West Alabama Ice House

Now that Shiner has landed nationwide, the icehouse may be the last grand secret the rest of the country hasn't wrested from Texas. And no establishment better encapsulates the icehouse ideal than West Alabama. A staple of the Alabama stretch, West Alabama Ice House provides all you might need: a sprawling patio, an open basketball hoop, bottomless beer and a glut of the sweetest half-mangy dogs to keep you company. Even when a late-spring storm whips apart the tarps-cum-windows, there are few places more preferable to have a Shiner in the one state it's meant to be drunk.

Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge

Justin Burrow's no-frills cocktail bar isn't even a year old, but it's already our favorite downtown hangout. You don't have to call Bad News Bar by its full name (Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge) to enjoy it; in fact, it's better if you just relax and let Burrow and his crew mix you any drink you can dream up inside the second-story shotgun bar with its tall, New Orleans-style ceilings, then take it outside to drink in the dazzling view of downtown from the elegant balcony. Cocktails aren't your thing? You can get cheap Lone Stars and chilly daiquiris here, too.

The James Turrell Skyspace, situated just east of Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, stands as a surprising break within Rice's traditional Mediterranean architecture. Based on a quartet of gentle grassy slopes and topped with a square aperture focused on the heavens above, Turrell's creation is a Mesoamerican paean to the naturalistic beauty within the campus. Add the eerie, somnolescent light shows in the evenings — all free! — and you have as welcome an addition to Rice as anything this side of Wayne Graham.

The Ginger Man Pub

If there's a more satisfying spot to have a beer in Houston than The Ginger Man's open-air backyard, I've yet to find it. Never overly packed, never too isolated — those thick-beam tables have a way of bringing even the most disparate groups together — The Ginger Man's pairing of patio and pint remains properly unparalleled. The drink selection's as wide as it is curated. The interior's intimate without feeling cramped. There are other bars in the Village, and there are other watering holes in Houston, but there are few places where a drink and an evening can leave you more content.

Line up your troll dolls and lucky rabbit's feet; we're goin' to bingo! Bingo Paradise in the city of South Houston, Texas, is the spot to be with your nine bingo cards and markers any night of the week. They've got a huge menu of unhealthy-but-delish foods available along with those bingo cards, so you're all set once you've placed all those lucky charms around your cards. Thursdays are the best, though, with a quesadilla night and a bigger pot to win. And if you're not as fast as your granny at marking those cards all at once, they've got those nifty computers to help you out with your lack of bingo skills.

Rothko Chapel

Everyone knows that it gets hot in the city, which is why we're fortunate to have so many places with air-conditioning to cool down our bodies. Cooling down our minds is another matter, and when it comes to finding a quiet spot to stop and calm thyself, Rothko Chapel is the place to go. Whether you find inner peace through prayer, meditation or silent contemplation, Rothko provides a comforting, quiet space every day of the year. It's the perfect spot to cool off the fire that burns inside you, no matter what you believe.

Houston's seen a ton of yoga studios open or expand in the past couple of years, but for yogis of all stripes, Joy Yoga is still the best all-round studio. A recently revamped schedule means Joy can offer the best variety of classes in town, from classes for beginners and those wanting to wind down after work with a Candlelight session to more strenuous ones like Acro Yoga, Power Vinyasa and even Meditation. The studio also dabbles in Pilates, Boot Camp and prenatal classes. The studios are warm but not hot, and the staff is friendly and laid-back, making for the most relaxing of fitness experiences.

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