Eating Out

The ample girth of the average Texan testifies to the good eating on offer in the Lone Star state. Known as the dining capital of the United States, Houston just about edges out Dallas in the battle for best regional dining scene and is home to some truly excellent restaurants.

The best advice for newcomers to Houston is probably to try its barbecue and Tex-Mex offerings. Served at places such as Vic and Anthony's Steakhouse and El Tiempo Cantina, these two flavours keep visitors returning for more. El Tiempo Cantina, a lively restaurant that has been serving Houston locals and visitors with fajitas and margaritas since 1997 is an obvious favourite for many.

Visitors rarely go hungry when in Houston, as there's generally something for everyone in this city that caters to many tastes and varied spending powers.


In Houston, the malls and credit card bills are supersised so visitors should be careful when embarking on a shopping spree. Houston's most famous shopping zone is undoubtedly the Galleria, the seventh largest retail complex in the USA. It hosts high-end stores and all the big names in fashion.

At Uptown Park visitors can enjoy the atmosphere of a quaint European village as they stroll from store to store. In Kirby District travellers can find the Village, an affluent 16-block shopping zone with plenty of boutiques, galleries and spas. On weekends visitors shouldn't miss the Trader's Village, an enormous flea market with everything from jewellery and clothing to tools and old Texas number plates. It's a great place to find a really unique memento of a visit to Houston.

For Western gear, the ideal souvenir from Houston, visitors should look no further than Pinto Ranch, which stocks belt buckles, boots, saddles, and even ten-gallon hats. A bottle of Texas' finest barbecue sauce is worth taking home as well.


Houston's nightlife is focused on Downtown near Montrose, the Midtown area, and in the Uptown area around the Galleria. It is one of the very few American cities to have resident performance companies in symphony, ballet, opera, and theatre.

The main Downtown venues are Jones Hall, the Alley Theatre, and the Wortham Theater Center. In terms of modern music, Houston does have venues for live gigs but doesn't attract the cachet of musicians that nearby Austin does. The best venues are The Big Easy, which has a great blues lineup, and McGonigel's Mucky Duck for acoustic performers.

Houston has plenty of megaclubs in the city centre, great places to enjoy some Latin and hip hop music. Clubs and bars generally have a smarter dress code than many are used to so it's worth dressing up before a big night on the town.