With the second-largest assortment of Fortune 1000 companies in the United States, Houston is a mighty multicultural engine of commerce. The city is awash in some 145 languages, sharp museums such as the Asia Society, and 10,000 restaurants with everything from Malaysian to Viet-Cajun fare. Houston is also filled with public green space, more than most American cities. On weekends, the democratic arena of parks is full of strolling citizens, speaking everything from Hindi to Serbo-Croatian. The American future is Houston.
Houston is given to such efficient finance-meets-fun hotels as C. Baldwin, named after local pioneer Charlotte Baldwin Allen. C. Baldwin is in the heart of downtown, close to the METRORail. Fresh-air fans can visit another Curio Collection by Hilton property on Lake Harrison, The Woodlands Resort, offering championship golf courses.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
This 14-acre complex is an epic production, featuring an Isamu Noguchi-designed sculpture garden and gallery buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Steven Holl. The museum is worth an entire day, spanning a monumental installation by African artist El Anatsui and the current exhibition “Virtual Realities: The Art of M.C. Escher.”
This year, the Menil Collection—founded by John and Dominque de Menil—celebrates its 35th anniversary in Montrose. Menil Park now includes the Menil Drawing Institute and the luminous Rothko Chapel, lined with Mark Rothko masterworks. In 2023, the nearby Hotel Saint Augustine—created by Bunkhouse Group, of the upcoming Hotel Genevieve in Louisville, Kentucky—will cap off the perfect Houston neighborhood.
David Chang considers Houston the next American culinary capital, and Julian Marucci’s new and very elegant Marmo is a true contender, offering everything from savory Texas quail saltimbocca to Anson Mills polenta. Houston creates star chefs: ChòpnBl .ok’s Ope Amosu was featured on No Passport Required and Squable’s Justin Yu now helms The Fancy in Galveston’s Hotel Lucine.
Orange Show Center for Visionary Art
In 1980, Houstonians saved the Orange Show installation, the beloved homage to the benefits of oranges created by outsider artist Jeff McKissack. The Orange Show Foundation’s aesthetic universe now includes the annual Houston Art Car Parade, the wonderland of Smither Park, and John Milkovisch’s Beer Can House, a bungalow adorned with 50,000 beer cans.