2 Girls Who Travel’s Staycation in Downtown Houston


So what do you do when you’re travel writers that really need to get away, but work just won’t let you be great?

You make your city your getaway … yes, it’s possible. Don’t sleep on the staycation, yall! Clearly, we’ve been about that life.

And thanks to CityPass Houston, we had our entire Saturday planned out.

First things first: we headed to the Houston Zoo. We’re both animal lovers and the weather cooperated, so it was a good trip. But know this, the zoo gets pretty crowded and parking can fill up fast. We arrived just after 10am on Saturday and it was packed!

Visitors can feed the giraffes two times a day, 11am and 2pm for $7. The line was too long for us so we just watched these guys πŸ™‚
When we tell you this ostrich was strutting back and forth like it was on the runway…

Red Panda
Wonder what these meerkats were up to

There’s enough at the Houston Zoo to keep any adult, child or elderly person entertained for hours. We were on a mission to see as many animals as possible, but there’s also places to grab a bite to eat or drink (including the adult variety).

After the zoo, we traveled not even a mile to the next stop our CityPass would take us – the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS). With admission, we were able to view all exhibit halls. The HMNS also offers cool stuff like the planetarium and the butterfly center, but note there’s an additional fee for those.

After visiting the museum, we grabbed some lunch and then headed downtown for our accommodations for the night. Big shout out to Le Meridien Houston Downtown for hosting 2 Girls Who Travel for the night.

Our room was spacious with modern decor – the bathroom, too. We do not like dated bathrooms! We were treated to complimentary champagne in the lobby until 7pm and the hotel staff and valet were kind and helpful – even bringing our car back out literally minutes after we dropped it off because we forgot something crucial in it.

After settling in our room, we headed to the Houston Aquarium (also located downtown), courtesy of CityPass. In our opinion, the aquarium is more beautiful at night. If you visit the aquarium, you can pet the stingrays and even feed them. We didn’t do it this time, but we did enjoy watching the little things – especially because they seem to get a kick out of splashing you!


By this time, we had endured a full day and were starving. So back to our hotel we went to have dinner at the onsite restaurant Oxbow 7. This restaurant was created by Chef Bryan Caswell and wife Jennifer Caswell and the food can be described as “elevated bayou cuisine.” Now, please note the dinner menu isn’t super extensive. We had far better luck with their breakfast/brunch menu (more on that in a bit).

Lamb ribs: tasty, but a lot of fat
Crispy shrimp with cauliflower: this was good, but the portion was tiny

Okay, you know how it’s the end of the night and you don’t want the fun to end, yet? So after dinner, we trucked up to the Penthouse Floor of the hotel to have a drink at Hoggbirds Rooftop Lounge. Okay, disclaimer, we actually had plenty to drink at dinner and just wanted to see the views – which are fabulous, by the way. By that time, the wind had picked up and our visit was short because we were without jackets! But if you stay at Le Meridien, it is a must you go to the rooftop lounge.

Lovely view of downtown Houston

Once we resided to the room, it wasn’t long before sleep took over. Fast forward to the next morning.

We decided to try Oxbow 7 for breakfast and must say we felt their menu was way more satisfying than dinner. We both ordered the crispy chicken sandwich (Kim had fries and Val had a salad). The sandwich was excellent (heavy on the bleu cheese slaw, so if bleu cheese isn’t your thing, consider another menu option). And mimosas were $3/glass. And they were delicious – delicious, we tell you! Get a couple.

So after a full 24-plus hours, we can say our Houston staycation was successful. And we didn’t even use all of our CityPass. Don’t worry, we’ll take care of that very soon – and of course, share it with you all!


5 comments on “2 Girls Who Travel’s Staycation in Downtown Houston”

    1. It’s really cool – basically you can see a majority of a city’s big attractions for deeply discounted price. A lot of other big cities offer them, too (i.e. Chicago, NYC, Boston, etc.)


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