Houston has oil companies, no doubt, but if you think the United States 4th largest city is a waste of your vacation, think again.
Here are a few of the quirky sides of the city that will change your mind about the cowboys, big hair and barbecue myths that abound if you want that stuff, head to Dallas.
1. Beer Can House
One legendary man, who never considered himself to be an artist began an obsessive habit of embellishing parts of his house most of it with beer cans.
John Milkovisch, a retired Southern Pacific Railroad worker who made his living upholstering, gradually covered his entire house with aluminum cans in various forms.
It is estimated that over 50,000 cans adorn this small bungalow tucked away in a quaint Houston neighborhood.
2. President’s Heads
So as the cliché goes, “everythings bigger in Texas.?
In Houston, that’s certainly true of a set of presidential busts made by David Adickes at his studio off I-10.
It’s free, magnificent and if you look in the back, you’ll see the Beatles in a way you never have before.
3. Howard Hughes’ Grave
Yes, the crazy, rich, eclectic businessman is buried in a very unassuming grave in a beautiful, old cemetery in the middle of Houston.
While visiting his gravesite is a fun check-it-off-the-list stop, the hidden beauty is finding graves from the 1800s and taking a short respite from the traffic on all Houston’s mighty highways.
4. The Orange Show
Like the beer can house, this eclectic work of folk art is nestled in a neighborhood just off the highway.
Once you arrive, you’ll be rendered speechless by the wonder of it all: painted wagon wheels, misspelled greetings, a “museum" in the middle with everything from Santa to a creepy clown.
All of these random items were carefully crafted together by one Houstonian (who has now since passed), Jeff McKissack, who just wanted to share his love of the citrus fruit with the rest of the world.
5. St. Arnold Brewery Tour
Houston, we have a brewery.
The only one inside the city limits is Saint Arnold, which is Texas’ oldest craft brewery. With tours every weekday at 3 p.m. and every Saturday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., there’s no excuse to miss it.
Did we mention the free samples?
FYI, it’s BYOF (f=food) if you’re hungry.
6. Houston Culinary Tours
If you’ve ever visited a city and thought, “I wonder where the chefs eat,? this tour is definitely for you. It’s led by some of the greatest chefs in America that happen to reside in Houston.
The tour makes stops at several of these James Beard winning chef’s favorites, provides refreshments on the bus and fills you up with some of the best food you’ll ever eat. Come hungry for this one.
7. Buffalo Bayou Boat Tours
While you’ll have to wait until the fall to go on the next excursion (the organization that leads the boat trips had their boats vandalized in the past month), you can see the city from a view you probably never expected. Surprisingly, a calm bayou runs through downtown Houston, past the skyscrapers and honking horns. If you want to see where nature and urban life merge, hop on one of these pontoon boats and get the “official" tour.
8. Art Car Parade
It’s full of mayhem, funky cars and even funkier people – and by funky, we mean awesome.
Along with the beloved, embellished and crazy-looking cars that hail from Houston, people travel to the city every May from all over the country.
They just happen to bring their art cars with them too. With nearly 200 cars in the 2010 parade and at least 250 thousand parade goers in 2009, it’s definitely worth the trip if you enjoy spectacle, art and cars.
9. Taco Truck Crawl
This isn’t the Tex-Mex-chips-and-salsa-everything-covered-in-cheese Mexican food that you’re used to.
This is the real-deal-straight-from-the-streets-of-Mexico-and-onto-your-plate tacos made by vendors around the city of Houston that cook their cuisine in portable trailers, trucks and modified buses.
See the true heart of Mexico when you take the crawl and experience some of the most comforting, delicious tacos you’ve ever imagined.
10. Corpse Flower
This big flower has been the talk of the town lately, as the Houston Museum of Natural Science keeps their rare, smelly flower on display - waiting patiently for it to bloom.
If it does bloom (they’ve been waiting a while), it’ll be one of less than 30 times that a corpse flower has bloomed in the United States.
It’s called a corpse flower because when it does finally open, it fills the air with the stench of rotting flesh, hoping to attract carrion beetles and flies, who in turn, pollinate the large, majestic flower.