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Visiting Rice Univ. & Houston for 2 days - a few questions

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Medford, Oregon
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Visiting Rice Univ. & Houston for 2 days - a few questions

We will be visiting Rice Univ. and Houston for 2 days next month for my daughter. In addition to visiting the campus we want to get a feel for Houston. We will be exploring Rice Village as well as Uptown Houston (the Galleria).

Are there any other interesting neighborhoods with coffee shops, restaurants and shopping that would be of interest to a future college student??

What part of town would you recommend we stay in?

Should we rent a car? We will be flying into IAH.

Thanks!

Houston, TX
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1. Re: Visiting Rice Univ. & Houston for 2 days - a few questions

Rice University web page for visitors has lots of useful information so review that if you're not done so. Rice is right next to Houston's museum district, which is fairly substantial.

Rice Village is a well defined, clean cut area for shopping, meals and the like but there is not a lot of other action going on there.

Interesting and close by neighborhoods to check out are the Montrose and Midtown. The Montrose is a fairly large and rambling area just west of center city. Its main street is Westheimer Road ( east end is X Smith Street) running west 4 miles or so to just west of X Kirby Drive, where Chuy's‎ (Tex Mex) rules (2706 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX‎ (713) 524-1700‎). Big crowds of college and post college hang out here, so fighting the crowds is worth it if you're looking for college preppy. Closer to the center of the Montrose (Westheimer X Dunlavy) are a couple of gritty but classic Houston coffee houses, Brazile on one side of and Agora on the other side (a former 2 story house, with a tiny sign over the front door). The Montrose is home to many different alternative life styles, and a good many of the locals there are not in the college set, which some visitors find a bit too much. East of the Agora along Westheimer for about 1/2 mile are a good collection of clothing resale shops, tat parlors and the like.

Midtown is a small area vicinity of Babgy and West Gray, just 1 mile southeast of center city Houston. This area is mostly new built in the last 10 years or so, and has many restaurant/bar settings, and a couple of bar/clubs. Most of the traffic here is post college to post retirement, but some of the clubs just east of here off Smith and Louisiana do draw from the college crowd I'm told.

Depending on your budget and lifestyle, you can find a wide variety of hotel options. A good middle of the road choice is Galleria area (aka Uptown). I would rent a car.

A good guide to events, music, restaurants and the like for the 18 to 30 set can be found on the weekly www.houstonpress.com web page.

Happy hunting.

Houston, Texas
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2. Re: Visiting Rice Univ. & Houston for 2 days - a few questions

Just wanted to remind you that if you're coming in June, it will probably be quite hot, especially compared to what you're used to in Oregon. Houston weather is really fine except for the summer months, so don't let the heat and humidity turn your daughter off to Houston and Rice.

Rice has a three-mile walking/jogging loop surrounding it that might be fun to try out. Just across Main Street is Hermann Park, with the Museum of Natural Science and zoo.

If it's in your price range, I'd stay at Hotel ZaZa. It's very close to Rice and a great location.

Definitely look around Rice Village for shopping. (Bordered by Kirby, University, Greenbriar, and Bolsover.) Variety Fair on Rice Blvd. is an amazing 50s-style variety store.

My kids always have loved Goode Company Mexican on Kirby for breakfast on the weekends.

The Montrose/lower Westheimer area around Brasil and Empire Cafe (both good places to eat) is interesting.

The restaurants I mentioned can be checked out on www.b4-u-eat.com.

Check out other goings-on at www.artshound.com.

The Heights (19th street) is another interesting shopping area, but not really close to Rice. Worth checking out if you have time.

Houston, Texas
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3. Re: Visiting Rice Univ. & Houston for 2 days - a few questions

Rent a car for sure. Public transport here is not all that good. It will be a lot cheaper than taxi's.

As far as an area to stay - Galleria area, downtown or even medical center (in that order). Rice Village and West U area have the quaint feel to it (coffee shops etc.). Galleria and the area called 'Uptown' - just North of the Galleria are nice but you know you are in a city.

As the other post mentioned - it will be hot and humid - so if you are used to Oregon weather don't plan much outdoor activities during the day.

Back in March had the exact same question - search for it and you can get more information from that thread and others.

If you need specifics let us know.

Medford, Oregon
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4. Re: Visiting Rice Univ. & Houston for 2 days - a few questions

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and info. Yes, we know it will be hot and humid and have already warned our daughter that it won't always be like this, but in the summer yes.

We will definitely rent a car.

Thanks for the recommendation of Hotel ZaZa. It looks cool, but there have been several poor reviews on TA for its service, so will need to look into it a bit more.

