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where to stay in January advice please

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Oregon
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where to stay in January advice please

My family of 4 (with 2 older teens) will be coming into Houston from a cruise (docks 7 a.m.), with my elderly mother. We don't go home until the next day, so will have much of the day to do something in Houston. What do you think of us staying near the museums and Hermann Park? My thought is that the 4 of us could go exploring on foot the museums and park, while my mom could go on a city bus tour (she has a hard time getting around so couldn't go walking around with us). Where do you recommend that we stay? Are there restaurants for lunch in the area? We'll have an early morning flight out the next day from IAH but it doesn't seem to make sense to stay near the airport since it's out of town. Any advice appreciated!

Houston, Texas
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1. Re: where to stay in January advice please

The City bus tour us only 90-minutes in length, so she will still have to find her way back to the hotel or whatever else she wants to do. The best thing is to find a hotel close to the metro line and a stop for the city tour. Some of the places are by the Visitors Center, Convention Center and Market Square. Hotel Icon, Hilton Americas and several other in the general vicinity. If you or your Mother would like to wander around Discovery Green then find a place closer to Discovery Green (but will be a slightly longer walk to the metro rail).

The Metro Rail will take you to the Museum District, Zoo, Hermann Park etc. Menil Collection and Rothko Chapel are slight away from the rail line but these two are always free.

You did not mention when you plan to be here but take weather into account for outdoor activities.

As far as restaurants you can find lots of good restaurants all over town. If you go to the Museum District check out Sparrow (HCC stop). This will put you in the middle of Menil and the main museums. Also, kind of in the general vicinity on Washington Ave check out Benjy's (but too far to walk). Hundreds of other restaurants - just giving two. If you want to try out some Tex-Mex or BBQ - that really would be the thing to do. Let us know and we will give you more ideas.

Finally, it is worth a visit to the Galleria Mall in the eve (maybe take a cab) and wander around, eat, drink, people watch (all indoor). I am pretty sure they have those motorized wheel chairs.

Houston
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2. Re: where to stay in January advice please

There are a few hotels in the immediate area of the museum district. The Hotel ZaZa is fairly high-end, but is directly across the street from the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). There are others in the Texas Medical Center. While weekday rates are fairly expensive, weekend rates are reasonably low, and many are right along the MetroRail line.

As to lunch, the MFA has a restaurant serving light lunches, and in the Medical Center, along Fannin St., there are a number of fast-food type places, some of which are not bad at all. You could always take the MetroRail north to the McGowen exit (ridemetro.org/SchedulesMaps/RailSched.aspx), exit and walk 2-3 blocks to your west, where you'll find a number of very good moderately-priced restaurants, such as Reef, Ibiza, and a host of others. (This area is called Midtown.)

Washington Ave. has some good restaurants, no doubts, but it's primarily a night-time hangout for people in their 20's-30's, and is a little out of the way for your group. I agree with Kingwood that you should try either Tex-Mex and/or BBQ, which are regional specialties. Without a car, I can't think of one right offhand that I'd recommend, but if you don't mind a cab ride, try Ninfa's on Navigation http://www.ninfas.com/ (don't go to any other location) for Tex-Mex. For BBQ, the closest one that qualifies IMHO as very good would be Pizzitola's http://www.pizzitolas.com/ on Shepherd. Both places are very casual. I'd avoid Goode Co. BBQ, primarily because it's very expensive as compared to most BBQ places, and not as good as many others that are far less expensive.

As far as other places to stay, anywhere along or close to the MetroRail will work for you, but be aware that downtown isn't necessarily the liveliest place to be at night. If you stay south of the Medical Center, I'd recommend not staying south of OST (Old Spanish Trail).

Welcome to Houston.

3. Re: where to stay in January advice please

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Austin, Texas
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4. Re: where to stay in January advice please

Lunch at Cafe Express is my favorite in that area. It is downstairs in the Museum of Fine Arts. On the street level without going into the Museum there will be a sandwich board stating enter down the stair case. Menu is great for all. Take a look:

cafe-express.com/locations/museum-of-fine-ar…

This is also a great place to allow your mother to wait for you. It is order at the counter and there are tons of tables where people can sit for hours without fear of "taking up a table".

Don't miss the Museum of Science. It is awesome and the gift shop is huge and free if you don't want to go into the exhibits.

http://www.hmns.org

Only problem for January is you have no way if knowing if a cold front will hit causing extremely cold weather such as we have had for the last 4 days. One day it will be shorts and next day it could be coats.

Oregon
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5. Re: where to stay in January advice please

Thank you do much for the feedback. Another thought--would it be better for us to stay near the Galleria? Would that be better for my mom--take a city tour and then be able to wander or motorized wheel around in the mall? Would it be easy for the other 4 of us to get to the museum district and Hermann Park?

Oregon
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6. Re: where to stay in January advice please

Thanks so much for your suggestions. I need to look at a map of the MetroRail and get my bearings. Really appreciate your help!

Oregon
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7. Re: where to stay in January advice please

Thank you. Yes, I see that weather can be a concern. We wil be there mid January.

Houston
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8. Re: where to stay in January advice please

Travelmagic--She'd probably have a great time in The Galleria http://www.simon.com/mall/the-galleria. I'm not certain they have motorized wheel chairs or self-propelled transportation within the mall, but she could walk short distances and find places to sit, or obtain a wheelchair. There are elevators, but they are not easy to find. Escalators are much easier to find, if she's comfortable with those. "Security guards" (and I use the term loosely) are around the mall to help shoppers.

You could take a cab from there to the Museum District without breaking the bank (I'd guess $15-$20 each way). Here's the website for the Museum District, which is within walking distance of Hermann Park and the Houston Zoo: http://houstonmuseumdistrict.org/

The one negative to the Galleria area is the traffic. If you're coming during between now and roughly January 5, 2014, traffic will be extremely heavy. Once the holidays are over, it will drop back to a reasonable level, but it can take quite a while to move at that time of year.

Edited: 09 December 2013, 01:20
Oregon
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9. Re: where to stay in January advice please

Thank you. Any suggestion as to where to eat dinner if we stay near The Galleria?

Houston
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10. Re: where to stay in January advice please

Give us an idea of your taste and your budget--there literally are hundreds of restaurants in or near The Galleria, ranging from high-end steakhouses to in-the-mall fast-food franchises, and everything in between.