Houston Bucketlist

I’m creating a bucket list for my friend, who plans to leave Houston within the year. This is also a perfect way for native Houstonians to check off Houston essentials. Also, check out the below lists for more inspiration/ideas! http://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/houston/the-houston-bucket-list-40-things-to-do-in-houston-before-you-die http://www.houstonpress.com/news/the-houston-bucket-list-the-100-things-to-do-before-you-kick-it-6600550 Suggestions welcome!

1100 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006, USA
5015 Westheimer Rd #1260, Houston, TX 77056, USA
Inside Houston‘s biggest shopping destination, the Galleria mall, you’ll find an ice skating rink set beneath an impressive glass atrium. It’s open seven days a week, year-round, and it’s a great place to blow off some steam (and maybe even practice your triple lutz).
3711 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002, USA
Yes, there might be a line. Yes, you need to go anyway. The Breakfast Klub is a Houston institution for good reason—you’ll find simple food, done right. Choose from classic breakfast dishes like French toast, omelettes, and biscuits and gravy, or order a more imaginative combination, like the Wings & Waffle (six chicken wing pieces and a Belgian waffle topped with a fresh strawberry and powdered sugar) or the Katfish & Grits (catfish fillet with grits, potatoes or eggs, and a choice of toast or biscuit). Despite the restaurant’s name, breakfast isn’t served all day here—catch it from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
2704 Navigation Blvd, Houston, TX 77003, USA
For an authentic Houston experience, head to the Original Ninfa’s on Navigation, where the food is always top-notch and the longtime servers are revered as rock stars. With chef Alex Padilla at the helm, you can expect everything from handmade tamales and grilled octopus salad to mole grilled salmon and oven-roasted chicken enchiladas. Don’t miss the tacos al carbon with a margarita on the side—both are legendary with locals. Grab a patio seat and see who you see—it’s not unusual to notice a celebrity or two. Houston has a booming Tex-Mex scene, and Ninfa’s can show you why in a single bite.
2520 Airline Dr, Houston, TX 77009, USA
Behind Canino’s is an open-air Hispanic market called Airline Farmers Market. While it doesn’t offer hyper-local products, the brush with this part of Houston‘s culture makes up for it. You’ll find things like fresh produce, all sorts of dried chilies, plants, and spices. Bring cash if you plan to buy, and take advantage of the taco trucks in the back! Open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
3510 Ella Blvd, Houston, TX 77018, USA
BBQ is serious business in Houston, as in the rest of Texas, and any local will have a strong opinion about where you can find the holy grail. Gatlin’s, however, is a favorite among many. Fall-off-the-bone tender ribs, respectable brisket, pulled pork, and all the usual fixin’s made with love. Photo via Gatlin’s BBQ Facebook page
222 Malone St, Houston, TX 77007, USA
What started as one man’s simple hobby has turned into a Houston landmark that attracts visitors from across the country: The Beer Can House. Back in 1968, owner John Milkovisch, a retired upholsterer for Southern Pacific Railroad, realized he really enjoyed drinking beer but was tired of throwing his cans away. Instead, he decided to recycle them as decorations for his house, from aluminum beer-can siding to beer can garland that hangs from the roof’s edge. Now, 50,000 cans later, it’s a stunning work of art that stands as a testament to, well, beer. Admission is $5; children 12 and under are free. From June through August, the Beer Can House is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 12-5pm. From September through May, it’s open Saturdays and Sundays from 2-6pm. The Beer Can House is closed on most major holidays.
6501 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77007, USA
Runners flock to Memorial Park to run its 3-mile loop one, two, or five times. But there’s so much more to discover here, like 30 miles of hiking trails, a golf course, a swimming pool, and facilities for tennis, softball, croquet, and volleyball. Cyclists will fall in love with the biking trails, which range from beginner to expert levels. Originally opened in 1924, the park, located in Houston’s Memorial neighborhood, spans 1,466 acres, making it one of the largest urban green spaces in the United States.
2000 Lyons Ave, Houston, TX 77020, USA
Houston‘s beer scene has commanded national attention for years thanks to its quality craft brews, and there’s no better place to sample some than at Saint Arnold Brewing Company. Founded in the mid-1990s, it has the esteemed title of being the oldest craft brewery in Texas. Monday through Friday the beer hall is open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; there’s no charge for admission and brewery tours are offered at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. On Saturdays, the beer hall is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and admission is $10, which includes a souvenir glass and four 8 oz. tastings; tours are held at noon, 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. One lesser-known secret about the beer hall? It serves up excellent à la carte food, too.
2800 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX 77056, USA
