Texas

Trip Dates: July 9- July 15, 2016

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They say that you meet some of your lifetime friends while in college, while I may not know who “they” is…..they’re right. Brittany and I, my best friend whom I often refer to as my friend soul mate, met at PSU during our Freshman year almost 7 years ago and our friendship has been tight ever since.  Post grad it is common for people to get jobs and spread out all over the US and even the world. So, after our undergrad studies, I found myself in Boston, Mass and Brittany found herself in one of the most important professions you can have, teaching, in Houston, Texas.  Never having been to Texas and missing my best friend, I had to make a trip down to visit her.

I flew into Houston, Texas’s William P. Lobby airport from NYC’s JFK and as soon as I arrived Brittany was ready with jammed pack itinerary in hand. Porche, another one of our friends whom joined us on our Texas adventures, had been interning in Houston so she was already ready by the time I arrived. Upon landing and retrieving my luggage we went straight to Taco Cabana, where I got to have real tex-mex,  a step slightly above Chipotle. We were in a rush and on a tight schedule because we were venturing to Austin, Texas that same night.

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Brittany, Porche and Kalyn at a bar on Austin, Tx’s 6th street

I love Houston, but Austin was just about the cutest city you can visit. They have a strip of bars and night clubs on a street called 6th St that reminded so much of College Ave. in State College, PA. In Austin, we stayed in an Airbnb which was about a 10 minute drive from 6th St where we spent most of our time and a 1/2 hour drive from the nude beach that we ventured to, Hippie Hollow Park.

Our first night, before venturing to the bars with $3 dollar margs and $1 tequila shots, we went to a stand up comedy show where I actually LOLed, Esther’s Follies. The show was reminiscent of that of Saturday Night Live and highly recommend anyone visiting Austin to try to catch a show for about $25 for general admission. We spent about two days in Austin and the rest of our trip was dedicated to exploring Houston, Texas.

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We spent one full day of relaxing and visiting Walmart, which was a big deal for me because there is no Walmart in NYC. We spent another full day at local water park, Texas Typhoon, in Katy, Texas, which cost us about 19.99 for a day pass. The rides were a ton of fun but the food was average at best, nothing comparable to Kennywood Park Potato Patch Fries in Pittsburgh, Pa…my fav!

Prior to visiting the amusement park we visited Katy Mills to essentially shop until we drop with Texas’ low costs compared to those of shopping in Soho, Manhattan.

The food might have been my favorite part of the trip, Mexican and southern cuisine are two of my favs so having more authentic versions of both was a dream come true. My favorite restaurant we visited was Pappasitos, I got shrimp tacos and about three margaritas and I tell just about everyone I meet how delicious those tacos were.

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The best shrimp tacos from Pappasitos Restaurant

One full day was dedicated to explore all that Houston has to offer such as the Houston Museum District, where we seen things like the Rothko Chapel and Contemporary Arts Museums.  My favorites to visit were the Holocaust museum and the Menil Collection, and not just because Beyonce was there a few months before my visit slaying in front of many of the famous pieces. To end our tour day of the museums and history centers, we visited the Houston graffiti park and tagged some art of our own to forever leave a small piece of us in Texas, well whatever doesn’t get covered over or washed off.

 

With no influence from my love of Beyonce, I’d say Houston is currently in my top 5 of cities to visit! Super affordable to visit (round trip flight from NYC JFK $280), super affordable once there, friendly southern culture, great food influenced by both southern comfort food and Mexican food and great (sometimes too hot) weather, it’s definitely a city to cross off of the bucket list!

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