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Old 02-12-2013, 02:08 AM
 
286 posts, read 552,493 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelBubble View Post
And that's just in the City. I was just looking up the demographics for Sugar Land, and it's over 35% Asian.
Bellaire is 14.1%
Bellaire (city) QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau

New Territory CDP (soon annexed by Sugar Land) is 40.9%
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/48/4851366.html
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:36 AM
 
2,233 posts, read 5,465,788 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f1000 View Post
Will be traveling as a tourist to Houston for 5 days in late March. I have been to Dallas & San Antonio before, but am looking forward to visiting this part of Texas.

What are some of the main tourist attractions and shopping spots? Suburban shopping too. Also, will I stick out as a sore thumb as an Asian-American? Do the Asian-Americans live in the city limits or the suburbs out of curiosity?

Galleria for shopping. Memorial Mall does have bus service, but that's gonna take you forever by bus.

What are the main areas to avoid...is it a more dangerous city than Dallas in your opinion?

Stay on the west side. And msot areas inside the 610 loop are fine, too.


Furthermore, I'm relying on public transit- which is out of preference when I travel alone. I have done the public transit thing in other Southern sunbelt cities in the past. Is the only public transit-way to get from the airport to downtown by bus- or is there a rail?

There's a bus. That's gonna get you to downtown. From there you can take a bus down Westheimer to the Galleria. Houston isn't a tourist city. There's nothing to see. Those few things that one could remotely consider tourist attractions are probably going to be out of reach for you without a car.

Any insight appreciated. thanks
Eh
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:35 AM
 
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I'll echo what the others have said. The good news is that you won't have any problems as an A-A tourist in terms of people looking at or reacting to you like you just landed from Mars. The bad news is that there isn't much of a reason to visit Houston as a tourist (unless visiting friends/family), and it's even harder to get around as one without renting a car.
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Old 02-16-2013, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Both coasts
1,574 posts, read 5,091,974 times
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thx everyone for the insight..i have booked my trip already for the 2nd week of March and will rent a car, seeing that there is just 1 bus route that goes to and from the airport to the downtown. I am still curious about taking the light rail so I will try that out.

How will the weather be mid-March? are there thunderstorms then?

Does Downtown Houston have a hustle-bustle to it? or is it relatively sleepy like other sunbelt downtowns.

Is Houston the type of city with interesting or quirky shopping districts within the city limits? Or is everything basically in a suburban/ mall format?

How about a "Little Saigon"? Is there one?

Last edited by f1000; 02-16-2013 at 02:40 PM..
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:00 PM
 
Location: Upper East Side of Texas
12,498 posts, read 26,863,786 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f1000 View Post
thx everyone for the insight..i have booked my trip already for the 2nd week of March and will rent a car, seeing that there is just 1 bus route that goes to and from the airport to the downtown. I am still curious about taking the light rail so I will try that out.
Its nothing to write home about, trust me. Houston is behind most other large cities when it comes to public transportation. If you don't have your own vehicle in Houston its not easy to get around at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by f1000 View Post
How will the weather be mid-March? are there thunderstorms then?
Probably low humidity & in the 70's or even 80's during the day & 60's at night. Best months to visit Houston are October-May.

Quote:
Originally Posted by f1000 View Post
Does Downtown Houston have a hustle-bustle to it? or is it relatively sleepy like other sunbelt downtowns.
Sleepy

Visit Austin, San Antonio, or Fort Worth if you want a bustling downtown.

Quote:
Originally Posted by f1000 View Post
Is Houston the type of city with interesting or quirky shopping districts within the city limits? Or is everything basically in a suburban/ mall format?
Upper Kirby, Montrose, & Lower Westheimer all have some quirky shopping districts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by f1000 View Post
How about a "Little Saigon"? Is there one?
Yes, its in Midtown on the Southwest side of Downtown. It has become gentrified over the past 10-15 years, but there are still some Vietnamese businesses thriving. Check out Mai's restaurant for some authentic Vietnamese food, especially late nights & on weekends. The real Chinatown is on Bellaire Blvd. in far Southwest Houston.

Last edited by Metro Matt; 02-16-2013 at 05:08 PM..
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:52 PM
 
1,830 posts, read 1,343,774 times
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What are you looking for when you travel? Regional food? Tourist attractions? Local culture?

For a taste of historical Houston, I'd recommend renting a car and visiting George Ranch Historical Park

George Ranch Historical Park - More than 100 years of Texas History

Also in the area is Brazos Bend State Park, good for nice hike/walk with lots of opportunities to see alligators and other local critters.

Brazos Bend State Park — Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Also recommend a day long (4-5 hours with lunch) horseback ride through northern Houston area. Good chance to see local flora and fauna and meet some interesting folks. I've enjoyed Cypress Trails and the more, uhh...rustic Loveland Ranch. You ride through fields, woods, cross a stream or two, and can chat with some locals.



