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The Top Record Shops in West Houston

It may seem like only the most ardent audiophiles prefer records to digital music. But even for the casual listener, there is something charming, and even nostalgic, about the pops and crackles of the needle against the vinyl. If you have thought even a little bit about checking out if what the hipsters say is true about vinyl records, now is the time. They are often quite cheap and can expose you to a whole new world of music. Here are our favorite record shops in West Houston.  

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Allrecords

Allrecords is exactly what you picture when you think of a record store. Large posters of The Beatles and Bob Dylan adorn the walls. Rows and rows of records, CDs, 8 tracks are staked, mostly in display stands, but some on chairs or in boxes on the ground. This is one of the few vinyl shops in town without an online catalog, so in order to get music from Allrecords, you have to do it the old-fashioned way: come down and rifle through boxes and bins until you find that hidden gem you didn’t know you were missing.

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  Cactus Music   The oldest independent record store in Houston, Cactus Music has been serving up tunes on a platter for over thirty years. They strive to be your one-stop shop for all things music. They offer live in-store concerts, a massive collection of records and CDs, record release parties, and even an app with digital downloads.    

Black Dog Records

Black Dog is where you go when you really know what you are talking about when it comes to records. They specialize in high-quality used vinyl that is meticulously cleaned on VPI vacuum album restoration equipment with a deep cleaning solution to ensure every groove is pristine. Each album is guaranteed to be in tip-top condition. You could spend hours digging through the neat, organized bins or checking out the signed rock memorabilia on the walls.

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Vintage Sounds Houston

If you have always wanted to be a vinyl collector but don’t have anything to play your records on, stop by Vintage Sounds Houston. They specialize in antique sound equipment and can help you find a beautiful piece that will help your new records sound their best. Whether you are looking for a large, impressive victrola or a small portable turntable, you can find what you want here. They also have a selection of vintage records to choose from in-store.

There’s no better time to start your record collection than now. Try one of these shops and ask the experts!

Farmers Markets of Southwest Houston

In our fast-paced society, it is sometimes hard to stop and take a look around you. To appreciate the hard work and creativity of the members of our community. If you are looking to get back in touch with your neighborhood and support local artisans and laborers, a Farmers Market is an excellent place to start. Here are our favorite Farmers Markets in Southwest Houston.

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  Westchase District Farmers Market   With over two dozen vendors, you are sure to find something you love at the Westchase District Farmers Market. In a time when there are almost weekly stories in the news of e. Coli or salmonella outbreaks in produce, it is more important than ever to know where your food is coming from. Here you can know your fruit and veggies are grown with love and care by local small business owners. Also, are you a seasonal allergy sufferer? Some say that honey made from local flowers can help acclimate your immune response and ease allergy symptoms. It’s worth a shot! The Westchase Farmers Market is open every Thursday at 3 pm.    

Memorial Village Farmers Market

You can make a day of it with the family at the Memorial Village Farmers Market. This market features activities for the kids, live music, guest lectures, and pet-friendly options. Get your organic produce, some artisan soaps, a handmade loaf of bread, and see some great local musicians all in one place! Join the fun on Saturdays from 9-1.

Chimney Rock Market

Chimney Rock Market is a farmers market, but it’s also more. They are also an art show! While you can buy your favorite natural, farm-fresh goods, you can also peruse beautiful works of art by local artists. Pick up a fresh squeezed lemonade while you wander through aisles of alluring paintings and elegant sculptures every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month. You might just find the perfect piece for your home!

What better way to support local small business and enjoy high-quality craft made products than by shopping at a farmers market?

Fun Adult Classes Around Houston, TX

  Learning and growing is what makes life worth living! If you’re not moving forward, you’re just standing still. So spend the summertime learning something new. You’ll acquire new skills, meet new people and unlock some potential you never knew you had.

Here are some fun adult classes to take around Houston!

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WELL DONE COOKING CLASSES

Kathryn Herod and Celeste Terrell started teaching Well Done Cooking Classes in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment in the Greenway area of Houston in June of 2009. Celeste was working for Perry’s Restaurant’s catering department and Kathryn was teaching English at Houston Community College when they thought it was time to pursue a business. They offer a warm, welcoming environment where many people feel they can replicate the recipes they learn at home.

