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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Houston

Every year, numerous holidays are celebrated in Houston.
Below are the main dates for these festivities:

January 1: New Year's (national)

From concerts, country dancing, and other festivities, Houston knows how to throw a party!

Third Monday in January: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (national)

A federal holiday in the United States, celebrating the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. Americans are invited to devote some time and help their fellow citizens on this day of service. In Houston, it is an occasion for various celebrations (shows, concerts) and cultural events (exhibitions, conferences).

January or February: Chinese New Year (local)

Festivities are held each year to ring in the Chinese New Year in Houston's International District known as Chinatown, with parades going through most streets. Celebrations include lion dance performances, paper dragon, traditional music and martial arts displays.

Third Monday in February: President's Day (national)

Initially established on 22 February, birthday of the first president of the US George Washington, Presidents Day has been moved to the third Monday in February. Coincidentally, it kicks off winter sales.

March (the Friday before the start of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo): Go Texan Day (local)

Every year the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is held in March. For 20 days, the Houston NRG Stadium hosts major cattle fairs and rodeo competitions between the country's greatest champions. The Friday before the start of the festival is Go Texan Day, dear to the heart of Texans who parade in traditional costumes in a typical western atmosphere. Programme: marathons, rodeo tournaments, country music concerts, a carnival parade, and pig races.

Last Monday in May: Memorial Day (national)

This very solemn day for Americans is dedicated to the memory of the men and women who died in battle for their country. Each year, the US president gives a speech in honour of the soldiers of the US Army at Arlington Cemetery.

July 4: Independence Day (national)

On the 4th of July 1776, the United States declared their independence from Britain by drafting their constitution. Since then, this day has been a major holiday that includes celebrations with friends and neighbours, dances, and concerts.

First Monday in September: Labor Day (national)

This famous holiday has been a day of celebration for workers and the labour force in the US since 1882. It is an opportunity for everyone to relax... but it is also a day for 'consuming', since it marks the opening day of the autumn sales!

October 12: Columbus Day (national)

On 12 October 1492, the crew of the Pinta, the boat captained by Christopher Columbus finally saw the coast of the Americas. In modern times, Columbus Day has been an opportunity to celebrate the pre-Columbian culture and the history of the USA for parades.

October 31: Halloween (national)

Halloween is very popular in Houston. From around 6:00 p.m. on, children and adults dress up and go trick or treating.

November 11: Veterans Day (national)

On this day marking the World War I Armistice, Americans celebrate the memory of fallen soldiers.

Fourth Thursday of November: Thanksgiving (national)

American settlers established this Holiday as a sign of religious gratitude prompted by a blessed harvest. Now secular, this Holiday is an opportunity for Americans to gather with family and friends to enjoy roast turkey and other culinary specialties, such as pumpkin pie.

December 25: Christmas (national)

This Christian Holiday is devoted to family and friends, who exchange gifts. One can admire giant Christmas trees and full-size cribs in every American city, especially in shopping malls.

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Houston

The city of Houston has a humid subtropical climate. To enjoy your stay in the Texan metropolis, favour the months of January, February, March, April, October and November, which are relatively dry and protected from scorching temperatures.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 8 18 88 Good period to go Good period to go
February 9 19 75 Good period to go Good period to go
March 13 23 83 Good period to go Good period to go
April 17 27 90 Good period to go Good period to go
May 20 30 118 Not the best period to go
June 23 33 116 Not the best period to go
July 24 34 98 Not the best period to go
August 24 35 98 Not the best period to go
September 22 32 103 Not the best period to go
October 17 28 93 Good period to go Good period to go
November 12 23 88 Good period to go Good period to go
December 8 18 108 Not the best period to go
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Houston George Bush International Airport

The George Bush International Airport is located 37 kilometres north of Houston.

  • 5 terminals:
    • Terminal A
    • Terminal B
    • Terminal C
    • Terminal D (Air France)
    • Terminal E

