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At the NBA All-Star Jam Session and yes our daughter is wearing a taco hat!

Travel Mommy: Family Trip to the NBA All-Stars

The NBA All-Star Week ranks as one of our top family trips. Since the ticket prices to the All-Star Game almost rivaled the Super Bowl, our family decided to enjoy the attractions surrounding the main event. Houston did an outstanding job as host city featuring free events across that city that could make the NBA accessible to everyone. The NBA kicked off the events on the Thursday with the opening of the All-Star jam session and culminated with the All-Star East vs. West battle on Sunday night at the Toyota Center. Here is quick and simple guide for navigating a NBA All-star trip:

NBA  All-Star events:

  • NBA Jam Session; a fun family event at the George R. Brown convention center filled with sporting events, exhibits and action packed games. The event really empowered our daughters because high school girls played center court and WNBA Super stars starred in a major roles through-out the exhibition. Some easy tips for managing the Jam Session are:
    • Arrive at all the events right after it starts so you can avoid the opening line outside and long lines at the sporting events inside
    • Stand in line for tickets for the All-Star practice session because it is well worth the wait for the kids to get autographs and close up sighting
    • The children loved the Kia Autograph area which allowed them to meet many of the NBA’s finest.
    • The exhibition courts around every bend provided loads of entertainment creating much excitement for the big event!
  • NBA All-Star Fit Run, Walk & Dribble: kicked off Saturday morning with a charity fun run benefitting the USO followed by a free dribble contest. We applaud the NBA for making the events affordable for all
  • NBA Family Parties at local sporting stores: Academy Sports on the Katy freeway held a family fest complete with Super Stars and dunking contests
  • NBA Jam Session at Discovery Green Park: featured live music, basketball courts, food stands and countless vendors

photo-81 Parking & Lodging:

  • General lodging: use the concierge service of any of your credit cards especially VISA to book your stay months in advance and try to find a hotel in walking distance from the events. Also depending upon the city, MasterCard offers “priceless” packages
  • The Hilton Americas and the Courtyard Marriott Convention Center are nice, reasonable & very central to all the downtown events and sports venues
  • VBRO or Dwellable.com: are great options for rentals and B&Bs
  • Parking: try to reserve in advance because parking is a bear in big cities or you can pay $40-100 for parking near the main venue
  • Navigating the traffic: Waze is a fantastic GPS App that tells you which roads may be blocked off or super busy with traffic since it operates on driver feedback

3 no-nonsense family friendly & affordable restaurants:

  • Ninfa’s: on Navigation is mouth-watering Tex-Mex near downtown
  • The Grove:  is higher-end Americana dining with a great view of Discovery Green. However, the children should be dressed nicely and on their best behavior
  • Lake House: is casual, counter service with cafe style cuisine also at Discovery Green
  • For other recommendations check out: citysearch.houston.com

Unique attractions:

  • Amazing museums abound in Houston: The Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston are exquisite
  • The Houston Zoo: one of the finest we have seen and the children just love the piranha aquarium where you can climb through a tube so it looks like you are swimming with them
  • The Aquarium: the colorful and fantastic display is a “must see”. Bigger kids will get a kick out of the Shark train exhibit
  • The Rodeo: the world acclaimed event runs the end of February to early March

Help NBA Player Steve Nash help underprivileged kids – make a difference!

Finally, a special NBA All-Star shout-out to one of our favorite players Steve Nash. Not only is he an amazing player from Canada (like our family), but he gives back through his foundation to promote healthy living for underserved children. You can support the Steve Nash foundation by using the free shopping App KarmaWell for your computer to turn your everyday shopping (pet food, cleaning supplies, clothes, photos…)  into free micro donations.  Every purchase can count and the dollars really add up to make a difference. You are going to shop anyway – help Steve, help so many more kids!!

Given our wonderful Super Bowl trip to New Orleans, we are thrilled that the NBA All-Star week will be there next year! Look out NOLA!

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