Then we walked over to Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. We didn't go in and there was a game that night so it was pretty crowded but its a pretty cool stadium. It doesn't look as big from the outside as it really is on the inside. The field is actually below street level. There is a huge retractable roof and the stadium is air conditioned, making the prospect of going to a game in the hot, humid Houston summer a lot more appealing. The spot where the stadium is built used to be a train station. The old Union Station is still attached to the stadium, in fact its one of the entrances to the park and where the team store is located. We got to go into that part and it was pretty cool. And because it used to be a train station, whenever the Astros hit a home run there is an actual full sized train that runs across the left field wall.
Then we stopped at a cool old church. Christ Church Cathedral. Its the oldest religious grounds in Houston. It was founded when Texas was still an independent republic. Its kind of a cool little oasis in the middle the of the bustle of downtown. There is a courtyard with a fountain. We didn't get to go inside because there was a wedding but I'm sure its pretty inside.
Then there is the Post Rice Lofts. Its apartments now but it used to be the capitol building when Texas was an independent country after it won its independence from Mexico. The capitol building was torn down and the current building was opened in the 20's as a super swanky hotel. We went inside and the lobby is pretty spectacular. There is a 20 foot stained glass sky light. Howard Hughes celebrated his trip around the world here. Also, JFK stayed here in November 1963 the night before he flew to Dallas and was assassinated. The building was renovated and turned into loft apartments and the lower floors with ballrooms and such are used for special events.
Next are just some pictures of buildings downtown. The architecture is pretty cool.
This was just a cool tile mosaic bench that was along our walk. There is a lot of stuff like this all over downtown, a bunch of little pockets of art. We also saw this cool clock tower that had a cool story to go with it but I forget what it was. Also there is a picture of Wesley hanging in his stroller. He was a major trooper. The whole tour was about 2-3 hours and he didn't complain once. He just enjoyed the ride.
Then we came to Buffalo Bayou. It just looks like a murky river or creek to me. I'm not sure what makes it a bayou, maybe just the fact that its in the south but its still pretty cool. Apparently people canoe and kayak down it. Originally it was used for like shipping and things because I'm pretty sure it empties out into the Gulf of Mexico. Its a pretty cool spot, with lots of wildlife and vegetation right in the middle of downtown. The Bayou is actually kind of the reason for Houston's existence. This is where the Allen brothers landed and founded the city known as Houston.
On the Bayou is an 8ft tall statue of George H.W. Bush. He is from Houston and this is a monument to him. Behind him are plaques depicting key scenes from his life, such as scenes from when he was an oil man, and the Berlin wall as it was torn down and at the inauguration of his son George W. There is also a fountain that Doug, as he was backing up trying to get a picture of Wesley and me with the Houston skyline, fell into. :) He managed to keep his phone dry but everything else from his chest down was soaked for the rest of the tour.
Then we crossed a bridge across the Bayou and there is this series of sculptures called the 7 wonders, they are pretty cool. Then we went to the theater district, home to permanent professional companies in all the major disciplines such as ballet, theater and opera. Its also home to some really cool architecture. The last picture is of the JP Morgan Chase building and its the tallest building west of the Mississippi and that tallest 5 sided building in the world. It is 75 stories, 1002ft. And the elevators go 1000ft/min. We didn't see this because its only open Mon-Fri during business hours but most all of downtown Houston's office buildings are connected by a series of underground tunnels. Its 6.5 miles of tunnels that allow you to navigate the city and avoid the heat.
At the end of the tour we rode the light rail for a few blocks and then walked back to our car. We had a lot of fun and learned a lot about the city we live so close to now. And now we know some good places to take our friends and family when they come to visit (hint hint!).