Hello Houston/Goodbye New York gifts?
July 25, 2011 10:33 AM   Subscribe

Friend is moving from New York City to Houston, TX. What would be a good gift to get her?

She loves live theater, television, and movies. She's leaving a reporting job and a lot of people that she's spent the majority of her life with, including her twin sister. I want something that will let her enjoy the new city and let her know she will be missed dearly.

Is the Not For Tourist book for Houston good? Is there some other awesome guide she should know about? Are HYU-ston, not HOW-ston jokes appropriate?
posted by piratebowling to Shopping (30 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Just to clarity, piratebowling, it's actually pronounced YOU-ston in Texas.

As to what to get her, I would recommend something to keep her cool. It's still in the upper 80s at 9pm in Houston. Were it not for air conditioning, I'm not certain anyone would want to live there.
posted by Gilbert at 10:45 AM on July 25, 2011


Response by poster: Just to clarity, piratebowling, it's actually pronounced YOU-ston in Texas.

I have so much to learn!
posted by piratebowling at 10:49 AM on July 25, 2011


Are HYU-ston, not HOW-ston jokes appropriate?

No, the joke won't mean anything in Houston.

As a native Houstonian, either Hyu-ston or You-ston works.
posted by vincele at 10:52 AM on July 25, 2011


...it's actually pronounced YOU-ston in Texas.

Not by all of us Texans! (Now, "pecan" by all rights ought to be pronounced "puh-KAWN" and not "PEE-kan" like some sadly misguided folk do.)

I don't know any specific guidebooks, but as she likes movies, the Alamo Drafthouse is not to be missed.
posted by telophase at 10:58 AM on July 25, 2011


Best answer: Unless she likes talking in movies.

One of the things I have liked most about traveling in Texas is ... traveling in Texas. It's a big, fascinating state, and almost everywhere is a daytrip away from someplace great.

I would get your friend a book like this one.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:02 AM on July 25, 2011


Best answer: How about a subscription to the NY Times at her new address? Even if just the weekend one. That should ease the transition a bit...
posted by hermitosis at 11:06 AM on July 25, 2011


SUNBLOCK!
posted by sexyrobot at 11:06 AM on July 25, 2011


Tickets to the Alley Theatre might be nice.
posted by beowulf573 at 11:24 AM on July 25, 2011


A DVD of at least one season of King of the Hill. Because once you venture outside the 610 Loop, this is mostly what lives here. (I have truly had in-depth conversations with people about the merits of propane, and propane accessories. In fact, just last year I was given propane and propane accessories as a gift. And I don't even eat meat. No irony was intended, either.)
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:30 AM on July 25, 2011


Response by poster: I'm definitely getting her the daytrip book, and the NY times idea is really sweet. I'm willing to take more ideas, so please keep them coming. Thanks so much!
posted by piratebowling at 11:37 AM on July 25, 2011




Best answer: First of all - where is she moving in Houston? It is an understatement to say that this place is EFFING HUGE. She could be saying "Houston" knowing that nobody up there knows where Conroe is. Only, here's the thing: Conroe is basically as far from Galveston (where I grew up) as NY is from Philly (and there is *no* BoltBus). And they're both within the Houston Metropolitan Area. Giving her a gift certificate to a restaurant on the ocean would be kind of laughable, right? So pin her down on where she is going to be and that will help us figure it out.

If she likes movies, then I'd suggest getting her a membership to a group like the Aurora Picture Show. Excellent, fun, independent cinema options for someone who likes movies. The Alamo Drafthouse is out in the middle of nowhere on the West side of town (I jokingly refer to that area as "East San Antonio" - but seriously, it's way out there. A newbie shouldn't have to drive 30 minutes to go use some movie tickets that you get her.).
posted by jph at 11:43 AM on July 25, 2011


Best answer: A subscription to Texas Monthly magazine, the National Magazine of Texas. It's a good way to learn about the food, sites, and politics of Texas.
posted by tamitang at 11:46 AM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Maps? :D A gps? Air conditioning. ITS VITAL. Maybe an ez-tag, depending. I use mine to get to the alamo drafthouse :D
posted by Jacen at 11:55 AM on July 25, 2011


A car.
posted by carterk at 12:27 PM on July 25, 2011


How expensive are you willing to go? How about a set of open-ended, round-trip plane tickets for an escape to NYC?
posted by functionequalsform at 12:38 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Get her the Texas Monthly BBQ app for iPhone...your friend will be able to find the top rated places near Houston.
posted by murrey at 1:05 PM on July 25, 2011


A newbie shouldn't have to drive 30 minutes to go use some movie tickets that you get her.).

