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Home of NASA, Houston is a heady mix of American cowboy town and futuristic metropolis. It's the largest city in Texas, with an arts and culture scene to match. No visit is complete without a trip to the Space Center Houston, where you can get up close and personal with artefacts from historic moments in US space exploration including the Independence Space Shuttle. The city is also famous for its food – try Cajun dishes, Tex Mex and twists on Asian fusion.
Hostels in Houston are generally upscale and vibrant. You can stay in a mansion with an outdoor swimming pool, or in an arty hostel with comfortable beds, and most options offer free breakfast. Houston has a lively restaurant scene, or you can cook your own meals in a communal kitchen stocked with basics such as pasta, flour and rice. You'll find free Wi-Fi in a Houston hostel as standard, as well as free parking. Some Houston hostels offer bike rentals to get you zipping around the city like a local.
Houston has several characterful neighbourhoods. The 19th-century centre has upmarket restaurants and plenty of photo opportunities, while you'll find some of the most eclectic food in the city in Montrose, including Tex-Mex favourites like chile con queso and tacos. Midtown is known for its nightlife, with chic bars and popular clubs. The Museum District has the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the cutting-edge Houston Museum of Natural Science, manicured gardens and a miniature railway at Hermann Park.
Houston's top attractions are linked to space exploration. The Space Center Houston's immersive exhibits delve into NASA's history and the Houston Museum of Natural Science's planetarium teaches you all about the universe. The city is also known for great live music, including a strong blues scene and the internationally acclaimed Houston Grand Opera. Culture vultures can head to one of Houston's many art galleries, or for something a little different, you can see wildlife including frogs, birds and turtles, at the 155-acre Houston Arboretum and Nature Center.
Houston has two major airports with flights arriving from elsewhere in the USA and beyond: the George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the William P. Hobby Airport. Many visitors opt to rent a car, but you can also take a public bus (approximately 1 hour's travel from both airports) or a taxi. The Amtrak Sunset Limited train, which runs from New Orleans to LA, makes a stop at Houston. Once in Houston, you can easily get around on local buses or the light rail system. There's also a bike-sharing service, B-cycle.