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.
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 a two-day itinerary for Pearland, Texas, one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States.
Day 1 in Pearland (Morning & Afternoon)
Taylor and I rolled into Pearland in the afternoon, so we decided to skip breakfast and have an early lunch. We chose Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen, a local authentic Tex-Mex chain that originated here in Pearland. The decor and curb appeal were quite enticing, but the food was what won us over!
She and I began with the Sampler Platter that had Southwest Eggrolls, Beef Empanadas, Taquitos, and Chicken Quesadillas. This was a great way to try all of the big stars 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. Food is truly exceptional at this Tex-Mex favorite eatery.
A Special Attraction
After lunch, Taylor and I dove right into Pearland’s international offerings. To say we were shocked at what we saw next is an understatement. Amid Pearland, out some curvy, country roads, is the 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 Taylor and I 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’s knees and shoulders must be covered.
After visiting the Sri Meenakshi Temple, Taylor and I went to the Pearland Alliance for Arts & Culture to see the Terra Cotta miniature exhibit that we had read about in a local travel guide. There were also several impressive artifacts from India on display. The curator was super-friendly and shared much history about what we were seeing. The super-small alliance, with a sizable worldly vision, is hoping to build an exciting museum that could materialize into an incredible attraction for Pearland.
Day 1 in Pearland (Evening & Dinner)
Stop in Pearland Coffee Roasters for an excellent pastry selection and really good coffee drinks, in a comfortable, no-frills shop. The beans are roasted on-site and I can attest to how yummy the caramel latte was.
Later, Taylor and I did some shopping at the Pearland Town Center. The fashionable outdoor shopping complex is lined with palm trees and an adorable Instagram-worthy 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′ pear sculptures that are painted in different themes. Three of these public art installments, more commonly referred to as Pear Scape, 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? Inside of Grazia, attractive furnishings and decor welcome guests, and the aroma of tantalizing garlic and red sauce is enough to curl your toes!
Taylor had the Chicken Parmigiana while I tried the Mike & Jen pasta dish, one of their specialties. Our meal was very flavorful and the grilled chicken, garlic, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers in my meal paired wonderfully in the decadent Romano cream sauce. Dinner got a 10/10 rating from the gals of Wherever I May Roam.
Day 2 in Pearland (Morning & Afternoon)
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 like the 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 did some more shopping 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!
Texas BBQ At Long Last
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 are both sensational! Be sure to try the signature barbecue sauces, especially the coffee sauce. Yum! Fun fact, the restaurant is located in the owner’s old elementary school cafeteria.
Note: Arrive early to avoid the long lines.
Day 2 in Pearland (Evening & Dinner)
For our evening activity, Taylor and I were lucky to land a spot in the Rustique General Store’s fall pumpkin workshop. It was so much fun! With a master crafter leading the class, we were instructed step-by-step through the process of making a lovely take-home piece of art. The wooden boards and loose flowers we started with ended up looking like a masterpiece when we were through.
We also enjoyed light refreshments during the class and lots of laughs. Trust me; you don’t have to step out of your comfort zone to enjoy one of Rustique’s classes. It is incredibly casual and the positive vibe will make you immediately feel right at home.
The Rustique General Store sells restyled furniture and beautiful crafts. I loved the fancy soaps, cool pillows, and fun jewelry. Rustique touts that 90% of everything in the store is made from local products or locally made. Around 40 vendors have their products in the store.
FYI: If you are a local, you can host a class and earn points that translate into store bucks.
Taylor and I couldn’t come to Pearland and not eat at the German & Austrian beer hall/restaurant. King’s Biergarten and Restaurant may look a little cheesy on the outside (it screams tourists), but the German food here is incredible. We started with the Pretzel Bites, served alongside a sweet mustard and cheddar-bacon bier sauce. Taylor and I both had Chicken Wiener Schnitzel for our main courses, perfectly seasoned and delicious. The meal comes with your choice of two side dishes; mine were sauerkraut and homemade spaetzle noodles. Our dinners were outstanding.
Surprisingly, there are exotic meat choices at King’s Biergarten plus vegan options. I liked that they offered so many International draft beers and canned sodas– two things I had not seen on German restaurant menus in the states until now.
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 lots of 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, which is 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 Taylor and I. 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.
Pearland, Texas Photo Gallery
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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