The best local places to hit for those traveling to Houston for the Final Four
Courtesy of Alan Gilbert
Pappasito’s website shows it has a handle on the business concept of vertical integration. It owns and drives the trucks delivering its food, it make the furniture for its restaurants and it, of course, cooks the meals. If you order guacamole at Pappasito’s, the wait staff will bring the kitchen to you and make it at the side of your table.
There are locations opposite the NRG Stadium and next to Discovery Green, so there will always be one within walking distance of all the NCAA Tournament action. If you go, keep your eyes peeled, as Houston native Beyoncé has been spotted at this restaurant in the past.
The Breakfast Klub
If you’re looking for some southern classics to wake you up, try the Breakfast Klub. Its signature dishes include chicken and waffles, and catfish and grits. After opening in September 2001, this restaurant was named one of the “best breakfast restaurants in the nation” by Good Morning America, USA Today, Esquire and Forbes.
Ninfa’s on Navigation
In 1973, Mama Ninfa served the first of her famous fajitas. The signature dish is served in a variety of ways, including a fajita burger. This restaurant, which appears on multiple tourist websites, is described as one of the best places to get good Mexican food in the city, and recently opened up a patio bar which serves demon margaritas.
If you’re taking a 25 hour-long bus ride to Texas, you’re probably going to want something quick and simple by the time you get there. Try the Southern staple, Whataburger. Although the chain now has almost 800 restaurants across the country, the family owned business was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, just down the road from Houston — or maybe a bit further, because everything is bigger in Texas.
Space Center Houston
Houston, we have a visitor. Childhood dreams of being an astronaut can be brought to life at the Space Center Houston in conjunction with NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Get up close and personal with the Saturn V rocket, veteran of the Apollo missions, touch a real moon rock, or you can even have lunch with an astronaut. The center is open for all ages, so feel free to explore.
Museum of Natural Science
Stop by the Houston Museum of Natural Science and spend a while there because there is a lot to see. Explore the stars in the planetarium, see feathers from the age of the dinosaurs and make friends with butterflies in the Cockrell Butterfly Center. This mini rainforest oasis is packed full of the most colorful butterflies that will land on you for the ultimate selfie.
Minute Maid Park
Home of the Houston Astros baseball team, Minute Maid Park offers daily tours. There, you can see the stadium from a new angle by visiting the turf. Located at Union Station in downtown Houston, the stadium has a vintage train running along 800 feet of the left-field wall, symbolizing the cities historical connection to the railroads.
Sandwiched between Minute Maid Park and the Toyota Center — home of the Houston Rockets — Discovery Green is a community park that offers a patch of green and a small lake in the concrete jungle of downtown. In preparation for the Final Four tournament, Discovery Green has now contains a Ferris wheel and a stage which will host a variety of performers from Maroon 5 to Pitbull.
Saint Arnold Brewery
Texas’ oldest craft brewery offers a variety of year-round and seasonal beers, and even make a root beer with a top secret recipe for those underage. Take a tour of the brewery where everything from brewing to bottling to drinking is done. You will leave the tour with a souvenir glass and a belly full of four different beer samples.
Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar
Pete’s originated in Austin and was so popular, it now has four locations across Texas. It features two mini grand pianos, four pianists and a well stocked bar. They don’t serve food but will allow you to bring your own.
Anvil Bar and Refuge
This place boasts over 100 different craft cocktails, and the menu on their website is 55 pages long. If you don’t want to read a War and Peace length menu, ask for your regular favorite, or, ask the bar tender for a custom drink based on your favorite flavors.
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
This trendy and popular bar hosts more than 200 different types of beers. Although the challenge may be hard to complete in one weekend, if you try every beer on the menu, then your name will be immortalized on the wall with a flying saucer (dinner plate).
Although slightly smaller than Syracuse’s Destiny USA, The Galleria hosts even more shops with 375 stores, from upscale places like Gucci to the more casual ones like Gap and Hollister for younger shoppers. For those who aren’t ready to empty their wallets on new clothes, there are also plenty of places to eat at the mall and a full sized ice rink. The Galleria receives more than 30 million visitors a year and puts them up in a whopping 13,000 parking spaces.
Highland Village is a little quieter than the expansive Galleria and has been around since 1957. It offers high scale shops and eateries, and although it is a bit pricier, in some shops it is worth it to beat the line. Hint: The Apple shop.
CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, the name of the space center in Houston was misstated. The space center is Space Center Houston in conjunction with NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The Daily Orange regrets this error.
Published on April 1, 2016 at 3:58 am
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