June is coming and so are the glorious, golden days of summer! Summer only comes once a year, Houston (last we checked), so there’s no excuse. It’s not only recommended but required that you get out and enjoy it. Let’s get your summer started on the right foot with the best June events around the Bayou City. HOUSTON ZOO AFTER DARK This summer the Houston Zoo is staying open late just for the 21-and-up crowd to serve up the fun. June’s event is “Sip and Sea” where you’ll relax and sip a favorite glass of wine against the elegant backdrop of the Zoo’s beautiful Reflection Pool. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Wear your favorite white attire for this al fresco evening under the stars. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn more about the Zoo’s aquatic animals, like sea lions and sea turtles, and how the Houston Zoo is helping save them in the wild. The evening will be accompanied by a live jazz band belting out smooth tunes all night long. INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF SHERLOCK HOLMES It’s no mystery that Sherlock Holmes’ adventures have regaled audiences for over a century. The Houston Museum of Natural Science creates an interactive experience that combines science with history and culture to bring to life the historic underpinnings of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s rich and vibrant stories. Visit Houston is geeked out to learn about “his practices and techniques” that have “changed the way police work was conducted and remain in practice today.” UNLIMITED LASER TAG The name alone sells it—Unlimited Laser Tag at Palava Family Entertainment Center! The themed adventure invites you to challenge your skills against the wrath of the Mayan for whose temple base is secreted away within the torturous jungle and fiercely guarded by a tribe of highly skilled hunters. Organize and manage your team to capture their base while fending off savage attacks on your own home base. You’ll never forget Houston in June! Kickstart the summer with the best events around H-Town.
The wind in your hair! The sun on your face! Is there anything more glorious than riding a bicycle? The best bike shops are a community within a community, where local cyclists come to share their love of the two-wheeled lifestyle. They’ve got all the latest bike swag and many of them are hubs for other gearheads. Let’s check out the best bike shops around Houston! HOUSTON CYCLING CENTRE The Houston Cycling Centres know Houston cyclists and triathletes better than any shop in town. They make it easy to put you in the saddle of a shiny new bike with their layaway program: 25% down, 3 months to pay and pick up. You can also “trade up” by bringing in your old bicycle to exchange for a downpayment on a new one. And you can take in your new bicycle for an absolutely free 30 day check up. Google Local Guide Tadd Pham is a big fan of the service center’s friendly and knowledgeable technicians. In his 5-star review, he says, “Mario explained what needs to be done to my bikes and itemized cost so there will be no surprises. He even adjusted some minor tweaks without charging.” URBAN BICYCLE GALLERY Burn fuel, not fat, with the Urban Bicycle Gallery. They’re conveniently located near Downtown, The Heights, Garden Oaks, Oak Forest, The Montrose, and Memorial Park. They host regular riding events out of the shop, like the Wednesday Urban Ride—a 20-mile jaunt through town at an average cycling speed of 18-30 mph. Helmet, spare tube, and CO2 cartridges are required. Google Local Guide David Sabart loves how accessible the shop is for new riders. In his 5-star review, he says, “I am new in the bike world and was shopping different places. Once I found this store I knew this is the best place to go.” WEST END BICYCLES West End Bicycles’ motto is “fast and friendly.” They opened in 1985 and they eschew the corporate look for a more approachable atmosphere. They specialize in mountain bikes and these guys are clearly in it for their love of cycling. Daniel Murphy, the shop’s owner, says, “My greatest joy is derived from introducing new cyclist to the sport of cycling.” Live life in the bike lane, Houston. Enjoy the best bike shops around H-Town!
A community isn’t just the brick and mortar of its buildings. It’s more than the people who live there, too. A community is a whole ecosystem of living things that call an area home. Life depends on life to thrive, after all. The community garden movement embraces this concept and lets neighbors grow together. Let’s explore the best community gardens around Houston. WESTBURY COMMUNITY GARDEN The Westbury Community Garden is huge—it’s situated on a marvelous 7-acre site owned by the Houston Housing Authority. In 2009, a group of volunteers sought to lease the land from HHA. Today the garden is a joint project of the Westbury SuperNeighborhood, the Westbury Civic Club, and the Westbury Area Improvement Corporation. The garden is a real hit with the community. In her 5-star review, Google Local Guide Katharine Dlouhy raves, “Love this great asset of our community in Westbury. Great place to volunteer or buy fresh produce on the weekends!” CAMPUS COMMUNITY GARDEN Campus Community Garden is approximately 600 square feet of land that the University of Houston has devoted to growing organic produce. True to their academic “roots,” they’ve made it their duty to educate campus and community members about healthy living. All of their produce is donated directly to local food pantries and facilities serving low-income families and individuals. Their organic produce is not treated with pesticides or herbicides. BEAUTY’S COMMUNITY GARDEN “Food is medicine!” Beauty’s Community Garden declares. They’re an educational garden with community access to produce without limitations. Their food is all organic. And Beauty’s offers free gardening classes and cooking demos. They advocate for healthy school meals and host regular events to get people out to their wonderful, earthy space. Anne Goldsmith lauds the place in her 5-star Facebook review: “What a learning experience to help out at this garden. I’m not even really a big gardener but it felt great to get my hands in the dirt… and then plant a bunch of fall veggies.” It’s time to learn, grow and eat well at one of Houston’s best community gardens!
