Houston Bucket List - 100 Things To Do in Houston Before You Die: Wine and Dine on the Hill
The Houston Press is presenting a series of posts leading up to a feature story in the print edition of the 100 Things to Do in Houston Before You Die. Each blog post contains one of our top 10 bucket list items along with nine others in the top 100. To narrow our list, we chose only items unique to Houston -- or items to which Houston provides a unique twist -- and everything on the list must be in or occur within 30 miles of downtown Houston (so, nothing from Galveston, for example). We welcome your suggestions in the comment section.
For our ninth and final online installment of the Houston Bucket List (our number one selection and the last nine others will appear in the August 8 print edition), I tried to imagine an experience that blended the cultural and the casual because that might be one of the better ways to describe Houstonians. We enjoy good food, beautiful art and all the benefits of the fourth largest city in America. But, we like to do it in shorts, especially in the summertime. We get dressed up from time to time, but our default approach to life is comfort, partly out of necessity and partly because it best reflects who we are as people. In short, we ain't stuffy. This ninth member of our top 10 fits us well in every way.
Picnic on the hill for a free performance at Miller Outdoor Theatre.
Sure, you could sit in the seats for a show at the nearly century-old free outdoor theater, but where's the fun in that. The first time I ever sat on the hill was when I was a kid. My aunt took me to see a musical performance. We sat on the hill on a big quilt and ate sandwiches. I'm sure I was more enamored with the food than the performance, but it is an experience I've repeated a handful of times in adulthood, most recently with my fiancée and her niece.
The views from the hill are excellent and during cooler months, there are few places more pleasant than Hermann Park. The wide range of performances showcased at Miller offer enough diversity that I can't imagine anyone in Houston not being interesting in at least one show per season. Best yet, it is always free. Don't forget to bring wine!
Nine More (in no particular order)
Go on a weird museum tour: Funeral Museum, The Orange Show, the Beer Can House, the Airport Museum, the Art Car Museum, the Museum of Printing History and the John C. Freeman Weather Museum. For all the fine arts the city boasts, there are plenty of exhibits off the beaten path that are sure to entertain. From the creepy Funeral Museum to the bizarre Orange Show and Beer Can House to Art Cars to weather, there is something, literally, for everyone.
Ride in the BP MS-150. Like running marathons, the idea of trekking 150 miles (much of it up and down hills) from here to Austin sounds like torture. But, the BP MS-150 can be a blast and it's for an incredibly worthy cause.
Go to a Houston Roller Derby bout...and the after party. The Houston Roller Derby is one of the most entertaining sporting events you'll ever attend, even if you are clueless about the rules. The after party is equally as fun.
Play a round of golf in Hermann or Memorial Park. Houston has some of the finest golf courses in this part of the country and two of them are of the public variety. Both Memorial and Hermann have been recently renovated and though Memorial lost a lot of trees during the drought, it is still as beautiful a course as ever.
Celebrate Halloween on lower Westheimer. Nearly as fun as the Pride Houston Parade, Halloween on Westheimer is...an experience. It is not for the faint of heart or liver, but if you want to witness a sea of costumed, scantily clad, mostly inebriated people, it's hard to imagine a better spot.
What you are missing inside the barbecue cook off tents.
Photo by Daniel Kramer
Crash a tent at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest. The annual barbecue cook off at the rodeo has, as you might imagine, some of the best 'cue in Texas. But sponsored tents make it difficult to sample all the wares. If you are so inclined, consider trying to slip inside of few of them -- security isn't exactly Secret Service-level -- and enjoy.
Attend the International Festival. Each year, downtown Houston around City Hall is lined with booths and stages for the annual iFest Houston International Festival. It normally brings in exceptional musicians, particularly from the featured country or region.
Get inspired at entertained by Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell at Windsor Village United Methodist Church. Pastor Caldwell is a bit of a character as his sermons can attest, but they are certainly filled with spirit and they always entertain.
Take the Port of Houston Authority Sam Houston Boat Tour. Why would anyone want to go on a tour of the ship channel, you are probably wondering. For one, it is fascinating place where thousands of boats from around the world pass through every year. Also, it doesn't smell quite as bad as it used to, so there's that.
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