Houston is synonymous with all things BIG. Appropriately, its economy is driven be an industrial base in energy, manufacturing, aeronautics and transportation. Hundreds of companies providing technology for the oil & gas industry are here largely in the Houston Energy Corridor. The city is also home to the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions. With its own incubator, the facility is well worth a visit if your interests are in the healthcare sector. Nicknamed the “Space City” (“Houston, we have a problem” – Apollo 13), Houston’s attractions also include an active Museum and Theater District, as well as the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the largest annual livestock show and rodeo in the world. 

WHERE TO STAY

  • MARRIOTT HOTEL WEST LOOP –  A great value hotel located across from the Galleria Mall, it is also adjacent to the freeway on-ramp.
  • HYATT REGENCY HOUSTON GALLERIA  Ideal for a meeting, summit or convention, the Hyatt Houston Galleria is centrally located in the heart of the Uptown/Galleria district. Over 100 restaurants are within a close proximity of the hotel. For added convenience, they offer complimentary transportation within a three-mile radius of the hotel.
  • THE HOUSTONIAN – Created to be a multipurpose Texan retreat situated on an 18-acre garden, the Houstonian is right in the heart of the city. It is located within close proximity to the Galleria Mall.
  • HOTEL GRANDUCA – Our top pick for the ultimate boutique 5-star service, the Hotel Granduca boasts flawless old-school Italian style with contemporary touches. It has a number of stunning private dining rooms perfect for hosting client dinners and events. Our tip: order the burrata salad at Ristorante Cavour.
  • THE ST. REGIS – Well located near River Oaks not far from the Galleria, this upscale hotel is only seven miles from the Houston Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets.

CO-WORKING

  • HOUSTON LAUNCH PAD is a new facility that is familiar with New Zealand entrepreneurs. Operated by private equity firm the Noel Group, the Launch Pad offers a large range of services with a goal to help companies launch quickly into Houston.
  • Their services are customized to your needs. Some of these services include shared office space, introductions to local service providers e.g. accountants and attorneys, as well as relocation. Some companies also utilize their help in business development, marketing and investment services.
  • The Launch Pad is 10 minutes from IAH airport and is part of a campus style setting with hotels and restaurants. Read more HERE.

COFFEE & KAI

FOR COFFEE

  • ADAIR KITCHEN – Simple, spacious cafe offering light New American comfort food with a modern twist. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Adair and is a nice stop for a pre-meeting coffee/breakfast if you’re staying close to Galleria/Uptown Park.
  • TINY BOXWOOD’S – Upscale casual cafe serving a classic Texan style breakfast and lunch. Located 10 minutes from the Galleria inside the Loop, it is definitely worth the detour if you’re driving down Westheimer toward Downtown or the Museum District.
  • COMMON BOND – Rustic cafe and bakery serving delicious food and coffee, the Common Bond is situated close to the Montrose area of Houston, equidistant to the Galleria, Downtown and Museum District.
  • CATALINA COFFEE  Open and airy, Catalina is a very social spot for fresh-roasted coffee, seasonal loose-leaf tea and fresh pastries.
  • BRASIL – The first true specialty coffee bar in Houston, the Brasil has a classic brick interior, which is the perfect backdrop for an early-morning coffee. Situated in Montrose, it is an active gathering place for creatives and business professionals. 

FOR LUNCH AND DINNER

  • CARACOL – A gorgeous eatery specializing in Mexican seafood dishes and oysters, Caracol is a bright, artsy space located in The Galleria.
  • OXHEART – Offering vegetarian-friendly New American cuisine in a tasting menu theme, Oxheart provides an impressive industrial-style setting that is situated close to Downtown.
  • KATA ROBATA – Arguably the best Japanese in Houston, Kata Robata is situated inside the Loop. The restaurant is 10 minutes from the Galleria and the Museum District.
  • REEF HOUSTON – Named the No. 1 seafood restaurant in the US by Bon Appetit, the Reef is located close to Downtown. They have a fantastic private room for hosting small meetings and group dinners.
  • TONY’S – Traditional, high-end Italian eatery, Tony’s is 10 minutes from the Galleria inside The Loop.
  • PAPPAS BROS. STEAKHOUSE – Elegant, award-winning steakhouse in Downtown Houston, Pappas Bros. is often referred to as the best steakhouse in Houston.
  • BRENNAN’S – Bringing New Orleans character and cuisine to Houston, Brennan’s cooks up Southern creole in the heart of Midtown. Don’t forget to try the turtle soup. Reservations and jackets are required.
  • GOODE COMPANY – A very generous BBQ joint serving authentic melt-in-your mouth Texan cuisine located in West University. The portions are supersized (Texas, remember?), specialties include brisket and smoked anything and everything.

