A DELICIOUS DINNER, GREAT ENTERTAINMENT + A NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN
GATHER, DINE & PLAY — Located in the heart of Downtown Houston, GreenStreet features three-city blocks of premier office, shopping, dining and entertainment options, as well as The Lawn, a central open air green space. Home to III Forks Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s™, House of Blues, Lucky Strike, Guadalajara del Centro and Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar, GreenStreet is the perfect destination for a night out.
In the heart of Downtown.
VROOM, VROOM It’s been 30 years since Houston’s Art Car Parade made its debut in the Bayou City. With only 40 cars and a few thousand folks on the parade route, buzz was minimal. But word of the wacky and wonderful new art form spread quickly, and by the next year the number of entries had doubled and fans were crowding the streets of Downtown to get a glimpse of their favorite creations. Today, the Art Car Parade is one of the city’s largest events, drawing fans from around the world.
Managing Editor/Creative Director Angie Bertinot, Downtown District Copy Editor Barbara Linkin Mendel, Mendel Creative Solutions Design CORE Design Studio Contributing Writers Holly Beretto Tarra Gaines Advertising Information Angie Bertinot 713.650.3022 firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions or comments? Drop us a line at email@example.com
Downtown magazine is published quarterly and is free of charge. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Downtown District, 909 Fannin, Suite 1650, Houston, Texas 77010. Published by:
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SPRING 2017 VOL. 9, NO. 3
BY TARRA GAINES
Super Bowl LI was a complete touchdown for Houston. But we can’t rest on our laurels. We are proud of the impression we made on the rest of the country. Now we must look to the future and map out the next phase of Downtown’s growth.
TOMORROW’S VISION Downtown’s successful evolution didn’t happen by chance. It took years of collaboration and planning. Now the city’s stakeholders are getting ready to focus on the next 20 years with Plan Downtown—a strategic plan that will guide Houston into the future.
We’ve got everything covered—from the hottest new hangouts to your best St. Paddy’s Day celebrations.
Market Square Tower is a Downtown Living Initiative success story.
Whether it’s dancing in a public square or singing an aria at a local barbecue joint, Houston’s artists are breaking all kinds of conventional boundaries. And meet Hillary Hart, Theatre Under The Stars new executive director. This Lone Star native is happy to be back in Texas and ready to get to work on strengthening TUTS for the future.
DESTINATION BOULEVARD The Avenida Houston project has transformed the space between Discovery Green and the George R. Brown Convention Center. What was once a daunting concrete strip filled with traffic is now an appealing and pedestrian-friendly connector stretching from the new Houston Marriott Marquis to the Hilton Americas and linking the massive convention center to its popular front yard.
Check out our comprehensive listing of everything delicious in Downtown, including the long-awaited opening of Local Downtown.
Spring brings out the best in Downtown Houston. Check out theater listings, concerts, tours, festivals, special events and much more.
BY HOLLY BERETTO
DESTINATION DOWNTOWN MAP
Super Bowl LI has come and gone but the impact on Houston lingers. Downtown put its best foot forward, and it paid off handsomely with plenty of positive press, hundreds of thousands of impressed visitors and millions of dollars pumped into our local economy. More importantly, Houstonians can enjoy the new developments spurred in part by the big game. Avenida Houston, the newly imagined space in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center, is one such amenity. More than two decades in the making, the pedestrian-friendly boulevard connects the convention center to its front yard—Discovery Green. The $175 million facelift welcomes visitors with sidewalk dining and soaring art pieces. Read all about it starting on page 23. You might think that with everything that went into prepping Downtown for the Super Bowl, we’d take a pause to plan our HOUSTON, AND next move. The reality is vastly different. IN PARTICUL AR Houston, and in particular Downtown, is DOWNTOWN, IS evolving quickly and it’s critical that those EVOLVING QUICKLY. involved in creating a livable inner city follow a thoughtful roadmap that takes all stakeholders into account. Plan Downtown will do just that. The new 20-year vision plan will outline recommendations for short, middle and long-range planning, development and design within and around Downtown. In addition to input from a leadership group, a large steering committee of elected officials, community leaders and area residents will also provide their ideas. Learn more about the process starting on page 12. And if you haven’t had a chance to check out some of Downtown’s hottest spots to eat, now is the time. Plate, our rundown of restaurants, starts on page 33 and as always, you’ll find our extensive calendar of events and activities in datebook on page 41. Of course, be sure to visit us online at downtownhouston.org, where we always keep you up to date on the latest when it comes to our city’s center. And let us know what you think about downtown. We’re more than happy to take your comments and suggestions.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DOWNTOWN DISTRICT
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING DOWNTOWN DISTRICT
ON THE COVER
Gonzo247’s Lifting Off, Houston is bright, bold and completely Houston. Located at the George R. Brown, it’s part of an impressive collection. photo by Pablo Gimenez Zapiola
* O OPS! Our apologies, please note that Sandra Cook wrote the Super Bowl feature in our last issue.
We’ve pulled all the best of this spring into one handy guide to the absolute best Downtown has to offer. Whether you’re planning a fab night out with the girls, looking for the perfect romantic outing or just hoping to hang out with your pals, we’ve got you covered.
Gather up the gang
Get your boogie on at Houston’s first outdoor roller rink—The Rink: Rolling at Discovery Green. The fun kicks off March 3 with a celebration featuring your fave roller rink tunes from the ’50s through the ’90s. Even better—demo battles from your favorite derby girls. The rink is open every night, and your ticket includes skate rental. Of course, you can always bring your own! For hours and ticket prices visit discoverygreen.com/rollerrink
Imagine a warm spring day in the heart of the city with your favorite gal or guy surrounded by oneof-a-kind art pieces and handmade goods made with love by local artists. Even better, everything you purchase at the Heartmade Art Market benefits Hoof Prints and Heart Beats, which
provides free rehabilitation and therapeutic riding for physically challenged individuals and people suffering from social disorders. For more info on the April 1 event visit heartmadehouston.com.
With so many hotspots on the Downtown food scene, it’s hard to decide where to start. Let us help. Xochi, Chef Hugo Ortega’s exciting new concept on the first floor of the Marriott Marquis by Discovery Green, is the city’s first restaurant to feature upscale, Oaxacan cuisine. Fresh seafood, eight different mole dishes, and tlayudas (huge, fire-roasted tortillas with an endless variety of toppings) are just a few of the distinctive dining options. For hours and more information visit xochihouston.com
Urban Dwellers If St. Patrick’s Day is your favorite holiday, Downtown is the place to be. Kick off your celebration early on March 11 with the 58th Annual Houston St. Patrick’s Day Parade—one of the biggest in the nation. And on March 17 head over to Saint Arnold Brewing Company for special themed dishes and cask beer on tap. Wrap things up at Market Square Park, where you’ll find live music from Murder The Stout and plenty of great pubs. Need more info? Visit hsppc.org, saintarnold.com and downtownhouston.org
Sometimes you just need a night out, and on March 23 we’ve got all the ingredients. Take one part sophisticated cocktails, blend with two parts Dreamgirls, mix in a delightful spring evening and you’ve got perfection. Start the fun at Bayou & Bottle, a super-chic bourbon concept in the lobby of the Four Seasons Houston. The brainchild of celebrity chef Richard Sandoval, Bayou & Bottle serves more than 100 types of bourbons and whiskeys along with a decadent menu. After you’ve had your fill, head over to Market Square Park for a special screening of Dreamgirls starring Houston’s one and only Queen Bey, courtesy of Theatre Under The Stars in anticipation of their April run of the stage show. And wrap things up by heading back to Discovery Green for a sweet treat from Phoenicia. Delightful! Get all the details at downtownhouston.org.
NEW MARKET SQUARE TOWER IS A DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT SUCCESS STORY
Imagine floating 500 feet above the ground in the highest pool in Texas with the Downtown skyline as a backdrop. Visible from
almost every vantage point, this eye-catching pool demands
the attention of Downtown dwellers below at any time of the
day. At night, the sparkling pool is lit and becomes Houston’s own North Star.
Market Square Tower has been open for three months and is already 42 percent leased with 115 units occupied. These numbers are a testament to Market Square Tower’s position as a success story of the Downtown Living Initiative, a program created by the City of Houston, Downtown Redevelopment Authority and Downtown District, providing tax incentives to developers for new multifamily developments. The program, launched in 2012, was to increase residential, business and commercial activity in Downtown. Today there are approximately 5,400 residents within the Downtown District’s boundaries and 65,000 within greater Downtown (a two-mile radius); and the number of residents in the core of Downtown will more than double in the next few years. Residents attracted to Downtown living are predominantly young urban professionals working Downtown, empty nesters, reverse commuters and even small families. Despite
the oil downturn, young people are moving to Houston, and Downtown is a perfect fit as they gravitate toward walkability, urban amenities and options closer to work. Downtown life affords Millennials and empty nesters freedom from long commutes to a Downtown office, car payments and repairs. They can rely on their own two feet when it comes to transportation. They enjoy being able to walk to work, to restaurants, bars and even the movies. And if they do have a car, there is easy access to every major freeway and they are an equal distance to both major airports. Downtown’s offerings are growing by the day. Almost a dozen new restaurants have opened just since the first of the year. Historic Market Square continues to attract cool bars and restaurants, and the newly branded Avenida Houston is making its mark next to Discovery Green with a new pedestrian plaza with al fresco dining, public art and community programming that will launch this spring. People naturally gravitate toward innovation and convenience. Market Square Tower provides just that. Occupying a full city block and rising 40 stories into Houston’s Downtown skyline, developer Woodbranch Investments Corp redefines luxury. Located at 777 Preston Street, the Tower with 463 residential units and designed by Jackson & Ryan Architects, stands within walking distance to nine
RESIDENTIAL PROFILE: MARKET SQUARE TOWER
world-renowned performing arts organizations in Houston’s Theater District and countless bars and restaurants. The Tower is the tallest residential building Downtown, a record that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Tower’s innovation. Market Square Tower provides a high level of accommodation and luxury in an atmosphere inspired by the surrounding arts and abundant creativity. Located next to neighborhood gem Market Square Park, the Tower is situated on the edge of Downtown Houston’s Historic District, adding another dimension to the area’s vintage, yet cosmopolitan flavor. While it boasts a sleek design and monumental silhouette, Market Square Tower’s most attention-grabbing features are the amenities offered. The Tower is committed to providing residents with everything they need for an exclusive Downtown living experience. “The amenities at Market Square Tower were meticulously researched by our team to create a new kind of residential experience in Houston,” said Philip Schneidau, CEO of Woodbranch Investments Corp. Its amenities include upgraded connectivity to guarantee reliable cell reception throughout the tower, valet parking, pet sitting and walking, service runners for dry cleaning, package and grocery delivery. Other features include a Sky Gym with virtual fitness classes, sunless tanning suite, virtual golf simulator, billiards room, poker suite, temperature-controlled wine room, movie theater, and grand ballroom with a catering kitchen. For all other needs, CVS will be located at street level at the corner of Milam and Congress. The first of its kind in Houston, this CVS is a new urban concept with an expanded grocery space. The Tower’s two unique pool
areas are the most talked-about features of the building—a rooftop infinity deck with a glass bottom pool shelf cantilevered 10 feet over the rooftop edge and a park terrace heated pool and spa with cabanas. The Tower’s units range from 564 square foot studio apartments to 4,159 square foot penthouses. Each unit is decorated with a natural palette with custom details and custom-crafted cabinetry in three finish options, appropriately named Louisiana, Milam, and Preston, elegant lighting and hardwood floors in dining and living areas. All bedrooms are equipped with solar shades and black-out
shades, fully customized closets throughout the home, and marble counters in all bathrooms. Select residences boast floor-to-ceiling windows, built-in wine coolers, spacious kitchens with islands, built-in bookshelves and art niches, oversized balconies and terraces, and large soaking tubs with separate walk-in showers. In addition to Market Square Park, Discovery Green and Buffalo Bayou Park are also within an easy walk or bike ride from Market Square Tower. All three award-winning green spaces have been heavily credited for being an economic catalyst for growth for Downtown. With all this robust activity, combined with its strong economy, a growing urban population, and solidified status as being one of the nation’s top culinary and entertainment destinations, it’s easy to see how Houston has transformed itself into the global city it is today.
For more information please call 713.777.7000 or visit www.marketsquaretower.com.