It might not be Niagara Falls, but as you pass through the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park, the mist that brushes your cheeks is sure to cool your body and settle your spirit on even the hottest summer day. Created nearly 25 years ago, this public park covers 2.77 acres and features a 64-foot architectural fountain pumping 11,000 gallons of water a minute. It’s a wonderful place to take pictures (or people-watch: You’ll frequently catch engagement shots being snapped here). Bring a blanket and soak in the atmosphere! It’s a stunning and uniquely Houston experience.
5555 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030, USA
You just never know what you’re going to see when you walk through the doors at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where everything from corpse flowers to terra-cotta warriors have graced the exhibit halls. Permanent exhibits here include the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, which showcases 750 sparkling pieces; the Cockrell Butterfly Center, where creatures in every color of the rainbow flit about; and the Paleontology Hall, complete with a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. There’s also an IMAX theater, a Texas exhibit, and a planetarium here. Admission is $25 for adults, $15 for children and seniors. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
6001 Fannin St, Houston, TX 77030, USA
No matter how old you are, you’re bound to find something to do at Hermann Park, which is located near downtown Houston and is bustling with activity any time of day. Pack a picnic or rest a while on a wooden bench to watch the miniature train that chugs through the park. There’s also the Japanese Garden, pedal-boat rentals, and the McGovern Centennial Gardens. The Miller Outdoor Theatre features a variety of shows, from Houston Symphony performances and concerts to plays and musicals, throughout the year. The Houston Zoo and the Houston Museum of Natural Science are also located just a short walk away.
18-3600 Allen Pkwy, Houston, TX 77019, USA
There’s a really cool jogging and biking trail that runs from River Oaks all the way to downtown along the Bayou. This is next to Eleanor Tinsley Park. Check it out for some nice views of the Houston skyline.
2706 White Oak Dr, Houston, TX 77007, USA
Fitzgerald’s has been around since 1977, and has hosted some of the biggest names in music—like James Brown, Tina Turner, and the Ramones—in addition to giving a start to many local bands. The first floor of the two-story building has a full bar, small stage, and large back cobblestone patio with a separate bar. Upstairs is the main stage, accompanied by a full bar, balcony seating, and an inviting hardwood dance floor. Buy tickets online or at the door for shows several nights a week.
140 Heights Boulevard
One of the most beloved Houston celebrations is its annual Art Car Parade, which takes places in downtown Houston every spring and showcases cars decorated in every material imaginable. Even if you can’t make it to the parade, you can still find the flavor of the festivities at the Art Car Museum, which is free and open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The museum includes a variety of exhibits by local, national and international artists as well as actual art cars. It was founded in 1998 and has since become an excellent place for up-and-coming artists to be seen while also paying tribute to the postmodern age of car culture. Even the building facade, which is covered in scrap metal and chrome, is a work of art.
1500 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77010, USA
Since opening to the public in April 2008, this 12-acre park has quickly become the heartbeat of downtown. Here you’ll find a playground, a man-made lake, a dog park, and the Grace Event Lawn, which frequently hosts events like yoga classes, concerts, movie screenings, art shows, and farmers’ markets. The new adjacent Marriott Marquis Houston even features a lazy river in the shape of Texas! It may look familiar from TV: Discovery Green was one of the main event zones during 2017’s Super Bowl LI.
3300 Smith St, Houston, TX 77006, USA
Helmed by Chef Danny Trace, a New Orleans native whose resume includes stints at Commander’s Palace and Cafe Adelaide, Brennan’s is the kind of place you go to for well-executed classics: Oysters Rockefeller, Shrimp and Grits, Gulf Fish Pontchartrain. But should you happen to venture into less predictable territory, you’ll be just as pleased. Still, every meal should end with bananas foster prepared tableside.
Waugh Dr, Houston, TX 77002, USA
Eleanor Tinsley Park in Houston is a great place to spend time outdoors. There’s the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony, hiking and biking trails, and tons of green space to enjoy.
220 Main St, Houston, TX 77002, USA
Originally the Union National Bank Building—built in 1911—the 12-floor landmark in downtown Houston debuted as Hotel Icon in 2004 after a $35 million makeover. The historic structure beautifully maintains its neoclassical architecture with period details like grand arched windows and stately columns and nods to its roots with rich interior design details that make guests feel like they’re stepping back in time. All of this is juxtaposed with contemporary luxuries—from plush linens and velvet seating to Jacuzzi bathtubs and walk-in rain showers. Charmingly (and appropriately), some rooms have antique claw-foot tubs.

