Everything is bigger in Texas — our great state is larger than France, Spain, Germany, and Japan. You can drive for 12 hours straight and still be within our borders. Along our western side are sprawling, brick-red mountains in a desert that was once under the prehistoric ocean. Deep in our heart is the Hill Country with its eponymous hills teeming with rocky cliffs, lush forests, and Czech sausage. The massive metropolis of Houston is decidedly flat, hovering barely 50 feet above sea level. Not to be outdone by prehistoric ocean-deserts and 200-year-old kolache recipes, Houston still has killer, Texas-sized views if you know where to look.
What did we do before we had rooftop bars? Were we bored and putting puzzles together on Saturday nights? Who cares, because now our city is swarming with perfect little perches in every cardinal direction. A downtown staple since 1972, Spindletop, the revolving restaurant that sits atop the Hyatt Regency’s 34 floors makes a full 360-degree rotation every 45 minutes.
A few blocks over and 23 stories up is Z on 23 with a stationary but breathtaking 360-degree view of downtown. The crown atop luxury hotel Le Meridien, this rooftop bar isn’t just a cocktail joint with a pretty view. Visitors and locals alike can sign up for morning rooftop yoga classes and other expertly-curated events while taking in the sights of our city.
It’s not just a clever name — Raven Tower next to White Oak Music Hall has an actual tower perched high in the sky with totally unobstructed views of downtown. Back on the ground, you’ll find food trucks, an indoor/outdoor bar, and a massive patio with picnic tables and games.
Take in the lush green of Hermann Park, the sophisticated architecture of the Museum District, Rice University campus, and the world’s largest medical center all from your balcony at Hotel ZaZa. Grab a drink at the bar, a fancy meal at the award-winning Monarch restaurant, or just kick back in a literal balcony tub attached to the Tycoon and Black Label suites and see why ZaZa has garnered thousands of five-star reviews.
Just steps away from Hotel ZaZa is a newer Houston gem with stunning views both inside AND outside. Boasting Houston’s very own mirrored bean sculpture by Anish Kapoor, The Glassell School of Art has a splash pad for the kiddos, M. C. Escher-esque concrete stairs, and a rooftop garden that overlooks downtown in one direction and The Museum District in the other.
Take your pick — inside or out, you can’t beat the views at The Kitchen at The Dunlavy. A popular wedding reception destination, The Kitchen is also a perfect brunch spot. Every inch of the indoor ceiling is filled with various chandeliers while the patio overlooks Buffalo Bayou.
Speaking of Buffalo Bayou, there’s a reason Houston was founded on its idyllic banks. From the hike and bike trails to the canoe and kayak launches, from historic Allen’s Landing to the newer design of Sesquicentennial Park, Buffalo Bayou is the very soul of Houston.