BY JOEL LUKS
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
photo by dabfoto creative
B AC K S TAG E
Off of the stage and onto the streets: Theater District organizations explore creative ways and unique spaces to foster engaging experiences
When Houston Grand Opera began conducting interviews with Houston–based NASA astronauts, scientists and engineers who had a personal connection with the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster of 2003 in search for context with which to create a chamber opera, the theme that emerged had less to do with heartbreak and disappointment. Instead, what HGO uncovered was a yearning for exploration, the necessity of dreams and how humans have an innate impulse to learn, discover and try new things. “Not everyone can relate to a story set in the 19th century about a wealthy duke and his court,” HGO managing director Perryn Leech says. “This work was relevant to the people of Houston. We had to earn the trust of those who were there and who were affected by the disaster before we could really get to the heart of the story that’s embedded in American history. It’s not easy to talk about it, but art allowed them to express their feelings fully. Opera is evolving in how it tells human stories. Music allows emotions to be unlocked.”
photo by Lynn Lane
This innovative and “site-specific” approach to opera demanded a different kind of space. One where audiences were closer to the performers. One that echoed the vastness of the cosmos. One that allowed the staging to also take the tenor of the unknown. It was with this same creative spirit that HGO stepped outside of Wortham Theater Center to try something different. Across the street, Revention Music Center (then Bayou Music Center) offered an empty black box in which O Columbia (2015) by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Royce Vavrek could freely take flight. A white acoustic shell anchored the stage and semi-circular seating to diminish the feeling of the fourth wall. Beyond the setup was a deep darkness that symbolized the incomprehensible boundlessness of space. In March, HGO will again step outside its traditional home in search of a different experience. The Ballroom at Bayou Place will host the world premiere of HGO’s Some Light Emerges, which celebrates the non-denominational Rothko Chapel. Commissioned by John and Dominique de Menil, the sanctuary has become synonymous with the pursuit of the highest aspirations of humanity. Alongside the sculpture Broken Obelisk by Barnett Newman perched on the neighboring reflective pool, the two iconic landmarks on The Menil Collection campus represent contemplation and action. New York-based composer Laura Kaminsky and librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed were engaged for Some Light Emerges, HGO’s 63rd world premiere. “We looked at many spaces before deciding on the Ballroom at Bayou Place for Some Light Emerges,” Leech adds. “It echoed the feeling of entering the Rothko Chapel. We wanted that experience and the flexibility that an open space affords our creative team.” Opera has evolved from extremely long formats that could take four or five hours; it’s what people did. Composers like Rossini Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868) were churning out operas at an alarming rate— sometimes in a couple of weeks. As people’s entertainment habits changed, some found
B AC K S TAG E photo by dabfoto creative
Remote Houston became a way to bring in new audiences, to expose people who don’t go to the theater, and to make contact with other communities in the city.” going to the opera incongruent with a hurried 21st century life. Today, people like to find entertainment options in their own vicinities. After the Storm, a chamber opera about resilience of the Gulf Coast, was presented at the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston. New Arrivals at Baker Ripley Neighborhood Center told the real-life story of Houstonian Yani Rose Keo, a Cambodia refugee’s flight to Houston and her efforts to help others who faced persecution. Because food is a big part of a 19-minute Texas version of Wagner’s The Ring Cycle, HGO will head to a local barbecue joint. A WA L K I N G , M O VA B L E S TA G E While Alley Theatre creatives were looking for works of Latin origin, travels to Santiago and Bogota led Managing Director Dean Gladden to something that didn’t fit into any established category. A curated experienced that meandered about the city, a sort of augmented reality via
recorded sounds delivered through state-ofthe-art headphones, became Remote Houston. German collective Rimini Protokoll—consisting of documentary theater and installation artists Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel— developed Remote Houston to put spectators’ experience at the core of the work. Participants gather at a designation meeting point and embark on a journey with a guided audio tour. “The whole idea was to do something to break out of the boundaries of the stage and theater,” Gladden says. “Theater can be all around you. Remote Houston became a way to bring in new audiences, to expose people who don’t go to the theater, and to make contact with other communities in the city. It was a very special thing.” In Houston, this surreal voyage began at the Evergreen Cemetery in East Downtown. What begins as a meditative, reflective experience turns into a walking adventure through secluded
areas of the city and parklands, onto the light rail to approach the city, into historical buildings in Downtown Houston, through hallways and parking garages, concluding in the Theater District. Remote Houston was produced by the Alley Theatre with the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts 2016 CounterCurrent festival. Theater-goers were asked to become part of the action. They were asked to break out into a ballet and country line dance in the middle of a public space, knowing that unsuspecting passersby had no clue or advance warning as to what may be happening. They were asked to race adjacent to Jones Hall. To stop next to a Metro station and pretend they were watching live drama unfold. At times, they were split into different groups arbitrarily, playing different roles of a work in which everyone was a protagonist— ending in the balcony of the Alley Theatre overlooking Jones Plaza. “Watching people’s reactions was very rewarding,” Gladden says. “One of the most endearing moments was when a woman in her 80s was asked to run to an imaginary finish line. She couldn’t quite get there as fast as everyone else. But when she did, everyone cheered loudly—one of those unscripted, touching moments that restores your faith in humanity.”
B AC K S TAG E
C R E AT I N G M E A N I N G F U L C O N N E C T I O N S AT A YO U N G A G E The Houston Symphony has more than 900 musician interactions outside of Jones Hall. In schools, orchestral players concentrate on helping students make connections to the art form. With older children, the majority of these interactions happen as part of the Houston Symphony High School Residencies. Educators from partnering schools work with the orchestra’s education staff to customize residency content to best support the needs of the teachers. Students are coupled with a resident communityembedded musician who returns every month to lead coachings, sectional rehearsal and in-school chamber music performances. For young children, the symphony partners with the Prelude Music Foundation to provide age-appropriate experiences in four underserved schools. At the end of each semester-long residency, an in-school family concert engages the whole educational community. “A child’s developmental music aptitude is most vulnerable before the age of 5 through age 9, so the work that we do in partnership with Prelude Music Foundation is essential,” says Pam Blaine, Houston Symphony chief of education and community programming. “Through the Prelude Music Foundation classes and concerts, the young children attain basic music competency. Research shows that this early acquisition fosters healthy brain development and translates to success later in life.” In essence, the goal is to contribute to students’ acquisition of life skills to succeed in school and beyond. “We observe that after the students encounter the community-embedded musicians in their classrooms, students recognize the orchestral instruments at the family engagement concert,” she says. “For many of these students, being from low-income communities, having the real instruments is a really special experience. Most of the families do not have access to live music, so this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them.”
or many of these students, being from low-income F communities, having the real instruments is a really special experience. Most of the families do not have access to live music, so this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them.”
ART FOR SOUL The Da Camera of Houston Young Artist Program comprises an enterprising troupe of recent conservatory graduates who have a desire to learn about what it means to create musical experiences in unusual settings that are relevant and rewarding for both listener and performer. The two-year fellowship includes special training to understand the proclivities of programming outside of the traditional concert hall—experiences that are typically not offered as part of undergraduate and graduate music performance curriculum. To help patients cope with illness and recovery, Da Camera Young Artists travels to medical institutions such as the Houston Methodist Hospital in the Medical Center and in Sugar Land, and the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. “All of the concerts are different than a traditional concert because the audience can come and go as their schedule demands,”
explains Craig Hauschildt, Da Camera director of education and community initiatives. “They provide opportunities for unexpected discoveries and wonderful discourse with the audience, but they also provide a number of challenges such as ambient sound, lights and access to certain instruments. The wall between the audience is eliminated and the conversations that occur following performances are often enlightening.” This experience has had unexpected consequences for Da Camera Young Artists. It makes them feel more connected to audiences in traditional venues. It also prepares them to search out these kinds of venues later in their career since they have the knowledge and skills on how to approach these venues. “The most rewarding part of these experiences is getting the close interaction with the audiences,” Hauschildt adds. “Getting feedback that the unexpected music has brightened their day in a medical environment gets to the core of what it means to be an artist.”
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT: PROFILE
B AC K S TAG E
Hillary Hart TUTS new administrative leading lady comes home to Texas
Filling the top administrative chair at a nonprofit arts organization is typically a long process that involves national searches, committees meetings and several interviews. So when Theatre Under The Stars found its leading lady in December, the announcement was met with curiosity. TUTS Executive Director Hillary Hart is a North Texas native who until recently was the general manager of the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. She also held administrative positions at the Flat Rock Playhouse in North Carolina and Dallas Theater Center. photo by Scott Treadway
Q: You describe Theatre Under The Stars as being in a watershed moment in its history and progress. What are some of the elements that make it so?
Q: Moving from Minneapolis to Houston is a big change. What is it about Houston and TUTS that encouraged you to uproot you life and move to Texas?
TUTS has much to talk about and celebrate as we move toward our future. For the first time in the organization’s history, the leadership model has been modified to reflect a bifurcated reporting structure more commonly found in nonprofit regional theater industry. This allows a higher focus on initiatives that reflect the mission, vision and values of TUTS through artistic, education and community outreach.
As a native Texan, moving to Houston has been more of a homecoming than a change. More than that, I am inspired by the Houston community, the opportunities for creating meaningful dialogue in a burgeoning market and the profound commitment to excellence that emanates from the TUTS staff, board and patrons. TUTS is unique in what it offers the Houston community through its programming and outreach efforts.
Q: What does this mean for the organization?
Q: You have experience in turning around the financial health of nonprofits. What’s your secret?
The result is the beginning of impactful change in programming both on our main stage as well as in our education and outreach programs, covering everything from broadening the lens through which we share the human experience to addressing challenges related to accessibility and expanding outreach into our community in more meaningful ways. And all of this as we quickly approach our 50th anniversary! Q: What are your first priorities for the organization as a whole? The completion of an institutional audit is a top priority and has already begun. The evaluation of operations, lines of business, and identifying potential areas for creating efficiencies will allow the organization to understand where it currently exists in the ecology of the Houston community.
I don’t sleep much! In all seriousness, turnarounds don’t happen because of just one person. It takes the dedication and effort of multiple constituencies—from staff to board to civic leaders and our most important stakeholders, our community at large— to be effective. Q: Do you have a secret talent that not many people know about? Ha! I started to answer this question with the cliché, “Yes ... but if I told you ... it wouldn’t be a secret.” In truth, however, I think my talent lives in the realm of eliciting and supporting the “secret talents” of others.
From there I look forward to engaging with our arts and culture partners—as well as the broader education and community service organizations in our region—and to collaborating with the immensely talented and dedicated staff, artists and board to build upon the progress we have made so far.
WHAT’S NEXT, DOWNTOWN? →
PL A N D OW N TOW N
Infamously zoning-averse and unsentimental about its past, Houston’s reputation has long been one of urban sprawl, strip malls and car culture. But profound changes have taken place in recent years, and nowhere is that more apparent than in Downtown Houston, a microcosm for the revival in the spirit of a modern 21st-century American city that surprises residents and visitors alike with its ability to reinvent itself. Once an underutilized, work-driven central core that had seen its better days, Downtown has once again become the heartbeat of the Bayou City and the region. Buzzing with development of all kinds—new hotels, restaurant rows, luxury residential projects and convenient public transportation options—the city center didn’t get to where it is today by happenstance. This transformation is thanks, in part, to the Houston Downtown Development Framework, a plan completed in 2004 to guide public policies, private investments, civic improvements and individual actions. A major civic green space adjacent to the George R. Brown Convention Center was among the recommendations in that plan. Today, Discovery Green—a dynamic, 12-acre urban park—is one of the city’s greatest treasures and a nationally acknowledged success. Another key recommendation from the 2004 plan was an increase in residential development. The Downtown Living Initiative, a tax incentive program created in 2012, has drawn more than 18 new residential projects totaling more than 5,000 units that will be added to the market in
the coming years. The plan recommended active sidewalks and engaging buildings, which have come to fruition with restaurants, bars and coffee shops, alongside world class performing arts, entertainment and sports. “Thirteen years have gone by since Downtown’s last comprehensive plan, and we’ve made tremendous progress since then,” said Bob Eury, executive director of the Houston Downtown Management District (Downtown District). “Now it’s time for us to take a fresh look at what lies ahead and prepare for the future. Can Houston adapt to driverless cars, a sharing economy, collaborative work environments and work-life integration? How can we better prepare Downtown Houston for the next few decades?” With that in mind, the Downtown District has launched Plan Downtown, a 20-year vision plan that will outline recommendations for short, middle and long-range planning, development and design within and around Downtown. According to Lonnie Hoogeboom, Director of Planning, Design & Development for the Downtown District, Plan Downtown will examine previous planning efforts, current projects and future plans. “We’ve seen many of the old plan’s objectives fulfilled and its recommendations largely implemented and adopted,” Hoogeboom says. “The new plan will set the stage for Downtown development moving forward.” Downtown is home to more than 150,000 workers, a growing residential population and some of the city’s biggest attractions and institutions. Plan Downtown will examine how the central core can leverage a changing role and continue to compete economically on a regional, national and global level. Adjacent areas like East Downtown, Greater East End, Greater Northside and Midtown are emerging residential and commercial centers. Plan Downtown will also look at public realm and transportation
P L AN DOWN TOWN
strategies, including the proposed TxDOT alterations to Interstate Highways 45, 10 and 69, can further foster neighborhood connectivity. While Downtown has established itself as a destination for working, living and recreation, Plan Downtown will recommend how it can continue to be a relevant and welcoming gathering place for all Houstonians. Asakura Robinson, a planning and urban design firm with offices in Houston, has been tapped to draft Plan Downtown alongside city stakeholders and influential committees. The consultant team includes Sasaki, a national leader in urban planning, design and landscape architecture; Traffic Engineers, Inc. (TEI), Texas’ oldest traffic engineering specialty firm, and also located in Downtown’s Historic Market Square neighborhood; and the Dallas office of HR&A Advisors, an industry-leading urban development consulting firm. “The process of planning is extremely important because it engages and compels a diverse group of people to agree on a collective vision moving forward into the future,” said Eury. With funding from the Downtown District and Houston First Corporation, the 17-member leadership group is also comprised of representatives from the City of Houston, Harris County, Central Houston, Downtown Redevelopment Authority / TIRZ No. 3, Buffalo Bayou Partnership and Theater District Houston, along with representatives from East Downtown, Greater East End, Greater Northside and Midtown. A 150-member steering committee of elected officials, community leaders and area residents will also provide input and frame plan recommendations. “Downtown has made incredible strides in the past 10 years with developments such as Discovery Green and, most recently, the transformation of the area around the George R. Brown Convention Center into a vibrant and active pedestrian-oriented experience,” said David Mincberg, chairman of Houston First Corporation. “With Plan Downtown we can continue to look more holistically at the future of our city center—what has worked in the past and what can be accomplished in the future.”