Houston's Chinatown (mostly Chinese and Vietnamese) almost rivals LA's Westminster and Santa Ana areas, although I'm not sure why you would travel all this way just to get what you can have at home...
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:12 PM
 
405 posts, read 818,666 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metro Matt View Post
No, you will blend in just fine.

Houston (the city) is 6% Asian & some of its immediately surrounding suburbs are as high as 25-35% Asian!!!

Its also depends on what kind of Asian you are...for example, Houston's largest Asian communities are made up of Vietnamese, Chinese, & Filipino in that order.

Followed by Koreans, Cambodians, Thais, Indonesians, Japanese, & Laos.

Houston also has a HUGE Indian & Pakistani population, but I really don't consider them Asian.
Wow! Why not? Because they don't have "slanted" eyes? Who cares who you do and don't consider Asian? The fact is that they are.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:13 AM
 
Location: Both coasts
1,574 posts, read 5,091,974 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mingna View Post




Houston's Chinatown (mostly Chinese and Vietnamese) almost rivals LA's Westminster and Santa Ana areas, although I'm not sure why you would travel all this way just to get what you can have at home...
thx for the tips

I have only ever lived in LA, SF and Seattle, where the Asian-American presence is strong so it's an interest of mine to visit Asian districts/ communities in unexpected areas of the country. For instance, on past trips, I was surprised by the Asian commercial district in Gwinnett County, Atlanta...in Dallas, I was not impressed but acknowledge it was interesting to have visited its "Chinatown" strip-mall stretch...Chicago has a small Asian presence but quite a quaint imo Chinatown....Nonethless, I'm aware Houston has established Vietnamese and Indian segments & would like to see for myself the diversity that others have commented on.

Even here in California, I find it intiguing to meet other Asian-Americans who are from middle America or the South.
Wonder if I'll run into an Asian with a Texan accent...
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:20 AM
 
847 posts, read 2,118,719 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f1000 View Post
thx everyone for the insight..i have booked my trip already for the 2nd week of March and will rent a car, seeing that there is just 1 bus route that goes to and from the airport to the downtown. I am still curious about taking the light rail so I will try that out.

How will the weather be mid-March? are there thunderstorms then?

Does Downtown Houston have a hustle-bustle to it? or is it relatively sleepy like other sunbelt downtowns.

Is Houston the type of city with interesting or quirky shopping districts within the city limits? Or is everything basically in a suburban/ mall format?

How about a "Little Saigon"? Is there one?
You'll need a car to really see everything but public transportation is not as bad as they say. I have a car but I use the METRO system about 90% of the time...so how can it be that bad here, lol? Houston is a city of 600 plus square miles and it is not badly served by busses. Now Austin or Tampa Bay in comparison as far as public transit...

But if you have to "rely" on public transit...I'd stay at a decent hotel that is served by the METRORAIL, like near Reliant or the Muesum District, depending on budget. You have easy access to downtown and Midtown by rail.

The Texas Medical Center is an interesting daytime visit served by the rail...see lots of Asians and international folks running about. There are outdoor table restaurants there...good place to people watch. It is a type of modern, walkable commercial area. Go to Starbucks on Fannin and do some people watching, walk along the sidewalks and witness the busiest medical district in the world. Quite a few restaurants there too, plus a news stand if you want to read stuff.

You can get to the Galleria using the 82 or 81 bus. Take the rail to downtown. Get off of Main Stop. Wait at the corner of Walker/Travis. 82 and 81 are Westheimer busses that drop off by the Galleria.

You can get to New Chinatown using the 2 bus. Take the rail to the Medical Center Transit Station. Take the 2 bus down Bellaire Blvd. Get off of Ranchester or Corporate. Voila, you are in Chinatown. You can spend hours eating and browsing New Chinatown. It is dense and walkable enough. Further west is the Vietnamese-oriented areas including the huge oasis called Hong Kong Mall.

Downtown Houston is not "sleepy." It is active enough in the daytime during business hours, people are still out and about in the tunnels (which are worth a trip to a curious visitor) and the surface streets.

At night, people do go to the bars and restaurants along Main/Travis pathways...as well as nocturnal interest points like the Theater District, Bayou Place and Houston Pavilions. They are like mini-entertainment districts within downtown Houston. Once upon a time, not too long ago, downtown Houston was once a centralized CROWDED nightlife area...but development and re-development caused that scene to spread out back to the Montrose, Midtown, the Heights, Rice Village, old Chinatown and Kirby. But downtown Houston is just but another option.

