exquisite collection of meats and cheeses to choose from. It's an ideal place to wind down from a hectic week.
This is a recurring feature exploring must-visit locales in a variety of cities. If you find yourself traveling to a place for business, why not venture out and enjoy your surroundings?