Throughout the spring and early summer, the project team will lead a series of leadership group meetings, planning stakeholder workshops, topical small group discussions and public workshops. In addition to these public workshops, the public is invited to participate in planning efforts by website or text-based visioning exercises. The final plan builds on the momentum created by Plan Houston, the city’s first General Plan, adopted by City Council in the fall of 2015, and will reinforce its core strategies: spend money wisely; grow responsibly; nurture safe and healthy neighborhoods; connect people and places; support a global economy; sustain quality infrastructure; champion learning; foster an affordable city; protect and conserve our resources; communicate clearly and with transparency; partner with others, public and private; and celebrate what’s uniquely Houston. “For the first time in Houston’s history, we now have a consensus on our vision and goals for the community,” says Pat Walsh, Director of Planning & Development for the City of Houston. “Plan Houston identifies the strategies that Houston as
a city should undertake to achieve those visions and goals, and Plan Downtown is a great example of a next step: converting the principles, goals and strategies of Plan Houston into reality.” While Wash recognizes Downtown’s strengths—it’s an economic powerhouse with a growing complement of amenities, from arts and culture to culinary to outdoor spaces—he also sees an opportunity to better connect these elements to create a more vibrant Downtown, at all hours of the day and night. The success of the region is tied to the success of Downtown. “Having a vibrant Downtown is like having a healthy heart. We want to keep our heart pumping strong,” Walsh adds. “We need to see Downtown continue to be dynamic, continue to grow and continue to be an exciting and welcoming place for everyone.” Plan Downtown will be presented later this fall, outlining a clear, detailed and adaptable roadmap that identifies stakeholders’ areas of responsibility, designates a phasing strategy and pinpoints funding opportunities for projects and concepts.
Plan Downtown Public Workshop April 12 11:30 am– 1:30 pm and 5:30–7:30 pm The Rice, Crystal Ballroom 909 Texas Stay updated on Plan Downtown efforts and opportunities for public input by visiting
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#1 WILLIAM FINNORN
REAL ESTATE GROUP
713.227.5406 214 Travis, Houston, Texas 77002 heritagetexas.com
Art by the people, for the people still as dynamic and exciting as it was 30 years ago. BY TARRA GAINES
Metallic dragons, wide-eyed hippos, singing fish, superhero mobiles, candy-painted slabs and gloriously colored low riders—every spring they invade Downtown streets en masse. And we welcome them home to Houston, these moving sculptures created by men, women, families, companies, non-profits and students, all ready to join in the annual Art Car Parade. This April heralds a special anniversary for the beloved procession that’s become a city institution. It’s been three decades since the Orange Show brought the Art Car Parade to town.
While the origins of the Art Car Parade are as creatively chaotic as some of the art cars themselves, one rather pivotal but mostly unsung moment in Art Car Parade history occurred in the late 1970s, not in Texas but in Los Angeles, where Houston arts patron and business leader Marilyn Oshman was browsing through an LA art gallery. She looked out the window and saw a giant head of lettuce rolling down the street. “I thought ‘Oh my God, I’m having delusions.’ I ran out the door to get a better look. When I ran back in, the girl at the gallery told me about a crazy artist who made art out of cars,” says Oshman But when she asked the name of this leafy vegetable car creator, the girl couldn’t tell her. “From that moment on, I asked everybody in LA, but nobody knew who did it.” As much as Oshman never forgot this encounter with her first art car, she also remembered the local arts community’s attitude toward any artists who thought cars and art could and should mix. “Everyone kind of turned up their nose at them,” she remembers. This was certainly not an attitude shared by Oshman, the woman who would only a few years later lead the charge to save Houston folk artist Jeff McKissack’s monument to the orange, The Orange Show, and help to create the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art.
Jackie Harris’s Fruitmobile photo by Harrod Blank
“The real spirit of the Orange Show is about freedom of expression,” says Oshman. “In the art world there’s a caste system. It’s breaking up, but there is a kind of caste system about the way artists get designated and what’s OK and what’s not OK.” Oshman’s years of art patronage have given her a distinctly different perspective. “What I really learned is that people exist who just have this intuitive ability to do art all over the world,” she says, “What evolves out of giving admiration and respect to people who are really creative is more creation and good spirits. And a community of people starts to evolve around all these good feelings.” It’s no surprise, then, that when art cars began to metaphorically appear in the Orange Show’s side-view mirror, they were easily merged into Houston’s bustling folk art traffic.
Discovery Green programming director, Suzanne Theis, who was executive director for the Orange Show for over two decades, recalls the early ’80s as the beginning of a kind of art car movement, although the cars weren’t quite the elaborate, whimsical and sometimes political rolling statements we know and love today. “There were a number of painted cars, some were made by people associated with the University of Houston art program, Jackie Harris in particular, and there were a few that were just random cars that you would see on the street,” says Theis. A few events happened around the mid ’80s that accelerated the art car movement. The show Collusion at the Lawndale Art Center featured two art cars, and for the Orange Show’s 1984 gala, Jackie Harris was asked to paint the old family
car that supporters Kit and Carl Detering were donating for the gala auction. Theis remembers how at the time painting a lovingly used ‘67 Ford station wagon seemed appropriate for an Orange Show fundraiser. “You would go to other galas and see a brand new BMW for auction, but the Orange Show would auction an old car.” That car would be transformed by Harris into the Fruitmobile, bought by art patrons and then donated back to the Orange Show Foundation. The Fruitmobile was used as a kind of ambassador of folk art to the public and quickly became one of the most famous art cars ever created. In 1986, Houston glimpsed an early incarnation of what an art car parade could be, when Rachal Hecker and Trish Herrera organized a procession of painted and decorated cars for the New Music America Festival. The parade ended at the grand opening of the Museum of Fine Arts Cullen Sculpture Garden and turned into a kind of alternative celebration. A year later when the Houston Festival, which would later become the International Festival, wanted a big art event to replace a sculpture show along Buffalo Bayou, they went to the Orange Show for help. It was Theis who had the idea for an expanded art car parade, not just with painted cars but fully sculpted art cars. Oshman advocated for the addition of low riders, a personal favorite type of artistic car. The parade started small and early, with only 40 cars winding their way through Downtown Houston to end near the festival area. “My job that first parade was to wake people who were sleeping on the street because there was no one else to watch the parade,” remembers Theis. “It was not well attended until we got inside to the festival.,” But those who did watch remembered. And the word spread. The next year the number of cars doubled, and the number of people who came out to see the parade went from a couple of thousand to tens of thousands. “One of the things I didn’t understand, and it was the happiest thing to learn, was just how contagious it was,” Theis says of those early years. “People came out to see the cars, and then they decided that they wanted to make one too. We saw lots of ordinary people get involved.”
Mad Cadillac, Larry Fuente, 1989
The Button King, Dalton Stevens 1989 Photo by Tom LaFaver
Arabia Motor Corpse, 1989 Photo by Tom LaFaver
Perhaps this idea is the best theory as to how and why the parade has expanded exponentially over 30 years to become the largest gathering of its kind in the world. From that small beginning of 40 cars, the parade is now counted as one of the largest annual public events in the city. Hundreds of thousands of people now line the streets to watch the weird and wondrous cavalcade of cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes and occasional motorized porta-potties stretch over miles, as they marvel at the creativity and artistry of people, many of whom would never call themselves artists. “It has said something to me about how fun and innovative and enthusiastic Houston is that people just embraced this, and had all kinds of amazing ideas,” says Theis. “Some of the most astonishing art cars that we saw were from people who didn’t think themselves as artists. They just thought: that looks like fun. I want to do that. We’re also a city that loves our cars, and all those things come together in the art car parade.” “Why couldn’t your car be your canvas?” says Oshman of Houston’s art car realization. “As the art cars started developing all on their own, they became a symbol of self expression. You don’t have to accept what General Motors gave you. It’s your car; it’s your canvas. I think people like that. I don’t even know if they understand why they like it, but I think it’s the ability to express yourself to a community.” According to Oshman, attending the parade also helps the rest of us understand the diversity and powerful creativity of our community. “The more people that see the parade, the more often you see the parade, the more you understand your city,” she says. One person who would catch the art car bug during those first years and spread it to thousands was Rebecca Bass. Bass was an art teacher at Edison Middle School in HISD. She had seen that first New Music America Festival proto-parade and was already intrigued by art cars. But after attending that first official Art Car Parade, she realized that not only did she want to build an art car herself, she wanted her students to become art car artists, as well. She went to the Edison principal with the idea and soon had approval and a not-so-whopping $200 budget. Though she had never tried this type of sculpting before she put her foot to the proverbial pedal and zoomed ahead. Shell Karma l photo by Ed Schipu
Houston Art Car Parade, 1989 photo by Tom LaFaver
“I did the whole thing at once,” she says of learning to build an art car and teaching kids how to sculpt on such a scale. “I’m an innovated, different kind of art teacher anyway. We needed some community art projects and I love building stuff, and I believe in working together in groups and all that fun stuff. It was just perfect, but I didn’t know how perfect because I had never done one before. I didn’t know anything.” Yet, that first car The Bodyshop went on to win a major award in the 1990 parade. Every year since she’s played art car coach to groups of middle school and high school students whose entries have won awards in one or multiple categories. Still, Bass believes creating the arts cars themselves is where her students find their real reward, learning about design, problemsolving, teamwork, and that most important art and life lesson that sometimes “gravity sucks.” Over the years, Bass has shared her experience with hundreds of educators and given talks on building art cars as part of learning projects for student. In her presentations she conveys what to do and what not to do.“Because I’ve done everything wrong,” she says. “I’ve done 30 art cars, and I’ve done everything that you could to screw up.” When pondering why the building of art cars became such an influential experience in her student’s lives, Bass explains that she believes it helped them understand that art is for everyone and can be found everywhere.
Earth Rover, 2015 photo by Morris Malakoff
“It’s not just on a wall in a museum,” she says. It’s going through the drive-thru at McDonalds. It’s taking art to the people, to the regular people. My students always say ‘Miss Bass you taught me that art’s not just in the Museum of Fine Arts.’ There’s nothing wrong with the Museum of Fine Arts. But it’s not just that. You don’t have to have a fancy degree. If you want to make art just to make art, you can.” Many of her students have kept art alive in their lives, some becoming professional artists and some going on to create their own individual art cars. “It was an experience and a half. I’m still amazing friends with some of those kids. Well shoot,” Bass corrects, “they’re 40-year-old people now.” Last year during the parade’s award ceremony, one of those “40-year-old-people,” once a young girl in that first Edison Middle School group, came up to Bass to introduce herself again. “She followed me in the paper, and she wanted to come tell me thank you. I just held on to her and cried,” describes Bass. The realization that art cars could be learning tools was but one change the parade and Houston went through as it sped out of the 20th century into the 21st. Corporations and nonprofit organizations started sponsoring cars or encouraging their own people to work on one together. Theis never anticipated how work groups and organizations might want to come together to make art cars, but she soon realized that people
Telephone Car is photo by Howard Dav
Electric Ladyla nd, Reagan Hig h School Art Car Club and Rebecca Bass photo by Morris Malakoff
saw that creating an art car could be a compelling way to tell a story for an individual or a group. Meanwhile, the hours-long parade expanded into a half-day affair and then became a weekend full of activities, including an Art Car Ball. When that got a little too much for the Orange Show to handle, they let the artists organize their own party before taking it back in 2010 under the Art Car weekend umbrella, where it remains. In the early 2000s the Art Car Parade and International Festival when their separate ways. Orange Show officials scheduled the parade for its own weekend. The parade route has meandered over the years, sometimes going deep into Downtown, sometimes remaining on the periphery and Allen Parkway. In 2015, a Starting Line Party parked the cars along Smith Street before the parade began. This allowed the public to get even closer to the vehicles, talk with the artists and, with permission of course, even touch these mobile sculptures. “Putting everything Downtown and getting the cars closer together really made an extraordinary experience,” says Oshman. “I thought just walking through the cars was even better than the parade last year. It wasn’t exactly organized, but I thought it was amazing.” Though as of January organizers were still finalizing the route for this 30th anniversary celebration, Oshman says they want to continue to have the Starting Line Party, to encourage the public to come out early to interact with the cars and artists, and to keep a Downtown focus. And while Oshman is happy to reminisce about Art Car Parade history she basically is “a forwardlooking girl.” “There’s a lot of thought being poured into this particular parade because it really represents a moment,” she says of the important anniversary. “It has so much meaning to so many different people and parts of the city. We want to have something great going. We want to look to the future.”
Have A Ball photo by Bill Ludlum
Al fresco dining, public art, and a cool vibe beckon visitors to the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new gathering place. BY HOLLY BERETTO
photo by Morris Malakoff
When the newly refurbished George R. Brown Convention Center wrapped up its multimillion-dollar renovations, it forever changed Downtownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Convention District. Not only did the construction physically change the building spaceâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; it transformed the blocks around it, creating a streetscape that visitors and Houstonians alike can use and enjoy, whether they come Downtown for business or pleasure.
Well over two decades in the making, Avenida Houston is a manifestation of the big thinking and big dreaming for which Houstonians are famous. Anchoring the Downtown Convention District, this 15-block space sits between Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center and BBVA Compass Stadium, a bustling spray of office towers, hotels, dining options and inviting artwork. Everything about it boasts a welcoming vibe, telling visitors and residents alike that Houston has a new front door. “I feel this is the completion of putting all the pieces on the chess board,” says David Mincberg, chairman of the board of Houston First, the driving force behind the Avenida project. “It’s taken 20 years to put all the right pieces in place, and we’re now easily able to serve the two different constituencies that will use this space— out-of-town visitors and Houston residents.” Threading that needle to appeal to both business travelers and Houstonians was a multi-pronged approach. Peter McStravick, chief development office for Houston First, says that Houston made tremendous strides in convention booking with the opening of the Hilton Americas, and when Discovery Green opened, it gave the city core a destination feel, as families came into Downtown for events in the park. But still, the city wasn’t bringing in the business it anticipated and he says there were two reasons. “The first was an inadequate housing package; there weren’t enough hotels in walking distance. The other is that we didn’t have what’s called, in the convention business, a sense of destination or a sense of place. When you came out of the George R. Brown, you came into a nine-lane Avenida de las Americas, and when it was busy it was full of traffic, and you didn’t necessarily feel like you could cross it to go to the park.” All of that has changed. Avenida Houston is now thoroughly walkable, a wide, open boulevard that runs from the brand-new Marriott Marquis, sunlight glinting off its glass as it stretches upward into the Houston sky, to the chic Hilton Americas. Minceberg says not only that, but “on nice days, people can walk over here—and there’s actually something to do when they get here!”
photo by Morris Malakoff
From end to end, nearly two dozen restaurants offer a dizzying array of global fare: Cueva | 1777 Walker Look for more than 200 wine selections from Texas and around the world, along with a bistro-style Mediterranean menu located at the Marriott Marquis.
