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PHOTO: Houston, Texas. (Courtesy Thinkstock)
Houston is ramping up for a big 2016. From new performance space to access to outer space, the city is launching a variety of exciting new venues, unveiling renovations and welcoming some new additions in the coming year.
Leading the excitement is a significant anniversary for the city. It is the 180th anniversary of Texas independence and the founding of the city of Houston. An 18-minute battle between General Sam Houston and General Antonio Lopez in 1836 resulted in Texas winning independence from Mexico. The city of Houston was founded on the banks of the Buffalo Bayou just four months later. To celebrate, throughout the year the state and the city will celebrate with a variety of events.
Space Center Houston
This month, the Space Center Houston will open a full-scale replica of the space shuttle and its NASA 747 ferry aircraft. The new, six-story 240-ton complex, known as Independence Plaza will greet visitors outside of the main building. Both the shuttle and the carrier will feature exhibits, including a flight deck, cockpit, astronaut living quarters and the history and development of the shuttle program.
River Oaks District
Although officially launched at the end of 2015, the River Oaks District will welcome many of its retailers in 2016. The 14-acre project brings 250,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, along with office space and luxury residential properties, to the area. With retailers such as Chopard, Dior,Etro, Canali, Roberto Cavalli and Tom Ford River Oaks is Houston's answer to Beverly Hills, Calif.'s Rodeo Drive.
READ MORE: Houston Launches $9 Million Initiative to Boost Tourism
Sunset Coffee Building
The Sunset Coffee Building is a symbol of the city's roots as a major trading hub and sits upon the site where Houston was founded. The structure, built in 1910, is currently undergoing renovations that are scheduled to be complete in the spring. It will then become home to a rooftop event space, a watercraft and bike rental facility, offices and an outdoor plaza.
White Oak Music Hall
Houston will welcome a brand-new music hall in 2016. This spring, the five-acre site in Houston's Near North Side neighborhood will include a small indoor concert space, a large two-story concert hall with tiered seating and an outdoor space called "The Lawn" that will accommodate up to 3,000 people.
Roughly $1.5 million of public and private investment has gone into the renovation of Houston's Convention District, which occupies approximately 20 blocks surrounding the George R. Brown Convention Center. The center is also undergoing renovations that will add multiple ground floor restaurants that front Avenida de las Americas. There will be a new pedestrian plaza with outdoor seating, public art and a performance space as well as a new 1,000-room Marriott Marquis rising next to the center.
Lone Star Flight Museum
The Lone Star Flight Museum, which has been located in Galveston, Texas, for the past 30 years, is relocating to Ellington Field this year. The move will accommodate a 130,000-square-foot facility and permanently display 40 historically significant aircraft. There will also be a new Aviation Learning Center.
Janeen Christoff caught the travel bug while living in London, England. After two years on the road, she settled in Los Angeles...
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