(UPDATED APRIL 2021) During a two-week road trip, my daughter, Taylor, and I soaked up the small-town charms and big-city offerings of Pearland through culture, food, history, and drink. Here is how we recommend spending 48 hours in Pearland, Texas, one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States.
Pearland is situated south of Houston, Texas. It is the new go-to area for visiting Houston to avoid the hoards of traffic and expensive rooms. It also offers upscale, affordable attractions and housing for Houston’s medical community and growing population.
Awesome Food and A Unique Attraction
Taylor and I rolled into Pearland, Texas, in the afternoon. We decided to skip breakfast and have an early lunch at Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen, a local authentic Tex-Mex chain that originated here. The decor and curb appeal was enticing, but the food was what won us over!
We began with a Sampler Platter, with Southwest Egg Rolls, Beef Empanadas, Taquitos, and Chicken Quesadillas. This was a great way to try all of the favorite snack items on Gringo’s menu. For lunch, I had a bowl of Tortilla Soup (chock full of chicken plus sides of avocado, corn salsa, and cheese) and Taylor, the Crispy Flautas. Our food was exceptional at this Tex-Mex eatery.
After lunch, we dove into Pearland’s international offerings. To say we were shocked at what we saw next is an understatement. Amidst Pearland, out some curvy, country roads, is Sri Meenakshi, a Hindu temple fashioned after one in India. It is the only temple dedicated to the deity Meenakshi (Shiva’s wife) outside of India.
The self-guided tour at the Sri Meenakshi Temple provides literature for explaining the Hindu religion showing what you see inside of the temple and why it is important. We learned about different deities and Hindu ceremonial events. Sri Meenakshi was a lovely and peaceful place that we both enjoyed visiting.
Watch for the majestic peacocks.
Note: You cannot wear shoes inside the temple. If you don’t want to be barefoot, bring socks. Also, women must cover their knees and shoulders.
After visiting the Sri Meenakshi Temple, Taylor and I visit the Pearland Alliance for Arts & Culture to see the Terra Cotta miniature exhibit that we read about in a local guide. They also had several impressive artifacts on display from India. The museum curator was friendly and explained the history behind what we were seeing. With a sizable worldly vision, the super-small alliance is hoping to build an exciting museum that could materialize into an incredible attraction for Pearland.
Coffee, Shopping, Dinner
Stop in Pearland Coffee Roasters for an excellent pastry selection and great coffee drinks. This comfortable, no-frills shop roasts the coffee beans onsite. I recommend the caramel latte.
Taylor and I shopped at the Pearland Town Center, a fashionable outdoor shopping complex lined with palm trees and an adorable Pearland sign. We popped in James Avery Jewelry and Barnes & Noble to pick up a few things and marveled over the home decor and accessories at Altar’d Interiors. A well-stocked Macy’s is the Town Center’s anchor store, while the mall itself has over 50 more retail stores and restaurants. Grab a snack while you are walking around from Krispy Kreme (watch for the hot donut sign!) or Smallcakes and wash it down with a delicious drink from Kung Fu Tea.
Throughout Pearland, you will find 17 large 4-foot tall pear sculptures that are painted in various themes. More commonly referred to as Pear Scape, three of these public art installments are at the Pearland Town Center. We made it a point to try and find them all during our visit.
For dinner, we ate at Grazia Italian Kitchen, a top-ranked Italian restaurant in Pearland. Who doesn’t love a good eatery that starts the meal with fresh bread and a tasty oil and herb combo? Grazia has attractive furnishings, and the aroma of their garlic and red sauce is enough to curl your toes!
While I tried the Mike & Jen pasta dish, Taylor had the Chicken Parmigiana, one of their specialty dishes. Our meals were full of flavor. The grilled chicken, garlic, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers in my meal paired wonderfully with the decadent Romano cream sauce. We would eat here again and again.
Day 2 in Pearland
Grab a quick bite at the Kolache Factory. If you are unfamiliar with kolaches (flash-fried billowy clouds of sweet Czech pastry dough encircle either sweet or savory fillings), this is a must-eat while in Texas. There are dozens of varieties to choose from, but I prefer peach, jalapeño popper, and sausage & gravy. The Kolache Factory also has Katz coffee, juice, soda, and milk, as well as other pastries and breakfast sandwiches.
Afterward, we shopped some more because there is a lot to be had in Pearland. Brows’ Aroun’ Antiques is the best place in Pearland for both “treasures and trash”. From vintage fashions to glassware, 70s comic books to decorative yard art, you will find it here.
Since Taylor was five months pregnant, we also factored in stops at Lollipop Boutique, Le Papillon, and The Sugared Pear Boutique. We certainly helped contribute to the retail economy during our 48 hours in Pearland!
The Best Texas BBQ
Killen’s Barbecue is one of the most popular places to eat in Pearland, so we had to go. Killen’s is a stylish BBQ joint with killer barbecue and even better brisket. While I enjoyed a portion of lean brisket and turkey, the macaroni and cheese and collard greens were the top dishes for me. OMG, they were sensational! Be sure to try Killen’s signature barbecue sauces, especially the coffee sauce. Yum! Arrive early to avoid the long lines.
Fun Fact: Killen’s is located in the owner’s old elementary school cafeteria.
If shopping isn’t your thing, perhaps a quick hike or birding trail would soothe your soul. Bird watching at the John Hargrove Environmental Complex is spectacular as Pearland has many birding opportunities due to its location in Brazoria County. It is also part of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, where many birds stop on the flight to or from the Gulf of Mexico.
Another great hotspot for birdwatching is the Shadow Creek Ranch Nature Trail and Tom Bass Park. Birds are seasonal, but some you might see include red-shouldered hawks, Roseate Spoonbill, egrets, pectoral sandpipers, sparrows, warblers, and American coot.
With the proximity to Houston, Space Center Houston is also a great activity. It only takes a few minutes to get there, and it is a must-see in the area. After enjoying the attractions at Space Center Houston, you can take the tram over to NASA Johnson Space Center. Space Center Houston has an interesting rocket garden, too. Don’t miss your chance to purchase space ice cream, one of my favorite treats. We found the attraction to be mostly exhibits and shows, much different from the Kennedy Space Center near our house
Where to Stay in Pearland
The upscale Marriott Courtyard was our home-away-from-home during our trip to Pearland. Located at the Pearland Town Center, this is an excellent location where you can walk to the mall’s stores and restaurants. We found our modernly decorated room to be highly functional with a desk and ergonomic chair work area, mini-fridge, and microwave (great for my Italian dinner leftovers).
I enjoyed the Marriott Courtyard’s Tea Tree toiletries, comfortable beds, and the spaciousness of the room. Parking was a breeze, and an outdoor pool allowed a great night-time swimming opportunity after our long days of sightseeing. There is also a 24-hour fitness room and an onsite restaurant.
Big Things Come in Small Packages
The town of Pearland was such a great place to explore for us. We loved the food, Pearland’s attractions, stayed at a nice hotel, and made a lovely craft to take home and use. This is my kinda town.
Fun Fact: Due to its close proximity to the four million residents of Houston and visitors, Pearland has a widely diverse group of nationalities, races, and religions that coexist harmoniously.
Thanks to the Pearland CVB for hosting our stay in Pearland. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
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