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What To Do In Houston In 12 Hours
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What To Do In Houston In 12 Hours

Picture of Morgan
Updated: 9 February 2017
You’re in Houston for 12 hours. What are you going to do? Where do you even start? Whether your flight has a long layover, or you’re just looking for ways to kill the day, Culture Trip has you covered. (Sorry, no trips to NASA.) Beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 8 p.m., here’s how to spend 12 hours in Houston.
Gerald D. Hines Waterwall | © M&R Glasgow/Flickr
Gerald D. Hines Waterwall | © M&R Glasgow/Flickr

8am – 9am: Breakfast at Dish Society

It’s morning. You’re up, and since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you’ve got to eat. Head over to Dish Society near the Galleria. This fast-casual, farm-to-table restaurant features local ingredients with chef -inspired dishes. Have your first cup of fair-trade coffee, or depending on the plan for the day, a mimosa carafe. If you want to step up your game, try a ‘bromosa,’ made with Karbach Weisse Versa and orange and lemon juice. Don’t worry, the eggs are cage- and cruelty- free.

Dish Society, 5740 San Felipe St #100, Houston, TX, USA +1 832 538 1060

9am – 10am: The Waterwall

Since you’ve eaten breakfast in the neighborhood, you may as well see the sights. Head over to Gerald D. Hines Waterwall and let the cascading water mist your skin alongside the morning dew. The Waterwall is a Houston treasure that is often photographed. Take a seat on one of the park benches, snap your photos for Instagram, listen to the rhythmic sounds emanating from the oversized fountain, and maybe read a book — but not for too long; there are other sites to see.

Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park, 2800 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX, USA +1 713 850 8841

Houston Galleria | © Dan DeLuca/Flickr
Houston Galleria | © Dan DeLuca/Flickr

10am – 11am: The Galleria

You can do some serious damage with the swipe of your credit card — but maybe that’s the way you like it. The Galleria is definitely the place to go for spending. This concept by Simon Property Group has every store you could ever need, from high-end designers to hat store Lids. With more than 375 stores expanding across more than 2.4 million square feet, the Galleria has it all, including an indoor ice-skating rink. It’s easy to spend well over an hour, but remember: you’ve only got ten hours left to enjoy the expansive city of Houston.

The Galleria, 5085 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX, USA +1 713 622 0663

11am – 1pm: iPic Theater, River Oaks

SInce opening at the beginning of November, iPic Theaters has created a lot of buzz surrounding its new location inside the Loop. iPic Theaters is the crème de la crème for movie-goers. Patrons are encouraged to literally lean back and allow themselves to be transported to a time when going to the movies was a memorable experience. Movie-goers are equipped with their own private pods, similar to a private jet. While the culinary options and master-crafted cocktails are enticing, please save room; on this 12-hour day, lunch is just around the corner, and there is no fun in spoiling your appetite at the movies.

iPic Theaters River Oaks, 4444 Westheimer Rd c220, Houston, TX, USA +1 832 709 2146

1pm – 2pm: Lunch at Lankford Grocery and Market

After spending your hours at the Waterwall, shopping at the Galleria, and staring at iPic Theater’s big screen, you’re bound to have worked up an appetite. Head to Lankford Grocery and Market for unique burgers that are sure to make your mouth water. Do you like mac n’ cheese on top of your beef? What about Fritos, chili, and cheese, for the Frito pie burger” If you’re really up for an adventure, take it to go and have a picnic at the next location.

Lankford Grocery and Market, 88 Dennis St, Houston, TX, USA +1 713 522 9555

The Menil Collection | © J R/Flickr
The Menil Collection | © J R/Flickr

2pm – 3pm: The Menil

The Menil is home to one of the largest and most wide-ranging art collections in the United States. If work from the mid-twentieth century is your thing, enjoy pieces by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. If you’re more into Pop and contemporary art, favorites like Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock make for good company. In addition to the exhibit, The Menil Collection has an expansive yard. Menil Park is the perfect place to picnic, complete with a tree swing and doggie waste stations.

The Menil Collection, 1533 Sul Ross St, Houston, TX, USA +1 713 525 9400

3pm – 4pm: Resale Shopping on Westheimer

If you’re more thrifty with swiping your plastic, the resale shops on Westheimer are the perfect place to accommodate retail therapy. Chain favorite Buffalo Exchange occupies a cozy block. The store is in good company alongside Pavement and Leopard Lounge — a vintage finder’s favorite. From The Menil, head north toward Westheimer; a few blocks west and you’ve arrived at your new shopping haven.

Before I Die | © Morgan Cronin
Before I Die | © Morgan Cronin

4pm – 5pm: ‘Before I Die’ Mural at Midtown Park

What do you want to achieve before you die? Write it on the giant chalkboard along with Houstonians at Midtown Park. Like the Waterwall, Midtown Park is another great Houston photo op. Pose inside the letter ‘D’ or ‘O’ or simply snap a pick of the whole park. In Midtown, there is plenty to do and see, but maybe taking a break and enjoying a view of the skyline is the perfect downtime activity.

Midtown Park, 415 Gray St, Houston, TX, USA +1 713 526 7577

JPMorgan Sky Lobby | © Ken Lund/Flickr
JPMorgan Sky Lobby | © Ken Lund/Flickr

5pm – 6pm: Chase Tower Observation Deck

Speaking of views of the skyline, word around town is JPMorgan Chase Tower has the best view of Houston. Take the elevator up to the observation deck and look out at downtown H-Town. Views from Downtown are quite special. It may not be New York City, but Houston has a charm that is all its own.

JPMorgan Chase Tower Observation Deck, 600 Travis St, Houston, TX, USA +1 713 223 0441

The Grove Restaurant | © Tendenci Software/Flickr
The Grove Restaurant | © Tendenci Software/Flickr

6pm – 7pm: Dinner at The Grove

Having made your way downtown from the Galleria, Montrose, and Midtown, it only makes sense to grab dinner. The Grove is situated in the heart of downtown Houston. Dishing up American cuisine in an airy, urban contemporary setting, the Grove offers delicious menu options like the blackened TX Redfish BLT, and The Grove’s view of the final destination of the day is one of the restaurant’s best features.

The Grove, 1611 Lamar St, Houston, TX, USA +1 713 337 7321

Discovery Green | © Adam Baker/Flickr
Discovery Green | © Adam Baker/Flickr

7pm – 8pm: Discovery Green

For the final stop of this 12-hour day, go to Discovery Green Park. Walk off your meal from The Grove and take a pic in front of the ‘Synchronicity of Color,’ the iconic, colorful collection of art boxes that call Discover Green home. There is always something going on at Discover Green, whether it’s the latest art installation, yoga workshop, or concert. Discovery Green is a great place to escape the bustle of the city, within the city.

Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney St. Houston, TX, USA +1 713 400 7336