The Five Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Blacktop Battle, Tour de Houston & More

It's an awesome weekend in Houston for treasure-hunting (for cool stuff like cuff links wearing shades); running, walking or cycling to save the trees in our parks; turning the streets into a streetball haven with Blacktop Battle; and watching the Houston Disc Dogs do their stuff at the Rodeo (it's closing weekend). Sunday is supposed to be gorgeous outside, so why not head on over to Discovery Green's Kinder Lake for some kayak rides and paddleboarding?

It’s picking season, folks, but this time the treasures and antiques you’ll discover are both high-end and within reach, when the Houston Antiques + Art + Design Show brings 75 international designers and dealers to town. You'll beat the crowds by heading over early; our pick for Friday fun. One of the highlights for this weekend's events is collector, dealer and design guru Reyne (Haynes) Hirsch, a native Houstonian who has appeared on Antiques Roadshow (she once appraised a Tiffany Studios tea screen for $20,000). Hirsch says collecting has changed from “having a room of fancy things” to incorporating interesting pieces into a modern aesthetic. “You don’t have to have a bunch of antiques in the house to have something that pops in a room,” she says. Hirsch wants new homeowners to realize that even a single new piece can transform a space. Her talk, “Successfully Selling Antiques in the 21st Century,” is at 2 p.m. Saturday; it’s free, but reservations are recommended; email [email protected].

11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, call 708-366-2710 or visit $15. 

Hey, hey, basketball freaks. It's time to turn the streets outlining Toyota Center into a streetball haven 'cuz Houston's biggest three-on-three basketball tournament is finally here, one of our picks for this Saturday morning. The 2016 Blacktop Battle, presented by ZTE, showcases the best b-ballers in H-Town, so bring it. You know the drill – all teams are guaranteed three games, and then the best of the best move up the brackets – eventually receiving trophies, championship T-shirts and future recognition at a Rockets home game. Center Court is at Root Memorial Square, across the street from Toyota Center on Clay and La Branch.

Check-in is at 7:30 a.m.; play begins at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. 1510 Polk. For information, call 713-758-7702 or visit $150 for a four-player team; $175 for a five-player team.

Remember that sick feeling we all got in 2011 after high temperatures and a year-long drought turned our favorite parks brown and killed millions of trees across the city (plus another 301 million across Texas)? We’re still trying to recover, and proceeds from two events this weekend — the 39th Annual Bayou City Classic and the 11th Annual Tour de Houston (both presented by Apache Corporation) — will “go to the Houston Parks Department,” says Obie O’Brien, Apache’s vice president for governmental affairs and corporate outreach. “[The RE-Plant Houston Program has] used that money in every park in the city, not just Memorial Park. It’s been able to help them: They’ve had to cut down dead trees, replant trees, re-landscaping, put in sprinkler systems. We feel like we’ve helped quite a bit.” Since 2005, Apache Corporation also has awarded more than 100,000 trees to help restore Houston’s tree canopy.

This is the second year that organizers have tried having both events on the same weekend, now under the umbrella title of “Mayor’s Wellness Weekend,” beginning with the Bayou City Classic this Saturday, March 19 (followed by a party) and the Tour de Houston on Sunday, March 20 (which also concludes with a party) — we think both the Saturday and Sunday events are a great way to get some exercise, help preserve our parks and have a great time. O’Brien says the cycling routes for the Tour de Houston are changed regularly, in some years heading out to Clear Lake or Baytown. This year’s 70-miler takes cyclists up to Humble, while those participating in the 20-miler will ride through the Heights.

The 39th Annual Bayou City Classic begins on Saturday at 7:50 a.m. (wheelchair participants), 8 a.m. (10K) and 8:30 a.m. (5K), starting from 901 Bagby. The post-race party will be held at the Hermann Square reflecting pool (901 Bagby). For information, visit $20 to $40 (no same-day registration for the 10k).

The 11th Annual Tour de Houston begins on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. (70-mile route), 8 a.m. (45-mile route) and 8:30 a.m. (20-mile route), starting from 901 Bagby. The post-ride party is 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Hermann Square reflecting pool (901 Bagby). For information, visit $40. 

Dogs are kind of like babies; everybody thinks his or hers is the best-looking, smartest and most talented of the bunch. You might want to rethink that “most talented” part when you see the oh-so-agile, gravity-defying tricks of Houston Disc Dogs at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Sure, they can channel their inner DeAndre Hopkins – catching those flying discs like a pro – but that's just the tip of the iceberg for these talented animal athletes. This professional specialty act includes amazing tricks, flips, jumps, vaults and using their trainers like a human jungle gym for all kinds of exciting fun. They're doing two shows this weekend in the Main Arena of NRG Center, our other pick for a great time on Saturday or Sunday.

General admission tickets allow admission to NRG Park during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, including the carnival, NRG Arena and NRG Center. (Entrance into NRG Stadium or Rodeo Uncorked! Events not included.) 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, 5 to 6 p.m. Sunday. NRG Center, Three NRG Park. For information, call 832-667-1000 or visit $10.

You won’t mind getting a little wet — even if you do fall into Discovery Green’s Kinder Lake — because spring is in the air and we’re all looking for fun things to do outside before the oppressive heat of summer drives us back indoors. Kayak Rides and Stand Up Paddleboarding (what organizer Bayou City Adventures calls SUP) both look pretty incredible this time of year, and the weather forecasters predict sunny skies for this Sunday. Instructor Rico Torres says people of all ages, body types and physical abilities can enjoy kayaking at the downtown park. “It’s a controlled environment, has clean water and there are people there who will help you to learn all about it.” There are also plenty of fish in the lake, and the more adventurous who want to try their hand at SUP might take a tumble or two.

Kayak rides and paddleboarding are available 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Friday (for spring break); continuing 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through June 26. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. For information, call 713-400-7336 or visit Kayak rides are $5 per person; SUP is $10 per person.

Josef Molnar contributed to this post.
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Susie Tommaney is a contributing writer who enjoys covering the lively arts and culture scene in Houston and surrounding areas, connecting creative makers with the Houston Press readers to make every week a great one.
Contact: Susie Tommaney