Category : Houston Events

We Take the Work Out of Your Labor Day Plans


Labor Day is upon us once again. Last year, the long weekend was overtaken by the disastrous Harvey, but this year we hope to have decent weather and opportunities to take advantage of all Houston has to offer. On a Labor Day weekend, it can be overwhelming to decide what to do, but we’ve taken the guesswork out of where to spend each day.

Friday

Start things off Friday evening with an outdoor showing of Disney’s The Jungle Book on the lawn at Levy Park in Upper Kirby. Bring a blanket to sit on and your appetite, because there will be beer, wine, and food available to buy. If movies aren’t your thing, you can hit up CityCentre for a concert and fireworks show. Catch Fleetwood Mac cover band Nightbird, followed by a fireworks extravaganza. The event is free, but you may have to pay for parking.


Saturday

Sleep in! You’ve earned it! Then at 11 am, grab your dog and head to The Dogwood on Bagby street for a BYOD (bring your own dog) kickoff to the college football season. Catch the action as the University of Houston takes on crosstown rivals Rice University in the Bayou Bucket Classic. Don’t have a dog? That’s ok. You can still enjoy the game and play with others’ pups! For those allergic to dogs, check out the giant backyard barbecue at the George Ranch House, complete with 1930s music and games. For dinner, take advantage of the end of Houston Restaurants Weeks and try out a new place you’ve been dying to try!


Sunday

Start out your Sunday at one of the many Farmers’ Markets available. You can stock up on quality produce for the week and maybe pick up something fun for the home! Then, starting at 2 pm, enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Islands at the Taste of the Caribbean Festival. You can take in the reggae concerts while munching on jerk chicken and curry, celebrating the vibrant culture of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, and more.

Monday

Finally, the day itself is here: Labor Day. There will doubtless be picnics galore to attend at the homes of co-workers, friends, family, and everyone else. But for those who prefer to make new friends, there are some fun options for you. Monday would be a great day to take advantage of Houston’s beautiful hiking trails. Go out and get a big dose of nature! Or if you want to just relax, treat yourself to a spa day at The Hammam Spa. You’ll feel like a new person after a luxurious day of pampering.

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I took my mom to a Hammam Spa today. The first time I experienced a Moroccan bath was in Dubai, and I loved every minute of it. You start by sitting in a sauna / steam room to open up the pores, then the masseuse applies Moroccan black soap onto your skin and scrubs every ounce of dead skin off your body. You’ll be shocked at how much skin you will shed to reveal a smooth, bright complexion! Most people at traditional hammams will be fully nude (gender separated, of course) although many spas offer underwear for those preferring to cover up. We followed the Moroccan bath with a deep tissue massage 💆🏽‍♀️ It’s a wonderful experience, and I’m so excited that there is one in Houston!

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And that’s it! You’ve reached the end of your long weekend. Tomorrow, the real world comes back. But you’ll always have your memories!

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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 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 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!

The Best Juice Bars Near Houston

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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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!

How to Spend a Long Weekend in Houston

Sure, we may only be a few weeks through the New Year, but we’re already ready for a long weekend… and we’ve got one coming up. Well, some of us do… maybe the rest of us may just need to play hooky on a Friday or a Monday and spend a 3-day weekend exploring and loving life outside of the office. For our blog this week, we at Alta City West want to throw a few suggestions out there. “How do you spend a long weekend in Houston?” you ask… well, we’ve got the answer for you. Behold, a long weekend schedule to make the most of all Houston’s got to offer!
  • Day One: Buy some Texas-themed treats! We recommend visiting Pinto Ranch Houston or The Hat Store (yes, it’s called that) for some western gear to show your Texas pride and remind you of why you love the place you call home. After that, it’s time for BBQ, of course! The Brisket House is known for… well, we’ll let you guess. And Roegels Barbecue Co. was ranked in Texas Monthly’s top 50 places, but we’ll let you be the judge of that. Both are neighborhood staples, and you’ll end Day 1 of your long weekend remembering why you love it here in Houston!
  • Day Two: Get out of the city! Ok, you’ve had your Texas-themed fun in the local neighborhood, but now it’s time to get out and explore. We recommend an outdoorsy day, first with a hike through the Sam Houston National Forest, and then with a watery trip to Trinity River. Both are just an easy few minutes from each other, and less than a two-hour drive from us here at Alta City West. Trust us, you’ll want a break from the city on a long weekend, and you’ll be glad you explored nature at these spots. Bring friends, and pack a picnic… and don’t forget to hydrate!
  • Day Three: Relax, and wind down in style! Of course, when Alta City West is our home, how can we leave for long? For us, getting a workout in is a great way to let off some steam and release some tension… the post-workout feeling is one that can’t be recreated, and it makes us feel on top of the world. Then order takeout from Chuy’s or Nick’s Place (depending on what you’re in the mood for). Crack open a cold one, take in the view of the Houston skyline, and call your long weekend a success. What a way to rest up before another work week!
Did we miss one of your favorite things to do around Houston? How about an attraction that you love in our neighborhood or the surrounding areas? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll check it out ourselves. We never want to miss anything Houston has to offer!