In her 5-star Yelp review, Basilia C. writes, “Lots of people for the “date night” class… What a treat! great company, good food, and lots of avail wine and drinks.”

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THE RUSTIC BRUSH

At The Rustic Brush, they believe making something by hand adds sentimental value and pride to a piece. Through their no-experience-required workshops, they will share their knowledge of crafting and DIY to foster your creative instincts and provide you with a unique, beautiful piece of art. With the help of their experienced instructors and BYOB policy, they promise you a wonderful adventure into arts entertainment that will enrich both your life and your home!

In her 5-star Yelp review, Christine L. writes, “Create your new masterpiece at The Rustic Brush! Many different options you can choose from or you can design your own (extra to do custom).”

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JUGGERNAUT GLASS

Learn glassblowing techniques at Juggernaut Glass! Flameworking is a form of glassblowing that utilizes a torch or flame to create objects from molten glass rods and tubing.  Come to learn how to create hand-blown glass beads, pendants, marbles, ornaments, functional art, pipes and sculpture in any of their beginner through advanced classes.

In her 5-star Yelp review, Val P. writes, “Great class.  Friendly instructor. Can’t wait to go back.”

Be a lifelong learner at these fun adult classes around Houston!

The Best Vintage Shops Around Houston

Leftovers taste better, love doesn’t sting so much and those old Chuck Taylor kicks never looked so good. Some things are just better the second time around. It takes a keen eye to curate the hidden gems from a rubbish pile, discarding the merely tacky and out-of-date and skimming those rarified finds that any hipster would proudly proclaim “vintage.” Brand new is so yesterday. Let’s trawl the best vintage shops in Houston for a thrift store!

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BLIND GIRL PRODUCTIONS Sondra and Keith provide the vision behind Blind Girl Productions. Even though Sondra lost most of her vision due to Retinitis Pigmentosa, it’s clear the heart behind Blind Girl has not lost her humor and insight on what is good in life. The couple re-purpose and restore found items because they “feel finding a new use for what was an everyday item is good for our environment.” They thoroughly enjoy hunting for treasures and sharing them with others. Google Local Guide Shasha Ratta shows unrestrained enthusiasm in her 5-star review: “Great! Wonderful people and amazing things!”  

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CHEEKY VINTAGE Darling, be daring at Cheeky Vintage. Vintage is an obsession for Jina, the mistress of operations at Cheeky. It’s the personal touch that gives a curated collection its personality—and boy, does this place have personality! “One of my greatest joys,” says Jina, “is helping you, our cherished clients, find that perfect piece.” Mixing contemporary fashion with vintage classics is one of the joys of the thrift store circuit. Other joys await you, as well, says Culture Map Houston, “Once inside, you are immersed in a boutique-style setting, complete with cozy sitting area and chocolate!”

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EL BAMBI Lindsay Beale and Emily Hynds teamed up to open El Bambi, Houston’s only vintage store with an in-house tailor! This shop has a quirky vibe and a kitschy aesthetic that millennial fashionistas are sure to find irresistible. Their eclectic inventory includes an 80s tee with neon graphics and a 70s coral dress with a fabulously wide collar. And, best of all, Lindsay and Emily’s refined tastes don’t come with the insane markups you’ll find at some other hipster hubs.   In her 5-star Yelp review, Christine L., of Houston, says, “So cute and reasonable prices! I bought a $22 dress that looks like a wrap style with flowers and so flattering!” You’ll have to go back to the future to find the next trends. Houston’s best vintage shops are moving fashion forward to the past!

The Best June Events Around Houston, TX

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 Best Bike Shops Around Houston

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!

The Best Community Gardens Around Houston

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.

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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!”   

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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.

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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!

The Best May Events Around Houston

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!

The Best Summer Music Festivals Around Houston

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.    shutterstock_434290249   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. shutterstock_655514155   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. shutterstock_637469209   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!

The Best Spring Festivals in Houston

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.  

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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.  

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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!  

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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!