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.
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!
Sometimes, the harder it is the get something, the more you want it! Implicit in the speakeasy experience is a little bit of work and no small amount of luck. How else are you supposed to find Houston’s best-hidden bars? Well, if you weren’t in on the secret before, allow us to enlighten you. Who are you calling a snitch?! Let’s bullet-point some of H-Town’s best speakeasies. MARFRELESS
Yelper Em K. asks, “What more is there to say about the cool dark little place behind the blue door in the River Oaks Shopping Mall?”Marfreless is among Houston’s oldest and most iconic speakeasies. It’s had a loyal cult following since their distinctive blue door swung open for business in 1972. It’s certainly kept Em K. coming back for more:
“I came all the way back from the SF Bay Area to visit and make sure the planet was still in balance. It was!”MONGOOSE VERSUS COBRA A good bar like Mongoose Versus Cobra can be like a beautiful woman—they both inspire love-struck bards to write poetry. Here’s a sampling of the verse:
“Through the windows a century breathes / Sit and feel how history feels / Here inside the Auditorium Grocery / This place is the only bar for me.”More than a place for a top-shelf cocktail, MVSC hosts the Mongoose Versus Cobra Reading Series showcasing area writers and poets belting it out live on stage every second Monday. Yelpsters recommend the Bloody Mary and the pumpkin seed pretzel. CAPT. FOXHEART’S BAD NEWS BAR & SPIRIT LODGE Capt. Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge scores two points right off the bat for its cheeky name (a name that invariably brings a smile to bloggers paid by the word). And here’s the good news—Capt. Foxheart pours some of the best cocktails in Houston. Its unmarked entrance might be upstaged by the law offices of Tucker Graves, Esq. next door, but this lovable watering hole is already on the map for its’ Old Fashioned, which are discounted at happy hour. It takes some looking, but if speakeasies were so easy to find, they wouldn’t be so cool. Good thing Houston’s best speakeasies are a guaranteed good time. Cheers!
Minute Maid Park isn’t the only juice Mecca in Houston. It’s true, a trip to the ol’ “Juice Box” to see the world champion Astros play will have you over the moon for an evening, but a healthy, plant-based diet comprised of living, vital ingredients will give you a glow that lasts. And you don’t have to be a World Series athlete to appreciate the benefits of juicing. Prepare yourself, Houstonians! Here are the best juice bars in town. ISLAND GRILL Island Grill’s Mediterranean menu is a perfect complement to the smoothies on deck. One look at their blog vindicates our suspicion that Island Grill is committed to keeping Houston healthy. They proudly proclaim, “Island Grill has a wide selection of options packed with fruit and veggie power.” Google Local Guide BD loves the food, too. He reviews, “Love this place! The food is always fresh, cooked to order, and portion sizes are good.” DAILY JUICE CAFE Daily Juice is a Texas original. Born in 2003, the juice is fresh every day and made from real foods—no sugar or ice added. Their raw juices are prepared onsite and sold directly to the public. “Raw Juices,” says Daily Juice, “contain the live enzymes your body craves. RAW juices have the vitality your body will celebrate!” Google Local Guide (and Houston gal) Miranda Queen will be heading back. She beams, “Houston has a lot of juice bars but this is the best one so far for me. I was able to sample 6 juices. I learned a lot about juicing.” 713-JUICE-BAR 713-Juice-Bar has the 411 on all things healthy! H-Town’s juice dispensary provides fresh and healthy ingredients to keep you feeling great. The Yelp community raves about this place. Christine K. says, “They certainly use the best quality ingredients (whole delicious foods) – each smoothie is incredibly filling almost like a meal.” We know juice in Houston. Just ask the boys in orange at Minute Maid Park. You’ll be an MVP with more freshly squeezed juice in your daily diet!
It’s getting down to the wire…. You know what we’re talking about! The Christmas shopping rush is far from over, though the days are getting shorter and the time is closing in on us all. When it comes to holiday shopping, it always seems that there’s obligation attached to the season – and that makes visiting the shops and malls and stores around Houston no fun at all. However, we here at Alta City West have a bit of a different perspective. We think holiday shopping should be a joy – especially when shopping at local spots here in Houston. Boutiques, local businesses, neighborhood vendors, and places all over our city are celebrating the season, so let’s get in on that. Here are some of our favorite places on our shopping list this Christmas season. Check that list twice before checking out!
- The Galleria. With local vendors and large shopping outlets alike, this is your one-stop-shop in our area for completing your holiday shopping list. Whether you’re looking for cool style, quirky fashion, health and beauty products, or even gift cards, you’ve got somewhere to shop for someone you love.
- French Cuff Boutique and Karma Couture Boutique, two of our favorite clothing boutiques have many options for the fashion icons in your life. From accessories to main eye-catchers, you’ll find something “fitting” for the season. See what we did there?
- The Monogram Shop is one of the premier places in this area to get personalized gifts with a local touch. Engravings, thoughtful gifts, and individual, personalized knick-knacks for friends and family in your life have never looked this good. And this holiday season, the people you’re buying for are sure to feel loved. Isn’t it great what you find when you shop local?!
This week, our photo blog is showcasing ten of our favorite shots of the gorgeous Houston skyline. What a beautiful city we live in… so let’s take a moment to reflect on its beauty amidst the hustle and bustle of this busy holiday season. Have your own pic or two of our photogenic skyline of Houston? We here want to see it, so share it with us! Snap!2017 has been quite a year for our city of Houston. We’ve seen highs and lows, and we’ve persevered through it all together. As the year begins to come to a close, we’re reminiscing on all we love about living in Houston, and we thought it would be a good time to spotlight our city from a few different angles for our next blog here at Alta City West.
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