10 Things to Do in Houston

So you're visiting Houston and you don't know what to do? Here are 10 things to do in Houston... some more random than others and in no particular order.

Drive to 2500 Summer Street, just within spitting distance of downtown, and walk around the parking lot of David Adickes SculpturWorx Studio. Adickes' sculptures tend to be very divisive but like them or not, wandering around a parking lot full of his sculptures makes for some great photographs and a unique memory.

Sculptures galore at SculturWorx

It's getting harder to find a quality dive that's not likely to land you in jail or running for your life. With the demise of legendary places like The Aquarium (not the garish downtown restaurant), they're harder to come by. One place that still fits the bill is Warren's Inn at 307 Travis. Located on Market Square, the bar attracts a mixed crowd. Walk across the street into the dilapidated square and walk along the criss-crossing sidewalks for signs of how the area used to look.

Since you've already made it to Market Square, take a short stroll to La Carafe at 813 Congress. Houston may be relatively young city but this wine bar occupies the oldest building in town. Rumor has it the bar has been around for 130 years... not sure if that's true but step inside and you may be convinced. It's a great place dripping with atmosphere - excellent for a first date, hanging out with a group of friends or whatever.

The towering entrance to the Children's Museum of Houston

This one is so obvious but it's still worth mentioning - head to the Museum District and check out the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (with a stunning modernist building designed by Mies Van der Rohe and one designed by Rafael Moneo), the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the amazing Menil Collection (a short drive down West Alabama to Sul Ross), the Children's Musuem of Houston, the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum (free and highly worth visiting), the Holocaust Museum Houston and much more. If you decide to visit the museum district by passing through midtown, stop at Farrago for a bite.

Jog on over to Memorial Park, one of America's largest urban parks and go for a run, a bike ride or a round of golf. The 2.93 mile course that circles the golf course is extremely popular, regardless of the weather and is great for a workout and people-watching. Several paved and mountain bike trails are also available. The golf course is one of the best municipal golf courses in the country and, of course, there's tennis, baseball, a pool and more. Not too far away, you have other options like Bayou Bend and the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. When you're at Memorial Park, you're in the area so you may as well drive by the beer can house at 222 Malone... everyone recommends it despite its quirkiness and the fact that some people can't stand it. Just drive by and take a peek.

Funky signage on Washington Avenue

Wander north from the beer can house until you get to Washington Avenue. You'll notice that the area is undergoing a transition from rundown and crackhousish to up-and-coming. New townhouses are being built and restaurants, stores and coffee shops are sprouting up everywhere. Some highlights include Max's Wine Dive, Metro Retro, Catalan, Cova, Star Pizza, and many many more. Start from the Wescott end and work your way east heading towards downtown.

Depending on when you're in town, you're likely to come across a festival to enjoy, particularly in the spring or the fall. There's the Houston International Festival, the Bayou Arts Festival, the Children's Festival, the Texas Crawfish and Music Festival in Old Town Spring, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, FotoFest, the Greek Festival, the Turkish Festival and more. Granted, when it comes to festivals, we're no Montreal but you're sure to find something you'll enjoy. Of course, if you've got the time, head up to Warrentown and Round Top for Antique Weekend.

Shop and dine in two unique Houston areas worth visiting - The Heights and Rice Village. The Heights was considered Houston's first suburb and is filled with bungalows, cottages and Victorian homes. Two main areas to visit are funky 19th street and Studemont. Restaurants worth visiting in the Heights include Shade, The Glass Wall and Onion Creek Cafe'. Rice Village, on the other hand, is located just west of Rice University and is a great pedestrian area full of funky shops, boutiques, restaurants and more. This is a great area to pass the day. Three places we like are Prego, Mi Luna and Benjy's. Reservations are highly recommended, particularly at Glass Wall and Prego.

A beautiful October day at Hermann Park

It may be hot and humid in the summertime but one great way to pass an evening is to take in a show at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Bring a blanket, a bottle of wine and some food to enjoy a free show under the stars. Located in Hermann park, just south of the museums, the theater has been offering up cultural events for over 84 years. Upcoming events include Romeo and Juliet, Beehive, the Children's Hilltop Festival, Madame Butterfly and the 11th Houston Grand Taiko Festival. Get to the area early to wander around Hermann Park and even take in a day at the zoo. Bring mosquito spray.

1 comment:

Bugra Tamer, M. Ed. said...

After reading your blog, I thought sharing the dates for the Turkish festival in Houston might be helpful. It is going to be on the 8th and 9th of September on City Hall- Hermann Square which is located at 900 Smith St. Houston, TX 77002.

The official full name of the festival is "Turkic Cultures and Children's Festival" and organized by Raindrop Turkevi Turkish Cultural Center. The website for the festival is www.turkicfest.org.

I hope it is going to be helpful,
Bugra TAMER, M. Ed.