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Noodle Staff
Noodle Expert Member

December 18, 2019

Visiting in school in the Houston area? Read on to find out where to stay, what to eat, and which attractions you won't want to miss.

Heading out to visit schools? We've put together quick guides for students visiting colleges or graduate schools across the country by talking to students actually study there. Elizabeth Yin (Rice University Class of 2010) answers our questions about today's destination:

Houston, TX

Schools Nearby: University of Houston, Rice University, University of St. Thomas, Texas Southern University, Houston Baptist University, University of Houston Law Center, Thurgood Marshall School of Law, South Texas College of Law

Where to get a cup of coffee off campus/the local coffeeshop where students hang out:

While it is easy to grab a cup of coffee on campus at the Rice Coffeehouse, Rice Village offers some great alternatives, such as Salento, a coffee and wine bar perfect for a casual stop. If you're feeling a bit more adventurous, Agora, located in the Montrose area, offers great coffee in a casual atmosphere perfect for studying or just hanging out with friends.

A good, fast place to grab lunch in town:

You can never have too many good sandwiches! My favorite places to grab a quick lunch are The Brown Bag Deli, and Ruggles Cafe, with fresh ingredients, great sandwiches, and fast service. If you're looking for a classic po-boy, Antone's is a great grab-and-go store with a variety of gourmet drinks and food options.

A reasonably priced restaurant for dinner:

Rice Village is full of shops, but more importantly, restaurants as well. Some casual eateries include Mi Luna, a tapas inspired restaurant with Spanish cuisine; Bistro des Amis, a tiny, but delicious French restaurant, and Pasha, a reasonably priced Turkish restaurant close to Rice Campus. If you're looking for American fare, The Black Walnut is a fast-casual restaurant with delicious New-American entrees and homemade ice cream. If you are willing to drive away from campus, Cafe Brasil and The Hobbit Cafe, are great restaurants located in the Montrose area. Try Goode Company if you're looking for authentic Texas-style barbecue or you can try Chuy's for some great fajitas.

What To See in Town:

Houston is a big city, and many of the things to see are hidden like gems amongst the rest of the city. I would suggest going to the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston, which has a great permanent collection as well as spectacular visiting exhibitions. The Houston Museum of Natural History has some impressive exhibits, but among the notable scientific artifacts, the museum also has a spectacular gem vault and a beautiful butterfly garden. Within Hermann Park, you can take one of the paths which all lead to the reflection pool, outdoor amphitheatre, and the Houston Zoo, but be sure to stop by the Japanese gardens, which offer peace and tranquility hidden in the busy, sprawling, city. The Montrose area offers great shopping with restaurants hidden between the shops, and is often one of the livelier areas of town (on Westheimer, between Dunlavy and Montrose). The downtown area is largely associated with businesses and office buildings, however, the theatre district offers some architecture and a variety of sculptures that beautify the area.

Where to Stay:

Rice University is located right next to the Texas Medical Center, which makes it very easy to find a hotel close to campus; there is a Marriott, a Hyatt, and a Holiday Inn located just south of Rice campus within walking distance. Another hotel within the area is the Hotel ZaZa, with great views of downtown Houston, as well as the Medical Center, though it is a bit more expensive. Any hotel you find within the "Inner-loop" of Houston, will be within a 10-15 minute drive from campus itself.

Interested in writing a short guide about your college town? Leave us a comment below or email Rebecca at!