Houston, We Have a Solution–Meet the Central Business District
Houston has been blasting past people’s expectations since NASA built the Manned Spacecraft Center in 1967. You don’t have to spend long in Space City to see why it’s far and away the most popular place in the Southern states. The city’s dedication to space exploration alone has earned it two high-scale museums focused on space travel, in addition to over 150 equally distinct museums.
Equally impressive is Houston’s dedication to flavor. H-Town proudly owns 10,000 restaurants that represent more than 70 countries and American regions. Just how good are the restaurants in Houston? Native residents of the city have been proven to eat out an average of twice more per week than residents of less flavorful cities. Diverse and open people, a thriving arts scene, and more kinds of entertainment than we can count all serve to make Houston’s Central Business District the next spot to vie for number 1 on your vacation list.
When asking yourself “Where should I stay in Houston?” you’re right to consider shopping around to find the experience that works best for you and yours. That’s why Stay Alfred offers three downtown Houston rentals, each with unique benefits and style. However, every Stay Alfred rental comes with benefits that no hotel room will have – benefits like amazing building amenities, a personal washer and dryer, and a private kitchen.
So, what do you say? Are you ready to get hyped about the best Houston attractions and apartments? Let the adventure begin…
Welcome to downtown Houston: The Central Business District
The Central Business District is Houston. The culture, the history, the museums, the shows, the food – everything. The Central Business District is Houston’s heart, pumping awesome food and entertainment through the rest of H-town. That’s why all of Stay Alfred’s Houston-based travel apartments are located there. There’s simply no other neighborhood that will let you experience Space City as fully as downtown does. Are you a hoops fan? You can see the Houston Rockets right downtown at the Toyota Center. Spanning six blocks, this remarkable venue hosts premier basketball games, top concerts, and world-class touring shows.
Sports fans can catch a home run (or at least a t-shirt) at Minute Maid Park, home to the Houston Astros. Why not buy a hot dog and get swept up in the crowd with 41,000+ other cheering fans?
If your answer to that question is “because a crowd of 41,000 cheering people would be quite overwhelming,” that’s A-okay. Houston’s Downtown Aquarium offers a more chill tourist experience. Fish, reptiles, and amphibians abound at this uniquely designed aquarium, which is home to over 200 aquatic species. Touch-pools let visitors get up close and personal with stream, lake, and ocean life, but don’t worry – the museum is excellent at keeping the sharks out of arm's reach.
Image courtesy of Downtown Aquarium
When you explore a new city, does your mind automatically turn to culinary adventures? Honestly, you can get amazing food anywhere you stay in Houston. But it’s only downtown that offers every kind of restaurant experience you could want. If you’re in Space City for a romantic getaway, we suggest letting your taste buds delight in the powerful flavors at Xochi. This award winning restaurant celebrates the food, drink, and culture of Oaxaca, Mexico. Featuring handmade chocolate, an intimate setting, imported coffee, and the tastiest grasshoppers in Houston. Do you have clients who won’t be impressed by edible grasshoppers? For business lunches, there’s no chicer spot than Potente. Potente offers upscale italian fare and a wide range of posh wines in a modern-style setting. Seating is available for large groups as well. But hey, maybe restaurants aren’t your thing at all. Well, Houston even has a restaurant for that. If you’re looking to get in, get your food, and get out, just swing by Houston Local Foods. This counter-service deli will have your soup, salad, and giant sandwich packaged up and ready to go in no time.
The Houston Theater District is a 17-city-block neighborhood directly north of the Central Business District. There’s too much happening in one small area for us to explore it all, so we’ll just point you toward the best and the brightest aspects of the neighborhood. Alley Theatre just finished a $46 million renovation and is now one of the most advanced theaters in the nation. Revention Music Center is consistently hosting nationally recognized talent – from 21 Pilots to Dave Chappelle. The crown jewel of the Houston Theater District, though, is The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Featuring glorious 60-foot-tall windows, this beautiful theater hosts stunning views of downtown Houston’s skyscrapers in addition to vibrant performances. The theater has two performance spaces, Sarofim Hall, which is intended for larger scale productions, and Zilkha Hall, which hosts more intimate shows. Whether you like your art to be visual, auditory, or performance based, you can bet that the Houston Theater District will have it on display.
