Three Days in Houston

Today we’re sharing a blog from Sara Brinton, Penguino Travel’s Founder. With the launch of Penguino’s new platform, Sara wanted to be the first to experience the better way to plan a family trip! Discover what Sara, Mark and their four kids did in Houston – with the help of their Penguino Guide Montoya!

How much fun can a family fit into a weekend?

By Sara Brinton

As a mom of four, the last few days before a trip are always busy. This is especially true at the end of the school year! Between dance recitals, soccer tournaments, parties and graduations, there is so much going on.

Two weeks before our getaway, I planned a trip with Penguino. I purchased 3 days of travel planning, got connected to Montoya, a mom who lives in Houston. We took a travel quiz to tell her all about our family and plans. We wanted a mix of exploring cool neighborhoods, learning and shopping. We also wanted to eat and drink adventurously!

One week later, we got our personalized itinerary.

The night before our trip, the kids folded and put away their laundry. The next morning, I packed up clothes for 3 days. I took a quick look at our Itinerary to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything essential. Itineraries include a checklist for before your trip, including what not to forget.

When the kids got home from school on Friday afternoon, we hit the road – knowing a local mom had already figured out all the details of our trip. So easy!

the pastry war houston

Day One

We rented an Airbnb near downtown Houston. Our apartment is on the top floor of a building with an amazing pool and a view of the city. First stop of the day is a Latin American coffee house in the Montrose neighborhood. The kids fuel up on tamales, plantain muffins and fruit-filled empanadas.

To beat the heat, we head to the Houston Galleria to shop for the afternoon. Then we go back downtown to Discovery Green.

While our kids play in the amazing fountains at the park, I do a bit of grocery shopping at a specialty market next door. I pick up wine, cucumber salad, hummus, fresh pita bread and a roast chicken for a delicious, affordable, and easy dinner! We also pick up everything we need to make breakfast at our apartment.

After a busy day, we head back to our apartment. We take a dip in the pool and enjoy dinner together. When the little kids head to bed, Mark and I sneak out for a cocktail at The Pastry Warm, a happening mezcal bar. One of the great things about traveling with a teenager is having a built-in babysitter!

family at the houston zoo

Day Two

Our kids love animals so Montoya has recommended a trip to the Houston Zoo. She’s given us a few tips on how to make the most of the experience. There’s a new elephant habitat at the zoo and we love watching a family of elephants play in the water!

After the zoo, we stop at one of Houston’s favorite poke restaurants, where kids can build their own bowls full of rice, salmon, cucumbers, mangos and more! Then it’s time to explore the neighborhoods around River Oaks. Although it’s fun to window shop, many of the boutiques are outside our price range. We head to Rice Village where there are a few vintage and thrift stores! The kids pick up a few books and I find an adorable tunic that will be perfect for our beach trip this summer – all for less than $20.

We head back to our apartment for a swim. Tonight the kids make their own dinner: quesadillas with leftover chicken from yesterday. They turn on a movie and we head out for date night!

el campesino coffee house in houston

Day Three

After we enjoy breakfast, check out of our Airbnb and pack our car, we head to the Museum District. Montoya has recommended a few spots her kids love and we decide to go to the Health Museum first.

The museum is incredible! The exhibits are educational and interactive. It’s a relatively small space, so our kids split up and explore on their own. Our favorite exhibit is the new Debakey Cell Lab. We put on lab coats and glasses and did six hands-on experiments. We had no idea how much our kids would learn!

When we finish our experiments at the museum, everyone is hungry. We grab a late lunch (or is it an early dinner?) and hit the road back to Austin!

It feels like we fit way more than three days of fun into a long weekend. Having a Guide made it easy to make the most of our trip! We had exactly the trip we wanted without the headache of figuring it all out ourselves. And thanks to Montoya’s insider tips, we stayed within our budget too. We can’t wait to plan our summer trips to Boston and New York with our Penguino Guides!