NIGHT SPOTS

  • ANVIL – Houston’s first bar devoted to classic cocktails, Anvil offers a list of 100 favorite classics. There are always eight original specialty cocktails on the menu, as well as a small, well-edited selection of beers on tap. Anvil is very casual; they don’t take reservations or hold a line at the door. The building is modern and industrial but the vibe is warm, inviting and friendly.
  • SONOMA WINE BAR – Proclaimed as one of Houston’s best wine bars featuring small-batch family-owned wineries, Texas craft beers and meals made from locally sourced produce, Sonoma Wine Bar serves these in a very warm and cozy atmosphere. Two locations: The Heights and Upper Kirby.
  • THE DUNLAVY – Contemporary event space and eatery serving light bites and cocktails overlooking Buffalo Bayou Park.

MONTROSE

  • DA MARCOS – Gourmet Tuscan dishes and wines served in an elegantly refined atmosphere. They have a strict formal dress code (no t-shirts, shorts or sneakers) so your neon jandals will have to stay at home. Definitely, a place to impress.
  • UCHI  Japanese dining and sushi, this ultra avant-garde venue has been described as an “adventure for the palate” by Zagat. 
  • UNDERBELLY – A hip eatery and onsite butcher shop dedicated to all things pork, it also features a wine bar.
  • HUGO’S – Located in the heart of Houston’s Montrose area, Hugo’s brings the exciting and earthy flavors of Mexico across the border. The menu features traditional dishes, all made from scratch in the Mexican tradition, including various cheeses, moles, tortillas and chocolate.
  • FLEMING’S – A hearty steakhouse situated by Houston’s renowned Energy Corridor, Fleming’s is conveniently located near the Memorial suburbs, Katy and Uptown/Galleria. They offer 100 premium wine selections by the glass, aptly referred to as the “Fleming’s 100”. This award-winning wine program helped Fleming’s raise the standard of steakhouse dining to a whole new level.
  • MALA SICHUAN – Authentic Sichuan style Chinese cuisine located in the heart of Chinatown, this spot is prime for group entertaining. The food is awesome and very affordable.

COOL HUNTING

  • Houston has wonderful parks. Check out Memorial Park, Discovery Green or Eleanor Tinsley Park.
  • SPACE CENTER HOUSTON is a must-do excursion, however make sure you allow a full day. It is located 40 minutes south of Houston, which can increase if traffic is heavy.
  • Houston has a range of fantastic museums. Some of the best include Museum of Fine Arts, HoustonContemporary Arts Museum, HoustonBayou Bend and the Menil.
  • RICE VILLAGE is a shopping village named for its proximity to Rice University. Referred to as “The Village” by locals, this is one of Houston’s oldest and best-loved shopping areas. It offers over 300 national branded stores and a curated selection of local boutiques.
  • If you are visiting during March, make sure you experience a RODEO SHOW.
  • For more information on local events, activities and experiences check out HOUSTON TOURISM.

GETTING AROUND

  • Houston, like LA, is a sprawling city with oppressive traffic. There are multiple business hubs in different locations so staying close to where you do business is critical. Everything in Houston is far so a rental car is the most efficient and cost effective form of transportation. Plus, gas is super cheap in Texas!
  • Limit your time on the freeways/The Loop between 7 – 9 am and 4 – 7 pm including weekends. ALWAYS build in extra travel time. Check out THIS LINK for some tips on how to handle the local roads.
  • If in doubt, the Galleria is a default place to stay. It’s home to a huge shopping mall, hotels and excellent access to the Loop orbital freeway system. From the Galleria, you’re a hop, skip and a jump to IAH airport and all major freeways.
  • West of the City on the 10 Freeway (on the way into Houston from Austin/San Antonio) is the “ENERGY CORRIDOR“, home to energy companies, residential, dining and entertainment facilities.
  • Houstonians are big-hearted open people who are quick to answer with a smile so don’t hold back asking for advice and/or directions. If you plan on hosting clients, make sure the venue is somewhere close to your client’s base. Houstonians rarely travel during rush hour. Driving across town at 5 pm to reach an event is a new form of torture so plan around the client.

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