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Shopping in HoustonHit the Mall

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Whether you seek a 12-carat emerald or a $12 scarf, you are sure to find what you need in one of Houston's large department stores. They offer a shopper's paradise and top the list of fun places to go for anyone who likes a deal. Neiman Marcus , in the Houston Galleria at 5085 Westheimer Rd. on the city's west side, is equipped to handle the wants of millionaires and eccentrics as well as those of browsers. The Galleria's 375 other stores include Macy's, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, along with places to eat and an ice-skating rink.

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Other malls offering local restaurants, small shops, department stores and entertainment areas that you may want to visit on your trip include Baybrook Mall , 500 Baybrook Mall Dr. in Friendswood; Highland Village , 4055 Westheimer Rd.; Memorial City Mall , 303 Memorial City Way; Town & Country Village , 12850 Memorial Dr.; Uptown Park , 1121 Uptown Park Blvd.; and Willowbrook Mall , 2000 Willowbrook Mall at SR 249 and FM 1960.

Small Shops Offer Many Delights

There also are an eclectic mix of independent shops and well-known retailers at Rice Village , 2400 University Blvd., near Rice University, if you travel that way. Old Town Spring , north on I-45 at exit 70A at 403 Main St., has antique and specialty shops, galleries and restaurants in 180 restored Victorian cottages along tree-lined streets. It's a great vacation stop to find one-of-a-kind items.

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Urban cowboys and cowgirls will find boots, hats and other Western garb at Cavender's , which you'll find at 10102 Gulf Frwy. Service Rd. (off I-45), 13580 East Frwy. (off I-10), 2505 S. Loop W. (off I-610) and 14031 Northwest Frwy. (off US 290).

Antique lovers are invited to forage for vintage treasures in Lower Westheimer (also called the Westheimer Curve), between Montrose Boulevard and Dunlavy Street.

Most stores are open Mon.-Sat. 9-9. Most shopping centers are open Mon.-Sat. 10-9 and Sun. noon-6.

Go Down to the Boardwalk

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Kemah Boardwalk , 20 miles south of Houston off I-45 at exit 25 at 215 Kipp Ave., is a waterfront complex of shops, restaurants and amusements, including a Ferris wheel and roller coaster. It is truly a shopping destination that can't be missed. Katy Mills , 25 miles west of Houston at 5000 Katy Mills Cir., offers 1.3 million square feet of designer outlet shopping; a Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, with a 20,000-gallon aquarium, wildlife exhibits and sporting demonstrations; and more than 20 restaurants. Deal-seekers flock to Tanger Outlets, 5885 Gulf Frwy., for savings on items like clothing, jewelry, shoes and accessories; stores include Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Reebok.

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Houston, TX

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

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5060 W Alabama St. Houston, TX 77056

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Travel Information

City Population

1,953,631

Elevation

39 ft.

Sales Tax

Municipalities may impose additional rates of up to 2 percent on the statewide 6.25 percent sales tax. Sales tax in the city of Houston is 8.25 percent; rates vary in the suburbs. The hotel occupancy tax in Houston is 17 percent.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(713) 884-3131

Fire (non-emergency)

(713) 834-3131

Time and Temperature

(713) 222-8463

Hospitals

Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center, (281) 890-4285; Memorial Hermann–Texas Medical Center, (713) 704-4000; Houston Northwest Medical Center, (281) 440-1000; Houston Methodist Hospital, (713) 790-3311; Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, (832) 355-1000; West Houston Medical Center, (281) 558-3444.

Visitor Information

701 Avenida de las Americas Suite 200 Houston, TX 77010. Phone:(713)437-5200 or (800)446-8786

Air Travel

Houston has two airports for visitors with airline flights.

Rental Cars

Hertz, 2120 Louisiana St., offers discounts to AAA members; phone (713) 652-0436 or (800) 654-3080.

Rail Service

The Amtrak rail station is at 902 Washington Ave.; for train schedule and ticket information phone (713) 224-1577 or (800) 872-7245. METRORail light rail service connects downtown, the Museum District, Texas Medical Center and NRG Stadium and costs $1.25 for one-way service and $2.50 for round-trip service; ages 0-5 ride free.

Buses

The Greyhound Lines Inc. bus station is at 2121 S. Main St.; phone (713) 759-6565 or (800) 231-2222.

Taxis

You can hire a taxi at cab stands near the major hotels in the downtown area or phone for one. One of the larger companies is Yellow Cab, (713) 236-1111. The standard fare is $4.75 for the first mile and $2.20 for each mile thereafter. A surcharge of up to $2.80 is added for trips between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Public Transportation

Air-conditioned buses crisscross the city and suburbs. Limited and local fares are $1.25. Passengers must have exact change. Park-and-ride bus fares range from $2 to $4.50 and vary according to location. For details phone METRO Transit Authorities, (713) 635-4000.

Boats

Houston is a leading world seaport, and the Port of Houston accommodates passenger ships.

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