Houston is abloom this May. It’s the time of year to spring into the most sultry vernal events around H-Town because the month of May is a little extra merry in the Bayou City. So, let’s see what fun this town has to offer this side of the equinox. These are the best May events around Houston! ZOO BALL Listen to the rhythms of the rainforest at Zoo Ball, Houston Zoo’s annually anticipated soiree. Zoo Ball is more than a helluva good party, it’s a fundraiser for our planet’s most vulnerable inhabitants. Let’s go straight to the horse’s mouth for this one. Here’s what Houston Zoo’s website has to say about the event: “There’s nothing else quite like it in Houston! You’ll meet Ambassador Animals, bid on exclusive silent and live auction items, enjoy a fabulous seated dinner and dance ‘til midnight to live music.” Sounds like a tasteful amount of leopard-print is definitely in the dress code for this one. JMBLYA JMBLYA is Texas’ own hip hop fest! With stops in Dallas, Austin, and our very own H-Town, JMBLYA assembles a distinctly curated tour for you to enjoy. Small cameras and GoPros are permitted, so you’ll be able to brag to all your friends on social media. And it should be music to your ears: JMBLYA will be partnering with Event Water Solutions to provide filling stations with an unlimited amount of FREE water throughout the fest. So, shake your booty and stay hydrated! GREEK FEST Enjoy a taste of Greek culture in the Bayou City! Houston Greek Fest sits atop Mt. Olympus as the premier festival event in the West Houston area sharing Greek culture with over 15,000 attendees. So, get ready to raise some Hell-enic cheer and enjoy the food, crafts, and music. Opa! Summer is on the way but you won’t have to ask “may I?” for the finest fun to be had around Houston in the meantime. Check out the best May events around H-Town!
It’s summertime in the Bayou City. Festival season has returned to Houston! Get out into that sticky heat for the hottest events of the summer. These Texas-sized cultural happenings are happening with or without you, so don’t miss out. These are the best music festivals around Houston this summer. THROWDOWN TEXAS BURGER & MUSIC FEST Music festivals can leave you pretty hungry. It was a pure stroke of Texas genius to combine the best of two different festivals into one, perfect hybrid fest! Behold the Throwdown Texas Burger & Music Fest! Brought to you by Inspire Productions, the Burger & Music Fest is a cooking competition to see which restaurant makes the best burger in town. The live country music supplied on stage by local and regional bands will keep the energy high and the appetite large. The Throwdown Texas Burger & Music Fest is in June at the Town Green Park in The Woodlands, TX. ULTRA SANDS BEACH MUSIC FESTIVAL Dance on the sands of San Jacinto River. Ultra Sands Beach Music Festival features hottest DJs in EDM, Latin, Hip Hop, Dance, Pop, Reggae and more! Turn up to a lineup that will have you shakin’ your thing late into the night. See you on the grounds of the beautiful Magnolia Garden Park for this one! Ultra Sands Beach Music Festival is this June. MOON AND STARS FEST Moon And Stars Fest from All Access Arts Show promises more than just a music festival. It’s a full-blown arts event with local painters, designers and photographers all showing what they’ve got. Artists are encouraged to showcase and sell their products in a creative, community-based environment for all to experience. You won’t have to travel far for Moon and Stars. The show is this April at the Ayva Center. Don’t let the summer slide by, Houston. Join the revelry at the best music festivals around H-Town!
