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Top 25, baby

Houston has cracked Travel & Leisure’s list of America’s 25 Favorite Cities for the first time. We may be at the bottom of that list, but by Gawd we’re on it. You can see the list and how we fared here.

It’s funny, but as much as I like Houston I think of it more as a good place to live rather than a good place to visit. There’s certainly plenty of stuff to see and do if you’re visiting, but some of the best attractions (such as Johnson Space Center and the Battleship Texas) are outside of town, and just about everything requires a car. I’ve already mentioned what I like about this place, and I think if you’ve flown here to visit with friends or family who can take you around to their favorite places to eat, drink, and shop, you’ll have an excellent time. If you’re here staying in a hotel downtown or in the Galleria area, there’s also plenty of stuff to see and do nearby. Beyond that, you need to be adventurous, especially behind the wheel of your rental car.

For the record, I’ve visited all of the cities listed except for Minneapolis/St Paul, Phoenix (though I have been to Tucson), and Honolulu. San Juan only counts as a technicality, as the Windjammer cruise we took for our honeymoon embarked from there. It’s a tough call, but I’d probably pick Chicago as my favorite place among those 25 to visit, with San Diego a close second. I’m not counting New York since I grew up there and don’t consider myself a visitor in the traditional sense when I’m there.

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  1. I consider Houston to be a place to eat and/or drink. Everything else is finding a place to nap or sober up.

  2. Linkmeister says:

    So? When do you come to Honolulu? Aren’t you creating a life list?

  3. William Hughes says:

    I have been in Minneapolis / St. Paul, and I don’t rank it higher than Houston on the places I want to visit. Personally, I found it to be rather dull.

  4. Sue says:

    Houston’s a nice place to live, but it seems like pretty much everything touristy that I’m planning for my father’s visit next month is out of the city. No point taking him to my favorite place in Houston, the Galleria, because he doesn’t like to shop.

    The food here is so good, though, that I’m amazed at times that I’ve managed to lose 30 pounds since we moved here last year.

  5. Tim says:

    >> The food here is so good, though, that I’m amazed at times that I’ve managed to lose 30 pounds since we moved here last year.

  6. CrispyShot says:

    As a Dallas-to-San Antonio-to-MPLS transplant (and occasional Houston visitor), I think the only honest comment I can make is, it depends what you’re after. I have a penchant for classical (especially choral) music, and you can’t swing a dead cat here without hitting a dozen world-class organizations. The politics (at least historically) in Minnesota have been more progressive than in Tejas, which is how I prefer it. And I didn’t know what a real parks system was until I moved here.

    On the flipside, the weather is as bad as people say (9 months of winter followed by 3 months of roadwork), the sports teams are too plagued by self-doubt to succeed, and I miss getting good Tex-Mex on any corner. But the summer in Minnesota whups the summer in Texas, hands down.

    As for friendliness: The folks here are very helpful and friendly, but in a more reserved, Germanic, respect-your-personal-space kinda way, at least compared to Texas. Minnesotans say, “Hi, nice to meet you, how do you like it here?” Texans will take you for their best friend immediately: “Hon, how’d you get that scar?”

    Kuff, you’ve got an open invite any time you’re in the neighborhood.

  7. dog1 says:

    Well, all of us native Fort Worthers tend to look down a bit on Houston. So loud, noisy, and unplanned. But whenever I go I enjoy myself. Everything but the traffic, which starts about 200 miles away and gets steadily worse as you get closer.