Houston has been getting a lot of attention in recent months and from some rather unlikely places. Whether it is The New York Times or Forbes, Houston is, dare we say it, hip. For a town that has a serious case of poor-widdle-me-itis way too often, it is encouraging to see outsiders -- Yankees even! -- embracing the city we love. With that in mind, it seemed like a good time to put together our own little bucket list of things to do in Houston before we die. Now, we don't plan on dying anytime soon, but it never hurts to get started early.
The list is going to be broken down into nine posts here on Hair Balls. Each will contain one of our top 10 bucket list items and nine others in our top 100. The number one item on our list will be in an upcoming issue of the Houston Press along with all 100 items for you to check off from now until you kick it. To narrow our list, we only chose 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 certainly don't have all the answers and we welcome your suggestions in the comment section. Today, we get started with a classic that you will have to wait for a month or so to accomplish if you haven't already, but it will be worth it.
Make Out Upstairs at Marfreless
This spring, the dream was dead. Marfreless, the quiet speakeasy hidden in the back of the River Oaks shopping center behind a purple door and under a stairwell, was closing along with its infamous upstairs red room. If you are an adult who has lived in Houston for more than a few years, you should be aware of the makeout lounge where dates have been caught drinking and getting to first base (and beyond) for many years now. My fiancée and I admitted we had both been in that lounge...but not together, then we never spoke of it again.
But as if Cupid himself had plunged an arrow deep into the heart of Houston, a miracle happened and it was announced Marfreless would rise again this summer. Hearts swooned and young lovers added this time-honored Houston tradition back onto their bucket lists, an item so important, it made our top ten.
Nine More (in no particular order)
Sit quietly inside the Rothko Chapel and contemplate your existence. Mark Rothko's serene tribute to minimalism is the kind of place where even an atheist might reconsider God...or at least get a few moments of peace and quiet.
Take your dog to Millie Bush Dog Park. This 15-acre tribute to the former first dog may be a bit of a drive to the far west side of town, but your pooch will love the massive space for running and the three lakes.
Sit with the Red Rowdies at a Rockets game. If you want to sit with fans that scream and yell like they do in college when you go to the relatively chill atmosphere that is a Rockets game, sit next to the Rowdies...or should I say stand?
Dance to '80s music on a Friday at Numbers. Numbers is one of Houston's few remaining live music venues from days gone by, but when they aren't hosting live acts, they're spinning '80s tunes on Friday nights. So get your Day-Glo on and feel "Like a Virgin" again.
Attend the gay pride parade. If you missed it last week, you'll have to wait until next year to experience one of the most fun and wild events the city has to offer. Some 400,000 found that out this year along the streets of Montrose.
Watch the fireworks on July 4 from Buffalo Bayou. Despite the major renovations ongoing along Buffalo Bayou, it still remains the place to be to see the huge Fourth of July fireworks show every year. You're in luck, it's tomorrow. You're welcome!
Go to the top of the San Jacinto monument. I do NOT like heights, but a trip to the top of the famous Texas monument is a must for any Texan and certainly any Houstonian.
Have some late-night pie at House of "Guys." Plenty of late-night hangs exist around town from Mai's to food trucks to every IHOP in the city. But nothing compares to House of Pies on Kirby, which got its nickname from its Montrose heydays. Now in what is considered
midtownUpper Kirby, it's still great for late-night eats and they do make a mean pie.
Go shopping for knickknacks in Old Town Spring. This quaint little village of lace and doily shops on the north side of town might net you a quilt or some scented candles, but it's a fun trip to make, particularly around Christmas or during the annual Crawfish Festival.