Best Mile of Houston (2000)

The 1000 block of Memorial Drive to 900 Texas Avenue

Houston's strength is in diversity and ever-evolving transitions. Nothing shows this off better than the last leg of Memorial Drive into the city. Relish the tribute to nature on the green-space trails along Buffalo Bayou, the ones accented with public art, the ones that could have been erased with a concrete-lined culvert ages ago. The trees along that area instantly give way to the human wonder of a rising skyline with architecture as unique as any in America. If it were only bringing travelers in among tall, impersonal buildings, like Allen Parkway does, the marvels would end there. But Memorial flows into the beginning of Texas Avenue, a pathway pulsating with human attractions. There's Bayou Place, born again from the dead Albert Thomas Convention Center. And this is the Eden of the fine arts, from the Wortham Theater to the Alley to the longneck and get-down concerts on the plaza across the street. And on to the venerable Lancaster Hotel, a touch of old Houston elegance and efficiency. And finally there's the grande dame of them all, the revitalized Rice, anchoring a downtown that has stormed back to life after too much slumber. Before long, this route will be the two or three best miles of Houston, as the heart of the city gets enlarged all the way to Enron Field and beyond. For now, a lot of Houston's diverse strength -- nature and the naturalists, business and the corporate set, the clubgoers and culture seekers -- is coming together on this common turf. Feel good, Houston; this is the genuine stuff of which great cities are made.


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