Friday, April 16, 2010

The Houston Galleria

John Marine | 4/16/2010 04:59:00 AM | | | |
(UPDATED: February 7, 2012)

If you are visiting and exploring Houston, it's a must you go to the Houston Galleria shopping mall. This is a mega mall featuring many shops and stores you probably won't find anywhere around Houston. This is a mall that I've been to about maybe three or five times (that I can remember, anyways). It is a mall with three hotels, a skating rink, floors of stores, and lots more. This blog entry not only concerns the Houston Galleria shopping mall, but also the surroundings.

Let's set the mood with a picture of the lovely Houston Galleria (click the "Houston Galleria" text in this sentence to visit the official website):

Houston Galleria skating rink
^ from: hotelhoustontexas.com- a view of the Houston Galleria's skating rink from the third floor of Galleria II.


(UPDATED: April 29, 2011) - Thanks to all of you for making this blog post popular! I will be adding more content to help make it better for all of you.





--- The Houston Galleria Area in General ---

The Houston Galleria can be found in southwestern Houston. It is the uptown district of Houston which is not too far away from most local TV networks. It is one of my two favorite parts of town (Rice Village is the other). Lots of people find every little thing to hate about Houston. If you come to shop and want to go to a great place, make the Houston Galleria your main attraction. You may struggle to find good parking at times, but at least you know you're in a special place when you get to the Houston Galleria and the Galleria shopping mall here in Houston.

When you're around the Houston Galleria, it's basically money town. It's where you start seeing certain cars you usually don't see on the road or in parking lots. I remember one time that I saw a Bentley Continental GT in a parking lot as my family and I were at a restaurant called Ruggles Grill within one of the anchor stores one Saturday night. I saw a Lamborghini Gallardo roadster in a parking lot around a Galleria area nightclub. So you get to see a lot of cool cars and other expensive stuff. There are a lot of metal arches across the streets including futuristic-looking light poles and traffic lights. Another lovely place around the Houston Galleria is the Borders bookstore within distance of the Houston Galleria mall.

This area consists of more than the Galleria shopping mall. While the Houston Galleria is beautiful itself, a lot of attractions around the Houston Galleria are equally beautiful. Though this blog is on the Houston Galleria mall, let me tell you of other nearby places (as much as I know, anyways). Click on the text to each heading to visit official websites to these places (if any and if available).


Williams Tower (formerly Transco Tower).

Transco Tower
^ from: skyscrapercity.com, by way of tinypic.com - Williams Tower is one of America's tallest towers outside of a major downtown area.

Williams Tower (which I still refer to as Transco Tower) is perhaps the largest tower outside of a major downtown area in the United States. This 64-story tower was completed on the year I was born- 1983. When I was younger, I always thought Williams Tower was the Empire State Building. It is an absolutely beautiful structure that dominates the skyline around uptown Houston.


The Williams Water Wall.


^ from: city-data.com - The Water Wall is a very popular attraction away from the Houston Galleria.

Within distance of Transco Tower is the Water Wall. This is about a five-story curved wall that has water falling from the top. The Water Wall makes a wonderful place for photo opportunities. Either that, or to stay cool during Houston's brutal Summer weather! It is undeniably beautiful.

(ADDED: April 29, 2011) Don't believe me? Check out this brief video showcasing the Water Wall:



Grand Lux Cafe.


^ from: flickr.com - the Grand Lux Cafe across the street from the Houston Galleria. It is one of only two Grand Lux Cafes in Texas (the other one in Dallas).

The Grand Lux Cafe in Houston is only one of two Grand Lux Cafes in Texas (another one is in Dallas). One evening in November 2008, my brother wanted me and my family to go to a restaurant called the Grand Lux Cafe. So that night, I had a chance to experience what this place is like. My goodness... the food was EXCELLENT! When you go inside, it's just lush and beautiful. This is basically where you go for a fancy date at an upscale restaurant. Maybe one of the more unusual sights is seeing this beautiful young lady with a "Miss Bachelorette" banner across her. I'm like... yep. This here's money town. You can just cross the street (Westheimer Road) and be at the Galleria shopping mall.

(ADDED: April 29, 2011) If you want a video look at Grand Lux Cafe in Houston, I have found this video for your enjoyment. Have a look:



Club Roxy.
Club Roxy
^ from: citysearch.net - Club Roxy. It has been around for a few decades and is still one of the hottest nightclubs here in Houston.

I am NOT a nightclub person. I've only been to a nightclub twice in my life. The first was at Club Roxy in 2003. My brother took me out to the Roxy as a late birthday present (I was 20 at that time). I've known the Roxy as the place where 104.1 KRBE here in Houston used to play everything from electronic dance, club pop, and hip-hop on Saturday nights from 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM (they once did the broadcasts from 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM). Now, it's mostly predominantly hip-hop and SOME electronic-type music. If you're the nightclub type, give Club Roxy a try.


Belvedere Night Club.

^ from: likeme.net - Club Belvedere. While not a trendy lounge, it's not a bad lounge to hang out at.

