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That’s a Wrap! The Best Holiday Shopping Spots in West Houston

“If you like it, then you should have put a bow on it.” These are the immortal (and severely paraphrased) words of Houston native Beyoncé, and she was (probably) referring to the excellent array of shops and craft fests that greet our fair city every holiday season. In December, our hometown transforms into a wonderland of giving and gorgeousness, so get out there and get into the spirit of West Houston!

CityCentre Houston
Located a mere 10 minutes from our front door, CityCentre blends fine dining panache with holiday shopping convenience. Sprawling over a span of 37 acres, this upscale yet down-home destination is the perfect locale for anyone braving their gift list… or for those who are seeking a great meal to muster up their strength for another foray into the shopping breach!

Tomball German Festival Christmas Market
Nothing says yuletide like The Chardon Polka Band! They will be joined by Yodel Blitz, Tubameisters and over 160 street vendors to create an uber-unique spin on the season this December 7th through 9th. The festival is a short jaunt north in Old Town Tomball, but well worth the trip. In the span of about 30 minutes, you’ll feel like you crossed the globe and went back in time!

Katy Mills Mall
Put on your comfy shoes (or buy some new ones) because this huge-mongous shopping center covers a whopping 1.3 million square feet. That’s “million” with a WHAA? Boasting over 200 retailers, the Katy Mills Mall either has what you need, or you need a new shopping list. Also, refresh your palate with some tasty Texas Blue Bell ice cream to refresh after all of that walking/shopping/awesome’ing.

Rice Village
As eclectic as its neighbor, Rice University, this mainstay of Houston shopping dates back to the 1930’s, yet it constantly innovates and evolves to match our thriving city. Big name shops dovetail with local mom and pops to create a tapestry of triumph!

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No matter where you get your shop on, be sure to pay with the preferred currency: a smile! After all, Houston’s greatest resources are hospitality, heart, and home.

The Three Best Live Music Venues in West Houston

There’s nothing like live music, and Houston is an amazing place to catch your favorite bands and musicians. You can find a wide variety of genres. From country to jazz to piano, there are clubs and bars dedicated to showcasing the best artists. When you live in West Houston, you’re close to some of the best spots for live music in the city. Here are the three best live music venues in West Houston.

Firehouse Saloon
For an authentic honky-tonk, you can’t go wrong with Firehouse Saloon. The country music venue is owned by retired firefighters and is a rustic Lone Star bar. You can find the newest up-and-coming acts as well as some of your favorites. Miranda Lambert performed on their stage seventeen times before she catapulted into national stardom. Speaking of national stars, Firehouse Saloon was named one of the top 15 best venues for live country music in the U.S. by Americantowns Media.

Martini Blu
If you’re looking for some cool jazz, head to the Galleria and Martini Blu. Inside, you’ll find walls decked with fine art, a bar serving up craft cocktails and their eponymous martinis, and performers that’ll take you to a time of speakeasies and sultry singers. There’s a cover charge unless you visit on Wednesdays and Thursdays when you can get in for free all night. You can also get your first glass of wine for a dollar. Another twist is weekend brunch when you can dig into an all-you-can-eat buffet and be serenaded by jazz musicians.

Caps Piano Bar
You’ll be singing along to the classics at Caps Piano Bar. Also located in the Galleria, their talented band plays jazz and blues, and will even throw in some Top 40 if the tips are right. This venue isn’t just for listening, though. They’ve got a dance floor that invites you to get up and swing and sway to the music. There’s no cover charge and the drinks are affordable, making this a perfect spot out for date night or an evening with friends.

When you’re looking for live music, West Houston has some of the best venues in the city. For more concert venues, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. And follow our blog here for more West Houston happenings!

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The Three Best Spots for Sushi in West Houston

When you’re in the mood for sushi, nothing else will do. The Japanese delicacy is one of the most popular cuisines in Houston, and there’s even a 17,000 member club dedicated to sushi. You can get it from places as diverse as high-end restaurants to strip mall storefronts. There are several options to satisfy your cravings for maki, nigiri, and sashimi. If you’re looking for the freshest and tastiest, these are the three best spots for sushi in West Houston.