True, because Houston has many business areas and entertainment districts, downtown Houston is not as bustling as smaller or more centralized cities. But it is not "sleepy." I had partied in downtown Houston back in the late '80s and early '90s on some occasions. THAT was sleepy. Now, there are still good bars in downtown Houston.

Houston has all types of entertaining street textures that other big cities lack (whose sidewalks and building structures look quite too similar). From the interesting, intimate and entertaining grid of Rice Village to the funky post WW II aesthetic of White Oak to the very cool jagged commercial bungalows/converted mini-Mansions and winding curve of lower Westheimer (the Montrose) to the backside of the Montrose (along Taft/Fairview and some really cool cafes/bars there like Boheme) to the wide open patio bars of Richmond Avenue to everything else in between. There's the cool W. Gray set-up.

Houston's "Little Saigon" is basically the west-of-the-Beltway 8 portion of New Chinatown along Bellaire Blvd. It is quite sizeable. Think San Gabriel Valley Blvd meets Westminster/Bolsa. We have Little Korea along Long Point. Veteran's Memorial has a very good mix of Asian stuff in the NW side of Houston...but it is less dense than the buzzing Bellaire/Beechnut/Wilcrest streets.

Just a few of my recommendations:

Midtown spots:
Double Trouble Coffee
- quiet and laptop-oriented early evening, gets really buzzing toward 10pm, near Midtown at the HCC/Ensemble Theater metro rail station on Main. Other bars in the area.
Coco's - Love the location and sidewalk tables, very good gelato. W. Gray in Midtown
Cafe Layal - some of the best shawarma in town, great vibe. W. Gray
Christian's Tailgate - among the best burgers, near W. Gray

New Chinatown spots:
Cafe 101
, Giau Bar N Bites (I love these swank Asian neon bar/cafes, great non-alc smoothie things) - New Chinatown along Bellaire Blvd@Corporate Dr. Basically you go the Dun Huang center, you will find other great stuff too numerous to name!

Across the street, Pho 24 or next door Hong Kong Food Street (late night food)- New Chinatown along Bellaire Blvd@Corporate Dr.

Hong City Mall (Vietnamese-oriented super mall with other Asian stuff too) - New Chinatown, Bellaire@Boone Rd.

Richmond Strip: (other cities don't have a collection of HUGE patio decks like this street!)
Cafe Europe - Interesting international coffee/wine bar off Westheimer@Fountainview near the Richmond Avenue "strip." One of my favorite big patio decks.
Concert Pub: good live music, very cool wide open patio deck, Richmond Avenue
British Arms: decent food and beer...but I love their patio!
Mazaj: my favorite Mediterranean/Middle Eastern big patio deck, good sandwiches, cool international crowd at 12:30am on a nice Friday night.
Deck House, more of a secluded place just perpendicular to Richmond Avenue...and their patio is my favorite.

Montrose spots:
Agora (great buzzing coffee/wine bar) - Westheimer@Dunlavy
Bacchus (great chill coffee/cafe) - down Dunlavy behind Agora.
Brasil (great coffee/cafe/desserts) - Westheimer@Dunlavy
Poison Girl (awesome colorful and friendly dive bar) just east of Brasil on lower Westheimer, one walkable block away.
Boheme (seriously fun, sophisticated but welcoming bar...but try to avoid ordering food at night...too busy, food so-so).
Avant Garden (very character filled converted mini-mansion coffee/wine bar...more intricate entertainment there...cool staff)

Heights (White Oak St.) spots:
Onion Creek - great coffee bar.
Public Space - great bar in general. Good crowd.
Fitzgerald's - great live music club...but don't know if this is your kind of thing. I love this place.

Downtown spots:
No Tsu Oh - love this urban, wide sidewalk dive bar. Noisy, fun eclectic crowd...just fun. Main St.
Minuti Coffee - great place to start a night in the area. Caffeine! Texas Avenue, off Main. There are two Irish bars next door practically.
Flying Saucer - fun place to get quality beer...good crowd. Main St.
Dirt Bar - cool bar just across from Houston Pavilions along Caroline St. Love the open red flair there.
Sundance Theater - one of the few Robert Redford cinema theaters in the country to show indy, art films. Bayou Place.

Asians with Texan accents? I used to go to Audio-Video Plus on Waugh Dr...and it was run by Asians...with "Texan accents." I haven't been there in years.

I'm Asian-descent myself, by the way. I love Houston and the environs. I love going about town. Depending on what you're looking for, I have other recommendations if interested.

Last edited by worldlyman; 02-19-2013 at 04:40 AM..
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:47 PM
 
561 posts, read 967,765 times
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^^ mentioned going to Starbucks as a tourist stop...to people watch.. on only a visit spanning two days. Commence face palm.

Note to OP: Wordlyman is a very good writer and extremely well versed in the language of adulation.
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