Hipper by far than you might expect, Houston is a welcoming place where it's virtually impossible to remain a stranger for long. The small-town feeling contrasts with this big city's soaring skyline, world-class arts, and cuisine that's as sophisticated and varied as you'll find anywhere. The bar scene is varied too, from clubs catering to cowboys, leather guys, bears, and Latinos, to upscale lounges in the style of New York or LA, plus retro-music and alternative/arts venues. The Pride Houston Festival Day takes place the last week of June each year in the Montrose neighborhood, with lots of food, music and festivities. There's a night-time Pride Parade too. See our listings for more events.
Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport has Metro Airport Direct shuttle buses every half hour for $15 to the Downtown Transit Center. From there the Metro light rail trains carry you to 15 stations within the city center.
A car is a must for getting around Houston's sprawl. But if driving, observe the posted speed limits. Police here are vigilant.
What to do
The Museum District encompasses 18 museums, art centers and galleries. A $34 City Pass gives you nine days to check them out at half price.
If you're in the mood for some world class theatre, check out the Alley Theatre. The Hobby Center presents uniquely Houston performing arts productions. And of course the place for hitting a high-C is the Houston Grand Opera. a must for opera buffs.
Montrose. Houston's gay community is located largely in the Montrose area. Here you'll find many shopping, dining and cruising opportunities. The Galleria on the West Side (5085 Westheimer Rd), minutes from Montrose, is a great place for one-of-a-kind items.
Hotel Sorella (800 W Sam Houston Pkwy N; 866 842-0100) gay friendly, luxurious but affordable hotel in City Center development, a few miles from the energy corridor.
Modern B&B (4003 Hazard St; 800-462-4014) four-story alternative bed and breakfast just west of Montrose scene, artwork, exercise, shady veranda, panoramic views, healthy organic breakfast.
Lovett Inn (501 Lovett Blvd; 800-779-5224) Montrose Museum District location, near gay attractions, pool, hot tub, garden.
Robin's Nest (4104 Greeley St; 800-622-8343) gay-friendly Montrose area guesthouse, deep whirlpool & soaking tub optional rooms, suites, apartments for extended stays, weekend getaways.
Sycamore Heights B&B (245 W 18th; 713-861-4117) private, peaceful enclave in Houston Heights neighborhood, five miles from downtown.
Bars and clubs
611 Club (611 Hyde Park Bl) great conversation bar, easy to meet wide range of people, pool games, weekend buffets, garden patio.
Bayou City Bar & Grill (2409 Grant St) 18+ nights, change of pace music mix, happy hour specials with 50 cent Fridays, 75 cent Sundays. Hot food and specials like 25 cent wings, Thursdays.
Blur (710 Pacific, at Crocker) nightly 18+ young crowd dance parties nightly in multi-level complex, hip-hop to reggaeton, wide range of music each night, amateur dance contests.
Brazos River Bottom (2400 Brazos St) longtime favorite country-western bar with line dancing and lessons, packed on weekends with uniquely Houston crowd.
Club 2020 (2020 Leeland St) dance and party club for a young (18+), mainly male hip-hop music loving crowd.
Crocker Bar (2312 Crocker) Montrose sports hangout, amateur talent contests, strong drinks at good prices, internet jukebox, pool games, darts, big patio, free wi- fi.
Crystal (6680 Southwest Fwy) Latino dance club in Bellaire, Wednesday & Saturday male dancers, Friday live entertainment and talent shows, Sunday drag shows. Miss Gay Texas pageants.
Eagle Houston Sundays (709 Franklin), weekly men's leather bar/club night, 4pm-2am - new location September 2012 with more nights.
EJ's (2517 Ralph St, at Westheimer) local favorite, wide mix of people, amateur strippers, four bars, huge patio, dancing, and pool games.
Etro Lounge (1424 Westheimer Rd), retro '80s music lounge, true fans of the music DJs, 2 floors, covered patio seating.
F Bar (202 Tuam St) mostly guys dancing, no cover cocktail lounge, huge outdoor patio, drag shows.
George (617 Fairview) sports bar, country & western music internet jukebox, pool tables, drink specials, down-home feel.
Guava Lamp (570 Waugh) video bar/martini lounge, comfortable chairs, young and hip crowd, enthusiastic karaoke.
