Houston’s 7-mile light rail system links downtown with Reliant Park, taking passengers through Midtown, the Museum District and the Medical Center. Each district offers visitors a unique taste of Houston.
Here are three recommended stops along the route:
This Midtown stop offers the most concentrated points of interest between downtown and the Museum District. This area has been enjoying a renaissance of late, but there was always something charming about this little slice of Main Street. There’s fine dining (Julia's Bistro and T'afia), as well as tacos (Tacos A GoGo), burgers (Natachee's) and soul food (The Breakfast Klub). For entertainment, there is the Ensemble Theatre, where works relate the African American experience, and the Continental Club, a favorite of live music fans. On Saturday mornings, a farmers market sets up shop in the parking lot at t’afia. And don’t miss Sig’s Lagoon, a record store and pop culture emporium featuring the works of several local artists.
STOP: Museum District
This stop offers a world of options for those looking diversions. Within walking distance are six museums that draw about 7 million visitors annually. The jewel is the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, which houses more than 56,000 works in two buildings and a sculpture garden. Nearby is the compact and admission-free Contemporary Art Museum. The 90,000-square foot Children’s Museum of Houston has been rated the country’s best by Parents magazine. It’s colorful and educational exhibits are appropriate for ages 2-12. Also geared for youngsters is the Health Museum, the only place in H-Town where you’ll find a 27-foot intestine. (We hope.) You could spend an entire day exploring Houston’s Museum of Natural Science, which includes a three-story-tall, glass-encased butterfly center. Also on this stop is the small but moving Holocaust Museum.
STOP: Hermann Park/Rice U
This stop is all about enjoying the outdoors. And there’s no better place to roam than Hermann Park. The gentleman on the horse is General Sam Houston, one of the leaders of the Texas Revolution and the first president of the Republic of Texas. Inside the park is an amphitheater, a garden center with 2,500 roses, a Japanese Garden, an 18-hole golf course, hike and bike trails and the 55-acre Houston Zoo, home to more than 4,500 creatures. Also from this stop, you can visit the campus of Rice University, where shade trees and Byzantine architecture make for a pleasant stroll.
Breakfast Klub: 3711 Travis, 713-528-8561.
Children’s Museum: 1500 Binz, 713-522-1138; admission is $8.
Contemporary Arts Museum: 5216 Montrose, 713-284-8250; free admission.
Continental Club: 3700 Main, 713-529-9899.
Ensemble Theatre: 3535 Main, 713-520-0055.
Health Museum: 1515 Hermann Dr., 713-521-1515; admission is $8.
Hermann Park: 6001 Fannin.
Holocaust Museum: 5401 Caroline, 713-942-8000; free admission.
Houston Zoo: 1513 N. MacGregor Dr., 713-533-6500; admission is $12.
Julia’s Bistro: 3722 Main, 713-807-0090.
Museum of Fine Arts: 1001 Bissonnet, 713-639-7300; general admission is $7.
Natachee’s: 3622 Main, 713-524-7203.
Rice University: 6100 Main St.
Sig’s Lagoon: 3710 Main, 713-533-9525.
Tacos A Go-Go: 3704 Main, 713-807-8226.
t’afia: 3701 Travis St., 713-524-6922.