Living Like a Local in Houston

Houston's mayor, Annise Parker, shares her hometown favourites


A born and raised Houstonian, Annise Parker has served as mayor of her hometown since January 2010 (that’s three consecutive terms—the most any Texas mayor can serve). Here, the popular politician shares some of her Houston highlights.

Dining delights I’m a carnivore and love beef, barbecue and Mexican food. And what I like about Houston is that we have everything you can ask for. [I recommend] Churrascos, Goode Company and Spanish Flower.” 

Afternoon escape “I love going to the Museum of Natural Science. It has one of the best palaeontology exhibits in America, as well as the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals. It’s beautiful to see over 750 gems and rare minerals. It’s very peaceful and quiet. Very Zen.” 

Shoppers’ heaven Kuhl-Linscomb [an approximately 100,000-square-foot megastore] is wonderful, with its multiple buildings and cool shops. You never know what you’re going to find there.” 

For a day trip “[My family] likes to go to Galveston. It’s only an hour away, but it’s so different [from Houston]. With the ocean, neat shops and historic old homes, there’s lots to see and do. And we always take the free ferry ride to Port Bolivar.”

Art fix The Museum of Fine Arts has a stellar permanent collection but always brings in excellent temporary exhibits, too.” 

Diversity diversions “Houston is arguably one of the most diverse cities in America, with maybe one in five Houstonians being foreign-born. You can spend a day hearing different languages, sampling different foods and then shopping in places like Hong Kong City Mall [in Chinatown], a Mexican market or a high-end Paris boutique. It’s all here.”

Proudest accomplishment as mayor “I am very proud that we are investing in the city’s parks and green spaces with the Bayou Greenway Projects, which will link 150 miles of green spaces and bayous in Houston. Being a big-city mayor is the best political job in America. Getting up every day and making things happen in my hometown is a gift.”

Outdoor fun “The new Buffalo Bayou Park is phenomenal. The water is right there—it’s wonderful.”

Family favouriteSpace Center Houston is very kid-friendly, and if you’re a space geek, there’s plenty there to satisfy you.”

Getting There: WestJet flies to Houston six times a week from Calgary.