Just north of the original downtown and formerly the site of warehouses and industry lies the Warehouse District. A short-lived attempt to market the area as NoHo (NOrth of HOuston, get it) died a well-deserved death and no good, short, snappy name has yet to fully permeate the collective consciousness of Houston, so you might run into more than a few locals who don't recognize the name. Loft conversions and trendy residents are the rule in this area, nowadays, but there's still some good eats and nightlife to be found.
Chase Tower Observatory 600 Travis Street. The sky lobby on the 60th floor of the building is the observatory and free during business hours. The Chase Tower is the tallest building in Texas and the tallest five-sided building in the world.
Discovery Green Park Discovery Green opened April 13, 2008. The downtown Houston park is located across Avenida de las Americas from the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Hilton Americas Hotel. Toyota Center, Houston Center and Minute Maid Park are only blocks away.
Diverse Works, 1117 E. Freeway (N. Main at Naylor), ☎ 713-223-8346 (Tickets@diverseworks.org), . noon-6 We-Sa. Alternative artwork center.Varies, some free..
Downtown Aquarium, . Situated right on Buffalo Bayou. Not just an aquarium, it has a ferris wheel and other carnival-style rides.9.25 adult admission, rides cost extra.
Downtown Tunnel System The majority of Downtown Houston's buildings are connected by an intertwining, complex tunnel system. Scores of lunch restaurants and easy access to building entrances from underground keep Houston's workforce primarily underground during the day. Only open during the weekdays, the tunnels are an interesting spectacle to observe, but try to avoid getting lost.
Market Square Park Surrounded by some of the city's oldest buildings, the site was once home to City Hall in previous years. In 2010, the block-sized space was transformed into a modern park, with features akin to Discovery Green but on a more compact scale. At the center of the park is local favorite Niko Niko's.
Houston Grand Opera, Wortham Theatre Center, 510 Preston St., 713-228-6737. . World-class opera in the heart of downtown's Theatre District.
Houston Symphony Orchestra, Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana Ave. . Concerts throughout the year including both a classical series and a pops series.
Mercury Baroque, Cullen Theatre, Wortham Center, 510 Preston St., 713-533-0080. Baroque music for the historical purist.
Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS), Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby, 713-558-TUTS. Broadway style big theatre productions in one of Houston's newest downtown arts venues.
Events & Festivals
Bayou City Art Festival-  Built on an 8/10 mile asphalt loop surrounded by lush trees, foliage, and picnic areas, the annual fine art event boasts a stress-free outdoor gallery brimming with 300 artists working in 19 artistic media.
FotoFest Exhibitions and art installations, film and video programs, lectures and forums.
Houston Children's Festival is the largest celebration for children in the United States. The Houston Children's Festival offers over 350 events packed into a couple of hectic days.
The Houston International Festival (AKA iFest)  Annual international festival featuring juried arts, crafts, food, music, games and events for adults and children.
Latino Book & Family Festival-  Hosts a world class array of panels, authors, celebrities and entertainment for your enjoyment and enlightenment.
Irma's, 22 N. Chenevert St., ☎ 713-222-0767. A Houston institution! Fun, traditional atmosphere with authentic, unwatered down Tex-Mex cuisine.
Monarch Restaurant & Lounge, 5701 Main Street, ☎ 713-527-1800, . A fine dining option at Hotel ZaZa Houston serving seafood and steak entrees with Mediterranean flair. The Lounge is available for dancing and Monarch Terrace overlooks Main Street & Mecom Fountains.
VOICE Restaurant & Lounge, 220 Main Street, ☎ 832-667-4470, . Breakfast: M-F 7AM-10:30AM, Sat. 7AM-11AM, Sun. 7AM-12PM; Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM; Dinner: M-Thurs. 5:3-pm-10PM, F-Sat. 5:30PM-11PM; Lounge Menu: M-Thurs. 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sat. 11:30AM-11PM, Sun 12PM-10PM. Hotel Icon’s new restaurant, VOICE, offers a fine dining experience and contemporary American cuisine with private rooms for events and special occasions, in room dining and a luxury wine vault.
Hearsay Gastro Lounge, 218 Travis Street (North corner of Travis and Congress Streets), ☎ 713-225-8079, . 11-Midnight. Located in a historic building, the restaurant has a creative menu and bar.
Market Square Bar and Grill, 311 Travis Street (East side of Market Square), ☎ 713-224-6133, . 11-10. Very good flame grilled burgers, sandwiches, salades, Mexican foods. 10 beers on tap plus full bar.$5-$18.
Barnaby's Cafe, 801 Congress Street (Northeast corner of Market Square), ☎ 713-226-8787, . M-TH 11AM-3PM, F-S 11AM-11PM. Informal dining with great burgers and a wide selection of salads and entrees.$5-$15.
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, Main at Capitol, ☎ (713)228-9472, . A staggering variety of beers, some wine, scantily clad staff. Also good food.$3-$6/pt.
The Saint Arnold Brewery, located in Houston, is billed as Texas' oldest microbrewery. Their brews are often sold in local bars. Very popular beers are the Texas Wheat, Oktoberfest (August through October), and Christmas Ale (November through December). Brewery tour every Saturday at 1:00.
Molly's Irish Pub, 509 Main Street (On Main across from the Rice building), ☎ 713-222-1033, . 11- 1:00 Am. This pub has the feel of a small town Irish pub transplanted into downtown Houston. The pub offers a good selection of Irish and American beers on tap as well as respectable pub food.
Club Quarters, 720 Fannin St. This hotel is private and club-like but it has 24 hour room service and it accommodates your needs, for example there are state of the art televisions.
Courtyard by Marriott Houston Convention Center, 916 Dallas Street, ☎ 8323661601, . checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 PM. Only 10 minues from Hoby Airport, and 30 miles from Galveston, this hotel is located right in the middle of Downtown Houston.$189-$239.
Houston Downtown Residence Inn, 904 Dallas St., ☎ 8323661000, . checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 PM. In the historic 1921 Humble Oil Building. Offers free shuttle to George R. Brown Convention Center and Minute Maid Park.$199-$329.
Alden Hotel, 1117 Prairie Street, (832) 200 8800, . Boasts a modern minimalist interior and is one of Houston's top boutique luxury hotels.
Four Seasons Hotel Houston, 1300 Lamar Street, Tel. (713) 650-1300, Fax (713) 652-6220 . In 2006, this luxury hotel was ranked as one of the "Top 100 Hotels in the World" according to Institutional Investor and offers great restaurants and amenities to guests. It is also within walking distance to the Houston Center Athletic Club - great for that morning workout before business.
Hotel Icon, 220 Main St. (Congress St.), (713) 224-ICON, . This boutique hotel features award winning dining, extensive meeting facilities, and a luxury day spa.
Magnolia Hotel, 1100 Texas Avenue, Tel. 713-221-0011, Fax 832-201-7598 . This downtown boutique hotel offers accommodations for leisure travel and extended stay guests, as well as space for meetings, wedding receptions, conferences, and special events.