1600 Bar + Grill | 1600 Lamar This upscale casual dining spot with a farm-fresh focus, located in the Hilton Americas, serves up steaks and seafood, with an emphasis on seasonality. Expect breakfast, lunch and dinner with a Texas flair. Biggio’s Sports Bar | 1777 Walker Located in the Marriott Marquis, this multilevel hotspot offers craft beer, upmarket bites and multiple big screens where you can cheer on the home team.
Brasserie du Parc | 1400 McKinney From Etoile Cuisine’s husband and wife team, Philippe Verpirand and Monica Bui, this One Park Place destination will feature a walk-up window serving sweet and savory crepes to go, as well as a dining room with classic French fare, like steak frites, mussels, and charcuterie. Bud’s Pitmaster BBQ 1001 Avenida de las Americas Located street level at the George R. Brown Convention center, this restaurant is built adjacent to its own smokehouse. Look for great ‘cue, along with an upscale, contemporary atmosphere.
Grotto Downtown | 1001 Avenida de las Americas The latest Landry’s establishment to come onto the Downtown scene brings with it dynamic Italian flavors, including house-made pastas, thin-crust pizzas and the largest grappa collection in the city core.
The Grove | 1611 Lamar This beloved Discovery Green outpost offers steaks, seafood and rotisserie specials with chef Robert Del Grande’s signature style. The upstairs bar feels like being in a treehouse and overlooks the Downtown skyline.
Hearsay on the Green | 1515 Dallas At street level at the Embassy Suites hotel, the sister property to the Historic District’s popular gastropub features a menu with selections such as duck quesadillas and warm-baked goat cheese salad. Bonus: the generous beverage menu with seemingly endless wine and whiskey selections.
“ It’s taken 20 years to put all the right pieces in place, and we’re now easily able to serve the two different constituencies that will use this space—out-of-town visitors and Houston residents.”
High Dive | 1777 Walker Enjoy relaxing cocktails and a sun-drenched menu at Houston’s cosmopolitan pool bar, located in the Marriott Marquis. Kulture | 701 Avenida de las Americas Flavors from Africa through the Caribbean are on the menu at this new spot on the ground floor in Partnership Tower, and from the team behind Houston landmark The Breakfast Klub. The Lake House | 1600 McKinney Discovery Green’s casual and inviting spot features made-to-order burgers, grilled sandwiches and a refreshing basil lemonade. There’s an accessible wine and beer list, and the ambiance is contemporary and chill.
McAlister’s Deli | 1001 Avenida de las Americas Sandwiches, salads and desserts are the featured selections at this spot in the George R. Brown Convention Center. Dine in or head outside and enjoy Houston’s springtime weather. McAlister’s also offers box lunches and catering. Pappadeux Seafood Kitchen 1001 Avenida de las Americas Canjun cooking is on the menu, including crawfish and shrimp fondeaux and seafood gumbo. An Avenida outpost for the popular Houston chain, look for giant salads and homemade desserts to complement the seafood dishes. Pappasito’s Cantina | 1600 Lamar The Pappas restaurant group’s hugely popular Mexican restaurant is located at the Hilton Americas, bringing with it Texas-sized margaritas, sizzling fajita platters and a family-friendly atmosphere.
Texas T | 1777 Walker Artisanal coffee, tea and pastries are on the menu here, along with fresh grab-and-go options at the Marriott Marquis. Walker Street Kitchen | 1777 Walker Open at the Marriott Marquis for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and serving up Texas country-inspired cuisine with a healthy twist.
INING Starbucks | 1600 Lamar Get your caffeine fix in the lobby of the Hilton Americas. After 4 p.m., Starbucks’ evening service includes wine, beer and bites.
Xochi | 1777 Walker From chef Hugo Ortega and restaurateur Tracy Vaught comes this luxurious addition to the Downtown scene. The menu is drawn from Mexico’s Oaxaca region, including a whole section dedicated to moles.
It’s a vision that truly expands Downtown’s footprint as a place for working and recreation, something everyone in the country got to see writ large when Super Bowl LI was here in February.
The entrance to the George R. Brown Convention Center has been re-imagined, thanks to a $175 million overhaul, an inviting plaza welcomes guests into the 1.8 million square-feet of space that can accommodate everything from Super Bowl street parties to the annual Quilt Show. Inside the GRB’s center concourse is Soaring in the Clouds, a dramatic 67-foot mobile by artist Ed Wilson that not only brings a wow factor to the inside of the building, but seen from the outside in the evening presents a brilliant spray of light. Lining the Avenida Houston are outdoor café tables, foliage and the huge Wings Over Water, a sculpture by Joe O’Connell + Creative Machines. The industrial bird form looks dinosaur-like, with its scales and massive wings, and moves with elegant precision through the Fountain of the Americas housing it. Directly across the expanse is Discovery Green, another anchor point that beckons visitors with its lake, restaurants and myriad activities. “Downtown Houston is definitely a destination,” says Mincberg. “And with this, it’s not only for those who visit. Houstonians who live and work Downtown can access the space as well. They can sip and stroll, day or night. They can do dinner and head over to the Theater District. People want unique experiences.” “From a social perspective, this whole project has a very town square feeling about it,” says McStravick. “Discovery Green became that organically as it grew in popularity. And this can be that as well.” Already, Avenida Houston is creating buzz. One recent weekend, families walked from Discovery Green to the Avenida’s tables for a picnic lunch they’d purchased at the Lake House, so the kids could watch the Wings over Water sculpture. With the opening of the restaurants in the convention center, all of which have seating on the plaza, expect everyone from office workers to visitors to Downtown residents to hang out, eating barbecue from Bud’s Pitmaster BBQ to the African-laced flavors of Kulture to sandwiches from McAlister’s Deli. Three Bcycle stations around the Avenida perimeter offer options to help visitors and residents alike grab a bike and pedal around this bustling area of Downtown and beyond. Avenida Houston provides a necessary last link in the blocks that connect not only the anchor hotels, but Discovery Green and, beyond it, One Park Place, as well as the streets surrounding the Westin, the Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites
photo by Micahl Wyckoff
AVENIDA HOUSTON 28
and the Embassy Suites hotels. The project has opened the city core in a way that delivers big returns for places to live, work and play. “The timeline of this seems actually quite fast to me,” says Minecerg. “When you consider it’s well over $1 billion in development, I’d put Houston’s progress up against any city in the United States. From 15 blocks where there was nothing—to envision it, to put up hotels, to build on that success and put a park in the middle of it. And now this. It’s remarkable and I commend the city leaders who had that vision.” It’s a vision that truly expands Downtown’s footprint as a place for working and recreation, something everyone in the country got to see writ large when Super Bowl LI was here in February. A New York Times article commented
on how the city, and Downtown in particular, moved past its “reputation as an urban dead zone after dark” to “include a greater array of restaurants, high-rises, green space, and cultural and entertainment venues.” Avenida Houston is poised to be many things—gathering place, backdrop for arts and culture, a business address—but there’s one thing McStravick wants people to realize, now that the construction cranes have been cleared away and the gleaming new welcome mat for Downtown has been spread out. “We’re open,” he says. “We’re open for business. We’re open for pleasure. We’re open for entertainment. We want to be the premier destination for Houstonians.”
photo by Pablo Gimenez Zapiola
photo by Pablo Gimenez Zapiola
The renovations to the George R. Brown Convention Center opened up the space in a way that floods light through the massive structure, spanning nearly 11 blocks and serving as the center of Avenida Houston. But it wasn’t enough to have the massive glass wall of windows and the new concourse space and the concierge desk that provides a natural welcome point for visitors looking for information. It needed more. It needed art. “Art in the public realm enhances the quality of life of the environment and gives people something to think about,” says Christine West, cultural program manager for Houston First. “So, for the George R. Brown and Avenida Houston, we wanted to really transform this building into an active Downtown destination.” It’s a side effect of big convention spaces that when the conventions leave town, great big buildings sit empty, waiting for the next convention to come along and fill it. But with the Avenida Houston project, the goal was bigger than providing a first-rate exhibition space—it was making that space an everyday destination. The new restaurants with their entrances on both the street side and off the center’s main concourse help do that.
But then, there’s the art. West says a number of pieces will beckon to Houstonians, inviting them to come into the GRB and wander around to see artwork curated specially for the renovated space. In all, 14 pieces grace the GRB, each one by a Houstonian and each promising to showcase a different way the artist looks at the city. “In the center concourse, there’s this beautiful three-story space and Soaring in the Clouds by Ed Wilson hangs 60 feet from the ceiling,” West says.
The massive mobile features more than 200 individual forms of birds and clouds, dramatically lit by changing LED lights, that change from blues to reds and colors in between. The mobile moves with the building’s natural airflow, creating a dramatic visual seen both from inside and outside the convention center. Outside the main entrance is Wings Over Water by Joe O’Connell + Creative Works. It sits in the Fountain of the Americas, and at 30-feet
The goal was bigger than providing a first-rate exhibition space—it was making that space an everyday destination.
The Brown is Green
Houston’s Own Tall Forest!
Ben Woitena Invoking a large-scale old photo album, this work showcases wildlife and plants native to Houston’s recreational spaces.
Page Piland Inset with woods indigenous to Houston, Piland’s work evokes the city’s tall buildings and the San Jacinto Monument. Some are actual wood cuts, others are painted to look like wood.
GRB—L-Shaped Large Column, North
GRB—Charging Station Level 3, Center
Reginald C. Adams, Rhonda Radford-Adams and Amy Malkan Labyrinths of various sizes pay homage to Houston as a dynamic, multicultural, urban metropolis. GRB—Charging Station Level 2, South
Lifting Off, Houston
Gonzo247 Bright colors and patterns represent the city’s diversity, while the space shuttle showcases the city’s value to the national space program. GRB—L-Shaped Large Column, South
Earth and Skyline
Shane Allbritton Using time-lapse techniques, this piece reflects Houston from the ground, up, from its bayous all the way to the soaring skylines. GRB—Welcome Entry Wall, North
The Metallographic Cosmos
Britt Thomas Themes of space exploration and oil and gas discovery radiate from this piece, created from images from a scanning electron microscope. GRB—Restaurant Mural Location, Hall D
Lorena Morales Alive with reds and yellows and inspired by the migratory paths of birds flying together in formation, the piece pays tribute to Houston’s migratory patterns, as well as the people from all over the globe who come here to live, work and thrive.