Looking for accommodations that will put the best of the Central Business District an easy walk away? First up on our list is Stay Alfred at 1711 Caroline. The building is packed with enough amenities to put high-class hotels to shame, and every travel apartment features its own kitchen, washer, and dryer. This is the kind of place that makes homeowners consider switching to a condo. After all, how many standalone homes let you relax in an upscale pool before catching some rays on a rooftop terrace with a glorious view? While there are tons of activities to do around Stay Alfred at 1711 Caroline, take the time to explore the building itself. Wake up right with the help of the coffee bar and take care of work in the business center. Not in town for work? Enjoy a family game of billiards or shuffleboard. If you’re looking to get a workout in, the 24/7 fitness center is here to help!
Of course, just because you could happily spend your whole trip at Stay Alfred at 1711 Caroline, doesn’t mean downtown isn’t worth seeing – some of the best attractions in all of Houston are just steps outside your front door! For example, you can find some fun for everyone at Discovery Green. This 12-acre park has a putting green, an oak walk, jogging paths, bocce courts, a playground, two dog runs, and a performance stage. Once you’ve had enough of the Houston sun, you might drink some vino while looking at watercolor paintings at Duvin Pintor Wine and Art Gallery. As the name implies, this venue is all about sipping wine while exploring whatever wondrous works that are on display at the time of your visit. If the wine gets you in the mood for something a little stronger, head on over to Mongoose Versus Cobra. Despite what its intense name implies, this bar is actually quite nice! If you like your beer and spirits artfully crafted, with the option of a savory bratwurst on the side, then this is the bar for you.
Image courtesy of Visit Houston
Another great option for downtown Houston accommodations is Stay Alfred on Fannin Street – the ideal location for people who plan on doing as much as they possibly can during their visit to Space City. Partial to places with great amenities? The building features a 9th floor heated swimming pool, foosball and ping-pong tables, and a regulation-size basketball court. Oh, and did we mention the air-conditioned movie theater? And the 24-hour fitness center and 24-hour business center. Stay Alfred on Fannin Street has those, too. You’ll find your travel apartment stuffed to the brim with amenities like your own personal washer, dryer, and kitchen. Feel free to spread out, too; the only thing that will be filling rooms this big will be a whole lot of natural light (if you want it).
Wondering if there’s much to do within a mile of your downtown Houston vacation rental? You’re in luck. There are too many impressive restaurants to even narrow them down, so we recommend doing a bit of wandering when you want to eat out. But when it comes to drinks, we have a couple of recommendations. Make your way to 3rd Floor when the sun is still up, because this bar has some pretty impressive city views. It’s also airy and spacious – the perfect place to take anyone who can’t handle a crowd. If everyone wants to take the night to the next level, walk to Spire, a multi-roomed nightclub that offers a range of dance music styles on weekend nights.
When you wake up the following morning and decide that something a little quieter than the club is in order, look into visiting the nearby Houston Police Museum. Located at the Houston police headquarters, this museum proudly displays artifacts from the Honor Guard, SWAT, Mounted Patrol, and more. You can also do some people watching from Root Memorial Square. Located across from the Toyota Center, this park has basketball, a fountain, and pleasant areas to walk or picnic in. Those activities are just the tip of the downtown Houston iceberg; to find a new and exciting activity all you’ll have to do is walk to a new block.
