7-hr Layover in Houston

Leave the airport & see the city!

7-hr layover in Houston

7-hr layover in Houston

July 27, 2012 // In Texas

Flights are cheaper if you’re willing to put up with a hefty layover. But the word “layover” doesn’t necessarily have to mean a sacrificed afternoon of fluorescent lights, PA announcements and shitty food. I turned my 7-hour layover in Houston into a whirlwind tour of a great city, and was back at my gate with ample time to fly off into the sunset. Armed with a rental car and a list of suggestions from Yelp (I created this message board in Houston’s “Talk” section a few weeks prior, asking locals for some quick tips), I exited George Bush International with a mission: BBQ, beer, weird art, snow cones.

This adventure was made impossibly easy thanks to the Name Your Own Price feature on Priceline.comI bid $7 on a rental car and they actually accepted it. YEEHAW!


Texan BBQ


I wanted to see what Tex Mex BBQ was all about, so I found myself a roadside shack. For those of you that may not be privy to the BBQ culture, there seems to be one universal rule: Roadside shacks = real good BBQ.

I wanted momma and daddy to make my supper with secret family ingredients and love, and Gatlin’s BBQ had the goods. Because they usually have a line out the door (and are known to be slow – hey, you can’t rush perfection), I called my order in as soon as I left the airport. When I arrived I skipped the line, grabbed my doggie bag and got to mowing down on their picnic bench patio with a spread of pulled pork BBQ sliders, baked beans and a loaded Texas baked potato. YES. After that meal, I surely wouldn’t have to touch any airport food for at least 12 hours.


Lone Star Beer

Lone Star Beer is known as “The National Beer of Texas.” I found my bottle at Cedar Creek Café where the plaid couches are frumpy and outdoor seating is a creekside circle of treestrumps; perfection. When I told the bartender what my “business” was in town, she gave me my Lone Star on the house. Now that is Southern hospitality.

A Lager boasting ingredients from the mountains to the prairies, Lone Star describes itself as “the perfect balance of alcohol, body and character.” Couldn’t you also use that phrase to describe most Texan women’s hair?


The Beer Can House

You’re driving down Malone Street, looking for parallel parking. It’s a normal neighborhood… bungalow, condo, townhouse, condo, beer can house, bungalow… wait, put it in reverse! Was that a house made entirely out of beer cans?

Sure was. The Beer Can House began as one man’s hobby and turned into a landmark depicting Houston’s eclectic culture. It’s a whimsical bungalow faded from the harsh Houston sun, and looks like it belongs along Route 66. A piece of Americana Eco-Art, the house is definitely worth a 20-minute pit stop if you’re close to downtown. I never knew beer cans could be so beautiful!
  • “I guess I just thought it was a good idea. And it’s easier than painting.” -John Milkovisch
  • “Some people say this is sculpture but I didn’t go to no expensive school to get these crazy notions.” -John Milkovisch
  • “He didn’t think anybody would ever be interested in it. He just loved drinking his beer and just loved being outside and cutting up the beer cans.” -Mary Milkovisch
  • “It tickles me to watch people screech to a halt. They get embarrassed. Sometimes they drive around the block a couple of times. Later they come back with a carload of friends.” -John Milkovisch


A quick stop near downtown, you’ll easily take 200 pictures of the house, along with getting a peek of Houston’s skyline and pretty parks along the bayou.

The late John Milkovisch built and lived in The Beer Can House with his wife Mary. When asked why he coated his property in all things aluminum, John answered, “I got sick of mowing the grass.” The Milkovischs were most likely the “cool couple” of the street, especially since friends and neighbors helped John drink approximately 50,000 cans of beer to adorn his “monument to recycling.” The black and white photos of the couple inside are adorable, illustrating their true love for one another – and for beer!

Free to look at from the outside, $2 admission to go inside!



Snow Cones

When Houston Yelpers suggested snow cones out of a truck, I was skeptical. When I found myself circling the area for an hour waiting for said truck, I almost gave up. No shaved-ice with food coloring drizzle could be that good! But one lick of that sugary sno had me back peddling all the way to the window for another flavor. MAM, it was good!

 MAM’s House of Ice Snoballs actually ended up being my favorite stop! It’s a cute little blue wagon on wheels that sets up in various locations around town. With Houston’s hot & sticky summers, MAMs must have felt the pressure to perfect their chilly treats – and boy, did they ever! The menu of 48 flavors made me feel like a kid again. Blue Cotton Candy! Bahama Mama! Georgia Peach! Wedding Cake! Rainbow! And they do this thing with gummy bears and condensed milk… you just gotta try it. You can find its schedule here. Plenty of locals stalk it too – within 5 minutes of it rolling up, there was a line of 30 people before the windows even opened!
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