Photography: Courtesy Visit Houston
Photography: Courtesy Visit Houston

If you are in Space City for the big game, C&I’s got your itinerary.

From floating down a Texas-shaped lazy river at the brand-new Marriott Marquis Houston hotel to exploring the stars at Space Center Houston, there’s plenty to do in this year’s Big Game host city.

Space Center Houston

One of the most iconic places in Houston is its renowned Space Center Houston, the visitors center of the legendary Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. At Space Center Houston, visitors get an inside look at the facilities, ideas, machines, and technology that launched a worldwide revolution. The education-driven museum showcases artifacts like the Mercury 9 capsule, piloted by astronaut Gordon Cooper in 1963 as the final manned space mission of the U.S. Mercury program, and the Gemini 5 Capsule, piloted by Gordon Cooper and Pete Conrad in 1965. Other notable attractions include a Lunar Module replica and a NASA Tram Tour, which takes you into the historic Control Centers and Rocket Park.

The Waugh Bridge “Bat Colony”

For years, the bat colony that lives underneath the Waugh Bridge right outside of downtown has been attracting nature enthusiasts, who rave about the awe-inspiring experience of watching a cloud of bats fly from under the bridge. According to the city, the time of the bat emergence from the bridge isn’t completely predictable, but the bats usually emerge after dusk every night. When they fly out, it’s thrilling to see. The thickness of the cloud of bats varies from several hundred to several thousand per minute. The game falls, of course, on a winter weekend, which might not be the ideal time — the best emergences tend to be summer and fall — but we’re not quibbling with the bat colony. For a “bat chat” with Houston Area Bat Team volunteers, arrive 30 minutes before sunset at the viewing platform on the corner of Waugh Drive and Allen Parkway.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company

Rejoice in 51 years of the ultimate gridiron showdown by cracking open a cold one. This year, there’s no better way to celebrate the tradition of beer and football than by taking a sip from Texas’ finest and oldest craft beer, Saint Arnold. Visit Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s brewery and beer hall for an inside look at the making of first class beers. Your taste buds will thank you for it. Year-round favorites include the Fancy Lawnmower, Weedwacker, and Santo, and you’ll want to try their newest seasonal beer, Spring Bock. Kids can enjoy Saint Arnold’s nonalcoholic old-fashioned root beer. During Big Game Week (the week of January 30), enjoy extended hours, an “Evening of Rare Beers” on February 4 (ask about the Cellar-Bration tasting package), and the fourth annual “Super Beef Sunday” on February 5, when “BBQ and beer take over the brewery.”

Museum District

Houston’s a major cultural center, with 19 museums in the Museum District. If you’re an animal lover, the Houston Zoo has more than 6,000 animals to reawaken your inner child or inner zoologist. Fan favorites include the giraffe feeding zone and the sea lion exhibit. History buffs can visit The Holocaust Museum and Buffalo Soldiers National Museum. Art lovers can view one-of-a-kind pieces at the Houston Center for Contemporary Art and The Menil Collection. Whatever your cultural desire, the Museum District can fulfill it.

The Galleria

Looking to shop till you have to head back to your hotel for a foot massage? The Galleria is the place. From sports memorabilia to urban bohemian clothing, the Galleria gets it over the goal line. The giant indoor shopping development is located in the heart of uptown and is the largest mall in Texas. Among its entertainment attractions aside from luxury shopping, there’s great dining and an indoor ice skating rink, making it a popular and family-friendly tourist site.

Photography: Courtesy Visit Houston
Photography: Courtesy Visit Houston

The Marriott Marquis

The brand-new Marriott Marquis is Southern hospitality at its best. This year’s headquarters of the National Football League, it will be playing host to VIP parties and exclusive events. Not only is it the place to be during the Big Game Weekend, but it’s got unique amenities that will make it a destination even when it’s not football central. The prestigious hotel has a one-of-a-kind lazy river in the shape of Texas on its rooftop pool deck. Balance the adrenaline of the big football match by floating the Lone Star State without leaving your hotel.

Goode Company

Get a taste of Texas barbecue at Goode Company. Here the meats, cooked over mesquite, are smoked to perfection and the sides are made with love. Goode Company has been around for more than 35 years and continues to get better and more popular with age. Even if you’ve tailgated beyond your calorie limit, don’t skip the fan favorite pecan pie.

Discovery Green

Super Bowl LIVE will be taking place downtown at Discovery Green right across from the George R. Brown Convention Center. The signature event is a nine-day fan festival running through Big Game Day. Football fanatics can expect live music, interactive exhibits, tasty food, and, best of all, a 90-foot virtual reality trip to Mars. Some of the musical acts include Shakey Graves and Houston natives ZZ Top.

Downtown Aquarium

Looking for something family-friendly yet exciting? The Downtown Aquarium has everything from first-class dining experiences to gorgeous aquatic exhibits.  With red-bellied piranhas and venomous freshwater stingrays in the Rainforest, explore the ancient legends of El Dorado in the Sunken Temple, dive into the Gulf of Mexico, or even visit the jungles of Rewa in central India with the popular white tigers exhibit.

The Orange Show

If you like things that are a little different and edgy, make sure to stop by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. Located in Houston’s East End, the Orange Show Monument is a folk-art environment built between 1956 and 1979. Every piece of the 3,000-square-foot space was hand-painted and hand-placed by founder Jefferson Davis McKissack. Other attractions include the Beer Can House, featured on Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and the famous Houston Art Car Garage.


Bonus: Shop Houston’s Western Lifestyle

Maida’s

Shop their collection of handcrafted belts and buckles. Each belt, buckle, and piece of jewelry is a unique, customized work of art.

Pinto Ranch

This curated collection offers top-of-the-line cowboy boots, buckles, hats, and Western apparel.

The Arrangement

Outfit your abode in rustic modern style from the best source for custom-built Western furniture.

Schaefer Outfitter

From ranch gear to Houston rodeo apparel to cowboy hats, this is the place for authentic Texas-made clothing.

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