In-n-Out (1537 N Shepherd) only gay bar in Houston Heights, internet jukebox, music videos.
JR's Bar and Grill (808 Pacific St) very popular, hot young professional crowd at heart of gay Houston, karaoke, martinis, three nights of amateur strippers & another with the pros.
Meteor (2306 Genesee) young and attractive mixed crowd, five stages with dancers including one (or more) in the shower, high-energy music video lounge.
Michael's Outpost (1419 Richmond) sing-along piano bar, popular early evenings with somewhat older crowd, pool tournaments.
Montrose Mining Company (805 Pacific) bears, leathermen and friends, Friday/Saturday after-hours, hot strippers nightly 9pm-2am, big outdoor patio, pool games.
Ripcord (715 Fairview) famous Levi/leather/uniform events, home of the LUEY contest, long-time Montrose favorite of over 25 years, pool tables, patio, leather shop, cruisy crowd lingers weekend after- hours.
South Beach (810 Pacific) two-level dance club at the center of gay Montrose, Latin nights, drag shows, underwear blackout parites, wet-boxer strip-offs. Open Thursdays through Saturdays 9pm to 4am.
TC's (817 Fairview St) small unpretentious club known for good drag shows, Thursdays through Sundays.
Tony's Corner Pocket (817 West Dallas) downtown patio bar with view, Houston Area Bears' home bar, weekend amateur strippers, Diva Bingo.
Viviana's (4624 Dacoma St), Latin dance club with afterhours to 5am on weekends, Friday/Saturday drag shows and male strippers.
Vue (526 Waugh Dr), glbt men/women mixed dance club, top DJ music sets, above Guava Lamp.
In College Station/ Bryan Texas, the hometown of Texas A&M, 90 minutes NW of Houston, there's just the one gay and straight-friendly club: Halo (121 N. Main St) with young crowd, dancing, drag shows, karaoke, and visiting DJs from around Texas.
Baba Yega (2607 Grant St) burgers and seafood to veggie fare, Sunday brunch, central Montrose location
Baby Barnaby's Cafe (602 Fairview St) lunch, dinner and big hearty breakfasts in Montrose with Vegetarian options.
Empire Cafe (1732 Westheimer Rd) European style, indoor or patio, early breakfast, weekend brunch. Pizza, paninis, pasta, coffee, cakes and deserts, wine, cocktails and coffee cordials, open weekends until 11pm.
Hollywood Vietnamese Restaurant (2409 Montrose Blvd) Asian cuisine, American favorites, tasty deserts and take-out at central Montrose location, open late.
House of Pies (3112 Kirby ) classic diner fare, 24-hour breakfast, dinner, burgers, BLTs, lots of fresh desert pies and cheesecakes, after-the-bars favorite.
Hugo's (1602 Westheimer Rd) big popular Montrose Sunday brunch buffet, quality out-of-the-rut Mexican lunch and dinner, cocktails, wine, tequila, live music.
Little Big's (2703 Montrose Blvd) juicy burgers, fresh-baked buns, hand-cut fries, and shakes -made Bon Appetit's Top 10 Burger list for the whole USA.
Mockingbird (1985 Welch St) delicious gourmet Texas-Provence cuisine, award-winning chef, casual setting.
Moveable Feast (Echo Lane Shopping Center off I-10) Mediterranean and South-of-the-Border specialties, beef & bison burgers, vegan/vegetarian, shrimp & fish, sandwiches, salads, smoothies, good desserts. Also a natural foods store.
Black Hawk Leather (711 Fairview Av) leather and rubber clothing and accessories, also location inside Ripcord.
Hollywood Super Center (2409 Grant St) gay superstore, gifts, books, posters, media, DVDs, underwear.
Two of the largest chains of US bathhouses each has a great facility in Houston. For full details see links in our Sauna listings.
Club Houston (2205 Fannin St), gym with free weights, machines, personal trainers, steam room, dry sauna, whirlpool, outdoor heated pool, sundeck, maze/video area.
Midtowne Spa (3100 Fannin St), cruising pleasures, patio, steamy caverns, dry sauna, large indoor pool, workout facility, garden patio, rooms.
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