Houston's mind-boggling Galleria Mall – the fourth-largest shopping center in the U.S. – is #1 among tourist destination venues in Houston, with more than 24 million visitors a year. More than 375 stores, including some of the best names in retail (Tiffany & Co., Saks, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Cartier, Neiman Marcus, to name a few), join two Westin hotels, two office towers, dozens of dining options – and an ice-skating rink. The architectural behemoth covers 2.4 million square feet of retail space highlighted by glass atriums and suspended glass balconies, built of nine kinds of stone and three kinds of wood.
When it comes to Galleria meeting venues, the area boasts more than 7,000 rooms in a range of hotels, from business class to premier luxury lodging. The Westin Galleria and Westin Oaks have combined flexible meeting and exhibit space totaling more than 93,000 square feet, earning them the shared title of "Queen of the Galleria." The nearby InterContinental Houston is next in line, with 50,000 square feet of flexible meeting space in 23 rooms. But what is important to know about the venues contained in the Galleria is that they are climate-controlled, which means groups will be comfortable, no matter what the Texas seasons bring.
Houston is known as one of the premier dining destinations in the U.S. – often ranked just behind New York, San Francisco and Chicago – and many award-winning restaurants and clubs are in the Uptown/Galleria District. Galleria venues for dining include an outstanding array of sophisticated restaurants along with the everyday grab-and-go variety, providing something for every taste and budget.
After a day of meetings, groups can catch a free uptown shuttle that transports workers and visitors along Post Oak Boulevard Monday–Friday from 11 AM to 2 PM. Stop at the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall, a 64-foot-tall shimmering sheet of cascading water that recirculates about 78,000 gallons of water every three hours, set among more than 100 Texas live oaks. The nearby 64-story Williams Tower is one of Houston's most visible buildings, and in 1999 was named Skyscraper of the Century by Texas Monthly magazine.
South of the Galleria, the three-acre Hidalgo Park features hundreds of trees and shrubs, a pond and a lighted fountain. The 1,466-acre Memorial Park is the nearest large park in the adjacent Memorial neighborhood and includes an 18-hole golf course, arboretum, jogging trails, and facilities for tennis, softball, volleyball and swimming.