Exploring the Sites of Houston

I was in Houston for work last week—my second visit to Texas this year, but my first-ever visit to Houston. Thankfully, I had a bit of free time one day to walk around and explore.

First, I headed to Midtown (a good hike from downtown) to check out Sig’s Lagoon (3622 Main Street), a great little independent record store. Whenever I travel, it’s a goal of mine to visit a local record store and buy an album. That way I can remember my trip or the city I visited whenever I listen to the album.

Also in Midtown, I visited High Fashion Fabrics (3101 Louisiana St.), a warehouse filled wall-to-wall with textiles and fabrics, as well as My Flaming Heart (3622 Main St.), a unique indie boutique featuring western styles and Mexican folk art. For lunch, I hit up Mai’s (3403 Milam St.), a Vietnamese restaurant and neighborhood favorite.

Although I enjoyed Midtown, I was hoping for more. I liked the eclectic and artsy vibe, but the area also seemed slightly run down and lacking energy and cohesion. I asked one storekeeper for suggestions of other stores and places to visit in Houston, and she asked, do you have a car? I said no, and she just sort of shrugged. That would probably be my biggest complaint about Houston—it’s just so big and spread out, that it’s difficult to explore on foot.

Back downtown, a few of my favorites included Discovery Park, a sprawling and well-utilized 12-acre urban park with two restaurants, gardens, and artwork. I observed several people gather for a free zumba class one evening, and was amazed to learn that similar free fitness classes (including yoga and hoop dancing) are offered at the park each night.

I also happened to stumble upon the City Hall Farmers Market at Tranquility Park, where I enjoyed a Pomegranate Cheesecake Crepe from Malange Creperie. The Wednesday mid-day farmers’ market features 35 vendors offering locally-grown produce and a variety of prepared foods to go. It was fun to watch the professional lunch crowd pour out of Houston’s many skyscrapers to enjoy lunch in the park with friends and co-workers.

The highlight and real purpose of my trip, through, was visiting the International Quilt Market and Quilt Festival, the biggest quilt show in the world. In between appointments and other obligations, I explored the show and admired the many amazing quilt exhibits. I was floored by the creativity and talent on display by quilters from all over the world.

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