It's all about the meeting venues in Downtown Houston: From the coziest jewel to gatherings for thousands, the area is jam-packed with special event venues for every conceivable occasion. Throw in one of the best (and greenest) convention centers in the country, a convenient light-rail, system, fabulous restaurants, world-class, performing and visual arts – and an ongoing commitment to urban revitalization ($4-billion investment since the mid 1990s) – and it adds up to a thriving, exciting area where it is almost impossible to run out of things to do.
Houston's Downtown is divided up into 10 self-explanatory districts: convention, warehouse, ballpark, Harris County, historic, theater, civic center, skyline, shopping and medical. Downtown venues are easy to access through the 7.5-mile, 16-station MetroRail. Cab companies offer Six in the City, a flat-rate, $6 fare per cab between any two downtown destinations. There is also a convenient network of underground tunnels that connects 95 city blocks and is perfect (and necessary) for beating the summer heat.
In the convention district, directly in front of the 1.2-million-square-foot, cruise ship-themed George R. Brown Convention Center, is the enchanting Discovery Green, one of the many green venues in Downtown. It is a 12-acre entertainment park with lake, amphitheater, gardens, picnic lawns, and The Grove restaurant with rooftop bar and regularly scheduled dance, music, film and theater productions. Adjacent to the park is the largest convention hotel in Houston, the 1,200-room Hilton Americas. Two sports stadiums, the Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park, are steps away.
Within walking distance to the convention center are the Shops at Houston Center, as well as the pedestrian- and dog-friendly Houston Pavilions, a new mixed-use development featuring the live concert venue House of Blues with its plush, cozy Foundation Room.
Minutes away in the northwest section of town is the 17-block theater district, home to nine renowned performing arts organizations in the sparkling venues of Jones Hall, Wortham Theater Center, Alley Theatre and Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. From there groups can walk to the Verizon Wireless Theater at Bayou Place, with more restaurants and clubs, as well as the spectacular Downtown Aquarium with its 6,000-square-foot Nautilus Ballroom.