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Side Streets and Road Trips

Along with opportunities at Rice to analyze the corporate, educational and medical fields, there is Houston and its surrounding cities that are best to be discovered rather than not studied. The following events and locations are how Houston shows its creativity and its sense of humor while encouraging the unexpected.

Side Streets

  • Art Car Parade: Take an old clunker of a car, attach interesting items or turn it into a moving sculpture, and you have an art car. Look for the parade in May each year.
  • Aurora Picture Show: A self-described microcinema, the small movie theater features noncommercial film, video, and new media.
  • Beer Can House: Yes, a man really decorated his house with beer cans!
  • High Spirits Tours: Houston buildings and cemeteries have a wealth of spirits and ghosts waiting for guests.
  • Hot Town, Cool City: A website dedicated to finding some of the city's hidden gems.
  • Only in Houston: A showcase for the creative talents of local freelance visual artists and videographers.
  • Orange Show Center for Visionary Art: A nonprofit organization best known in Houston for showcasing art cars and exploring the city's more creative and eccentric artists.
  • Wabash Antiques and Feed Store: Need to purchase a chicken or get some cattle feed? Look no further than downtown Houston's feed store. The Wabash has been in business since 1908, and it has seen a lot of changes to the neighborhood.

Road Trips

Need to get away? Try these trips near the city or venture into Texas Hill Country.

Nearby (less than 50 miles)  

Brazos Bend State Park: Take a hike around the 40-acre lake among Texas alligators and birds; then, stick around for a glimpse of the stars at the George Observatory, located in the park. (46 miles southwest)

Forbidden Gardens: Travel to Katy, and go back in time to China in the third century BC. The Forbidden Gardens feature a replica of China's famous terracotta army and a replica of Beijing's Forbidden City. (21 miles west)

Galveston and The Strand  : Head to the beach and enjoy a step back into history. Galveston's Stewart Beach, off the seawall, offers swimmers and sunbathers a place to relax. Just up the street, tourists can walk into the 1800s in the Historic Strand District and within the mansions along Broadway. Galveston's port is served by five cruise lines, featuring weekend and weeklong Caribbean cruises. (50 miles south)

Kemah Boardwalk: Hop on a speed boat and cruise across the bay at speeds of 40 mph, or walk along the waterfront. Located near NASA's Johnson Space Center, Kemah features an amusement park, fabulous restaurants, gift shops and a boat marina. (20 miles south)

Lake Conroe: Travel north to the birthplace of the Texas flag. Lake Conroe features water sports, golf courses, camping and hiking trails. The lake is located at the edge of the Texas Big Thicket National Preserve. The thicket is the first national preserve widely known for the convergence of three ecosystems: eastern hardwood forests, gulf coastal plains and midwest prairies. (40 miles north)

Old Town Spring  : Step back in time to a turn-of-the-century railroad town. Old Town Spring features more than 150 quaint shops and restaurants inside buildings built in the 1900s. The town hosts five major festivals each year. (25 miles north) 

Farther Out  

Austin  : Home to the State Capitol and the University of Texas, Austin is situated at the foothills of the Texas Hill Country. The Colorado River runs through town, and three lakes surrounding the city. This is the quintessential Texas city, with high-powered business professionals mixing it up with struggling musicians and counter-culture hippies. Bumper stickers seen on cars around town describe the city best with the slogan "Keep Austin Weird." If you come to Texas, you must visit Austin. (160 miles northwest)

San Antonio  : Every Texan knows the phrase, "Remember the Alamo," and San Antonio is the landmark's home. This once small, mostly Hispanic city has become a Texas playground, featuring a riverwalk, theme parks, water amusement parks, and, of course, the Alamo. The city is rich in Tex-Mex culture and is a cross between Western tradition and cosmopolitan progress. (196 miles west)

New Braunfels  : Experience a quaint German town and tube down the crystal clear, spring-fed Guadalupe River. Situated between Austin and San Antonio in the Texas Hill Country, New Braunfels is especially popular with college students who like to spend weekends playing in the river and honky-tonking at the historic Gruene Hall. For water park enthusiasts, Schlitterbahn, located in downtown New Braunfels, is rated America's No.1 water park by the Travel Channel. (175 miles west)