Houston's getting hyped a lot these days for its food and arts scenes. I've had great meals at Uchi (sushi), Indika (Indian fusion), Underbelly (draws from an eclectic mix of ethnic cuisines), Haven (seasonal farm/Southern) and Reef (seafood). And, of course, we're Tex-Mex heaven
Must-sees include the Menil Collection, a gem of a museum that art lovers in Europe literally make pilgramages to visit, located in a beautiful park on a residential cul-de-sac in a neighborhood filled with bungalows and trees. (It's also free.) For a truly eccentric, only-in-Houston museum, visit the National Museum of Funeral History - it's a hoot.
If you're into the performing arts, Houston has everything from touring Broadway shows to homegrown avant-garde dance troups plus classical music and opera companies, and you can often get a ticket even at the last minute. There are also dozens of openings at art galleries any given week. CultureMap (http://houston.culturemap.com/
) has lots of listings and info about goings-on.
You could do a lot worse than to follow the recommendations in this Wall Street Journal article, EXCEPT that neither I nor most locals I know would recommend El Real, which has a great p.r. machine behind it but not-so-great food.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323452204578288471825815826.html
Most of the gay nightlife is in the Montrose area (which has a lot of gays but is mixed). South Beach is the main nightclub. Nearby bars include JR's and the Montrose Mining Co., Crocker (all neighborhood-type bars); George (country sports bar), Ripcord (leather), TC's Showroom (karaoke). A free shuttle runs from South Beach to Meteor (a 10-15 minute walk away), a lounge-type bar that often has go-go dancers (so do JR's and the Mining Co.). A short walk further east is F bar. The Eagle, a leather bar, is located downtown and can get busy on the weekends.
Hope this helps.