Aka Sushi House
For lunch or dinner in a quaint neighborhood spot, visit Aka Sushi House. They’re known for offering sustainable seafood, and their menu features all the standard rolls you’ve come to expect. They also offer ramen, made at their sister restaurant Tiger Den. They’re probably best known, however, for their generous happy hour. From 3 pm to 7 pm and from 9 pm to close during the week, and all day on Saturday and Sunday, they offer an extensive selection of discounted items.

Aka Sushi

Kata Robata
Generally acclaimed as the best sushi restaurant in Houston, Kata Robata is helmed by a James Beard-nominated chef. Their fish is flown in directly from Japan multiple times a week, and you can also get locally-sourced soft shell crab. For the complete experience, get a seat at the sushi bar and try the omakase menu. This prix fixe extravaganza is considered one of the best dining experiences in the city.

Teppay Japanese Restaurant
This tiny spot is a perfect place for an intimate dinner. Teppay Japanese Restaurant offers an authentic Japanese dining experience. Sushi is the star, but they also offer traditional dishes like tonkotsu ramen and udon. Be sure to ask what’s been flown in fresh, as they also get deliveries from Japan several times a week.

There are so many great places for sushi in West Houston, and these are just a few of our favorites. Each has their own appeal so you can find one that suits your tastes. Let us know your favorite sushi restaurants in Houston on Twitter and Facebook.

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Photo Blog: Holiday Lights in Houston

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. 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!  

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Photo Blog: Furry Friends Around Houston