photo by Pablo Gimenez Zapiola
Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola Three photographs taken during the artist’s nightly walks, the piece is dedicated to generating awareness about the importance of nature. GRB—Charging Station, Level 2, Center
Joe Aker and Tami Merrick Celebrating Houston’s urban context, this vibrant work is a three-dimensional, geometric and photographic wall-mounted installation that appears to float within a contrasting color-field background. GRB—Welcome Entry, South
Re:site STUDIO (Shane Allbritton and Norman Lee with Michael Gonzales of I/O Studio) Celebrating Houston’s role as a railroad center and deep-water port, and created on railroad ties, it connects the city’s past to its future in a stunning visual. Partnership Tower, Garage Elevator Lobby, Level 1
GRB—Charging Station, North
photo by Pablo Gimenez Zapiola
GETTING THERE + AROUND BCYCLE Borrow a bike for a few hours and explore all that Downtown has to offer. Three stations offer access from Avenida Houston: Lamar and Crawford streets, La Branch and Lamar streets and Crawford and Walker streets. houston.bcycle.com
With stations on Rusk Street, north of the Marriott Marquis and on Capitol Street, north of Partnership Tower, it’s easy to hop on the train and explore this section of the city. You’ll also have easy access to the Greater East End and EaDo, with BBVA Compass Stadium and lots of dining and entertainment options. Rail also offers a quick trip from Avenida Houston over to the Theater District, as well as connections to the Red Line to head to Houston’s Museum District. ridemetro.org
AVENIDA NORTH GARAGE 701 Avenida de las Americas 1,820 spaces are in this garage, connected to the north end of the George R. Brown Convention Center, and part of Partnership Tower. Entrances are on Rusk Street (heading south) and Capitol Street (coming north) AVENIDA CENTRAL GARAGE 1002 Avenida de las Americas Along Discovery Green, offers more than 600 spaces that provide easy access to the park and the Avenida AVENIDA SOUTH GARAGE 1710 Polk Street Connected to the Hilton Americas—Houston and offering 1,425 spaces TUNDRA GARAGE 1515 Jackson Street Connected to the Toyota Center and offering more than 2,400 spaces
GREENLINK The free bus shuttle service offers hop-on, hop-off access to points all across Downtown. Hours are Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Green Route); and Thursday and Friday from 6:30 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Orange Route). downtownhouston.org
high and 70-feet long, its massive wings are made of stainless steel, aluminum and Stamisol fabric “feathers.” As the sculpture moves on its mechanic tumblers, it’s thoroughly mesmerizing, like watching a prehistoric bird float through the modern city. While those two pieces act as anchors for the artworks, West says it was important to have other creative components as well. “Throughout the building, we wanted to create these moments of surprise,” she says. Everything from murals to prints to photography is on display as part of the “Houston Infusion.” The artworks reflect a diversity of backgrounds and ways to show life in Houston. Gonzo 247’s psychedelic explosion of color, Lifting Off, Houston, is a tribute to the city’s connection with the space program. The dazzling display echoes the creativity and talent of people who keep Houston constantly moving forward. “These pieces show how rich our art community is,” says West. “And we’re looking forward to people coming into the Brown and getting a taste for that. photo by Morris Malakoff
EDITED BY NICOLE MARIN
ï¿½A THE GUIDE TO EATING DOWNTOWN
Local Foods Fresh shrimp ceviche, oyster shooters and truffled egg salad draw rave reviews. SPRING 2017
17 Restaurant New American Found in the lobby of the luxurious Sam Houston Hotel, this lush and lavish destination oozes elegance. Detailed American cuisine and smart service make this a restaurant of note. thesamhoustonhotel.com. 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. D Daily. $$$ v Andalucia Restaurant & Bar Tapas/Spanish Dim lighting, large wooden tables and heavy iron accents provide for a cozy, rustic atmosphere. The menu features large dishes, such as paella for up to 16 people, and tapas that range from the traditional such as gambas al ajillo (shrimp cooked in olive oil and garlic) and empanadas, to veal tongue and oxtail. andaluciatapas.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. L Mon–Fri, D Mon–Sat. $$ v Artista American Artista offers inspirational contemporary American cuisine and theatrical ambiance with high ceilings, glass walls and sweeping views of the Downtown skyline. cordua.com. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby, 713.278.4782. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat (Open for L & D on Sun only if a theater performance is scheduled). $$$ v Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar Japanese/Sushi Voted “Best Sushi in Houston” by Citysearch.com, this newage Japanese restaurant is anything but typical. The ambience is terrific, the sushi is innovative and fresh and the outside seating area provides great people watching. azumajapanese.com. 909 Texas, 713.223.0909. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sun; LN Fri & Sat. $$
Ballpark Café American Enjoy the all-American cuisine and a nostalgic atmosphere for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just across the street from Minute Maid Park, Ballpark Café is a great place to have a pre/post-game meal. westin.com/Houston-Downtown. The Westin Houston Downtown, 1520 Texas, 713.228.1520. B & L Daily. $ v Barnaby’s at Market Square American A local favorite, Barnaby’s serves up oversized sandwiches, salads and burgers, putting a Southwest spin on traditional deli dishes. Colorful murals adorn the walls of the restaurant along with large windows for a perfect view of the park. barnabyscafe.com. 801 Congress, 713.226.8787. L Mon–Sat; D Fri–Sat. $ v Batanga Tapas + Drinks Latin This tapas joint whips up delicious dishes inspired from Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Chile—anywhere that sangria is served. The spacious patio is as good as it gets when it comes to outdoor dining with its festive twinkle lights, great music and stellar views of the Historic District and Market Square Park. batangahouston.com. 908 Congress, 713.224.9500. L & D Daily; BR Sat & Sun. $$
Benihana of Tokyo Japanese While some restaurants allow their guests to view the kitchen, this Japanese grill brings the kitchen to you. Benihana chefs set up shop right in front of your table. The meal is made from scratch, and you can witness the entire show. benihana.com. 1318 Louisiana, 713.659.8231. L & D Daily. $$$ NEW! Biggio’s American Biggio’s is not your average sports bar. The two-story sports haven named after the Houston baseball legend, Craig Biggio, boasts a large drink selection, upscale bar food, and seats that come with views of flat screen TVs as far as the eye can see. 1777 Walker, 713.654.1777. L, D, Daily. $$
Birraporetti’s Italian This Italian restaurant/ Irish bar is a Theater District staple. Their delicious pizzas continue to hit the spot, while items such as
the chicken picatta and La Dolce Vita have become standouts. Enjoy a signature dessert to finish the meal. birrarestaurant.com. 500 Louisiana, 713.224.9494. L, D & LN Daily. $$
The Bistro American The Bistro is a full-service restaurant serving up breakfast and dinner in a casual atmosphere. Courtyard by Marriott, 916 Dallas, 832.366.1600. B & D Daily. $ v Bistro Lancaster New American Located in the historic Lancaster Hotel, this cozy getaway is a great place to dine before catching a show in the Theater District. You’ll find hearty soups, sizzling steaks and savory seafood. thelancaster.com. Lancaster Hotel, 701 Texas, 713.228.9502. B, L & D Daily. $$$$ v Blue by Massa Seafood This upscale and elegant restaurant offers up a fine selection of American and Seafood cuisine. Among the esteemed list of favorites, the Lobster Bisque is a standout. Superior service and a great dining atmosphere allow guests to enjoy a memorable dining experience. Blue also offers occasional live entertainment and dancing is highly encouraged! massas.com. 1160 Smith, 713.650.0837. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$
Blue Fish Sushi Japanese Not your typical Japanese restaurant. Don’t expect small, minimal décor. Be prepared for innovative sushi in a high-energy atmosphere at Bayou Place. thebluefishsushi.com. 550 Texas, 713.225.3474. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$ v Bombay Pizza Co. Indian Fusion Fusing the cuisines of India with pizza, innovative creations are served on a homemade, dense, thin and crispy crust. Try the saag paneer, which is topped with fresh spinach and four cheeses or the Gateway to India topped with cilantro, tandoori chicken, garlic and artichoke hearts. bombaypizzaco.com. 914 Main, 713.654.4444. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $
Bouray’s Burrito Bar Fast Food Bouray’s offers madeto-order Mexican and Vietnamese food using ingredients that are prepared fresh daily. bourays.com. 609 Clay, 713.652.5999. L Mon–Fri. $ v Bovine & Barley American Bovine & Barley is a beautifully designed urban bar and eatery with a heavy focus on beef and beer. The space has an industrial feel which is complimented by warm wood accents and huge HTX letters that hang illuminated on an exposed brick wall. Highlights from the menu include brisket tacos, meatloaf muffins on top of jalapeno mash, 1836 beer can chicken and a variety of burgers. Not to metion over 42 beers and six hand-crafted cocktails on tap! bovineandbarley.com. 416 Main, 832.742.5683. L Sat–Sun; D, LN Daily. $$ NEW! Brasserie du Parc French Located in the luxury high rise, One Park Place, the interior design and the menu at this beautiful French restaurant were inspired by classic Parisian brasseries and offerings include classic dishes like risotto, steak frites and crêpes, along with delicacies such as escargots and chicken liver pâté. brasserieduparc.net. 1440 Lamar, 832.879.2802. L & D Daily. $$$
Brown Bag Deli Fast Casual Located in the Houston Club building, Brown Bag Deli serves up tasty, fresh sandwiches “just like you like it.” Known for its fluffy, soft bread you won’t be disappointed and neither will your wallet. thebrownbagdeli.net. 702 Main, 713.224.7000. L Mon–Fri. $
These listings are not reviews but are a guide to Downtown dining spots. “Recommended” restaurants are selected by downtown editors and are based on food quality, menu selection, service, ambiance and value. v RECOMMENDED NEW! JUST OPENED B Breakfast BR Brunch L Lunch D Dinner LN Late Night
Average Price of an Entrée $ $10 or less $$ $11–$19 $$$ $20–$29 $$$$ $30+
For a searchable database of downtown Houston restaurants by cuisine, location and price, visit downtownhouston.org and click on Guide.
Burger Theory American Located at street-level of Downtown’s Holiday Inn, Burger Theory specializes in gourmet burgers, casual American fare and boasts a beer-centric bar. They also serve a mean breakfast! 1616 Main St. B, L, D & LN. $
Buzz Barista Coffee House This full-service espresso bar offers much more than caffeinated beverages for a morning fix. People on the go can grab fresh-baked pastries, Naked juices, yogurt parfaits and fruit cups along with their brewed delights. 811 Main, 713.228.3033. B & L Mon–Fri. $
The Cafe American Located in the lobby of the Hilton Americas. An elaborate buffet is offered for breakfast, with a la carte selections from the menu available for lunch and dinner. Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar, 713.739.8000. B, L, D & LN Daily. $$ v Cafe Express Fast Casual Need to grab a quick lunch? Cafe Express is an informal yet sophisticated choice. You can always find a variety of delicious entrees, salads and sandwiches. cafe-express.com. 650 Main, 713.237.9222. B & L Mon–Sat. $
Caffé Bene Coffee House The first Houston location from the International chain, Caffé Bene, is housed at GreenStreet with a menu that includes a variety of coffees, Belgian waffles, sandwiches, Italian gelato and other sweet treats! This cozy coffee shop is the perfect place to sit back, relax and escape the bustling downtown streets. caffebeneusa.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin, 713.255.2363. B, L & D daily. $
China Garden Chinese A popular Chinese restaurant, China Garden has been serving downtown for more than 30 years. Their egg rolls and lemon chicken have become favorites. 1602 Leeland, 713.652.0745. L Mon-Fri; D Daily. $ Chipotle Mexican Known for its large portions, this Mexican fast casual spot offers a variety of wholesome menu items. chipotle.com. 909 Texas, 713.225.6633. L & Early D Mon–Fri. $ v Christian’s Tailgate American Christian’s Tailgate has arguably one of the best burgers in town and now you can enjoy them Downtown! The notable Houston burger joint in Downtown’s Historic District boasts daily food specials, 30 beers on tap, 40+ TV’s, a pool table, shuffle board, video games and an awesome outdoor patio! christianstailgate.com. 1012 Congress, 281.556.1010. L, D & LN. $
plate. v Conservatory Beer Garden & Food Hall Conservatory Underground Beer Garden & Food Hall is the first food hall in Houston to showcase a curated list of food vendors, including Samurai Ramen, Myth Kafe, Melange Creperie with South Side Coffee and El Burro and The Bull each of which serve elevated yet casual cuisine. The food hall also features pop-up food carts serving specialty items every week and a beer garden with 60 beers on tap serving an eclectic mix of local craft breweries, foreign imports, and wine. conservatoryhtx.com. 1010 Prairie, 713.398.7697. L, D, LN Daily. $$
Corner Bakery Fast Casual A bakery cafe, offering fresh breads, salads, sandwiches, soups and sweets in a casual atmosphere. Located right on Main Street Square, you can’t beat the people watching or just relax and watch the rail line and Main Street Square’s jumping fountains. cornerbakery.com. 1000 Main, 713.651.0673. B & L Mon–Fri. $ NEW! Crêperie du Parc French Situated on the sidewalk terrace at Brasserie du Parc, Crêperie du Parc offers a variety of crêpes at their walk-up window including savory options like Jambon (ham), Prosciutto, and others, along with sweet options like Banane Nutella, Grand Marnier and more. Grab one on-the-go and hop across the street to Discovery Green for a picnic in the park! brasserieduparc.net. 1440 Lamar, 832.879.2802. L & D Daily. $ NEW! Dizzy Kaktus Mexican Dizzy Kaktus appeals to Houston’s diversity with over 28 different tacos on their menu. From classics like chicken and beef fajita, to Korean BBQ and the Krispy Kaktus (fried cactus strips, roasted bell pepper, onion, cilantro, corn, and kickin kaktus sauce), there’s sure to be something for everyone! dizzykaktus.com. 301 Main, 713.227.0440. L, D & LN Daily. $
Domino’s Pizza 975 McKinney, 713.227.3030. $ The District American The District offers classic American cuisine in a modern setting. Perfect for lunch or dinner before a show! The menu includes a variety of options like burgers, salads, pasta and small plates. There’s definitely something for everyone! thedistricthtx.com. 610 Main St. L & D. $$ The Downtown Aquarium Seafood The menu features a huge variety and offers something for everyone. While dining, guests are surrounded by a 150,000-gallon aquarium. Enjoy the sights and a great meal at this family-friendly spot. aquariumrestaurants.com. 410 Bagby, 713.223.3474. L & D Daily. $$
Droubi Bro. Mediterranean Grill Mediterranean This authentic Mediterranean grill offers up a quick and satisfying spot for lunch. Pita sandwiches are popular. 507 Dallas, 713.652.0058. L Mon–Fri. $
southern fried stuffed chicken with masa grits and candied bacon jam. thewhitehallhouston.com. 1700 Smith, 713.739.8800. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Einstein’s Bagels Deli Known as a great place to grab freshly-baked bagels and coffee for breakfast, they also serve up delectable lunch choices that include paninis, melts and pizza bagels. Be an office hero and use the catering service to treat your work pals. einsteinbros.com. 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. B, L & LN Mon–Sun. $
El Big Bad Mexican Brought to you by the El Gran Malo crew, this casual Tex-Mex restaurant brings hand-crafted tequila infusions, specialty margaritas and craft beers to the table. The gastrocantina-inspired menu is chock full of tasty tacos with fresh toppings like pomegranate salsa, charred scallions, pumpkin seeds and more. elbigbad.com. 419 Travis, 713.229.8181. L, D & LN Mon–Fri; D & LN Sat & Sun, BR Sun. $$ Flying Saucer Pub Fare Offering more than 200 beers, almost half on draft, Flying Saucer is a beer drinker’s paradise. Excellent staff and tasty eats give the place an identity all its own. beerknurd.com. 705 Main, 713.228.7468. L, D & LN Daily. $ v Frank’s Pizza Pizza Home of the “late-night slice,” Frank’s Pizza has built a quality reputation for itself serving up delicious food in a great atmosphere. Not only can you grab a slice of pizza, Frank’s also serves up darn good hamburgers, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, Buffalo wings, lasagna and salads. frankspizza.com. 417 Travis, 713.225.5656. L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $ v Fusion Taco Latin/Japanese Taking the best from Asian and Latin cuisine, Fusion Taco comes up with creations like jerk chicken tacos, chicken tikka masala quesadillas and Asian pulled pork flautas. An extensive beer and wine selection rounds out the menu. fusiontaco.com. 801 Congress, 713.422.2882. L & D Mon–Sat. $ NEW! Grotto Ristorante Italian This trendy Italian eatery is conveniently located on Downtown’s restaurant row—Avenida Houston! Enjoy spectacular views of nearby Minute Maid Park and Discovery Green as you experience a revolutionized take on Italian cuisine from small and sharable plates, to fresh salads and traditional dishes like Neapolitan thin crust pizzas and house made pastas. grottorestaurants.com. 1001 Avenida de las Americas, 713.658.0752. L & D Daily. $$$
