A new year is close and perhaps more significant, a new decade is on the horizon. Starting a new year always reminds us that change, while inevitable and sometimes difficult, is also very fulfilling. A new decade signals a chance to begin again, get a fresh start and live life with new vigor and a fresh perspective.

It’s time to make new plans for exciting experiences. Houston is a savvy city with an extensive list of things to see and do. From world-class arts, pro sports and award-winning cuisine, you’ll leave Houston a bit more cultivated, and delighted that you came.

The nation’s fourth-largest city, Houston is ready and able to accommodate beyond your expectations. For the ultimate high-end experience arrive in style by chartered helicopter from either of Houston’s airports to a private helipad on top of The Post Oak Hotel. Provided by Paradigm Helicopters LLC, this opportunity allows for an aerial view of the city before you experience it.

The Post Oak Hotel accommodates a world of unsurpassed luxury. At 5,000-square-feet, the Presidential Suite is one of the largest of its kind. With stunning designs and brilliant views of the Houston skyline, you’ll relish every moment of your stay at The Post Oak.

The Presidential Suite, which at 5,000 square feet is one of the largest of its kind in Houston, offers extra privacy and discretion with private elevator access, media room, exercise room, and a secluded terrace.

Transformative healing is at the heart of each lavish treatment at the Post Oak on-site Spa. Inspired by the diverse international heritage of Houston and the ceremonial anti-aging rituals of ancient cultures, the ethos follows a holistic approach to authentic well-being and lasting beauty using the latest innovations in skincare techniques. Cultivated from the world’s most unspoiled regions, exclusive products are a mélange of purity and efficacy.

Take a sensory journey with essential oils from Aromatherapy Associates, rituals and treatments from Cinq Mondes, and anti-aging A balance of healing, wellness and beauty that exceeds expectations. You’ll be transported the latest in technology, the “In-Skin” facial machine. An evolutionary treatment that integrates six high-performance functions, provides the ultimate in facial experience. We are always in a rush; be sure you take time to enjoy this feature at its peak with the co-ed lounge before or after your treatment. You’ll have the opportunity to relax, hydrate, meditate and recline in a zero-gravity chair.

Twenty-five companies on the Fortune 500 list call Houston home. Often called the energy capital of the world, it is also home to NASA headquarters. Aeronautic research is unsurpassed in the central nerve center of NASA, where the facility responsible for putting the first man on the moon is located.

For an insider look at the real world of NASA, get behind the scenes in an exclusive Level 9 Tour. Only 12 guests are allowed on the daily tour, which includes a four to five-hour exploration showcasing the areas astronauts train, along with historic and ISS Mission Control.

In the heart of Houston, you’ll find the Houston Polo Club. Weekly club tournaments are held with club members and top-tier international players. The Houston Polo Club has showcased the best in the sport of polo for the better part of a century. Between the third and fourth chukkers, toast with a glass of champagne for the traditional divot stomp.

With two courses to choose from the Wildcat Golf Club is your spot to hit the links. The Highlands Course offers a links golf experience, but you’ll discover the open tumbling fairways and impressive elevations are more typical of a Texas Hill Country course. Throughout your round, 6,954 yards from the tips, drop backs are panoramic views of the city that include Houston’s Galleria area to the Medical Center, to NRG Stadium, and to Downtown. Players beware, stay focused, every hole on the Highlands course offers a challenge. Protected by well-placed bunkers lying beyond deep ravines, each tee shot demands your full attention.

On the Lakes course, you start high. Its highest elevations (up to 100 feet) provide breathtaking views of Houston’s major sports complex – NRG Stadium, home to the Houston Texans. As you work your way down, you’ll see the water and acres of countless lakes. The Lakes’ dramatic elevation changes can be rivaled by no other course in Houston. Playing 7,016 from the tips, the Lakes is a bit longer than the Highlands. You’ll enjoy navigating around the water, managing the Lakes rolling fairways and experiencing its fast greens.

Visit the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals at the Houston Museum of Natural Science by day, but an after-hours party there may be just what you need. Seated dinners are available for host in the space, among 750 of the world’s finest gems and minerals, from a crystallized gold cluster to an emerald crystal weighing nearly 2,000 carats.

Houston Rockets fans can’t miss courtside seats to a game at the Toyota Center. You’ll get a chance to check out Harden tearing it up on the court, with included access to the Lexus Lounge. This VIP space features a private bar, plush furniture and pool tables and plays frequent host to celebrities including Oprah, Beyoncé and Shaq.

In recent years, Houston has become well known for its craft beer industry. A beer-lovers utopia, it’s easier than ever to experience all of the one-of-a-kind blends in Houston.

Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Texas’ oldest craft brewery is one of the most popular breweries with some of the best beer in Texas. A German-style Kölsch named Lawnmower is Saint Arnold’s most popular of 12 year-round beers, while seven seasonal beers and a few exclusives create a well-rounded lineup.

Seasonal stouts can be found at Eureka Heights Brewing Co. With a lower ABV%, more flavors can be experienced to their fullest. Take your time and join in a game of cornhole, foosball and whichever brews are in season.

Named after the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the Astrodome, 8th Wonder is a champion for Houston sports, music and beer. The 8th offers five year-round beers, four seasonal beers and many limited releases. The brewery also showcases local bands, an Eatsie Boys food truck and many annual events.

With five year-round beers, you are sure to satisfy your taste at Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. Flavorful beers like the 1836 copper ale, offer one-of-a-kind flavor experiences. Buffalo Bayou is also open for brewery tours.

Located on one city acre of land, City Acre Brewing is known for its hops. With an extensive on-site garden, locals say it is the place to be when the weather is nice. IPA and blonde beer fans will relish the flavorful beer named Hitchcock.

If bats have ever captivated you, you can watch in awe as 250,000 bats emerge at dusk from under the Waugh Drive Bridge, located over Buffalo Bayou between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive. There is a special sightseeing deck beside the bridge where you can view them. If you’re really fascinated, Waugh Bridge Bat Colony Pontoon offers daily boat tours.

Just 20 minutes from downtown Houston, Kemah Boardwalk is a must-see. Situated on 35-acres, this coastal getaway features themed restaurants, retail shops and amusements, just a short drive away.

A 500,000-gallon under-water adventure can be found in Houston’s Downtown Aquarium. You’ll want to carve out time for this complex that includes a Ferris wheel, an aquatic carousel, Shark Voyage and a restaurant.

Wrap up your trip with a quiet, romantic dinner at the famous Rainbow Lodge. This 100-year-old log cabin is minutes from downtown Houston. Among the most romantic dining spots, the decades-old spot is charming and intimate. Cozy fireplaces and a meandering deck that looks out on a nearby creek make this gem an excellent choice for finer fare such as the cast iron-seared red snapper or braised buffalo short ribs.

Bursting with attractions with Easter-egg surprises around every corner, we couldn’t possibly cover them all. With options suited for the low-key romantic, to the high-energy fanatic, Houston is the spot to kick-off your new decade.

By Michelle Keller

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