Houston, Texas is a big city, and it packs a correspondingly big punch. It's soul is deeply Texan, with rodeos and barbeque joints still very much a part of the scene here; but it's also highly cosmopolitan, with superb shopping and an interesting museum district. If you want to ride a mechanical bull in a honky-tonk bar on Houston holidays, you can; but you can also eat in celebrity chef restaurants, catch a Broadway hit and check out Mission Control at the Space Centre.
Many of Houston's pleasures are profoundly urban. There's a big city buzz about the place, with glittering skyscrapers downtown and dozens of malls to satisfy even the most addicted of shoppers. There's also great dining, courtesy of the city's diverse ethnic mix, and some very happening night-life. Cowboy boots stomp to the sound of slide guitars in Country & Western clubs; hipsters and clubbers party the night away on Washington Avenue; and fans of the arts get their fill of theatre, opera and dance in the Theatre District.
Museums also ride high on the list of things to do on Houston holidays, with a rich treasure trove of places to discover. The Museum of Fine Arts displays 63,000 works of art from African masks to contemporary sculpture, while the Menil Collection is among the finest private art collections in the world. Other hits include the Natural Science Museum, complete with dinosaurs and giant IMAX screen; the Health Museum, where you can walk through an outsize human body; and the fantastic Children's Museum.
There's parks to enjoy too, like Hermann Park with its zoo and paddle boats, and the Sam Houston Park complete with historic buildings. And if you fancy a break from the city, you can head out to Galveston and the coast. It's the best of both worlds.