v The Grove American Rustic This two-story, ultra-urban restaurant is found at Discovery Green. The menu features rustic American cuisine such as Gulf Coast seafood, steaks and signature rotisserie dishes. grovehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar, 713.337.7321. L & D Daily. $$$
burger downtown? Popular for its juicy burgers and great-tasting fries, Eats makes for a great lunchtime stop. Guests can make their burgers exactly how they like them. 804 Milam, 713.223.3287. L Mon–Fri. $
v Guadalajara del Centro Mexican This family-owned restaurant consistently serves up tasty food in a new, very cool environment. It’s the perfect place to bring the family or a large group of co-workers or friends. Great happy hour specials. guadalajarahacienda.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, 713.650.0101. L & D Daily. $$
Edgar’s Hermano Mexi-South Edgar’s Hermano is a
Hard Rock Café Classic American What do you
Eats Mesquite Grill Classic American Craving a
southern American restaurant with a Mexican-inspired twist located inside The Whitehall Hotel. It perfectly blends Houston’s native Tex-Mex cuisine with classic southern fare offering menu items like Texas corn cakes with pork chicharon and cotija cheese, mac and queso with chipotle-grilled Gulf shrimp, and award-winning
get when you mix a music-themed diner with an allAmerican menu? Hard Rock is a great family-friendly spot serving up items such as burgers,nachos and chicken varieties. hardrock.com. Bayou Place, 570 Texas, 713.227.1392. L, D & LN Daily. $$
v Hearsay Gastro Lounge New American Located in a beautifully refurbished historic building, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up delicious sandwiches, salads and entrées. They feature an extensive wine list, numerous beers on draft and bottle and premium liquors with a focus on Scotch whisky. hearsayhouston.com. 218 Travis, 713.225.8079. L Daily; D Mon–Sat; LN Fri–Sat. $$ v Hearsay on the Green American Located inside the Embassay Suites in Downtown’s Convention District, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up the finest craft cocktails, New-American dishes and a chic dining experience. The drink menu features an extensive wine list, numerous bottle and draft beers and premium liquors. hearsayhouston.com. 1515 Dallas St, 832.377.3362. L & D Daily; LN Fri–Sat; BR Sun. $$
Home Plate Bar & Grill Classic American A great hangout spot before or after an Astros ballgame. Enjoy a full menu of all-American favorites. homeplategrill.com. 1800 Texas, 713.222.1993. L & D Daily (may close earlier during off–season so call first). $ v The Honeymoon Cafe+Bar American The Honeymoon brews local Boomtown Coffee, has perfectly hand-crafted cocktails and satisfies the appetite with light bites and delectably sweet treats! With all the natural lighting, the ambiance is like a dream! thehoneymoonhtx.com. 300 Main St. B, L & LN Daily. $
House of Blues Restaurant and Bar Southern Classic House of Blues Restaurant and Bar serves Southerninspired classic dishes such as voodoo shrimp, St. Louis ribs and the Cajun classic, Creole jambalaya. Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits, you can’t miss the World Famous Gospel Brunch! hob.com. GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline, 888.402.5837. L & D Daily. $$ v Hubcap Grill American Classic Small but packs a punch. One of the best burger joints in town. 1111 Prairie, 713.223.5885. L Mon–Sat. $ v Irma’s Mexican Irma Galvan has been crowned Houston’s Tex-Mex goddess. This authentic spot is a longtime favorite among Houston politicos and downtown business people. Traditional, home-cooked Mexican cuisine is served for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. 22 North Chenevert, 713.222.0767. B & L Mon–Fri; D Thu–Sat. $$
Irma’s Southwest Grill Mexican Irma’s second location is a hip spot to satisfy a Mexican food craving. Enjoy tasty foods and great drinks for lunch or dinner. Only a few short blocks from Minute Maid Park. irmassouthwest.com. 1314 Texas, 713.247.9651. B & L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. Open on Astros baseball game days and nights three hours before first pitch. $$ NEW! The Isles Ice House American “Doing Nothing, Happy about Drinking Something!” That’s the slogan of The Isles Ice House. Enjoy wings, burgers, nachos and all your favorites at the lively sports bar located just 3 blocks from Toyota Center. theislesicehouse.com. 1515 Pease, 713.739.9039. D, LN Daily. $
v Jackson St. BBQ Barbecue This laid-back spot by renowned Houston chefs Bryan Caswell, Bill Floyd and Greg Gaitlin offers smoked brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage and classic southern fixins like potato salad, baked beans, collard greens and cole slaw! Conveniently located across from Minute Maid Park, stop by this Downtown favorite before or after Astros games! jacksonstbbqhouston.com. 209 Jackson St, 713.224.2400. L & D Sat–Sun.
Jason’s Deli Deli Order to please, Jason’s will make your sandwich or salad exactly how you like it. jasonsdeli.com. 901 McKinney, 713.650.1500. B & L Mon–Fri. $ Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches Deli All subs are served on your choice of fresh-baked French bread or thick-sliced seven-grain bread or try the low-carb lettuce wrap: all the regular sandwich ingredients without the bread. jimmyjohns.com. 820 Main, 713.222.9995. L Mon–Sat. $ v La Fisheria Coastal Mexican Located in Downtown’s Historic District, La Fisheria serves authentic Mexican seafood such as sweet shrimp tamales, perfectly prepared fish tacos and a variety of crudos and ceviches. lafisheriahouston.com. 213 Milam, 713.802.1712. L & D Daily. $$
The Lake House Fast Casual Offering family-friendly food, featuring burgers, Kobe beef hot dogs, salads, shakes, wine and beer. Located on Kinder Lake, there is a large patio where you can watch model boats race across the water or listen to some live music from the nearby stage. thelakehousehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar. L Tue & Wed; L & Early D Thu–Sun. $
La Calle Mexican Located in downtown’s Historic Market Square, this cozy little restaurant serves authentic Mexican street tacos, tortas and tostadas. Your visit isn’t complete without an Agua Fresca and a side of rice and beans! lacalletacos.com. 909 Franklin, 832.735.8226. L, D & LN Daily. $ v La Palapa Fast Food A Courthouse District favorite, there’s always a line at this free-standing pink concession stand for breakfast tacos and hamburgers. 1110 Preston, 713.228.9620. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Lacey’s Deli Deli The sandwiches are fresh, tasty, and affordable. We recommend the Italian Stallion which has homemade meatballs and marinara with sliced beef and sausage. laceysdeli.com. 416 Caroline, 713.237.0000. L Mon–Fri. $ v Last Concert Cafe Mexican Tucked away in the Warehouse District, this Tex-Mex cafe was born in 1949 and still supplies tasty food and local music today. Spend some time on the leafy back patio and you’ll swear you’re in your neighbor’s backyard throwing back a cold one. lastconcert.com. 1403 Nance, 713.226.8563. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sun; LN Fri–Sat; Bar & live music Tue–Sat. $ v Line & Lariat Modern American An award-winning dining experience located in the historic lobby of Hotel Icon’s landmark bank building. The intimate dining room is extravagant, and the exquisite dishes from the Gulf Coast and South Texas emphasize fresh ingredients. A contemporary lounge with a modern setting for cocktails and an elegant after-work meeting place. hotelicon.com. Hotel Icon, 220 Main, 832.667.4470. B Daily; D Mon–Sat. $$$
Little Napoli Italian Theater and moviegoers can now enjoy these southern Italian dishes before the big show! The healthy options, such as whole wheat pizza crust and low-fat cheeses, are a nice touch. littlenapoli.net. 540 Texas, 713.225.3900. $$ NEW! Local Foods American Local Foods is a culinary expression of all things local. The scratch gourmet sandwich shop showcases seasonal salads, fresh soups, farmers market sides, home-made snacks for the taking, and a raw bar with ceviche and oyster shooters. houstonlocalfoods.com. 420 Main, 713.227.0531. L & D Daily. $$
Lone Star Taco Tex-Mex Fast-casual Tex-Mex restaurant, specializing in great tacos! Lone Star Taco quickly serves artisanal quality, made-fresh tacos at an affordable price. txlonestartaco.com. 1001 Texas St, 713.223.8226. B, L & D Daily. $ Luby’s, etc. American Enjoy an incredible view of downtown along with 10 food stations offering a wide variety of goodies: a build-your-own salad bar, madeto-order grill, pizza by-the-slice, delightful deli, global café and traditional Luby’s cafeteria line with all the classic dishes. lubysetc.com. 1301 Fannin, 13th Floor, 713.759.9954. B & L Mon–Fri. $ Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge American Bowlers and patrons relax on sleek leather couches and enjoy floor-to-ceiling video screens that flash movie clips and music videos as DJs deliver danceable grooves. Delectable munchies are available lane-side and in the lounge. bowlluckystrike.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 3, 713.343.3300. L, D & LN Daily. $$ v Main Kitchen American Named Main Kitchen to reflect its location on Main Street and the hopes of becoming a staple in Houston’s culinary scene, the restaurant seats 120 and boasts an exhibition kitchen providing guests with an insight into the chefs’ creative process. jwmarriotthotelhouston.com/main-kitchen. 806 Main St, 713.400.1245. B, L, D Daily. $$ v Mango Tree Thai Bistro Thai A casual Thai joint that keeps booths packed with hungry downtowners looking for eclectic dishes to satisfy their spice cravings. And there’s a pretty tempting happy hour for drinks and nibbles under $5. mangotreethaibistro.com. 914 Main Street, #125, 713.659.1600. L & D Mon–Sat. $$ v Market Square Bar & Grill American This Chicagostyle neighborhood hangout is a local favorite. Boasting a handful of “fire-powered” burgers, Market Square offers plenty of reasons to stop by for a meal or drink. The backyard patio, friendly staff and full bar add flavor. marketsquarehouston.com. 311 Travis, 713.224.6133. L, D & LN Mon–Sat. $ v Massa’s South Coast Grill Seafood Like its sister restaurant, you can count on superior service and a great dining atmosphere. Conveniently located close to the convention center and Toyota Center, it’s a prime spot for lunch and dinner. massas.com. The Shops at Houston Center, 1331 Lamar, 713.655.9100. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$ NEW! McAlister’s Deli American This fast casual deli serves fresh salads, sandwiches, soups, and giant stuffed potatoes. mcalistersdeli.com. 1001 Avenida de las Americas, 832.940.0660. L & D Daily. $
v McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood The extensive menu changes daily depending on each day’s fresh seafood deliveries. With more than 80 preparations on the menu each day, every guest is sure to find something to satisfy their palate. mccormickandschmicks.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin, 713.658.8100. L & D Daily. $$$
McDonald’s Fast Food 808 Dallas @ Milam, 713.651.9449. B & L Daily; D Mon–Fri. $ v Mia Bella Italian You’ll enjoy an eclectic variety of Italian cuisine blended with a Mediterranean feel. A longtime favorite, this intimate little bistro’s simple, yet appealing décor, makes it a downtown standout. bellarestaurants.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $$
v Minuti Coffee Coffee House The coffee is created by a roast master in Italy, before making its way into the hands of talented baristas. This is the perfect place to bring the laptop and take advantage of Minuti’s free Wi-Fi. They also have beer and wine, which makes it a great pre/ post theater spot. Be sure to sample some of the freshbaked pastries and smoothies, too. minuticoffee.com. 909 Texas, 281.265.3344. B, L, D & LN Daily. $ v MKT Bar Mediterranean Part of Phoenicia Specialty Foods, it’s the perfect place to stop when you need a chill moment. The bar offers coffee, pastries, wine, beer, gourmet pizza and other yummy nibbles for which Phoenicia is known. phoeniciafoods.com. 1001 Austin, 832.360.2222. B, L & D Daily. $ v The Moonshiners American The Moonshiners Southern Table + Bar offers up a rebellious respite in the bustling urban backdrop of Downtown Houston. The restaurant celebrates and elevates southern culinary traditions serving up moonshine and whiskey in mason jars alongside generous portions of southern comfort foods such as fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and pulled pork sandwiches. 1000 Prairie, 713.226.7717. L & D Mon–Fri; LN Fri & Sat. $$
Morningside Thai Thai Diners can expect the same great quality and service at the Downtown location that they enjoy at the original Houston staple. Menu favorites include a variety of different curry dishes like the Panang Curry and the Roasted Duck Curry. morningsidethai.com. 917 Franklin. 713.228.8424. L & D. $ v Morton’s Steakhouse This award-winning steakhouse offers an outstanding menu. The downtown location features its new bar concept, Bar 12•21, which includes an impressive wine and martini menu along with its specially priced “bar bites.” mortons.com. 1001 McKinney, 713.659.3700. L Mon–Fri; D Daily. $$$$
Murphy’s Deli Deli Indulge in a variety of sandwiches and salads. Hot or cold, Murphy’s specializes in creating your sandwich any way it’s ordered. murphysdeli.com. 601 Jefferson, 713.652.4939. 1021 Main, 713.275.1912. 440 Louisiana, 713.247.9122. B & L Mon–Fri all locations. $ Myth Kafé Mediterranean Myth Kafé is a local familyowned Greek concept which prides itself on quality products, authentic cooking and the Mediterranean tradition of good health and hospitality. Their limited lunch menu includes Greek mainstays such as tzatziki or hummus with toasted pita, gyros, a Greek salad and herb marinated chicken! mythkafe.com. 1730 Jefferson, 832.397.6373. L Daily. $ v Niko Niko’s Greek & American Houston icon Dimitri Fetokakis opened his cafe in 2010 at Market Square Park. Favorites such as the gyro and kebob are on the menu along with new items such as the breakfast pita. Specialty coffee drinks, beer and wine also available. nikonikos.com. Market Square Park, 301 Milam. B, L & D Daily. $
Padthai Thai Restaurant Thai A traditional Thai restaurant located at the ground level of the loft residence Hogg Palace. The warm and cozy atmosphere offers a great setting for a dinner escape and is a local favorite. padthaithairestaurant.com. 401 Louisiana, 713.225.4900. D Daily. $
plate. Local Foods 420 Main St. houstonlocalfoods.com 713.227.0531
DOWNTOWN HOUSTON GETS MAJOR INFUSION OF “LOCAL” FLAVOR Local Foods has arrived Downtown. The brainchild of hometown
American diner, cafeteria, delicatessen, and butcher heroes Benjy Levit and chef/partner Dylan Murray, Local Foods shop effortlessly meshed struck an immediate chord when it first launched in 2011 next together to create a unified door to its big brother restaurant, benjy’s in the Village. concept. The Downtown location offers something Levit and Murray’s simple formula sources of a nautical motif as a nod to its raw bar and ingredients, produce, veggies and protein from ceviche offerings. Colors and objects that emulate local purveyors, farmers, ranchers and the Urban the serenity of flowing water were utilized Harvest Farmer’s Market, which when combined throughout the space, including pale teals and make for the most flavorful swandwiches, turquoise tones; a cluster of brass light pendants freshest soups, seasonal salads, and sumptuous that emits a feeling of being inside a champagne sides available in the marketplace. The public glass; and blue fiberglass industrial globes that took notice, as evidenced by two additional might seem to be straight out of the Kevin locations in Upper Kirby and the Tanglewood Costner film Water World. area. The newest incarnation is found in the 1934 In its new Downtown digs, Local Food’s Joseph Finger-designed art deco building on the 10,000-square-foot, three-story space connects northwest corner of Main and Prairie Streets. its ambiance and offerings directly with the The collective design of each Local Foods neighborhood it serves. To that end, it is giving location recalls the style of a classic 1950’s office warriors, neighborhood residential dwellers
and urban sophisticates something to clamor about with its first-ever raw bar and ceviche program, including Gulf shrimp ceviche with jackfruit and spicy chili threads, red snapper campechana served with avocado, miso cucumber and rice crackers, sesame crusted tuna with pickled ginger aioli and tamari glaze; Local oyster shooters with peperoncini vodka and a Bloody Mary vinaigrette. Menu staples from other Local locations such as the crunchy chicken and truffled egg salad sandwiches, vegetarian falafel, salads and sides remain firmly front and center at Local Downtown. With a mezzanine level wrapping the entire space and overlooking the main dining area, Local Downtown offers a variety of seating options with eclectic furnishings, including a 4,500-square-foot private event space on the basement level equipped with A/V capabilities for corporate events and festive occasions that can accommodate up 100 people. After successfully making waves in the Rice Village, Upper Kirby, and Tanglewood while growing a rabid fan base across Houston and beyond, Local Foods is just the latest reason you might want to consider calling Downtown Houston, “Home!”