Image of Stay Alfred on Fannin courtesy of Stay Alfred
For couples, introverts, or people serious about sophistication, there’s Stay Alfred on San Jacinto Street. While still in the downtown area, this upscale travel apartment offers a slightly quieter take on Houston than the previous suggestions. In other words, this is the perfect building for visitors who want to blend in. Survey the Houston skyline from the rooftop deck and then splash around in the rooftop pool. Stay Alfred on San Jacinto Street is great for athletes as well. Not only is there a fitness center with cardio and weight training equipment, there’s also an aerobics and spin room, so you don’t have to leave your workout routine at home.
It’s worth noting that, because Stay Alfred on San Jacinto Street is located between the previous two rentals we’ve discussed, all the activities within walking distance of both of those buildings are within a mile of Stay Alfred on San Jacinto Street, too. So we’re just going to add a few food suggestions. First up is H-Town’s most authentic French cuisine, served at Brasserie Du Parc. This romantic and classy 3,000 square foot restaurant also features a 1,500 square foot terrace overlooking Discovery Green. For a lunch the whole family can appreciate, create your own pizzas at Your Pie. The pizzeria also offer pasta dishes and appetizers, and Stay Alfred on San Jacinto Street is within its delivery radius! Finally, if you’ve got a taste for traditional Louisiana cuisine, you simply have to grab a bite from Zydeco Louisiana Diner. This family-run diner has been serving up made-daily home cooking for over 30 years, and they boast some of the most dedicated customers in the Houston restaurant business. One bite of Zydeco’s corn bread and you’ll know why.
Houston’s Hottest Tourist Spots
Listen, no matter which Stay Alfred rental apartment you decide is right for you, there are some Houston attractions that are simply too cool to be passed up. Houston didn’t earn the nickname “Space City” for nothing. Space Center Houston is one of Houston’s top-rated and most-viewed attractions, a “leading science and space exploration learning center,” and contains over 400 space artifacts. It’s got actual spacesuits, aircraft, astronaut training facilities, and of course the amazing Independence Plaza, which really has to be seen to be believed. For a more technical look at space, head over to Johnson Space Center. Created by NASA, the Johnson Space Center is home to the American astronauts corps, the International Space Station mission operations, and a series of future space-based developments.
Now if you have a passion for learning but find space to mostly be dark, big, and full of existential dread, don’t worry! You can still check out two of Houston’s most popular museums: the Health Museum and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The Health Museum is dedicated to teaching visitors about the functionality of the human body through its Amazing Body gallery, which contains 30 interactive exhibits and 10X-scale models of the body’s organs. The Houston Museum of Natural Science, meanwhile, hosts a rotating list of exhibits dealing with any and every aspect of the natural sciences. Be sure to check out its Giant Screen Theatre, where you can watch IMAX films like Barrier Reef 3D! Or, if you haven’t satiated your interest in space, head on over to the museum’s planetarium, where you can enjoy getting a closer look at the stars. All of these museums are child friendly, but if you’re looking to prioritize the little ones’ interests, you might like to visit the Children's Museum of Houston. It’s got an interactive hydropower exhibit, spy games, challenge courses, and a whole lot of learning opportunities.
Of course, when a city has as nice a climate as Houston’s, you’re probably going to want some time for fun in the sun. Fortunately, Houston’s got your outdoor activities covered. You can always spend a day in one or more of the city’s lovely parks, such as Buffalo Bayou Park. However, if you’re short on time and can only do one outdoor activity, you have got to check out the second most popular animal enclosure in the United States – the Houston Zoo. This 55-acre sanctuary houses 6,000 animals spanning 900 species, and it’s the second most visited zoo in the United States. Want to walk with giraffes, hang with sloths, or help train some big cats? Then you’re in luck, because the Houston Zoo is famous for its 15 delightfully distinct animal encounters.
Downtown Houston from Buffalo Bayou Park, courtesy of Visit Houston
See you in Space City!
Well, there you have it. You now possess all the necessary information to decide where to stay in Houston! Once you’ve picked a flight, the only challenge that’s left is deciding what to pack. No sweat though – we’ve made it easy with this convenient packing list.