The ultimate romantic weekend in Houston
On a quest for some quality time with your significant other? Houston offers romance, aplenty. Candle-lit dinners, cozy cafes and spicy spas—the lucky in love are well-served in the nation’s fourth-largest city.
Where to stay: Hotel Granduca Houston, Four Seasons, JW Marriott Houston Downtown, The St. Regis Houston, Hotel Icon, Marriott Marquis or pick another hotel.
Getting around: Traveling from Bush Intercontinental or Houston Hobby Airport, take Super Shuttle, ride-sharing service Uber or a cab anywhere you need to go. In the city: Take a cab, Uber or use the MetroRail to travel between downtown, the Museum District and other neighborhoods.
Noon: Housed in a 100-year-old log cabin on lush grounds just minutes from Downtown, Rainbow Lodge is considered one of the most romantic spots to dine in Houston. The decades-old spot is charming and intimate, with cozy fireplaces and a meandering deck that looks out on a nearby creek. But the food is the main attraction, simple yet delicious prepared—from the cast iron-seared red snapper to braised buffalo short ribs.
2PM: Venture outside for a scenic stroll through one of Houston’s parks and greenspaces. Near the Galleria, the Williams Waterwall remains a popular picnic destination for couples. Have your picture snapped in front of the formidable fountain or bring a blanket, for a mid-afternoon nap under shady Oak trees. If you have time, the nearby Houston Arboretum and Nature Center is worth a visit. There, five miles of hiking paths wind through the western edge of Memorial Park.
5PM: Heat things up in the kitchen at one of Houston’s many cooking classes. Join other lovebirds at Central Market, Sur la Table and Well Done Cooking School for sushi making, tapas 101 and Tuscan-themed lessons. For more information on local cooking classes.
10PM: All that cooking is bound to make the two of you thirsty. If the weather is nice, head to Taste Bar + Kitchen for a cocktail and good music on the patio. For vino and small plates, hit the dimly-lit, Midtown-set 13 Celsius, where you can sip beneath the stars or lounge atop an interior loveseat.
9AM: Say ahhhh, during a tension-relieving, muscle-relaxing visit to Fiori Spa. The Tuscan-inspired retreat, located near The Galleria, is known for its underground thermal salt water pool, eucalyptus-infused steam bath and courtyard pool. Break away from stress with dual, good-enough-to-eat services like the luxury De Lusso Massage complete with hot stone and bamboo shoot massage and acupressure, or the Letto De Fiori shower-less body treatment that exfoliates, hydrates, and relaxes the body while incorporating massage techniques.
11:30AM: Venture a few blocks east to The Galleria and dig into fresh oysters and grilled fish at The Oceanaire Seafood Room. The two-story restaurant offers white tablecloth service and a daily-changing menu. Afterwards, indulge in some retail therapy—more than 375 stores fill the three-level Galleria complex— and maybe even pick-up a hot new, outfit to wear for date night.
1:30PM: Before heading back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner, satisfy your culture craving in Houston’s picturesque Museum District. Even though you won’t have time to hit all 19 institutions, it’s still worth a visit. Find glittering gems and jewels on show at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, new works at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and more than 63,000 pieces at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
7PM: Romance abounds at Midtown’s iconic Brennan’s of Houston. The Texas Creole spot, which was destroyed in a two-alarm fire during Hurricane Ike, has since been restored and reopened—much to the delight of loyal couples near and far. Pairs can also find linger-worthy meals at Cafe Annie, Mockingbird Bistro and The Grove among Houston’s many dining gems.
9PM: For a calm and collected evening, go for post-show drinks at La Carafe or take a stroll through Discovery Green Park. Night just starting? Dance the night away at Sambuca, squeeze in an indie flick at Bayou Place’s Sundance Cinemas or join party people for live music at the Continental Club, Fitzgerald's or the Mucky Duck.
9AM: Start the day right with an ease-into-the-day breakfast in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood. Named one of America's Most Beautiful Neighorhoods in a 2011 Travel + Leisure round-up, the area offers endless appeal in the form of quaint cafes, boutique shopping and top-notch restaurants. Blacksmith, Common Bond, Empire Café and Hugo’s are all solid options for breakfast and brunch.
10AM: Venture to Lower Westheimer’s Revolution E Bikes store to rent electric bikes. (The store also offers tours, if you and your beloved would prefer a guided adventure.) Or you might want to rent a regular bike at B-Cycle stations around the city. Spend the morning exploring the shady, tree-lined Montrose neighborhood, checking out all of the bungalows, cottages and mansions that line the historic ’hood.
1PM: Wrap up the weekend’s visit with coffee (or a glass of vino, if you're so inclined). At Agora, cozy seating and a stellar patio provide a welcome retreat for cappuccino-sipping couples. Across the street, Cafe Brasil is another top-notch option for a last sip or bite on your trip.