It’s springtime on the bayou. The days are getting longer and warmer. Tulips bloom and allergies flair. It’s a good time to be alive in Texas. So what to do with all this vivifying energy? Head out to the streets and see fresh faces and old friends out and about in Houston! These are the best spring festivals in H-Town. HOUSTON BARBECUE FESTIVAL Travel the world all you like. Nobody does BBQ like we do here in Texas. They’ve got brisket as big as boogie boards at the Houston Barbecue Festival. The meat fest takes place every April. It’s truly a showcase of the best that Houston has to offer. There’s an excellent video of the festival embedded on their website; they flagged down several attendees for on-the-spot interviews. The quotes do a better job of summing up the festivities than this blogging laptop jockey ever could. “It’s about as fun and communal as it gets, and barbecue is all about both of those,” says one BBQ Fest reveler. Another adds, “It’s all about hot barbecue and cold beer, y’know?” Oh, yes. We know. MAC & CHEESE FEST Maybe you’re a vegetarian? We know you’re out there. Even in Texas. So, if brisket doesn’t do it for you, lots and lots of melted cheese surely will. Mac & Cheese Fest is a new addition to Houston’s spring lineup. But there’s just something about the gooey cohesiveness of liquid cheddar that’s like the warm embrace of a long-lost friend. Am I right? In the heart of Houston’s Washington Ave. Arts District at the lovely Silver Street events complex enjoys unlimited samples from over two dozen local Houston restaurants vying for your vote of Houston’s best mac & cheese! HOUSTON POLISH FESTIVAL After you’ve eaten your fill, polka the night away! The Houston Polish Festival takes place in May at Our Lady of Częstochowa Parish and, boy, do they know how to throw a party. It’s the largest Polish festival in Texas, doncha know? The main stage will feature Polish music throughout the day from a number of local performers. CBS Houston recommends the delicious traditional Polish dishes available, including pierogi, kielbasa, and cabbage rolls. Yum!
It’s spring festival season. American poet ee cummings wrote, “sweet spring is your / time is my time is our / time for springtime is love time / and viva sweet love!” Viva Houston!
It must be in the DNA of Houston, where laid-back, Southern bayou culture meets strapping Texas pride, that makes the men and women of our fair city appreciate a fine glass of Whiskey. Houstonians are drinking more whiskey than ever. And whether it was drawn from an old oak barrel in some Tennessee whiskey mecca or distilled right here in the Lone Star State, if it’s good, we’ll drink it. These are the best whiskey bars in Houston. Reserve 101 is recommended by CultureMap Houston as one of the top Whiskey Bars in Town. Reserve’s dedication to the bracing brown spirit is evident. They have over 340 varieties in stock! Why that’s coming close to a different sip for every day of the year! (Not that we’d recommend anyone mounting such a challenge.) CultureMap endorses one of Reserve’s recent top self-acquisitions—Annasach 25, a custom blend of four spirits that are all at least 25-years old. It can be purchased by the bottle, as a matter of fact, for a mere $250. ANVIL BAR & REFUGE Anvil Bar & Refuge opened in 2009 as Houston’s first bar devoted to classic cocktails. They’ve developed a list of 100 drinks. Their list of spirits is nothing to sneeze at with over 20 pages devoted to whiskey from Europe, North America, and Asia. Culture Map highlights the “Break-Even Bottle” which allows patrons to sample rare spirits at a more affordable price.
Margaret Z. from Manhattan, New York, says in her 5-star Yelp review, “Highly recommend and this would be one of my first stops if I’m ever back in the Houston area!”PUBLIC SERVICES WINE & WHISKEY Public Services Wine & Whiskey is located in downtown Houston next to the historic Houston Cotton Exchange Building. Built in 1884, the bar is listed on the National Register of Historic Places! If you get a hint of sweetness with your spirits it’s because their extensive selection of whiskey has been finished in Sherry casks. Yum!
Jordan T. of Lexington, Kentucky, was very impressed. In his 5-star Yelp review, he says, “Randomly found this gem while walking around Houston. Great bar. Fantastic whiskey selection that’s reasonably priced. Service was excellent and the staff was knowledgeable.”Distinctive, strong, yet laid back—this describes both a fine glass of whiskey and the city of Houston. Order yourself a nip at some of the best whiskey bars in H-Town!
A basic fact of Houston’s growth, whatever your opinions otherwise, means more late night options for all the crave-fueled, starry-eyed, midnight taco seekers out there. And that’s progress! Right? The variety of late night eats has gotten broader, too, and the tastes discerning them have only become more discerning as quality has risen. Lots to consider, I know unless you want to cut to the chase and make a beeline for the best. Here are the best late night eats around Houston! BB’S CAFE Tex-Orleans-style cooking is a thing and they’re serving up heaps of it at BB’s Cafe. Thrillist proclaims, “This Cajun eatery’s grub is fantastic EVEN when you’re sober, so just imagine how it tastes after some beverages.“ The loudest recommendations come in for the Tex-Cajun Virgin fries smothered with roast beef, gravy, and chile con queso. You don’t have to be a genius to cook up good food like this, but you’d have to be an idiot not to love it! BB’s is where all the little crawdads in Houston hangout after 12. You can find BB’s in multiple locations throughout Clutch City but the one in Montrose is open ‘til 4 am. VELVET TACO Especially after a long night, once you find yourself inside Velvet Taco, it’s hard to want to leave. They serve tacos until 4 am. And if that doesn’t keep you coming back, Eater Houston knows you’ll find something to whet your appetite, “with large tacos stuffed with everything from falafel to crispy chicken skin and potato salad.” Ari L.’s 5-star Yelp review goes even deeper into Velvet Taco’s inviting menu: “My go-to tacos are the chicken tikka masala, grilled flank steak, rotisserie chicken, or brisket. Chips & Queso and street corn are both great sides.” NINJA RAMEN Slurp noodles ‘til 12. They don’t care at Ninja Ramen! Ninja Ramen’s Asahikawa-style Ramen recipe has been passed down and secretly guarded for 2 million years. Mercifully, their website warns patrons: “Beware of shurikens!” The Google Local Guide reviews are in on this place and they are glowing. In her 5-star review, Jamy Abraham beams, “Got the garlic noodles and it was delicious!! The service is great as well!” Houston has grown. And so have our late night dining options! The best eats in H-Town after midnight are some of the best eats anywhere, at any time.