There’s nothing quite like the love of a pet. As our city recovers from the events of Hurricane Harvey, we want to dedicate this week’s photo blog to the furry friends of ours around Houston. The flood waters continue to recede, and our hearts are with our community… and anybody who’s had a dog, cat, or other pet knows that our furry companions are very much a part of the family. This week, we’re showcasing a few loveable dogs and cats that are rescue animals here in Houston. May they all find good homes as our city bands together as a community to recover. As a pet-friendly property ourselves here at Alta City West, we’re dedicated to showing our pets just as much love as the rest of the community. Take heart, Houston – we’re all in this together.
As Texas Begins to Rebuild, Amazing Paws Commits to Donating to @houstonhumane. Shop to Help Raise Hurricane Relief Funds A post shared by Yorkies In America (@yorkiesinamerica) on
On the 2nd day of fundraising El Gato gave to me- 2 cat nip toys! Yes, contribute while we have 11 days left and you’ll get 2 cat nip toys PLUS your Kickstarter reward. #elgatocatcafe #houstoncatcafe #houstonhumane #kickstarter A post shared by El Gato Coffeehouse (@elgatocoffeehouse) on
Naomi volunteering at the Houston Humane Society today … lots of displaced animals from the hurricane! 🐈❤️🐕 A post shared by Glen and Dina (@glennanddina) on
WE ARE ONLY 10 CHARMS AWAY FROM A $1,000 DONATION to @HoustonHumane Society!🚨Please help us get there! They need our support! 100% of ALL @WagAware Sales WILL CONTINUE TO BE DONATED to shelter/rescue/abandoned pet victims of Harvey. Yesterday, we donated $1,700 to @AustinPetsAlive and $1,300 to @DallasDogRRR the day before solely from our @WagAware sales–for a total of $3,000 (and counting) donated to Harvey shelter/rescue/pet relief so far!👉We are blown away by all the support! Together we can make the world a better place–one charm at a time! Visit to show your support for these amazing people saving so many desperate animals. Please pray for those impacted. Their pain and struggle is unimaginable. We continue to pray for all of you. #Texas #harveyanimals #harveypets #houstonhumane 📷: @jackson_the_pittie A post shared by Wag Aware (@wagaware) on
Charles River employees filled our company van with as much apparel as it will hold to donate to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. The journey is a relay of employees driving and ending in Houston Saturday. We will then unload the donated apparel to a local shelter. Including rain coats, jackets, wicking tees and doggie rain jackets. The doggie rain jackets will be donated along with the van to two animal rescues @camorescue and Houston Animal Rescue Team – HART #Houston #houstonstrong #camorescue #houstonanimalrescue #charlesriverapparel A post shared by Charles River Apparel (@charlesriverapparel) on
Charles River employees filled our company van with as much apparel as it will hold to donate to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. The journey is a relay of employees driving and ending in Houston Saturday. We will then unload the donated apparel to a local shelter. Including rain coats, jackets, wicking tees and doggie rain jackets. The doggie rain jackets will be donated along with the van to two animal rescues @camorescue and Houston Animal Rescue Team – HART #Houston #houstonstrong #camorescue #houstonanimalrescue #charlesriverapparel A post shared by Charles River Apparel (@charlesriverapparel) on
Who’s ready for another #HurricaneHarvey update? So many things going on at the shelter, as it is for many nonprofits these days. Another batch of bottle baby kittens, this time arriving in a cardboard box. All 3 crying and starving! Our staff quickly cleaned them up, got them warm, and started them on bottles. We also had our doctor give a quick check-up. Three dogs with broken legs 🙁 We’ll update with more info from our clinic tomorrow. If you can sign up to be on a wait list for fostering, now is the time! Please fill out our foster application and email a copy to We received an incredible donation of huge, amazing dog beds and airline carriers from Kriser’s Natural Pet today! Both so appreciated! As people have returned to work, we’re running low on volunteers to help, especially on weekdays. Please think about signing up. Email for more info or visit our ‘become a volunteer’ page: A special thanks to everyone that has purchased something from our Amazon Wish List!! The boxes are arriving in full force, and we are getting much-needed supplies! We’re constantly updating the list, adding supplies as we need them and removing items once we have enough. If you’re able to send something, here’s the link: We’re working hard to help as many animals as possible, some need more TLC than others. Please help if you can. Foster, Volunteer, Donate. Everything helps. #HoustonStrong #HoustonHumaneSociety #Houston #HurricaneHarveyRelief #humanesociety #kitten A post shared by Houston Humane (@houstonhumane) on

Houston Spring Events

Spring has sprung and our city is bursting into bloom with a bunch of exciting local Houston spring events. Get our your calendar and mark down these upcoming local experiences.

Lunar Lantern Festival April 29th-30th Houston will play host to two magical nights of incredible food, music and entertainment to mark the lunar new year and celebrate the many diverse Asian cultures. With over 100 food vendors and a dazzling lantern show, this festival is not to be missed. Learn more here.

Outta Time Mystery Challenge This fun, family-friendly event is hosted by Murder By Chocolate. Guests will have just half an hour to solve a mystery in this fun, interactive event which runs all week through spring. Learn more here.

Middlelands Festival This one of a kind music festival will be hosted at the Texas Renaissance Festival Fairgrounds from May 5-7. Guests can camp, participate in Renaissance-era activities and take in countless stages, art installations, and live music performances at this non-stop event. Created by the minds behind Electric Daisy Carnival and Lollapalooza, Middlelands promises a unique, mind-blowing experience. Learn more here.

Circo Avenida For some free fun, stroll along the Avenida on a Friday night and catch a circus performance! Performing every Friday in Downtown Houston until May 26th, this is a great way to enjoy a warm spring evening with family and friends while taking in a free show. Learn more here.

ComicPalooza Don’t miss this multi-format, pop culture convention May 12-14 right here in Houston. There’s something for kids, for adults, and for fans of any genre of popular culture. Learn more here.

