10 Artsy/Cultural Houston-Only Summer To-Dos

10 Artsy/Cultural Houston-Only Summer To-Dos
Photo by sozavac

Summer in Houston is, well let's just say the obvious, really freaking hot. Unlike our coasts to the east and the west, the Gulf Coast dampness makes a person want to hibernate indoors from May through September. But even at 99 degrees and 100 percent humidity, we Houstonians persevere. It could always be worse and we are used to it.

In terms of art and culture, Houston's summer months may slow down a bit, but there is still plenty going on - outdoors and indoors - and being a Houstonian means taking it all in.

10. Take a picture at Soto's Houston Penetrable at MFAH

10 Artsy/Cultural Houston-Only Summer To-Dos
Jesús Rafael Soto, Houston Penetrable, 2004-14, lacquered aluminum structure, PVC tubes, and water-based silkscreen ink, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund. © Estate of Jesús Rafael Soto. Used by permission. Photograph © The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Thomas R. DuBrock, photographer.

There are plenty of places to take selfies in Houston; why we could even compile a list of them if we so desired. However, only in the Houston summer can you swim through the newly constructed Houston Penetrable at the MFAH, which is a part of Jesús Rafael Soto's signature Penetrables series. On view through September in the mezzanine of the Caroline Weiss Law Building, the Soto piece is a dangling, "kinetic" experience of clear and yellow plastic tentacles hanging from the ceiling. The museum hopes this will be an annual summer exhibit, but for now, you only have until September 1 to immerse yourself.

9. Take in a performance of the Houston Shakespeare Festival

Miller Outdoor Theatre
Miller Outdoor Theatre

Every summer the Bard storms the stage at Miller Outdoor Theatre for UH's Annual Shakespeare Fest. This year the company will present The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Henry IV, I. Get there early for a free seat up front or slum it up on the lawn with your picnic basket and most of Houston. The drama unfolds August 1 through August 10.

8. Meditate at the Rothko

Rothko Chapel
Rothko Chapel

True that you can meditate any time of the year at the Rothko, but the summer months are the best time to get your spirituality on for one good reason: air conditioning. It's always free to visit, which is a cool bonus.

7. Discover a new artist at Lawndale's The Big Show Since 1984, The Big Show (formerly "East End Show") has been sprouting up every summer at Lawndale Art Center to promote emerging and under-the-radar artists through a juried exhibition. Take bets on which artist will win the grand prize of $3,000 from July 11 through August 9.   6. Pick up a partner at Summer Salsa Nights at Discovery Green

10 Artsy/Cultural Houston-Only Summer To-Dos
Discovery Green

They say it's one of the sexiest of the dances, and during the summer Houstonians can get their street-style salsa groove on under the stars at Discovery Green. Dance your way through bachata, merengue and salsa suelta, and maybe you'll find a new dance companion on a steamy Thursday night.

5. Screen a cutting edge GLBT Film at Q-Fest Q-Fest is a Houston staple, returning for its 18th summer, now. Where else can you find a collection such as this; an assemblage of documentaries, shorts and feature films of interest to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer community. The festival runs from July 24 through July 28 at various venues across the city.

4. Celebrate the printed art at PrintHouston

It's not every city that still puts stock in the old fashioned process of creating original art through print. Across the city and Galveston during the summer months, galleries, museums and alternative spaces will be celebrating all the things print with workshops, exhibitions and lecture during the now annual 2014 PrintHouston.   3. Sweat it out with hot yoga Hot yoga has hit a fever pitch in Houston with multiple studios, such as Big Yoga, Your Body Center and YogaOne, offering classes where you can rock your tree poses in supreme heat. You can do these classes year-round but walking into a 99-degree room to downward dog and then stepping out into the 99-degree Houston summer heat is proof that you deserve that shavasana.

2. Relive your youth with Girls Rock Camp Houston's Annual Showcase

10 Artsy/Cultural Houston-Only Summer To-Dos
Photo courtesy of Girls Rock Camp Houston

Every summer a group of kick-ass Houston chicks take a week of camp in which they learn to rock, and we salute them. The week concludes with a full-blown concert at one of Houston's rockingest clubs Fitzgerald's. The party takes place on August 8.

1. Pick a wedgie at Schlitterbahn Galveston

So wedgie inducing...
So wedgie inducing...
Courtesy of

Schlitterbahn may not be the most artistic of places in the Houston area, but hell, there is an art form to picking your wedgie after an extreme water slide without attracting any attention.

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