A lot of towns aren’t even sure what a breakfast taco is. Some towns have some really good ones. But Houston has the best. Now, we’ll avoid the H-Town trap of piling on Austin; they cook up a downright acceptable breakfast taco, occasionally. But, this blog is about the BEST breakfast tacos. And so we’ll speak nothing more of Austin. Born of the crucibles of our own Tex-Mex cocinas, the breakfast taco (and its sister, the breakfast burrito) is a Texas original. Enjoy the best breakfast tacos around Houston! TACOS TIERRA CALIENTE Tacos Tierra Caliente is legit. They’re a taco truck parked at Hollywood Food serving eggy, cheese-filled corn tortillas every day until 11:30 a.m. for less than a trip to Starbucks. This is about as good as it gets, folks. Alexandria T., of Houston, TX, agrees.
She yelps, “The best thing about Houston is tacos. And, more specifically tacos from Tacos Tierra Caliente.”Thrillist recommends “you drench [the breakfast tacos] in both the red AND the green salsa.” LAREDO TAQUERIA The line moves fast at Laredo Taqueria. So do the breakfast tacos. Thrillist throws in its two cents: “get spicy potatoes, chorizo & eggs, chicharrones, and refried beans.” They sing corridos about the handmade corn tortillas there. Houstonia Magazine chimes in: “Even the most basic potato-and-egg taco tastes amazing thanks to Laredo’s homemade tortillas and zesty, fiery salsas.” TACOS A GO-GO “Inhale tacos. Exhale emotions.” Tacos A Go-Go gets it right. Like a flaming El Camino out of the Texas sunset, Tacos A Go-Go, well, goes at Houston’s taqueria scene with its rockabilly vibe, old-school Mexican kitsch and simple, no-nonsense food made from scratch every day. They serve breakfast until late into the night, so go-go anytime. Sonal M., of Houston, TX, likes the food and the value of Tacos A Go-Go. She yelps, “Four huge breakfast tacos for 10 bucks! Can’t beat that! Each one comes with perfectly cooked eggs and two toppings on either a flour or corn tortilla.” Delicious and affordable. “What the bagel is to NYC, the breakfast taco is to Houston,” Houstonia Magazine asserts. So you’d better get it right! Do yourself a favor and try the best breakfast tacos in Houston.
When it’s springtime it feels like all of nature is inviting you to celebrate! American poet E.E. Cummins seems to agree when he writes, “all the merry little birds are/flying in the floating in the / very spirits singing in / are winging in the blossoming.” Don’t miss out, Houston! Enjoy these springtime date ideas in H-Town. CLOUD 10 CREAMERY Give “going out for ice cream” a gourmet touch. Cloud 10 Creamery blends their handcrafted ice cream a half a gallon at a time. These treats are the creation of award winning Pastry Chef Chris Leung who refreshes their line of flavors each season. Try the spring flavors at Cloud 10!
Yelper Morgan R. is impressed by the creative variety of ice cream “ Cloud 10 is a unique ice cream parlor with many unique, changing flavors.”CAFEZA Cafeza is not only the cutest little Latin American cafe this side of the Rio Grande, they host live music several nights a week. The cafe draws its inspiration from the cafés of Barcelona and Buenos Aires, as well as the neighborhood cervecerias and refresquerias around downtown Houston.
Yelper Yvette H. agrees that the romantic vibe of Cafeza is intoxicating: “I recently attended one of the jazz nights at Cafeza and it was truly magical! Fun lights, cool drinks and still serving churros past 9 pm!”GEORGE OBSERVATORY An outing beneath the stars is classic romance. And, with our well-known connection to the aerospace industry, Houston is about as close as you can get to the heavens here on Earth. The George Observatory’s “Starry Night: A VIP Experience” is hosted by the Director of Astronomy. View the sky through their 36″ Gueymard Research telescope. And who knows? Maybe somewhere out there on the other end of the telescope, on some other world, there’s a pair of lovers staring back at you. It’s cuffing season, H-Town! Winter will be back before you know it. Live in the moment this spring with the best date ideas around Houston. Viva sweet love!