Crowne Plaza Hotel near Downtown Houston
Just a few miles southwest of downtown Houston’s skyscrapers, the Crowne Plaza Houston River Oaks is an imposing figure of its own, a high-rise hotel towering above the Southwest Freeway. The hotel’s convenient location along the highway makes it easy to explore the nation’s fourth-largest city. Within a 5-mile radius lie Memorial Park, Rice University, several art and science museums, and the massive Galleria Mall, which houses more than 350 stores, a tennis club, and a year-round indoor ice-skating rink.
The hotel’s onsite Reeds Restaurant, located off the contemporary lobby, offers a buffet-style breakfast as well as table-service lunch (entrees $8.95+) and dinner (entrees $12.95+). Slip into a booth at the sleek Reeds Bar & Lounge to sip on a complimentary welcome drink or a glass of wine from its extensive list. The bar and its flat-panel TVs make for a relaxing place to watch a big game. Upstairs, Crowne Plaza’s modern guest rooms greet visitors with soothing earth tones, flat-screen TVs, microwaves, and mini fridges.
Houston: Space History, Museums, and Excellent Dining in Nation’s Fourth-Largest City
As the nation’s fourth-largest city by population, Houston has established itself as one of the Gulf Coast’s most important cultural hubs. The city has 19 museums covering everything from history to art to science. For art lovers, the Menil Collection—which Frommer’s calls “one of the world’s great private collections”—is a must-see. Here, you’ll browse a wide array of 20th-century art from Jasper Johns, René Magritte, and Andy Warhol, as well as African and Pacific Islander artifacts.
You could also spend an entire day exploring Houston’s science institutions. When Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell said his famous “Houston, we have a problem” line, he was talking to mission control at Space Center Houston. Here, visitors can tour the historic mission-control room and get a behind-the-scenes look at astronauts training for the International Space Station. Along Houston’s Hermann Park, the Health Museum exhibits a large-scale human body that families can enter to learn about how our organs operate. Afterward, see how your features might change in 30 years at You: The Exhibit.
For shopping, visit Uptown Park, an outdoor mall that brings to mind a Venetian piazza through Romanesque columns, stone fountains, and open-air bistros with strings of twinkling lights. According to a Zagat survey, Houstonians dine out more than anyone else in the country, and this mall offers some of the city’s best eats. Whether you have a taste for downhome Tex-Mex, Spanish tapas, or creamy cupcakes, Houston’s chefs deliver.
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