Looking for something to do today that doesn’t involved standing in returns line with unwanted gifts?

Leave the exchanges for a later date and head downtown and the new Avenida Houston district for the opening of the city’s new blockbuster hotel, the Marriott Marquis Houston

A “soft” opening of the new 1,000-room inn starts when the doors open on December 26th, 2016. A grand opening celebration is planned for a later date to be announced.

Also opening today in the hotel is the Biggio’s Sports Bar and Walker Street Kitchen, the hotel’s signature restaurant.

The Marriott Marquis – adjacent to Discovery Green park and attached the George R. Brown Convention Center between Walker and Rusk streets above Avenida de las Americas – is loaded with all the bells and whistles expected of a modern convention headquarters hotel.

In addition to the huge block of guest rooms, the 29-story show palace offers 52 meeting rooms, a 39,000 square-foot ballroom (the largest in Houston) and a junior ballroom, and 40 suites, including four vice-presidential suites and two presidential suites.

The signature element, though, is its one-of-a-kind Texas-shaped lazy river, rooftop infinity pool, and special events pavilion overlooking Avenida Houston. The 530-foot-long river sits 110 feet in the air surrounded by the downtown skyline. A gentle reminder: the pool is only open to hotel guests.

Biggio’s, a two-story sports bar bearing the name of Houston baseball icon Craig Biggio, is the place to be before, during and after any game, or even when the good guys are out of town. Every seat comes with great views of games on flat-screen TVs and local craft beer and other beverages. Upscale bar food rounds out a winning lineup. Patrons can expect to see Craig Biggio in the joint from time to time. 

Walker Street Kitchen is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving Texas countryside-inspired fare with a healthy twist. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the Marriott at Walker and Avenida de las Americas. 

Make plans to come downtown today and begin a new post-Christmas tradition at the Marriott Marquis.