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Mike Chabala's Guide to Houston

When traveling to unfamiliar territory it’s often best to check in with the locals if you want to find the real city — the beating heart of the area, the places that aren’t on the tourist map. You just can’t beat a having a guy on the ground that can tell when to go, what to see, where to eat and how to get there.

Since this year’s All-Star Game is in Houston, a few members of the Dynamo have offered tips on how to best enjoy the Bayou City before and after Wednesday’s match against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United [TICKETS]. Among those players to share their picks for the best of Houston is defender Mike Chabala.

So whether you are interested in good-looking people or shopping for good-looking vintage clothing, this California kid has got you covered when it comes to all things Houston.

Coolest Neighborhood ...

Chabala: “Either River Oaks or Montrose. Montrose is a beautiful area first off, and it’s also where I live. There is always something going on in this part of town, and there are always good-looking people walking around town.”

Best Mexican Food ...

Chabala: “If I'm going for a quick bite I would have to say FreeBirds. But if I'm going to lounge around, then I'll take the party to El Pueblito off of Richmond at Montrose. It has the best outdoor patio in Houston and some of the best dishes!”

Best Shopping ...

Chabala: “It's no secret that the Galleria is where you want to go for your major department stores and shops. I'm a big fan of Saks and Nordstrom, so you'll find me there. But there are some hidden spots around town. Westheimer has some cool vintage shops that I like strolling through, and I also like the Rice Village for some smaller boutiques.”

Something any visitor to Houston must do ...

Chabala: “I would have to say, come to a Dynamo game! What else could be better? If that visitor isn’t fortunate enough to catch us when we're in town then I would tell them that it’s a must to check out a Rockets/Texans/Astros game. Always a good time supporting local Houston teams. The Galleria is on the list for some shopping, followed by a visit to Uptown Park for a Crave cupcake and coffee.

“I would also take some time venturing through Rice Village and the Rice University area before making time for a dinner in Midtown. After dinner, I would take your dancing shoes toward Washington Street to find a good spot to end the night off.”

Need more? Check out the Soccer Fan's Guide to Houston and the All-Star fan information page.