Hotel Icon is one of two Marriott Autograph Collection properties in Texas, and its Main Street location sits along the 7.5-mile Metro LightRail line that runs through downtown. That means easy access to Houston’s Central Business District, George R. Brown Convention Center, Texas Medical Center, Hermann Park, and the Museum District.
1641 Westheimer Road
Many a late night in Houston ends at Poison Girl, a beloved dive bar tucked between Westheimer Road’s antique stores and secondhand shops. You’ll find a full range of cocktails, beer, and wine at this eclectic bar, which has a wide outside patio perfect for lingering. While you’re there, make sure to snap a photo with the oversize Cabbage Patch Kid that greets visitors. Bored? Test your skills at the wall of pinball machines and arcade games. Poison Girl is open daily from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Be warned, however, that this place is popular—locking down a seat can be a challenge on the weekend.
2007 Grant Street
Many people consider Anderson Fair – Houston‘s legendary folk and acoustic music “listening room"– an unsung cultural treasure. Grammy Award-winning artists like Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, and Lucinda Williams have all played here. It began as a coffee shop and restaurant, hence the name. Doors are usually open on Thursdays at 8 p.m. for a $10 cover (bring cash). Photo via Flickr user Nieve44/Luz
1435 Beall St, Houston, TX 77008, USA
As strange as it sounds, about 700 Houstonians of all ages meet on Thursday evenings to play bingo at a Czech Farmers Insurance Lodge. People actually start lining up just after 4 p.m. for a 7 p.m. start time! What makes this place so appealing to so many? Getting to people watch among the diverse, mishmash of participants? The cheap pitchers of Shiner Bock? People booing the winners (in good fun)? Go play and see for yourself.
Hotels
3410 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006, USA
This property is currently closed for renovation and expects to reopen in early 2020.

An intimate boutique hotel with a B&B feel, La Colombe D’Or (meaning “golden dove” in French) is a Texas landmark built in 1923 as a private residence, for the founder of Humble Oil. Acquired by Steven Zimmerman in 1979, the “Fondren Mansion” became one of the smallest luxury hotels in the world. The unique property also has its own art gallery and Le Grand Salon event space, which has carved wood panel walls that originally hung in a French chateau. The third-floor gallery displays sculpture and oil paintings by local and international artists as well as works on paper by Picasso, Dali, and Man Ray, and there are many more pieces sprinkled throughout the property.

With only five suites (all named after French artists such as Monet and Degas) and nine villas (across the street from the ballroom), all flush with original art and 19th-century French antiques, the hotel feels personal yet posh. Bonus: 24-hour concierge service and complimentary Wi-Fi.
6101 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77057, USA
Pull on your cowboy boots and get ready to learn to two-step with a real live cowboy or cowgirl at this hopping joint that plays a blend of country sounds and dance music. Sunday nights offer free dance lessons and a free fajita buffet, and there are drinks specials every single night. Yee-ha!
Hotels
5701 Main St, Houston, TX 77005, USA
After 80 some odd years as one of Houston’s most lauded and refined hotels, the historic Warwick Hotel went from Bach to rock, when new owners gave it a slick makeover and renamed it Hotel ZaZa in 2007. A bold beacon in the Museum District, the dimly lit hotel is a virtual playground for adults, with daring decor, baroque details, and an outdoor pool with private piazza-themed cabanas. While it maintains much of its original 1920s architectural elegance and details, including Baccarat chandeliers, the interior walls are splashed with modern art and iconic editorial-photo shots of beloved celebs.

Many rooms and event spaces are themed, including the space-inspired “Houston, We Have a Problem” Suite and the Conspiracy Room, which nods to Prohibition. A recent refresh includes newly renovated 11th-floor meeting rooms, new mattresses, new carpet, spa and fitness center upgrades (including treatment room tweaks and the addition of innovative infrared saunas), and new in-room flat-screen TVs. Bottom line: even an overnight stay feels like a true escape.
Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion, Houston, TX 77005, USA
Houston has an amazing amount of hidden art gems. One of my favorite is James Turrell’s Skyspace Twilight Epiphany, a beautiful temple to light and sound. Whether visiting for one of the concert series or just for fun, Twilight Epiphany is uplifting.
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