Houston a Hidden Gem

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Words & Photos by Hannah Lacy - @theblessedlittlelife

Hannah Lacy is a native Texan and resident. A background in catering/hospitality and several years of art studies has given her a passion for making beautiful things. She is wife to her high school sweetheart and mother to an energetic 2 year old boy. She Loves to tell stories through words and photos. She aspires to live a simple and conscious life after cancer in the beautiful state of Texas. 

 

“Houston, we have a problem...” This may have been the only reference to Houston you’ve ever heard. But having been born there, met my husband there, and having my first child there, makes me feel quite differently about it. Houston has greater diversity than any city I’ve ever been too. There are hidden gems sprinkled throughout this city for everyone, whether you are young, old, or somewhere in-between.

 

The Menil Collection

I discovered this gem after my husband and I were married. The Menil houses a private art collection and is open to the public with free parking and admission. It was built to allow natural lighting in throughout the various rooms and there are no lengthy plaques on the walls. Plan to spend at least a solid hour walking through the brightly lit, quiet, spacious building. Outside the Menil is a beautiful place for a picnic.

 

Rothko Chapel and Cy Twombly Art Gallery

Within walking distance of the Menil is the Rothko Chapel and Cy Twombly Art Gallery. Rothko Chapel is a non denominational Chapel and modern work of art. It is a fascinating place to read, think, meditate, reflect or pray. The Cy Twombly is even more quiet, bright, and has the earthy scent of paint. Many of 

Cy Twombly’s works have handwritten messages throughout them, I love to search for and decipher them.

 

The Cistern/ Buffalo Bayou Park

For an immersive experience visit the Cistern and see Rain: By Magdalana Fernandez. A designed light show with synchronized sound imitates rain across 221 story tall columns in 87, 500 sq ft. The Cistern just opened last summer and has the exhibit playing through this summer. Right outside are food trucks and bike rentals to explore the park.

 

The Galleria

The Galleria is the largest mall in Texas and 8th Largest in the U.S. With over 3 million sq ft of space and 375 stores this is the place to “shop till you drop”. It is a blast to people watch, ice skate, and you can even stay overnight. 

 

The Water Wall

The Water wall is “the” place for photos. You will see brides, wedding parties, couples and families taking photos here. Kids play, couples sit, and dogs play frisbee on the luscious lawn of green grass. The 64ft foot tall fountain circulates 11,000 gallons of water per minute. It is an oasis in Houston’s busiest area.

 

Star Pizza

You will work up an appetite shopping and sightseeing downtown.Star Pizza was started by two native Chicagoans who relocated to Houston. It is family owned and operated since 1976. Pizzas are made to order with fresh in house sauce and dough. Delicious pizzas are hard to find elsewhere.

 

The House of Pie

The House of Pies is trustworthy for late night dining. They’ve been open in Houston for over 45 years.With over 40 pies and cakes offered no choice is a wrong one when you order here. I highly recommend chocolate meringue pie.

 

Discovery Green

Too be a Houstonian for a day you must go to Discovery Green. It is a 12 acre urban park that has live music, public art exhibits, and exercise classes year round. It also has a play ground and restaurant. 

 

A 2nd Cup

A good travel article isn’t complete without listing the best local coffee shop. A 2nd cup was established in 2012 and I volunteered with them in 2012 and 2013. They raise awareness of human trafficking and develop resources for survivors. It is rare to drink a good cup of coffee and support a worthwhile cause simultaneously. They are open 7 days a week in the Heights. My drink of choice is the Mochanut. (Mocha and Coconut)

I did not discover many of these gems until I was married, employed full time, and renting my first apartment. As young people we dream of grand places and adventures, not realizing that they are closer than we think. In recent years I have called other cities home. But Houston is my first and most diverse home. The world is waiting and if you look, you might even find it in your own backyard.

 

For the dreamer - For the adventurer