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Houston’s Best Holiday Recipes

Houston’s a city rich with culinary flavor, depth, and history. We’ve scoured the local restaurant and food blogger scenes for crowd-pleasing recipes your friends and family will love this holiday season. Bon Appétit!
  1. Texas Blueberry Cobbler – Catherine Rodriguez, pastry chef, Olivette at The Houstonian
  2. Flautas De Pollo – Hugo Ortega, chef
  3. Holiday Eggnog – Robert Washington of Majic102.1
  4. Chicken Fried Lamb Chops with Creamy Gravy – Naylene Dillingham of Mac & Ernie’s Roadside Eatery
  5. 12 Recipes of Christmas – Smither Family Kitchen
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How to Throw a Stress-Free Holiday Party

While the holiday season is filled with cheer, it can be filled with lots of stress and chaos, too. If you already have plans to throw a Christmas party (or wanted to, but didn’t want to deal with the stress of one), we’ve compiled a few tips to help you along. After all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! djcnbsiciau-nathan-anderson 1. Make a list, check it twice Plan ahead, and list out the guests you’ll invite, food you’ll cook, food you’ll buy, and decorations needed. You’ll want to prepare a Christmas playlist, and if you have roommates or a significant other, delegate some party prep! xjdgbdzsvho-gemma-evans 2. Cook ahead (and buy ahead, too)  As a general rule, prepare as much for the party as you can beforehand. You’ll want to prep easy foods such as salads, antipasto appetizers, and soups. Go to the store and buy some finger foods that can be heated up in the oven the day of; mozzarella sticks, french fries, and quiche are all crowd pleasers. mttuqirdzmg-mira-bozhko 3. Stock up on treats  Christmas is a time for cookies, sweets, and treats! You’ll want to stock up on Christmas candies, cookies, pie, and your sugary favorites. Candies and cookies require no preparation, and the pie can be made the day of. Easy peasy! lfrm-hkqvpm-anete-lusina 4. Drinks galore A variety of beverages makes a good party great. Hot cocoa, apple cider, and tea are all solid winter choices. hqohdaibf6a-catt-liu 5. Keep things clean and tidy  In the days leading up to the gathering, clean up your place room by room. Make sure the bathroom is ready for guests – an air freshener and festive hand towels are great add-ons. wzecrmjohkq-alisa-anton 6. Lets decorate!  Many stores offer affordable Christmas decorations, such as tinsel, garland, and buy-in-bulk ornaments. Try putting ornaments in a big bowl as a table centerpiece! Of course, your Christmas tree will be the star of the show.
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Houston’s Top 10 Best Pizza

It may surprise you, but Houston is home to a low-key, super-bomb pizza scene. Between longtime, beloved restaurants to trendy, modern pizzerias, there will surely be a spot on our list to suit your taste(buds). Behold the top 10 spots for the tastiest slice in town!

#10 – Frank’s Pizza

Address: 417 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002

Known For: big NY-style pizza by the slice

#9 – Star Pizza

Address: 2111 Norfolk St, Houston, TX 77098

Known For: the deepest deep dish 

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#8 – Barry’s Pizza & Italian Diner

Address: 6003 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77057

Known For: deep dish

#7 – Romano’s Pizza

Address: 1528 W Gray Street, Houston, TX 77019

Known For: NY style pizza


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#6 – Pizaro’s Pizza Napoletana

Address: 14028 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77079

Known For: authentic Naples pizza that bakes at 900 degrees for 90 seconds

#5 – Piola

Address: 3201 Louisiana St #103, Houston, TX 77006

Known For: refined flavors, not-your-average specialty pizza


#4 – Coltivare Piza & Garden

Address: 3320 White Oak Drive, Houston, TX 77007

Known For: interesting flavor combos

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Address: 3435 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX 77098

Known For: spicy andouille or make your own from 20 different options

#2 – Luigi’s Pizzeria

Address: 3700 Almeda Road, Houston, TX 77004

Known For: white pizza w/ alfredo sauce

#1 – Dolce Vita Pizzeria & Enoteca

Address: 500 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77006

Known For: classic margherita

Happy eating, folks!  
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