Houston 101

Houston Bucket List Part 8 - Soccer, Skating, Brunching and Beaching

Dynamo fans are as spirited as they come.
Photo by Jack Gorman
Dynamo fans are as spirited as they come.
Twice in the last decade, we at the Houston Press have compiled our list of the 100 things every Houstonian must do. The first list was nearly 10 years ago and limited to a very small radius around the city (30 miles). In 2017, we expanded it to include distances slightly farther away — up to 100 miles — given at how much is so close to us. How can we exclude the Gulf of Mexico?

In 2022, many things have changed and some remain the same. If you are familiar with these lists, you'll probably see a few old favorites. They are classics for a reason. We'll point them out as we go along. If not, now you can take a look at all the stuff you need to do in the coming weeks and months. We'll be releasing these 10 at a time over the next couple months, so enjoy and (cue Jurassic Park music) welcome to the Houston Bucket List, 2022 edition.

Houston Bucket List Part 7
Houston Bucket List Part 6
Houston Bucket List Part 5
Houston Bucket List Part 4
Houston Bucket List Part 3
Houston Bucket List Part 2
Houston Bucket List Part 1

Go crazy with Dynamo fans at PNC Stadium. [CLASSIC]

No offense to most sports fans, but there is something about soccer that really draws out the crazies, and we mean that in genuinely the most respectful way possible. And with MLS, the stadiums aren't massive caverns as they might be with other sports, so there is a level of intimacy that you don't feel everywhere. The Dynamo has some of the noisiest and rowdiest crowds anywhere and they make it worth going. Oh, and the team on the field hasn't been half bad either.

Spend an afternoon in Memorial Park.

One of the city's great treasures is practically in the shadow of the skyline. Memorial Park, donated by Ima Hogg (yes, that is her real name) with the stipulation that the land never be developed. Now, we have a majestic park with one of the best golf courses in the city, never mind the new land bridge and accompanying tunnels that are nearly finished. Even when it is blistering hot, you'll find people jogging around the loop and hiking trails. As the weather cools, Houstonians are sprawled across lawns picnicking or just enjoying the day. It's an absolute joy to visit and should not be missed.

Try not to injure yourself at the North Houston Skatepark. [CLASSIC]

Houston has great skaters and, as a result, has several parks dedicated to the fine art of skateboarding. But, nothing in town or, frankly, in Texas compares to the North Houston Skatepark. It is a massive 78,000 acres of undulating concrete and trick spots for skaters old and young, pro and beginner. It includes a 20-foot full pipe and a 12-foot vertical ramp among other challenges for skaters.

click to enlarge
The Art Car Parade is one of Houston's most beloved events.
Photo by Morris Malakoff
Witness the Art Car Parade, one of the wildest parades anywhere. [CLASSIC]

Is there anything quite as fun as the annual Art Car Parade? We don't think so. The now 35-year tradition culminating with the massive parade through downtown attracts more than a quarter million spectators every year to check out the wild and ever-complex art cars of all shape and size. It's one of the largest parades of its kind anywhere and a completely unique Houston tradition.

Live it up on Sunday Funday in the Montrose. [CLASSIC]

OK, so La Strada is long gone, but that doesn't mean that Sunday in the gay-berhood isn't still an absolute blast. Seems like plenty of events will draw you into the Montrose throughout the year, but this is something you can do every week if your liver can take it. Sip on mimosas. Dance like your life depended on it. Get your brunch on. Live it up!

Take a ride on the Anthills with other Houston trail cyclists. [CLASSIC]

If you are feeling like getting back on your old BMX bike and testing out the skills you honed as a teenager, we'd first encourage you to practice on a quiet neighborhood street. But, once you are up for it, get down to the Anthills trail that runs through Terry Hershey Park along the banks of Buffalo Bayou in west Houston. What began as the creation of cyclists just looking for new ways to ride has become one of the longest and most well-kept trails in the city. And don't worry, bikers there are REALLY polite to other riders and to pedestrians. Just be sure to be nice back.

click to enlarge
A good excuse to get dressed up like a pauper: Dickens on the Strand!
Photo by Illumine Photographic Services, Courtesy of Galveston Historical Foundation
Dress like jolly old England for Dickens on the Strand. [CLASSIC]

The beach in winter is a surprisingly fun place to go. No crowds. Interesting wildlife. But, if you head to downtown Galveston in December, you'll also be treated to an annual celebration of all things Charles Dickens (minus the street urchins). Dickens on the Strand brings large crowds to enjoy food, drink and shopping as well as some excellent people watching, particularly those dressed up in their finest Dickensian-era garb. If you stay late enough, take a drive around some of the Galveston neighborhoods in the evening, decked out for the holidays.

Go to the beach. [CLASSIC]

Speaking of the beach, many people who aren't from here forget we are only about 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. There are loads of beaches to visit from those on Bolivar Peninsula to the entire island of Galveston all the way down to Surfside near Freeport. Bolivar is often more of a down and dirty party. Galveston has family beaches as well as fun places to just lounge under a chair. And Surfside is a sleepy little fishing village dotted with rental homes. Plenty of places to get your feet wet for a day or a week of vacation.

Grab a boat (or a friend's boat) and go sailing on Clear Lake. [CLASSIC]

And if you don't really want to be in the water, how about on it? Clear Lake has become quite the spot for sailing on weekends and you can find it covered with massive and beautiful boats year round. You can even take your craft over to San Leon on Kemah to grab a bite to eat or something to drink as you putter the day away on the water just steps away from NASA.

Visit Allen's Landing, the birthplace of Houston. [CLASSIC]

We're not going to lie to you, there isn't a lot to see at Allen's Landing. There's a little spot and a plaque, but humble beginnings are kind of our thing anyway. The very spot where the Allen Brothers hoodwinked a bunch of Yankees into buying swamp land they promised looked and felt like the Rhine River Valley is a symbol of how tough a city we are and have become. Right along Buffalo Bayou, you can stroll the hike and bike path down to Buffalo Bayou Park or walk to the museum district after.