For once, Houston wins. At least in the mind of HuffPost Travel writer David Landsel. He ranked Austin as the number one most overrated travel destination, and instead recommended readers mosey on down to the Big H…
“1 Austin Drum roll, please, for this legend in its own mind, a mildly entertaining university town and state capital with fever dreams of greatness, a city whose entire purpose for breathing is to not be like everything else around it. When you’re trying to set yourself apart from a place as large and as bold as Texas, you have to work really, really hard. Which could explain why everyone walks around here looking so stressed. Sprawling Austin is one of those unfortunate places that seems really smashing on paper. And then one ruins things by going. You have now been advised. Instead, try If your precious snowflake mind can tolerate a little diversity of thought, Houston — our nation’s fourth largest city, if you didn’t know — is currently the place to experience Texas at its most interesting. Sure, this is a city so ugly that sometimes you may be tempted to put a bag over its head, but Houston is also an impressively creative and very fun town, with good museums (the Menil Collection, the Contemporary Arts Museum), plenty of good food — Austin’s own golden boy, Tyson Cole, opened Uchi here recently — good drink (start with Anvil & Hay Merchant), plenty of music and — best of all — fun-loving locals who are generally anything but uptight.”
Houston has been a media favorite as of late, with coveted spots on “Best City” rankings by Forbes, and a recent ranking as the Number 2 city for Women-Owned Businesses. Good press for Houston is one thing… that’s always welcome. But to be in a direct throwdown with the prennial Texas favorite of Austin, and have someone actually pick us? This is simply unacceptable.
Or is it?
If there was ever a time for someone to want to visit or move to Houston, this may be it. The city is booming with job opportunities, becoming more Progressive by the hour, and making long-term investments in infrastructure and transportation. We’re even trying to combat our massive car stigma with some of the country’s boldest bicycle initiatives. City leaders have also begun to take visual aesthetics more seriously with revitalization of everything from freeways to our acclaimed network of parks. Sure it’s still mega-flat, mega-hot and mega-sprawled, but Houston is working hard to make its outer shell match the boundless inner beauty that ardent Houstophiles already know.
So I guess this is our new world. Instead of “Keep Austin Weird”, maybe we should all be saying “Make Houston NORMAL”.
Oh, and Houston is not ugly. But sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to see just how amazing the city is. I for one am glad more people have started digging. No offense to my dear Austinites, but you’ve held the spotlight for a long time. Enjoy the break!!
(photo credit telwink on Flickr)