Here is the only other nightclub I've been to. This was back in 2008. Belvedere is a trendy bar and lounge. It is a spot where you have a big dance floor, plenty of drinks, bathrooms with mini TV monitors (so you can see who's winning a sports game. Just be careful not to whizz on yourself if your team wins the game or forces overtime.), one DJ spinning music indoors, and a patio area with another DJ spinning other music out on the patio. It's a nice nightclub from that time I was there, but many say this nightclub isn't all that great.


Now you know a little bit about the area. It's time to get on with the main course of this blog entry. Read on!



--- The Houston Galleria Shopping Mall in General ---

The Houston Galleria can be thought of as a mega mall that seems to be many malls stacked on top of each other and with three hotels and a skating rink. Over 375+ stores are available including common stores (like Abercrombie & Fitch) and some places you may not find elsewhere in Houston (like Dylan's Candy Bar and Neiman Marcus). This is a big place, so be ready to take on this place knowing you'll get an exercise. If you're walking around the Houston Galleria, realize that it's BIG. You'll probably need running or walking shoes rather than something uncomfortable. There are multiple sections for which to navigate the mall. You will even see where some of the hotels are by seeing the tall buildings with big elevator shafts at. The Galleria really seems like multiple malls interconnected and stacked on top of each other. There is a Dillard's store that can be accessed by a pedestrian bridge across South Post Oak here in Houston. However, it's not considered part of the Galleria shopping mall.

(information according to Wikipedia) Since it's opening in 1970, the Houston Galleria has had four different expansions. These have helped to further expand this massive mall. It's the largest mall in Texas and the fourth largest mall in America. This place is the hottest attraction to Houston with all kinds of visitors coming to visit this lovely mall.



The Skating Rink.

The rink has an area where people get to spectate the many skaters on the ice. When you go around the skating rink, it's basically a big atrium. You can look up and see some of the buildings, including Williams Tower. There are three levels around the skating rink area. Most of the places on the bottom level are the food court and maybe a few game rooms and other stores. There's a little overpass or bridge on the second floor. The top level features many more shops. When it's Christmas time, you'll see a massive Christmas tree with all kinds of ornaments and lights on it. It's really beautiful and adds a real Christmas feel to the area.

Back in 1996, I wanted to try something different as I had felt the itch to skate. I have never ice skated in my life before that one day in 1996. I think I paid about $8.50 to go skate on the Galleria's beautiful skating rink. I didn't have anyone try to help me ice skate as I mostly adjusted on the fly. I was in to be rocked. Hard.

For one thing, everyone was skating clockwise around the rink... I was skating counterclockwise/anti-clockwise! At one point, I fell on the ice and got a bruise on one of my elbows. That's when I skated the same direction with the others. I then started to get the hang of skating and became more comfortable on my skates. I even tried to learn how to skate faster. It was such fun. Would I want to skate again around the Galleria if given the opportunity? Probably so.


The Food Court and Other Restaurants.

You are within distance of the skating rink when you go to the different restaurants. It's almost like you're trying not to battle hunger seeing some of the restaurants on the level of the skating rink. The last time I can remember being around there was back in 2005 or so. I can remember lots of restaurants, maybe a Visible Changes (or some other salon) store, a Sony store, and a big game room.

I mentioned Ruggles Grill earlier. This restaurant is in a lonely location, on the second floor of the Saks Fifth Avenue store and in its own location, accessible only by elevator. There is also a FOX Sports Grill next to the Saks at the Galleria. Never been there, but I hear so much about it on FOX Sports Houston.


A Cool Fountain!

The southern part of the mall, called Galleria IV, is where there are only two floors of stores. A very cool fountain shoots water downward three stories high from the top from these pipes down to the bottom. The small streams of water fall down to the bottom in a circular pattern. Here is a demonstration:




The Three Hotels.

You'll know where the hotels are as you can see tall elevator shafts. There are a lot of different balconies for where the three hotels are. The elevator cars have glass windows. You are able to look up and down at the rest of the mall as you go either down or up.





If you still can't get enough of the Galleria, here is a preview of what this beautiful mall has to offer. This video is only provided for educational purposes:


^ uploaded: June 24, 2007


Bonus Video!

I'd like to share with you another video showcasing the Houston Galleria area. It is a look at the Houston Galleria at night with a few facts on the Galleria mall at some points. Check it out:



It's good to be a loyal reader of my blog, isn't it? :)





Thank you for reading this blog entry! It is a must-visit place if you're coming to Houston to explore the city. There's so much to do and see at the Houston Galleria. It's also a stylish place to get a big walking exercise. To everybody who keeps hating on Houston, at least agree that the Houston Galleria is one of the most beautiful places in Houston and one of the finest places to visit in this city. Everybody always has to make some kind of hateful remarks about my hometown. Okay, it's not a glamourous city, but it's not totally ugly and hateable. There are plenty of diamonds in the rough for a city like Houston, and the Galleria mall and Galleria area are two of them.

Please have a great day and thanks for visiting my blog!

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