One of the perks of travelling around the world, building and dismantling exhibition stands is the few days downtime while the event is open and the client is doing their job.
RMP Design’s exhibition team was due to visit Houston at the end of April for the annual Offshore Technology Conference. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic the event was postponed and subsequently cancelled. We are looking forward to returning in May 2021.
This year would have been the 21st consecutive year, we’d visited Texas for this event and this post was going to be about a few things we were looking forward to doing again this year but instead we’ll just cover a few things we’ve been lucky enough to see and do in the past. This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of the best places to go and things to see but more a quick rundown of some of the things we’ve done and enjoyed on previous visits.
1. Houston Astrodome
OTC takes places at the NRG Park, a huge complex comprising an exhibition centre, arena and the huge NRG stadium – home to the Houston Texans. But next to it is the famous Houston Astrodome – the world’s first fully enclosed, air-conditioned sports venue of its size. It’s sadly no longer in use and has fallen in to disrepair and it’s not possible to get inside. However a plan has recently been passed to redevelop it so hopefully we will one day be able to visit.
2. Denny’s Breakfasts
OK so this is not going to win us any healthy eating awards. But nothing sets you up for a day building an exhibition stand better than a plate full of French toast and maple syrup with sausage, bacon and eggs at Denny’s. And while we can’t claim to have visited all of these, we’re trying hard!!
Houston is America’s 4th biggest city and as you would expect there is no shortage of options for shopping. The Galleria in the uptown area is a large shopping mall with over 350 mainstream and designer stores.
Katy Mills outlet mall is about 25 minutes west of the city. It looks remarkably similar (although a bit smaller) to Sawgrass Mills near Miami. Lots of famous brand names and good prices – although not as good as it was because of the exchange rate. On the way, check out the very distinctive Memorial Hermann hospital building on the side of the freeway.
The Woodlands Mall north of Houston is worth a visit to pass a bit of time – big shopping mall and lots of restaurants. It’s all set within the master planned Woodlands community which does have a somewhat Disneyland-like feel.
Also worth a mention is the River Oaks area, where we’ve stayed regularly, which has a great choice for shopping, eating and drinking.
4. Astros Baseball
For an entertaining night (or afternoon) out head to Minute Maid Park in downtown to watch the Houston Astros. Even if you don’t understand the game, baseball captures a unique piece of America. From the singing of the national anthem to the unnaturally deep voice of the stadium announcer and the immense amount of food and drink on offer (yes I’ll have a beer and a dog, please) to the crowd joining in with Deep in the Heart of Texas during the 7th inning stretch – it’s a great way to spend a few hours. And if you do understand the game then you’ll be watching the World Champion team from as recently as 2017.
5. Space Center
We haven’t actually visited this one yet. It’s been on the list for a few years and 2020 was going to be the one. So roll on 2021 when hopefully we’ll make it! Find out more at the official Space Center web site.
Photo courtesy of Space Center Houston