We are also considering Modern B&B (www.modernbb.com) located at 4003 Hazard St. (x-street Branard St.) Is this a good location? I believe it is in the Montrose district(am I correct?) but a bit concerned about the"gritty" coffeshops and tat parlors. Those areas can be fun to visit during the day but what about at night?

Kingwood - I found that other post. thanks for suggesting it.

TX
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5. Re: Visiting Rice Univ. & Houston for 2 days - a few questions

There's the Upper Kirby/Greenway Plaza area. Close to Rice and close to Uptown/Galleria area as well. Simply go west on Richmond Avenue towards 610 Loop, turn right on Post Oak Blvd and The Galleria will be on the left (less congested this way). No need to get on the freeway. In the Greenway Plaza there's the Renaissance Hotel (Marriott chain), Holiday Inn Express, La Quinta, and probably others as well.

Definitely stop by Empire Cafe. The B&B you mentioned seems to be in a charming neighborhood. Not sure about it at night.

TX
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6. Re: Visiting Rice Univ. & Houston for 2 days - a few questions

There is free entertainment at Miller Outdoor Theater (Museum District) walking distance from Rice. www.milleroutdoortheatre.com/default.asp…

Check out their schedule. Something for your daughter to keep in mind as something to do in the evening that's free. The outdoor theater has covered seating (for which you can get free tickets ahead of time) and outdoor seating on a "hill" (Houston generally does not have actual hills). On summer nights, the outdoor seating is best as it does cool off in the evenings and there is a breeze up on the hill. You can bring your own food & drink (no glass containers) and even bring a lounge chair. The folks with chairs seat facing nea left of stage and folks with blankets seat facing near right of stage.

A quaint place to go eat and relax is Te House of Tea (they have food too) http://www.teaagora.com/

Enjoy your visit!

Houston, Texas
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7. Re: Visiting Rice Univ. & Houston for 2 days - a few questions

I talked to several people last weekend who were staying at the Zaza while in Houston for a wedding, and all were very happy with their experience there--and their kids (older teens) loved it. I can't personally vouch for it, but the location is perfect.

I also don't know about the B&B you mentioned, but wouldn't worry about the location. I'm not sure what a "gritty" coffee shop is, but will say that I have dinner and/or breakfast at Brasil regularly and enjoy the food and the atmosphere.

Houston, Texas
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8. Re: Visiting Rice Univ. & Houston for 2 days - a few questions

You asked about:

We are also considering Modern B&B (www.modernbb.com) located at 4003 Hazard St. (x-street Branard St.) Is this a good loction?

I looked up the website and it's definitely a rather quiet neighborhood far away from any tattoo parlors or other stuff. It's among some nice, quaint houses/duplexes and nicely situated. You mention coffee shop, and while not technically a coffee shop, it's one of the best places in town, The Chocolate Bar (http://www.theoriginalchocolatebar.com/). Some of the best ice cream, chocolates, and desserts in town, especially the $10 slice Aunt Etta's chocolate cake that no sane person could eat in one sitting! The one minor downside to the area is different patches of construction projects in the area. Otherwise, it's not a far drive to Rice University and you're close to the Menil Museum, Rothko Chapel, and the University of St. Thomas.

As mentioned, and if you're familiar with UWashington and the U District in Seattle, Rice has something similar called West University with many shops like Gap, Banana, American Eagle, a brand new Chocolate Bar, and a bunch of good restaurants, cafes, and student hangouts.

Depending on what she is studying, if she's interested in medicine and the biomedical sciences, the Texas Medical Center is right next door to drive around check out. For fine arts, there are a bunch of museums also not to far in the Museum District, such as the Museum of Fine Art and Museum of Contemporary Art. For theater and performing arts, you can venture to the the northern part of downtown by the Aquarium Restaurant and be in the Theater District such as the Hobby Center, Wortham Center, and Jones Hall.

Hope that helps a bit!

Medford, Oregon
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9. Re: Visiting Rice Univ. & Houston for 2 days - a few questions

Thanks guys. All this info. is really helpful. Mariana, thanks for your current comments on Hotel ZaZa. It really does look like just what we would like, so glad to know a large group was pleased!

Texas
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10. Re: Visiting Rice Univ. & Houston for 2 days - a few questions

You should rent a car.

Houston is HUGE!

The Galleria shopping Mall is fun.

Just drive down Westheimer from 610

out to Beltway 8.

There is every sort of restaurant you can imagine and a Starbucks on every corner nearly.

If you drive down Richmond near the Galleria you will see all the bars and dance clubs.

There are malls all over Houston. My favorite

is Memorial City Mall on I-10 at Gessner.

You might stop by Kemah boardwalk which has lots of seafood restaurants and shops.

Galveston is not too far away either with the beach and lots of restaurants and Moody Gardens.

Rice University is excellent! I had alot of co-workers who went there and loved it.