Houston, Texas: What’s New and Fun?

Leopard Cubs at Houston Zoo
Clouded Leopard Cubs Nova and Luna at the Houston Zoo. Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo photos.

What’s New in Houston?

By Sierra DeWalt

Those who know Houston well know that you can’t visit the big city without a trip to The Space Center, a tour at The Museum of Natural Science, or an afternoon at The Houston Zoo.

All three attractions and more add to the appeal of the city, bringing in travelers from all across the globe.

While those landmarks bring tourists in, it’s new Houston that keeps them there.

New Houston Zoo Attractions

Okapi Calf at the Houston Zoo
Mother and baby okapi. John Register/Houston Zoo photos.

Looking for something new the next time you visit the zoo? At the Houston Zoo you can find a new okapi calf. An okapi is an animal that looks like a mix between a giraffe, zebra, and cow and is sometimes called the “forest giraffe.”

The name for this okapi has just been decided on! Her name is Kivuli, meaning Shadow in Swahili.

Why should people go see this adorable new calf? Well, A.J. Mistretta, Senior Public Relations Manager for Houston Tourism, said. “The Houston Zoo is one of the city’s top attractions, drawing thousands of visitors through its gates every day.”

Buffalo Bayou Park offers 160 acres of beautiful scenery and skyline views, iconic fountains and artwork, a large-scale skate park and miles of biking and jogging trails.
Buffalo Bayou Park offers 160 acres of beautiful scenery and skyline views, iconic fountains and artwork, a large-scale skate park, and miles of biking and jogging trails.

The zoo also has two new clouded leopard cubs, Nova and Luna. The cubs were born in December 2019 and are now learning to jump, hide, and wrestle. They love to chase birds and each other around the logs and rocks.

Renovating the Bayou

In 1836, Houston was founded on the water of Buffalo Bayou. In 2015, the city put in $58 million to restore and renovate the bayou and the park along its banks.

Now the project is extending into the east part of downtown. The new features include 40 miles of trails and bikeways, 7 boat landings, 7 pedestrian bridges, and 200 acres of parks and other nature-filled open space.

Houston Museums

For astronomy lovers, Space Center Houston has just restored the museum’s Mission Control Center. It has been remodeled to recreate the look and feel of the Apollo 11 mission. A $5 million project, the Mission Control Center, or Mission Operations Control Room, worked with NASA historians to get the details correct to truly replicate 1969.

Holocaust Museum Houston
The Holocaust Museum in Houston

Houston’s Holocaust Museum has been expanded as well. This museum has nearly doubled in size thanks to a $33.8 million dollar project adding several features.

These features include a 200-seat theater, more space for the German World War II railcar and Danish rescue boat,  and an expansion of “Bearing Witness,” a permanent exhibition which showcases testimony and artifacts from Houston-area holocaust survivors.

There is also an exhibit called “And Still I Write: Young Diarists on War and Genocide.” Six interactive diary stations let you read through the private words of teenagers during times of war.

Twelve diary entries can be read from young people all over the world in different time periods. This powerful exhibit is in the same gallery as an Anne Frank exhibit.

New Houston Eateries

Goode Bird in Houston
Fried chicken at Goode Bird

What reminds you of Texas more than Southern fried chicken? The new Goode Bird restaurant serves southern-inspired fried chicken which is soaked and seasoned in sea salt, buttermilk, thyme, and Texas honey. They also serve cornbread, chicken sandwiches, salads, drinks, and sides.

Looking for something healthier? Adair Downtown is known for salads and superfood bowls in addition to classics like omelets, avocado toast, breakfast tacos, and guacamole.

They have many bar bites to choose from such as hummus and pita, fried asparagus, a house cheese board, crispy calamari, and bruschetta.

The brother-sister duo Nick and Katie opened Adair in February, but the restaurant has been their lifelong goal. Their parents own Mexican restaurants Skeeter’s Mesquite Grill and Los Tios, so these siblings certainly come from a food-loving background.

Adair Downtown has counter service, table service, and to-go options.

For comfort food and dinner favorites, check out The Federal Grill in Memorial. Steaks, burgers, and truffle mac and cheese can be found here. Delicious seafood including crab cakes, grilled salmon, and Chilean sea bass add to a large number of tantalizing options. They are also known for their whiskey and cocktails.

Sugar Room Houston
Sweet drinks from Sugar Room

What about your sweet tooth? Well, Houston has something for that as well! Sugar Room is a bar and bakery open until 2 AM. Cocktails and donuts make the perfect pair at this delectable dining experience.

With couches to lounge on and modern-style chandeliers, Sugar Room knows about style in addition to taste.

On the menu, drinks titled the Garnet Manhattan, La Bishon, and Rose Colored Glasses can be found. Some drinks are topped with rock candy: others with a rose petal or paper umbrella. Those in need of caffeine can order the “Death before Decaf” which is made of espresso, chocolate, Irish cream, and a touch of coconut.

New Houston Accommodations

After all of the eating and drinking, you’ll want a comfortable hotel to stay in. Luckily, you have plenty of options. Here are some fancy new hotels you can relax in.

Cambria Hotel Houston is in the Downtown area and just opened up in July 2020. Among the amenities to enjoy are a 24-hour fitness center, cocktail hour at their restaurant and bar, free wifi, smart TVs, and a Bluetooth-enabled mirror that allows hotel guests to stream their content. The elevators have detailed Mayan designs on the doors for extra flair.

Hotel Alessandra 5th floor pool Houston
The pool at Hotel Alessandra

Hotel Alessandra, which opened in the fall of 2017 in Downtown, is a tall, narrow tower with 21 floors.

The hotel includes over 5,000 square feet of meeting space, a private board room on the 21st floor overlooking the city, a beautiful 5th-floor pool, complimentary wifi, and an on-demand Maserati car service.

For those with a little extra money to spend, The Post Oak Hotel is just the place. This hotel got a five-diamond rating from AAA.

The Post Oak Hotel has everything you could wish for including the largest ballroom in Uptown Houston, a 20,000 square foot spa, steam rooms, a Technogym fitness center, a collection of over 30,000 bottles of fine wine, and myriad restaurants, bars, and even a bakery with a Parisian influence.

A Growing and Changing City

With new restaurants, hotels, and attractions always popping up, Houston is surely a city to add to your travel list. There is always something new to explore and enjoy. From sweet cocktails to baby leopards, Houston has much to offer.

Don’t hesitate to book a trip to Houston — the city continues to create and renovate for this year and next and is a noteworthy destination for people of all ages. Find out more about Houston at Visit Houston.com

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