Nash Baker photo / Hermann Park Conservancy
1. Check out Hermann Park, which is decked out right now for its 100th birthday. You can get there by train. As you wander around, you’ll see outdoor sculptures in place for the anniversary. Also, please check out the zoo, do a roll down “the hill,” and ride the train that runs through the park. No, it’s not for kids only. The Japanese Garden is beautiful, too. And the reflection pool. And the statue of Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas in 1836. This city is named after him, so we’re partial.
2. We’ve got culture. Within a few blocks in downtown, we have opera, theater, dance and classical music. But truly, art of all sorts is happening all over town, and we haven’t even mentioned the visual arts. Today is the last day to see the “Age of Impressionism” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Less crowded may be the Menil Collection, a gem of a museum in the heart of Montrose. There you’ll be able to see the drawings of Lee Bontecou, paintings by René Magritte, and the work of two local photo heroes, Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss.
[Photo: Melody Moore (center) plays Marta, a prisoner in a concentration camp, in Houston Grand Opera's production of Mieczyslaw Weinberg's "The Passenger."]
Smiley N. Pool / Houston Chronicle
3. Speaking of heroes, Houston is the home of president No. 41, George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush. This is not a casual, accidental or political relationship. They love us. We love them. Also, the president wears colorful socks, so keep your eyes on his feet.
[Photo: Former President George H.W. Bush wears American flag socks as he presents newly announced Houston Texans cheerleaders with a rose during a ceremony announcing the new squad at the Texans training facility on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Houston. Out of around 900 women who tried out, 34 were selected.]
Nick de la Torre / Houston Chronicle
4. You might have noticed already, it’s warmish. Don’t complain about the weather, please, we’re a little sensitive. Best advice, put on some shorts and a T-shirt, maybe even some flip-flops, and you’ll be fine. (Have we mentioned this may be the most air-conditioned city in the world?) Also, keep hydrated, and we won’t notice if that icy drink in your hand has booze in it.
[Photo: Troy Tisdale, 11, of Houston joins other children playing in Discovery Green's Gateway Fountain, Friday, June 28, 2013, in downtown Houston.]
Nick de la Torre / Houston Chronicle
5. While you’re hydrating, eat, too. Now eat some more. If you’re not from these parts you’ll want to load up on Tex-Mex and barbecue. Both hometown specialties are easy on expense accounts, filling and completely addictive. But, if you’re here for the whole five days and, who’s counting, 15 meals, you’ll want to branch out. We have just about every cuisine in the world for every budget. For advice, check out tips from our experts, Alison Cook and Syd Kearney. You’re in good hands.
[Photo: Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen's Tampiquena plate.]
Johnny Hanson / Houston Chronicle
6. Maybe you’re into artistic adventures but you prefer down home to high brow. Absolutely visit the Orange Show, 2402 Munger Street, which is really hard to explain but, in five words, an ode to the orange. The Beer Can House, 222 Malone, is a cottage literally covered in beer cans. It’s strangely worth seeing. The "We Heart Houston" Sign, at 1816 Thompson St., is great for selfies.
7. Some of us like our places of worship super-sized. A favorite destination for the faithful — and those not so faithful but eager to take the pulse of the city — is Lakewood Church. Pastors Joel and Victoria Osteen will make you feel good about yourselves and everybody else, too. Average attendance is 43,500 per week.
Thomas B. Shea / The Houston Chronicle
8. Want to exercise? Memorial Park is home base for thousands of Houston runners, and Buffalo Bayou Park is perfect for a walk with a view of the skyline. It’ s our future Central Park, but it’s still in the making, scheduled for completion in 2015. Also, if you have a bit more time and love history, gardening and the two in combination, by all means visit Bayou Bend, the home of one of our cultural icons, Ima Hogg.
[Photo: From left to right, Vannevar Yu, and Jeff Bohanski both from Houston and a young woman and her child jog on January 1, 2014 at Memorial Park in Houston.]
Pat Sullivan / Associated Press
9. Talk about complicated relationships, this Sunday is the day to visit Minute Maid Park and our Houston Astros. Not only do we remember their glory days, we have, or at least a few of us do have, high hopes for the 2014 season. After Sunday, the ‘Stros are traveling, but we won’t be without baseball. The Sugar Land Skeeters are playing Tuesday through next Sunday.
[Photo: Houston Astros' Lucas Harrell winds up in the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals in Houston in April 2014.]
Terry Vine Photography / Terry Vine
10. Maybe you need a little shopping therapy, or at least, can’t go home without presents. Check out the Galleria, where you can find just about anything, tuxedos to tank tops. And don’t forget Cavender’s, which is filled to the rafters with cowboy and cowgirl gear. We usually save the really fancy boots and fringe for the rodeo, but they make great gifts.
[Photo: The Saint Laurent boutique at the Houston Galleria.]