The Perfect Day in Houston

With so many things to do in Houston, it’s difficult to know how to plan the day. You’ll need some brunch, barbecue, and Tex-Mex food, and to burn off all those calories, some time exploring the best of Houston’s shopping, vibrant art scene, and natural wonders.

1801 Yale St, Houston, TX 77008, USA
Open daily from 9 a.m. until late in the evening, Down House is known for its brunch, extensive drink and cocktail menu, and otherwise great food and atmosphere. On Tuesdays, all classic cocktails are $3 off, and on Mondays, all wines by the bottle are half price. For brunch, it’s hard to go wrong, but the pork hash and biscuits and gravy are favorites.
Branard Street
This shaded park near the University of St. Thomas is right next to The Menil Collection. The park is very shaded and nestled between streets lined with classic 1920s bungalow houses. This place really captures Houston!
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.
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.
419 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002, USA
Like tequila? Then you’re going to love El Big Bad Bar and Kitchen. This “gastro-cantina” located in downtown Houston’s Market Square is a must-try spot thanks to its infused tequilas, fresh juice margaritas, and Mexican eats. The drink menu includes a pineapple and hibiscus margarita (tequila infused with pineapple and hibiscus, plus lemon, lime juice, and agave), the Champ #3 (cranberry- and churro-infused tequilas, agave, and fresh lemon and lime), and El Mule (ginger beer, fresh lime, and choice of infused tequila). On the food side, expect nachos, Gulf shrimp tacos, and stacked enchiladas. There’s also a booming happy hour and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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