It’s been several years since I’ve been to Houston. Last week, I got a last-minute opportunity to return for a brief visit.

A day trip for work took me to the Post Oak area of the city, in one of its two downtowns. Yes, two.  Houston is stretched out to cover the two distinct business districts, each with an airport nearby: Hobby and IAH. Both airports predominantly host Southwest Airlines, Texans’ favorite way to fly.

Over 600 species of birds can be found in the Houston area, along with long stretches of beach, endless shopping (the Galleria remains one of the best retail experiences in Texas) as well as historical sites, sports teams (Go Astros), and of course, NASA.

But what most people don’t know about Houston is that it also has a rich culture of grit, class, and southern hospitality. Intermingled with the concrete jungle of highways, urban streets, and downtown steel and glass, Houston also boasts tropical rainforest ecosystem experiences such as the butterfly museum and botanical gardens. More local and hometown activities can be found in Memorial and Discovery Park, which boasts over 650 acres of green space used for local cultural events, farmers’ markets, and general outdoor use.

Not a fan of urban spaces? Shake it off and head back to suburbia by visiting one of the two most popular, and populated, suburbs of the nation’s fourth largest city. Sugarland and The Woodlands draw northern migrants to their neighborhoods because it feels like home, only warmer.

I was in Houston for less than six hours, and if I’m honest, previously, I would have said I don’t have a reason to return. However, with my newfound sense of travel adventure, it might have made its way back onto my Texas must-see list.

Buckle up!

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