Houston Day Three
Lace up your running shoes and trot out to Rice University (6100 Main Street) for a three-mile lap under a beautiful canopy of trees. Or, if you've got kids in tow and have already done the Houston Space Center, head to the 240-plus-acre Moody Gardens in Galveston (One Hope Boulevard, 800-582-4673, www.moodygardens.com) for a little bit of everything: an indoor rain forest with bats and tree frogs, an ice rink, an IMAX theater, and Palm Beach - a white-sand beach where you can slather on the suntan lotion and bake in the rays throughout the summer.
If blues on Day One was inspirational and you're looking to feed the inner musician in you (or just find it), check out Rockin' Robin (3619 South Shepherd, 713-529-5442, www.rockinrobinguitars.com). The place attracts a steady stream of big-name customers - including Stevie Ray Vaughan in the old days, and Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, who recently picked up a sweet Les Paul guitar at this six-string haven.
With so many good restaurants in Houston, it's difficult to narrow your final night's choices, but Aries (4315 Montrose Boulevard, 713-526-4404, www.ariesrestaurant.com) takes top billing. Chef Scott Tycer was named by Food & Wine as one of the 10 best new chefs in the country. Everything is freshly made each day - the restaurant has no freezer. And it contracts with area farmers to grow its own produce. Tycer's bread earned such accolades that he opened a bakery and now supplies other Houston restaurants. Rainbow Lodge (1 Birdsall Street, 713-861-8666), located on a once-private estate, is also a good choice. After enjoying a cold one on the outside terrace, indulge in a menu that includes wild game as well as Gulf Coast seafood specialties.