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Bay Area Houston

Courtesy Bay Area Houston

Where is Bay Area Houston?
Midway between Houston and Galveston, Bay Area Houston encompasses six small cities and part of Houston and 35 miles of waterfront along Galveston Bay about 20 minutes from downtown Houston.

How do I get there?
William P. Hobby Airport in Houston is about 15 miles from Bay Area Houston. George Bush Intercontinental Airport is about 36 miles north and offers international flights. Bay Area Houston is south of Houston on Interstate 45.

What types of meetings best suit Bay Area Houston?
Small- to medium-size corporations and associations are drawn there because of the area’s many waterfront venues and water-based activities such as sailing competitions and kayak tours. The sports market is a natural because of Big League Dreams Sports Park.

Did you know?

• Bay Area Houston is the Pleasure Boat Capital of Texas, home to the third-largest pleasure boat basin in the United States.

• Two of Texas’ top 10 attractions are in the area: Space Center Houston and Kemah Boardwalk.

What’s new?

• The city of Seabrook has added a new element to one of its best-known parks. What was once an eight-acre private estate next to the bay is now Carothers Coastal Gardens. The estate’s main home has an expansive great room and kitchen that can be booked for events.

• Meeting rooms at the Hilton Houston NASA at Clear Lake have a space-themed decor following a recent renovation.

• The new Butler Longhorn Museum is a tribute to the Butler longhorn line, which originated in League City. The museum covers the resurgence of the longhorn, a dying breed in the early 1900s that made a comeback thanks to a number of dedicated Texans.

Tell me about some sites worth seeing.
• As the official visitors center for NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Space Center Houston teaches visitors about man’s travels in space. Among the center’s holdings is the only spacesuit from a moonwalk displayed outside the Smithsonian Institution. Behind-the-scenes tours of the Johnson Space Center take visitors to historic Mission Control, the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility and the current Mission Control. There’s also the chance to see the Saturn V complex at Rocket Park.

• The Kemah Boardwalk is a favorite for family entertainment. On the bay front, the half-mile-long boardwalk has amusement park rides, including a 65-foot Ferris wheel; carnival games; the Boardwalk Inn and several meeting venues; a full marina; nearly a dozen eateries; and more than a half-dozen shops. rated the attraction one of the nation’s top 10 boardwalks a few years ago.

Tell me about your main meeting venues.

• Although there is no traditional convention center, a number of the area’s hotels include meeting space. The largest is the Hilton Houston NASA at Clear Lake, with 243 guest rooms and nearly 34,000 square feet of meeting space.

• Close behind is the South Shore Harbour Resort and Spa and its 240 guest rooms and 25,000 square feet of event space. There are nearly 4,500 guest rooms in Bay Area Houston.

• Imagine playing your company softball championship at Fenway Park or Wrigley Field. It’s entirely possible at Big League Dreams Sports Park, where a half-dozen ball fields are replicas of major league ballparks. The 30-acre complex, which also has a 20,000-square-foot pavilion for parties or indoor soccer, basketball and other sports, is popular not just as a site for sports tournaments, but also for meeting events such as receptions or picnics. It is part of a chain of Big League Dreams parks built across the country by a pair of brothers who are former baseball players.

Tell me about some good spots for off-site events.
• A 117-foot luxury yacht is perfect for minicruises on the bay or on Clear Lake. Up to 149 guests can enjoy an evening with FantaSea Yacht Charters.

• Space Center Houston can serve as an educational event space. The center’s plaza area can handle up to 5,000 people. A theater, a diner and a boardroom are among other possible meeting venues.

• Two historic buildings in League City are sparkling settings for events. Butler’s Courtyard is a restored 1909 bank building used for luncheons, receptions and other business events. The old League City Post Office is now an events venue with a spacious banquet room.

For a true taste of Bay Area Houston . . .
Barbecue is a state dish in Texas. Two good options in Bay Area Houston are T-Bone Tom’s in Kemah and Red River BBQ in League City. T-Bone Tom’s’ proprietors began selling barbecue sandwiches to the crew working on the Kemah-Seabrook bridge almost 40 years ago. The menu has expanded to include steaks, seafood and plate lunches. The restaurant’s signature appetizer, Armadillo Eggs (a  deep-fried jalapeno stuffed with smoked brisket), has been featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

A 50,000-gallon aquarium makes a salty statement at the Aquarium Restaurant at Kemah Boardwalk. Sharks, stingrays and other sea creatures watch diners enjoy their seafood dinners.

For another way to enjoy the sea, try the Outrigger’s Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar in Seabrook beneath the bridge that separates Seabrook and Kemah. Patrons can dine outside and watch boats motor through the channel that leads to the bay.

Bay Area Houston, Texas
866-611-4688 or 281-474-9700