Travelling between the airport and Houston:
  • By car
    • Access: Downtown Houston is 30 minutes by road on Interstate 45 and 69.
    • Parking: for short term, each airport terminal offers parking available 24/7: USD 5 for 1 hour, USD 6 USD for 1 to 2 hours, USD 8 for 2 to 3 hours, USD 10 for 3 to 5 hours and USD 22 for 5 to 24 hours. For long-term parking, choose the car park that is accessible by shuttle (in 15 minutes). Prices: USD 3.70 for 0-3 hours and USD 5.54 for 3 to 24 hours.
    • Rentals: several rental agencies are located near the airport. To get there, follow the signs located in the arrivals hall. A shuttle transports passengers at regular intervals to the car rental building.
  • Bus
    • The bus line 102 (every 30 minutes between 5:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m.) runs between the airport and the city centre in about 80 minutes. The stop is located near Terminal C. The bus fare is USD 1.25.
  • Shuttle
    • A shuttle bus takes you to the city centre for USD 16. Departures every 30 minutes from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. facing Terminal C. Depending on the schedule, it takes 30-60 minutes to reach your destination.
  • Taxis
    • Taxi ranks are located at the exit of each terminal. Allow about 30 to 45 minutes and USD 53.
  • Services: Bars, restaurants, police station, exchange offices, ATMs, mailbox, souvenir shops, and duty free.
  • Phone number: +1 281 230 3100

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GETTING AROUND Houston

The city has many parking lots, an excellent road network and good traffic flow: renting a car is a great option for discovering Houston. Public transport, which is accessible and simple, is a good alternative for non-drivers.

Car

Traffic flows easily in downtown Houston, which is very car-friendly. Note that to rent a car in Texas, you must have a national driver's license and be at least 25 years old (some rental companies agree to rent vehicles to drivers aged 21 to 24 years, but at a higher price). Count between USD 40 to 80 for a one-day rental, excluding gas.

Bus

The city of Houston is served by 100 bus lines. The 22 busiest routes, covering the most important points of the city are marked with red lines. They run daily, every 15 minutes at most, from 5:00 a.m. to midnight.

The blue lines use the same circuits, but run every 16 to 30 minutes, from 5:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.

The green lines run every 16 to 30 minutes between the city centre and the suburbs of Houston, every day from 5:00 a.m. to midnight.

The fare in Houston is 1.25 USD for all public transportation. You can get a ticket from the machines located on the buses or light rail, provided you have exact change. It is also possible to order online a transport card with a microchip or acquire a valid day card at a cost of 3 USD. For more information, visit:

http://www.ridemetro.org/Pages/METROOnlineStore.aspx

MetroRail

The city of Houston is served by three light-rail lines.

The red line runs through the north of the city from the Texas Medical Center to Northline station, stopping, notably, in the Museum District.

The green line runs east of the city, from Harrisburg to the Magnolia Transit Center, and makes several stops in the historical centre.

The purple line runs through the southeast of the city, from Capitol Station to the University of Houston.

Light rail lines generally run between 4:45 a.m. and 11:45 p.m. A single ticket costs USD 1.25.

Taxi

Many taxis circulate on the streets of Houston. You can hail them or take them from a station. Initial charge is 3 USD, plus about 1.50 USD per kilometre.

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Visitor information

Once in Houston, do not hesitate to contact tourism professionals for information and help in organising your stay.

Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

Further information available online for visitors to the United States

Discover America, a public-private marketing entity, works closely with the travel industry to promote tourism in communities around the country. Its website offers excellent information on all US travel destinations, including Miami and South Florida.

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Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency used in the United States is the Dollar (USD).

£ 1 = $ 1.21

$ 1 = £ 0.83

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

See your doctor before you travel. It is also recommended to take out insurance covering medical expenses and repatriation before your trip. Houston counts several hospitals and medical institutions, as well as quality medical practitioners and health specialists.

Vaccination

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to the United States.

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Food safety

There are no special food safety requirements.

Drinking water

Tap water is safe to drink in the United States.

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Administrative formalities

Entry requirements for the United States.

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less, whether for tourism or business. Two requirements must be met:

Travellers not eligible for the VWP, or who have not been able to obtain an ESTA, must apply for a visa.

For further information, see the Visitor Visa page on the website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State:

http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visitor.html

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Useful addresses

To enjoy peace of mind during your stay in Houston, visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country.

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Good to know

+ 1
+ phone number
-6 : 00
of time difference with
London
Start of daylight saving time: second Sunday in March

End of daylight saving time: first Sunday in November

BANKS
Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
GOVERNMENT OFFICES
Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
120 V / 60 Hz

Tipping

In Houston as in the rest of the United States, a service charge is not included in the bill and tips form a major portion of income for waiting staff. Prices on restaurant menus are indicated before taxes and tips. You are therefore expected to leave a tip (generally between 15 and 20 percent of the bill). Tipping less than 15 percent (or leaving no tip at all) means that you are very dissatisfied with the service.

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