NEW! Pappadeaux This local favorite serves up some of the finest and freshest seafood with a Cajun twist! Start with the crispy fried alligator or a bowl of gumbo, try the Chilean Sea Bass or the pasta mardi gras, and top it all off with the praline bread pudding soufflé. pappadeaux.com. 1001 Avenida de las Americas, 713.654.5077. L Fri–Sun, D Daily. $$$
Russo’s New York Pizzeria Italian Inspired by the traditional Italian values of family, friends & food, this Houston original doesn’t disappoint when it comes to fresh, delicious, homemade Italian meals. And they serve more than just pizza- try one of their specialty calzones, sandwiches or pastas! nypizzeria.com. 604 Polk, 713.759.9800. L & D Daily. $
Springbok South African Springbok features a contemporary take on classic South African dishes such as local game, house-made sausages, burgers and curries. Enjoy an amazing selection of local and international beer and cocktails while watching rugby and other national and international sporting competitions. thespringbok.com. 711 Main, 818.201.6979. L, D & LN Daily. $$
v Pappas BBQ Barbecue Voted one of Houston’s best year after year, this barbecue joint offers an excellent selection with Texas-sized portions. Traditional favorites such as brisket, ribs, sausage and ham are served with Pappas’ flare. Delivery and take-out are available. pappasbbq.com. 1217 Pierce, 713.659.1245. L & D Daily. 1100 Smith, 713.759.0018. L & D Mon–Fri. $
Salata American This next-generation salad bar allows you to create your own, tossed-to-order salad or wrap complete with a variety of fresh greens, a large selection of veggies, fruits, nuts, cheeses and more. Top your order off with one of their signature dressings and your choice of chicken, seafood or tofu! salata.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin, 713.275.1088. L & D Daily. $
Subway Fast Food 405 Main, 713.227.4700. Daily. $
v Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Steakhouse Pappas Bros. Steakhouse puts immeasurable care into everything they do, all to provide their guests with a dining experience like no other. They buy the highest-quality ingredients, use a timeless recipe, and cook it flawlessly each and every time. pappasbros.com. 1200 McKinney, 713.658.1995. D Mon–Sat.
The Sam Bar American Casual The Sam Houston
v Pappasito’s Cantina Tex-Mex One of Houston’s most popular casual Tex-Mex restaurants, Pappasito’s specializes in sizzling fajitas, creamy queso and tortillas that almost melt in your mouth! The Downtown location offers six unique ceviches and crudos that can’t be found at any of the other restaurants. pappasitos.com. Hilton Americas-Houston, 1600 Lamar St, 713.353.4400. L & D Daily. $$ v Perbacco Italian An adorable little spot located at street level of one of Houston’s skyscrapers, Perbacco serves up Italian cuisine in a modern and fresh atmosphere. Catering to downtown workers and the theater crowd, you always get quick and friendly service and tasty food. 700 Milam, 713.224.2422. L Mon–Fri; D Thu–Sat. $ v Prohibition American Prohibition is the home of the Moonlight Dolls who dazzle audiences with their sexy yet fun burlesque performances. Beaming with glitz and glamour, this upscale supper club has an exquisite menu featuring fresh Gulf seafood and steaks cooked to perfection! prohibitionhouston.com. 1008 Prairie, 281.940.4636. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat; LN Thu–Fri. Sat 5p–2a. $$$ v Quattro Contemporary Italian Vivid colors, creative lighting and a unique design create a sophisticated and inviting ambience for guests. Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, Quattro is one of downtown’s best restaurants. Four Seasons Hotel, 1300 Lamar, 713.652.6250. B, L & D Daily. $$$
Quizno’s Fast Food
811 Rusk, 713.227.7702. L & D Mon–Fri. 1119 Commerce, 713.228.9000. L & D Mon–Sun. $
Rachel’s Café American Rachel’s Cafe is an old fashioned hamburger joint inside the historic Londale Building. This quaint little café has an extensive menu with lots of simple classics like burgers, fries, sandwiches and salads—all made fresh! rachelscafehouston.com. 421 San Jacinto, 713.229.7067. L & D Mon–Sat. $ Roma’s Pizza Italian Located just across from the Preston Station on the METRORail, Roma’s Pizza offers New York-style pizza by the slice or pie, as well as a variety of salads, lasagnas, ravioli, and chicken dishes. 223 Main, 713.222.1184. L & D Daily. $
Hotel’s relaxed dining option where you’ll find a breakfast buffet and a great bar menu with tasty appetizers, salads, burgers and sandwiches every day of the week. thesamhoustonhotel.com. The Sam Houston Hotel, 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Sambuca New American A hip, trendy and upscale restaurant right in the mix of Main Street. The menu includes a wide variety of favorites and combined with the live music, Sambuca is Houston’s ultimate supper club. sambucarestaurant.com. 909 Texas, 713.224.5299. L Mon–Fri; D & LN Daily. $$$
The Shops at Houston Center Food Court Brooklyn Meatball Company, Bullritos, Chick-fil-A, Doozo’s Dumplings & Noodles, Freshii, Great American Cookie, Great Wraps, Luisa’s Pasta, Murphy’s Deli, Otto’s Barbecue & Hamburgers, Pho Huy Vietnamese Noodle House, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Pretzel Time, Quizno’s Subs, Salata, Simon’s Homestyle Café, Snap Kitchen, Starbuck’s Coffee, Subway, Thai Basil, The Mediterranean Grill, Treebeards, Wok & Roll. shopsathc.com. 1200 McKinney, 713.759.1442. Mon–Sat, hours vary. $
Shula’s Steakhouse Dark wood, sports memorabilia and menus hand painted on official NFL game footballs makes Pro Hall-of-Famer Don Shula’s Steak House stand out from the rest. Become a member of the 48oz Club by finishing a 48-ounce Shula Cut. donshula.com. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4777. B, L & D Daily. $$$ Skyline Deli Deli With their freshly baked bread, Skyline makes a great deli sandwich. 717 Texas, 713.571.0509. B & L Mon–Fri. $ Sol Cafe Mejicano Mexican A family-owned cafe offering traditional Tex-Mex breakfast and lunch dishes made from fresh ingredients. 1205 Travis, 713.651.0049. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Spaghetti Warehouse Italian Making its home in an old warehouse, this Italian-American eatery offers up large portions for lunch and dinner. Traditional menu items such as spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna and pizza allow the Spaghetti Warehouse to cater to all ages and appetites. meatballs.com. 901 Commerce, 713.229.0009. L & D Daily. $$ v Spindletop American A favorite Houston seafood restaurant and fine dining experience ideal for birthday parties, family reunions, anniversaries and engagements. Perched on the 34th floor of Hyatt Regency Downtown, this glass-walled restaurant makes one revolution every 45 minutes, ensuring you’ll enjoy 360-degree views of the city and all of its famous landmarks. houstonregency.hyatt.com. Hyatt Regency, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. D Tue–Sat. $$$
Table 7 Bistro American Table 7 Bistro is a combination of an upscale, yet casual atmosphere. Weekday happy hour includes $4 well drinks and $2 domestic beers, and it’s happy hour all weekend with $2 mimosas all day on Saturdays and Sundays. district7grill.com. 720 Fannin @ The Club Quarters, 713.227.4800. B, L & D Daily. $ Tejas Grill & Sports Bar American Located at The Shops at Houston Center, Tejas offers the perfect tailgate menu and full-service bar. tejasgrillandsportsbar.com. 1201 Lamar at The Shops at Houston Center, 713.739.8352. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$ v III Forks American Upscale, warm atmosphere and impeccable service sets the stage for this sophisticated steakhouse. New York strip and filet mignon, bone-in ribeye, porterhouse, young rack of lamb and veal chop are served with duchess potatoes, off-the-cob cream corn, and perfectly cooked vegetables. Seafood items include Chilean sea bass, Ahi tuna, salmon, halibut, scallops and lobster tails, which are flown in daily. iiiforks.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 1, 713.658.9457. L Tue–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$$$
Toasters Café American Toasters is a quaint little café in downtown’s Warehouse District which serves up classic favorites in a modern setting. Try their fresh baked pastries and French toast for breakfast, or enjoy a salad and a wide variety of sandwiches for lunch. toastershouston.com. 1004 N. San Jacinto, 713.261.1562. B, L Mon–Fri. $ v Treebeards Southern A downtown institution for more than 30 years, Treebeards offers tasty Cajun dishes that are sure to satisfy. Favorite menu items include the chicken and shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice and étouffée. For dessert, try the famous butter bar. treebeards.com. 315 Travis, 713.228.2622. Cloisters at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas, 713.229.8248. L Mon–Fri. $
Trofi Restaurant Continental Trofi’s menu is described as Continental with a Mediterranean and Latin flair and the ambience is simple, yet sophisticated. Lunch buffets are available Monday through Friday. 400 Dallas, Doubletree Hotel, 713.759.0202. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse This world-class steak house is one of the most elegant dining locations in Houston. It boasts rich mahogany woodwork and one-of-a-kind hospitality. Located in the heart of the Ballpark District and across from Minute Maid Park, Vic & Anthony’s is the ideal spot for entertaining business clients, a special celebration or a pre/post-game dinner. vicandanthonys.com. 1510 Texas, 713.228.1111. L Mon–Fri; D Daily. $$$$ NEW! Walker St. Kitchen American Walker Street Kitchen serves the freshest offerings from the Gulf Coast, fusing cultural and geographical influences into a culinary feast. 1777 Walker, 713.654.1777. B, L & D Daily. $$
sip. Which Wich Deli A fast and easy build-your-ownsandwich joint where doodling is encouraged and the possibilities are endless! Which ‘wich will you make? 811 Main, 713.227.0860. B & L Mon–Fri; L Sat. $ Wimpy’s Hamburgers Fast Food Wimpy’s serves up a pretty good burger but they also have many other downhome favorites. 632 Polk, 713.652.0123. B & L Mon–Fri. $ Your Pie Italian Your Pie is a “down-the-line” pizza concept offering customers the opportunity to build their own 10″ hand-tossed pizza which cooks in a gas-fired oven in less than five minutes! Their bar menu includes 25 taps of craft beer and a selection of boutique red and white wines. yourpie.com. 1625 Main St. (inside SkyHouse Houston), 832.767.2544. L, D. $
Zero’s Sandwich Shop Deli A great little spot for a freshly made deli sandwich. zerossandwichshop.com.
v Zydeco Louisiana Diner Cajun This cafeteria-style Cajun joint brings Louisiana dishes to the Hospital District of downtown Houston. Traditional Cajun items such as po-boys, jambalaya and gumbo make Zydeco a great lunch stop. A casual atmosphere adds to the enjoyment. 1119 Pease, 713.759.2001. L Mon–Sat; D Tue–Sat; $ NEW! Xochi Mexican Named after Xochitl, the goddess of the flowers, Xochi specializes in the authentic cuisine of Oaxaca, the culinary capital of Mexico, and incorporates traditional Oaxacan herbs and ingredients throughout its menu. Highlights include the barbacoa de res de zaachila, lechon, and sopa de piedra, an ancient traditional fish and shrimp soup. ¡Buen provecho! xochihouston.com. 1777 Walker. 713.400.3330. L & D Daily. $$$
FOR A SEARCHABLE DATABASE OF DOWNTOWN HOUSTON RESTAURANTS BY CUISINE, LOCATION AND PRICE, VISIT DOWNTOWNHOUSTON.ORG AND CLICK ON GUIDE.
809 Dallas, 713.650.3333. 1110 Lamar, 713.655.7722. 507 Dallas, 713.739.9955. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Looking for a spot to go after a long day or for a fun night out with friends? Check out some of our favorites!
