Whether you're running in the Chevron Houston Marathon on January 20, 2019, or just supporting family and friends at the annual event, there are plenty of ways to make the entire trip a memorable one when you take advantage of all that Houston has to offer.
Here's how to get the most out of your time in H-Town this January, with everything from where to carb-load to where to buy backup laces.
Where to prepare
For your pre-marathon shakeout, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department maintains over 163.12 miles of trails that loop within parks or run along streets and bayous in every neighborhood, or take your warm up indoors with a visit to one of the many athletic club facilities across town. Take a yoga class at Black Swan Yoga or call Equinox for a day or weekend pass. There's also a beautifully equipped YMCA downtown — and the YMCA happens to be one of the Houston Marathon's Run for a Reason official charities.
If you're the type of runner who wants to unwind and relax before a full day of racing, take a stroll through the internationally recognized Houston Museum District and visit one of Houston's many cultural gems or art installations. While there, stop to visit Cloud Column (lovingly called "El Frijole" by the locals), Houston's own bean sculpture outside the Glassell School of Art building, or catch a Friday night movie at the iconic River Oaks Theatre.
Where to fuel (and refuel)
Houston is chock full of unique restaurants and one-of-a-kind dining experiences, especially when it comes to pre-race carb-loading. For a more casual experience, check out Star Pizza on Washington, or if traditional pasta dishes are your style, head to Carrabba's the Original on Kirby. And if post-race decadence in the form of liquid carbs aids in your recovery, consider one (or more) of Houston's brewery tours, like 8th Wonder or Karbach, to refuel
For dinner, pick your favorite culinary experience from this handy list of iconic Houston establishments or go straight for the Instagram-worthy Present Company for a specialized cocktail. You've earned it, after all.
If all you want to do is brunch, head to The Dunlavy on Buffalo Bayou immediately after you cross the finish line. You'll be able to catch and cheer on the final runners making their way to the finish.
Where to rest
Runners can receive a special rate at the Hilton America's, the marathon's host hotel, but there are also other hotels nearby with outstanding features. The Marriott Marquis is famous for its Texas-shaped pool and full-service spa, while the Four Seasons Hotel lets guests play an indoor game of Top Golf, right inside the hotel.
Where to recover
Reward yourself after your race, whether you ran the 5K, the half marathon, or the full 26.2 miles. Book an appointment at Trellis, the luxurious spa at the Houstonian Hotel in the Galleria. Schedule a massage or other treatment in one of the spa's 20 treatment rooms, or just pamper your feet with a pedicure after relaxing in the steam room.
Where to shop
It would be criminal to visit Houston and not indulge in a little retail therapy. The famous Houston Galleria is a must for shopping, food, and entertainment, while River Oaks Shopping Center, Uptown Park, and Highland Village all offer plenty to fill a shopping bag or two.
Forget anything specifically for the race? You’re in luck! All race routes run past Fleet Feet in the Rice Village neighborhood and Run On! located on West Grey in River Oaks.
The best way to see the sights
To have an experience curated just for you and your family, check out Visit Houston's passes. From museums (the Children's Museum, Museum of Natural History, and Museum of Fine Arts) to breweries, sports, and more, the Houston Experience Marketplace curates the best of Houston's cultural attractions and things to do. Passes are delivered instantly to your phone via text and email and are ready to use immediately with nothing to download. Get yours now, so all you have to do next is pack.
Registration is currently open for the Chevron Houston Marathon, held January 20, 2019. Click here to secure your spot in the race.