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Discussion in 'Southern Midwest and Southwest' started by Crossover, Feb 22, 2014.
My photo from when I was here for a game in 2010:
I assume the locomotive looks a bit different now, since the Astros have changed their logo since 2010.
(I stayed at the Hilton Americas hotel on that trip -- it was very nice.)
I don't know if there are official visitor tours of this building, but I managed to talk the security guy into turning a blind eye to me slipping inside and taking a few photos some years ago. He didn't seem totally comfortable about that though so I didn't push my luck too far.
I also visited the stadium some years previously as part of a corporate event in the nearby Convention Center, but they didn't provide very much information about the history, which is why I decided to come back and see more for myself.
I did stay here once, when I was on the previously mentioned corporate event. I was too busy to explore any of the amenities though, so maybe it was wasted on me. Some years later I stayed at the Four Seasons, which I actually found more pleasant.
Also worthy of mention is the park between the hotels and the Convention Center. There is a pretty pond and some nice coffee houses where you can recharge your batteries during busy conventions. The area is very pleasant during daytime but at night vagrants and panhandlers do move in, although the ones I met were neither dangerous nor threatening.
Another nearby place worth exploring is Christchurch Cathedral. This is close to the Minute maid Stadium and I got a very fascinating guided tour.
Looks like they do offer official Minute Maid Park tours: information here.
hmmm- How odd the security guard didn't direct me to that. I would have preferred an official tour to inconveniencing him the way I did.
I don't know if I have posted these before (apologies if I have), but these were taken inside the Minute Maid stadium when I was there on a corporate event in 2008. Unfortunately at the time I wasn't aware of the historical significance of the place, otherwise I would have taken more pictures. The first picture shows the train in the background on top of the wall. This actually moves and makes train noises. Behind it the head house of the old station can be seen.
a close-up of the train
a show, as you can see, most people weren't paying much attention
and the locomotive outside
Maybe they weren't doing the tours that day, or else he didn't have the information at hand? Looks like the schedule can be variable, to account for games and other events that are taking place.
Some random pictures that might be of interest. All taken pin my last visit in April 2012. The first is a building near UH Downtown with the logo of the Southern Pacific on it. Not sure what the story of this is ...
Metro tracks being put in
Inside the Astros / Minute Maid Park / Headhouse of old railroad station
(I'm not sure if photography was allowed here as the guard looked very uncomfortable when I took it, meanwhile the lady at the desk was doing her best to pretend she hadn't noticed)
Oak lined walkway
going to the convention center
and some architectural gems
Just thought I would add a couple of recommendations for restaurants near the Amtrak station. Just the other side of the freeway is the Downtown Aquarium, part of Tilman Fertitta's Landry's empire. It is worth a visit, and there is a Ferris Wheel and a carousel on property for amusement. I've had the food and it is quite good, although pricy pricy pricy.
Where I'm much more likely to head for a casual lunch or dinner is the Spaghetti Warehouse at 901 Commerce, just a little over a half mile (Google calls it 0.6 and 12 minutes walk) from the Amtrak station down Franklin Street (then jog a block to the left at Travis...if you cross the light rail tracks at Main, you've gone a block too far). Prices are reasonable and the portions are generous and good quality. Just be advised that this is a very popular place; if you arrive at the dinner hour on a theater night or just about any Saturday, don't be surprised if you see a line out the door.
One other place that I sometimes frequent downtown is Birraporetti's at 500 Louiisiana St., sandwiched between the Alley Theater and the Wortham Theater. It's a half-mile 10 minute walk from the Amtrak station as long as you don't take a wrong turn. As you might expect they cater to the late-night crowd and prices are on the high side but the menu has a good selection and it has a more upscale atmosphere than the Spaghetti Warehouse.
I just wanted to ask your opinions on the Space Center in Houston.
Looking at the website: http://spacecenter.org/ there seems to be lots of kiddy and family stuff.
I was wondering if it is also sufficiently interesting for a mid 40s grumpy bloke like myself who will probably be going alone.
Is it just noisy kids running around and pressing buttons, or is there something there for people who want to see more nitty gritty technical details?
Visiting the Space Center in Florida is MUCH Better IMHO! But if you're in the Clear Lake Area its OK! It is Historic, worth a few hours of time and overall interesting for adults and kids!
There's plenty to see and do in the Houston Area, I'd recommend going on down the Gulf Freeway to Galveston,out to Baytown on I-10 to see the San Jacinto Monument and the Battleship USS Texas over the Johnson Space Center!
Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of the sprawl of Greater Houston and it's horrible traffic, but between about 930am and 200pm and after 1100pm till 500am you can get around on the Freeways if you have a car!
If you have an interest in space it's worth a one-day visit.
They do have several historic artifacts on display, including the command module from Apollo 17. It's behind plastic, but you can walk right up and look (through the plastic) inside of it. There are also some lunar samples on display; again behind glass but up close.
There is also a group tour of the Mission Control Center and some of the training facilities. ETA: As well as Rocket Park, where a Saturn 5 and some other spacecraft are on display.
Disclaimer: The last time I was there was several years ago during the space shuttle era. I'm not up on any recent changes.
I'll be in Houston for three days and I was wondering if I should visit the Museum of Natural Science on the first day or the Holocaust Museum. Whatever I don't visit on the first day would be on the third day.
Also, is there any way to get to the USS Texas without a car?
The USS Texas is docked on Buffalo Bayou ( now the Houston Ship Channel)next to the San Jacinto Monument in San Jacinto Park between Pasadena/Deer Park, Channelview and Baytown! There is no way to get there without a car unless you're with a tour group and make arrangements in advance! Its a good 20 miles from downtown!
A cab would be impractical and hugely expensive!
Sorry can't advise on the Museums, but downtown Houston has a lot going on including the Light Rail Lineon Main Street, and the 1st Place Houston Astros that play in Beautiful Minute Maid Park downtown that is built on the site of the old Union Station on Texas Avenue and Crawford St.! The front entrance is the old Head House for the Station!Worth a tour even if the Astros aren't playing!
If you get to visit the USS Texas (which is very cool), I recommend the Hard Hat Tour if one of their dates fits your schedule. It an awesome tour going many places you cannot see on the general tour.
Sorry, the link doesn't work. I probably won't get to visit the USS Texas, even though I'm a battleship enthusiast.
Hmm. Link works perfectly for me. You could just Google USS Texas hard hat tours.
Too bad you can't go. I have been there many times and it is a very cool and historic ship.
Unabashed commercial plug for a 90+ year old Houston institution...worth a visit if you can find an open location (they seem to be struggling lately):
James Coney Island
Yes, in recent months the three locations which I most often use...Downtown (Dallas @ Travis...the Walker Street original closed decades ago), Gulfgate, and Edgebrook have all closed. Can't be a good sign.
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