July 18, 2004
Touring Houston

I had no idea there were this many organized tours of Houston.

FRENCH travelers with one-day layovers in Houston typically have low expectations of the city, noted Lucette Rieger, an independent tour guide.

"They've heard there's not much here," she said.

But after she shows them the cavernous downtown view from the 60th floor of Chase Tower, the Theater District, Rice University's campus, the Menil Museum, the oak-lined North and South boulevards, the Water Wall and the Beer Can House, she says that they'll kiss her on the cheek and say "It's a wonderful city: Clean, green and lots to do."


Houston is not considered a tourist mecca but does have a lot to offer, enough to allow scores of independent tour guides to carve out their own niche of treasures.

For instance, guide Gary White has a specialty in Civil War battlefields and cemeteries, while Melissa Dixon focuses on Fort Bend County history. Richard Cook knows oil-field history, and Mike Kees is an expert on sports venues. Rieger speaks French and Turkish.

And outside the city limits, Leslie Tate of Adventures 2000 Plus offers swamp and river tours.

Most of them also give standardized tours of local attractions.

There are no city licensing requirements to be a tour guide.

The nonprofit Professional Tour Guide Association of Houston, with more than 30 members, gives local guides an opportunity to network and provides educational and certification programs.

Pretty cool. I need to check some of these folks out so I can have it in my back pocket when we're hosting visitors and need to leave them on their own for a day or so.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 18, 2004 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack

Really, how could a Parisian ever return to the City of Lights once they've experienced Houston? I mean, how can anyone enjoy the Champs-Elysees once they've strolled down the Houston's Boulevards? (By the way, does Westheimer stop in S.A.?) And how does one behold the Notre Dame cathedral after they've seen the Beer Can house?

Jeezm petes, man! I realize your plight in finding something for guests to do in the H-beast, but I'm really getting tired of these articles on Houston's so-called "attractions". Recently one was published here in New Orleans on the front page of the Sunday Travel section. A more ridiculous piece of propaganda you've never seen. I rant about it here.

Naturally, I'm biased, but I've been to that concrete vomitorium enough to know it is far FAR less than a "tourist mecca". Perhaps locals can enjoy the Tex-Mex, and perhaps they live "in the loop" in some semblance of a real neighborhood, and perhaps they can find some culture every now and then.... But please, leave tourism to the towns with something to offer! Ok, that's enough. (Every week or so I must vent my frustration upon our more successful neighbors.)

Otherwise, fine blog.

Posted by: oyster on July 18, 2004 4:31 PM


I love it here.

Posted by: TP on July 19, 2004 4:58 PM

I admire unconditional love.

Posted by: oyster on July 21, 2004 3:04 PM