Heh, you'll be driving *at least* 30 minutes to get *anywhere* in Houston.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 1:30 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is a long shot, but if she likes independent cinema, the Angelika has theaters in SoHo and Houston (and Dallas). Could be a nice reminder of 'home'.
posted by plep at 2:46 PM on July 25, 2011


Scrub that, I see the Angelika Houston closed last year. What a shame.
posted by plep at 2:48 PM on July 25, 2011


FYI, the Angelika location has been leased by the Sundance chain though it's not open yet.
posted by beowulf573 at 3:02 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Get her a Houston key map. She will thank you over and over again.
posted by timeo danaos at 6:36 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was a better resource than Zagat when I was there.
posted by brujita at 9:56 PM on July 25, 2011


Best answer: Texas has a book (about 300 pages?) called the Texas Travel Guide that I always order and give to people who are new here. It tells a bit about all the cities and towns in Texas including a little bit of history and things to do, and includes a map. It's in sections based on our five regions, and also has specific sections for fairs (by month), lakes, wineries, parks, etc. It's a handy way to find ideas of what to do around here when she wants to take a weekend or more and go exploring in her new state.

It's free! You can order it from here. If you want to flip through it before ordering, you can see the whole thing here.
posted by Houstonian at 4:24 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are HYU-ston, not HOW-ston jokes appropriate?

If you are thinking of what to write in a card, yes it's true we don't say HOW-ston (at all, ever). Maybe a better thing to write is a comment about our weather. I bet she's moving in August? It seems everyone always moves here in August, especially if they are from places that are a bit cooler. People who move from cooler areas are immediately recognizable because they are miserable, sweating and gasping, "Really?? It's like living in a sauna!" So maybe on the card you can write something about how it will get a little better, and hey! She can wear shorts on Christmas (or whatever winter holiday is appropriate for her).
posted by Houstonian at 5:26 AM on July 26, 2011


Best answer: I made the same move and yeah, I made those HOW-ston jokes, and man was it awk-ward. Crickets city.

Here is some Houston info and related gift suggestions: Houston. It's Worth It. (website is funny and the HIWI book is pretty and cool, which may fit the bill); Hot Town, Cool City (hidden Houston gems, based on a film by the same title. The DVD is great and I've given it as a gift to new Houstonians).

(And no, joking aside, you don't have to drive 30 minutes to get anywhere here. It's quite possible to live happily within a 10-15 minute radius.)
posted by *s at 8:16 AM on July 26, 2011


Another film-related gift might be DVDs of movies set or filmed in Houston (Urban Cowboy, Terms of Endearment, Reality Bites, Paris, Texas, and, the best of all . . . Logan's Run).
posted by *s at 8:26 AM on July 26, 2011


The thing to know about Houston is that it's very international. As in, more languages are spoken in the HISD system than in almost any other school district in the country, other than one borough of NYC. You don't necessarily SEE that diversity unless you choose to live in a neighborhood that openly values that diversity. People are in their cars all the time so you don't have that NYC sense of cosmopolitan cityhood. But it's definitely there. For instance, Outside the Loop you have Westbury, Meyerland, and parts of Pearland - all where families commute into the Medical Center, which is very international. Other than that, a lot of international families live in enclaves - i.e. Sugarland has a very high Indian population, Bellaire West has a very high Vietnamese population, etc.
In terms of art, food, music, etc, you can get a world-class experience. But you have to drive to it. You won't happen into it like you might in a place where people walk around.
posted by pomegranate at 3:09 AM on July 27, 2011


Wow what a sucky answer I just gave. Let me amend. Appropriate gifts would be a)Texas Monthly Magazine subscription, b) membership to any of the above fine organizations or to the Orange Show Foundation, c) pointers to online resources like HAIF, CultureMap, and our local semi-terrible altweekly, the Houston Press.

It can be difficult to meet people here, so she will definitely want to get involved with organizations she might have an interest in - people are very welcoming if they've seen you around once or twice, but Houston is just so big that you don't often run into people at the grocery store or whatever.
posted by pomegranate at 5:11 AM on July 27, 2011


Ahem. I must protest pomegranate's characterization of Houston Press! (<3 you pomegranate!) The Web Editor for the Houston Press is none other than MeFite Brittanie - who is somehow linked into the matrix and knows all the cool happenings around town. The paper is full of curious suggestions for things to do around town.

See. It's actually just a really huge small town. She'll be fine here! Promise we'll take good care of her!
posted by jph at 10:49 PM on July 28, 2011


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