ALJ Jazz Bar & Lounge | 711 Franklin
ALJ Jazz Bar and Lounge offers a unique live music experience in a cozy, intimate atmosphere. Here, you’ll find some of the best contemporary jazz musicians of our time, from local favorites to internationally renowned legends. Thu 6 pm–12 am. Fri–Sat 6 pm–2 am. houstonjazzbar.com
The Boulevardier | 410 Main, Downstairs
This beautiful lounge provides an upscale yet comfortable respite to Main Street every Thursday through Saturday serving the finest craft cocktails. Thu–Sat 6 pm–2 am. thecommonerbar.com/#upstairs
Barringer Bar | 108 Main
Barringer is a classic bar and lounge located in historic Downtown Houston where patrons can enjoy a wide selection of beer, wine and libations. Antique furniture and photos fill the cozy space and live music, DJs and aerialists entertain throughout the weekend! Tue–Fri 5 pm–2 am; Sat 8 pm–2 am. barringerhouston.com
Boots ‘n Shoots | 506 Main
This Texas-themed bar conveniently located right off the METRORail, features a wide variety of whiskey. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out the super fun largerthan-life PLINKO board which decides your fate when the time comes to take a shot! Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am. bootsnshootshouston.com
Brewery Tap | 717 Franklin
Housed in the historic Magnolia Brewery Building, Brewery Tap HTX is an old downtown watering hole reimagined. The bar is known for having a laid-back, friendly atmosphere, 32 beers and multiple wines and cocktails on draft, plus multiple in-house games. Daily 4 pm–2 am. brewerytaphtx.com
Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge | 308 Main
A fun and quirky bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously (hence the name), but the cocktails are seriously good. Patrons enjoy the speakeasy vibe and the patio terrace for prime people watching. Mon–Sun 4 pm–2 am. twitter.com/badnewsbar
Char Bar | 305 Travis
LIKE US AT FACEBOOK.COM/VISITDOWNTOWNHOUSTON The Dirt Bar | 1209 Caroline
The non-venue rock ‘n’ roll lounge is a popular pre- and post-show destination spot that has become famous for its performer patronage. Drawing crowds and artists from every venue in the city has allowed The Dirt to host hundreds of memorable after-show events, including Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. Daily 6 pm–2 am. dirtbar.com
Char Bar offers stiff drinks alongside custom suits. Drenched in nostalgia, Char Bar is proud of its history, as reflected in the old photos of family members who have worked in the space since the 1930s. Enjoy the second floor balcony or chat it up with Weldon Renfro, who has a permanent shoe shine booth at the entrance. Mon–Wed 10 am–midnight; Thu–Sat 10 am–2 am. twitter.com/TheCharBar
806 Lounge | 806 Main
Chupacabra | 208 Travis
1820 Bar | 1820 Franklin
Inspired by the Latin American legend of the Chupacabra, this festive bar in Historic Market Square, features seasonal margaritas and a wide variety of Tequila and Whiskey. Daily 4 pm–2 am.
The Commoner | 410 Main, Downstairs
Simple, straightforward. Cocktails, beer and wine. Mon–Sun 4 pm–2 am; Sun noon–midnight. thecommonerbar.com
Craft Beer Cellar | 907 Franklin
Located in the Historic Market Square neighborhood, Craft Beer Cellar is a bottle shop and bar with a full wall of local, national and international beer options. Stop by and have a drink at the bar or fill up a growler and take one to go! Mon–Sat 10 am–10 pm; Sun 11 am–7 pm. houston.craftbeercellar.com
Dean’s | 316 Main
Under new ownership and with a new look and feel, Dean’s adds to the cool vibe found on the 300 block of Main. Great attention from the bartenders and the trendy crowd make it a unique place to socialize. Mon–Thu 8 pm–2 am; Fri–Sat 5 pm–2 am. deansdowntown.com
A favorite of the locals, 806 Lounge located inside the JW Marriott Houston Downtown, ignites the senses with sophisticated creations. Their mixologists are experts in creating cocktails, lively in conversation, and can recommend a favorite dish to accompany your handcrafted drink. Daily 11 am–11 pm. jwmarriotthotelhouston.com/806-lounge
This cozy little bar is located just one block north of Minute Maid Park. It’s the perfect place for a pre-game drink or a strong night cap during the week. Eighteen Twenty Lounge shares a door with Joystix Classic Games which is open on the first and last Friday of every month where $15 gets you all night access to practice your Pac-Man skills. Daily 4 pm–2 am. 1820lounge.com
El Big Bad | 419 Travis
El Big Bad is a Gastro-Cantina that specializes in infused tequilas, fresh juice margaritas and cocktails, Mexican and Texan Craft Beer and scrumptious fare. Sun–Thu 11 am–midnight; Fri & Sat 11 am–2 am. elbigbad.com
Flying Saucer | 705 Main
Offering more than 200 beers, with nearly half on draft, Flying Saucer is a great place to hang out and enjoy a cold one. Check out the website for information on beer tastings, trivia night and specials. Mon–Wed 11 am–1 am; Thu & Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat noon–2 am; Sun noon–midnight. beerknurd.com
Henke & Pillot | 809 Congress
Where past meets present, and drinks and dining blend in flawless harmony. Henke & Pillot is more than a dynamic Downtown cocktail lounge. Named after the Houston grocery store chain that occupied the space in the 800 block of Congress over 150 years ago, the simple yet sophisticated setting offers patrons inspired cocktails that are paired with mouthwatering dishes. Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am. henkehouston.com
The Honeymoon Cafe+Bar | 300 Main
The Historic District welcomes The Honeymoon - a new, adorable bistro with great cocktails, wine and coffee from local Boomtown Coffee. Mon–Thu 7 am–midnight; Fri 7 am–2 am; Sat 10 am–2 am; Sun 10 am–10 pm. thehoneymoonhtx.com
Houston Watch Company | 913 Franklin
Houston Watch Company is located in the lobby of the Bayou Lofts at 913 Franklin and gets its name from the former timepiece company that occupied the space over 100 years ago. From its name to its drinks, Houston Watch Company is the essence of old-school. We suggest trying one of their 4 different versions of an old fashioned or the strawberry shrub cocktail made with fresh fruit! Mon–Sat 4 pm–2 am, Sun 4 pm–midnight. houstonwatchcompany.com
HTX Fan Tavern | 1800 Texas St.
HTX Fan Tavern is a sports-centric bar conveniently located across from Minute Maid Park. It’s the perfect place to pre-game before cheering on the home team or to celebrate after a big victory! htxfantavern.com
La Carafe | 813 Congress
The oldest building in Houston, this dark and cozy hideaway boasts a great jukebox, moody atmosphere and an extensive beer and wine selection. Sit on the outside patio or balcony and look up in awe at the amazing downtown skyline. Cash only. Mon–Fri noon–2 am; Sat & Sun 1 pm–2 am.
amongst all the action! Watch your favorite team on a number of TVs while you enjoy good eats and a drink from their ever-evolving selection of beer on tap. Daily 11 am–2 am. livesportsbarhouston.com
Lone Star Saloon | 1900 Travis
The Lone Star Saloon is a true classic Texas dive bar that seems misplaced in its urban setting. The crowd, half aging townies and half world-weary road dogs, are always willing to share have-been-to-hell-and-back stories. Daily noon–2 am.
MKT Bar | 1001 Austin
Phoenicia’s MKT bar, located at the first floor of One Park Place, is the perfect place to stop when you need a chill moment. The bar offers coffee, pastries, wine, beer, gourmet pizza and other yummy nibbles for which Phoenicia is known. Mon–Wed 7 am–9 pm; Thu 7 am–2 am; Fri & Sat 9 am–2 am; Sun 9 am–8 pm. mktbar.com
Molly’s Pub | 509 Main
This classic Irish pub offers a variety of Irish whiskeys and international beers. Tables and coves lead you to the back, where pool and darts can be found and a secondfloor balcony provides excellent views of Main Street and Downtown. Daily 11 am–2 am. mollyspubs.com
Moving Sidewalk | 306 Main
This upscale bar has an intimate setting complete with antique chandeliers, dark lighting and candles. The cocktails at Moving Sidewalk are sure to please as they have hand- crafted ingredients such as rosehip infusion and a fig and marigold shrub. Perfect for a romantic night out or to catch up with friends over drinks! Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am. twitter.com/movingsidewalk
The Nightingale Room | 308 Main
You have to knock three times on the red door to gain entry to the unmarked house in the Warehouse District (well, not anymore). With a backyard stage and sandpit, hoola-hooping and tiki bar, Last Concert has live music most nights. Tue–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat 5 pm–2 am; Sun 3–9 pm. lastconcert.com
The Nightingale Room—named for the famous songbird—also references Houston music legend Sippie Wallace, known as the Texas Nightingale during her prime in the 1920s. This entertainment-focused bar is a casual, comfortable spot to listen to vinyl during the week and will turn up the energy on weekends with live music—dancing is encouraged! Expect a variety of music from all genres. The drink menu features a small selection of house drinks, shots, as well as beer, wine and champagne. Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am. nightingaleroom.com
Lawless Spirits & Kitchen | 909 Texas
Notsuoh | 314 Main
Last Concert Café | 403 Nance
Lawless Spirits & Kitchen is an establishment with flair. A place that gives rise to the iconic visions of Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Frank Sinatra or Steve McQueen leaning on the bar with a stiff, well-crafted Rye Manhattan. Lawless is detailed with glitzy style, featuring revolutionary cocktails accompanied by comfortable finger foods and satisfying bites. lawlesspirits.com
Lilly & Bloom | 110 Main St.
Located in the historically chic Raphael Building, this beautiful two-story lounge is known for its specialty cocktails and guest bartenders every Tuesday night. Prepare to be amazed! Daily 4 pm–2 am. lillyandbloom.com
Little Dipper | 304 Main
This spot is a cool, blue neighborhood bar with pinball machines, cheap bourbon and a bad-ass jukebox. Daily 4 pm–2 am. twitter.com/LittleDipperBar
LIVE Sports Bar & Grill | 407 Main
Located in Historic Market Square, Live Sports Bar & Girll makes you feel like you’re sitting at the game
The name is Houston spelled backwards. A bar full of random weirdness: Think grunge lounge and artsy. You’ll find people playing chess, and drinking beer, live music, lots of crazy, weird artwork and maybe walk in on a night of punk-rock karaoke. Live bands on weekends. Daily 8 pm–2 am. notsuoh.com
The Original OKRA Charity Saloon 924 Congress
Houston’s first charity bar is a true collaboration from Houston’s finest, including owners from Anvil, Paulie’s, Grand Prize and more. Expect classic cocktails and brews in a gorgeous historic building. Every drink purchase earns you a vote that can go toward select charities to win the bar’s monthly earnings. Daily 3 pm–2 am. friedokra.org
Part & Parcel | 1700 Smith
Part & Parcel is a trendy patio bar located at The Whitehall Hotel—it’s the perfect place to mingle, sip and relax under the Texas stars. Their menu includes classic cocktails, original libations, and small plates with big taste! Mon–Thu 4 pm–midnight; Fri–Sat 4 pm–2 am. thewhitehallhouston.com
The Pastry War | 310 Main
A Mezcaleria from Bobby Heugel and Alba Huerta that serves up agave spirits along with classic Mexican cocktails and beers in a festive and intimate environment. This specialty tequila joint not only accepts pesos, but is on a brave mission to serve the best margaritas in town. Salud! Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am. thepastrywar.com
Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar | 1201 Fannin at GreenStreet
Two dueling pianos and a sing-along, clap-along, drinkalong, have-one-helluva-good-time-along bar! Wed–Sat 7 pm–2 am, showtime @ 8 pm. petesduelingpianobar.com
Public Services Wine & Whiskey | 202 Travis
Nestled in the historic Cotton Exchange Building, lies Public Services Wine & Whiskey. Public Services isn’t just any cocktail bar, in fact, they’re the complete opposite. Here, patrons can find classic wines and a vast yet distinctive whiskey selection served straight, on the rocks, or with a small selection of mixers. Craft beer and cider help round out the carefully crafted drink menu. Mon–Sat 4 pm–2 am. publicservicesbar.com
Reserve 101 | 1201 Caroline
A whiskey and martini bar touting more than 220 specialty liquors that will make any cocktail aficionados mouth water. Stop by on Tuesday for complimentary tastings of special selections. Order up delicious bites from the new, chef-driven menu featuring tasty flatbreads, appetizers and sandwiches. Sun 5 pm–2 am; Mon–Sat 2 pm–2 am. reserve101.com
The Sam Bar | 1117 Prairie Street at The Sam Houston Hotel
Located in the Alden Hotel. This upscale bar is furnished with dark leather banquettes and a menu of 30 cocktails, both classic and new mixologist creations. Sun–Thu 11 am–midnight; Fri & Sat 11 am–1 am. thesamhoustonhotel.com
Shay McElroy’s Pub | 909 Texas at Rice Lofts
Dublin native and owner John McElroy created this space around a richly detailed, 19th-century bar he had shipped from Ireland. The crowd is an inviting collection of young professionals and not-so-young merrymakers. Mon–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat & Sun 1 pm–2 am. mcelroyspub.com
Sunny’s Bar | 901 Capitol @ Main
Laid-back place with a friendly atmosphere and great prices that keep the regulars coming back. Sunny will likely be behind the bar serving up the beer and cocktails and great conversation. Foosball, darts and shuffleboard are in the back of the house to keep you entertained. Mon–Sat 2 pm–2 am.
Tongue Cut Sparrow | 310 Main (upstairs)
Named after a Japanese fable, this 25-seat formal cocktail bar provides an extremely elevated experience from the tidy menu made up of 16 classic cocktails and a few select beer and wine options, to the bartenders clad in black bowties. Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am.
Warren’s Inn | 307 Travis
This tavern is long known for its top-notch jukebox full of American classics, strong mixed drinks and its diverse crowd of customers. Mon–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat noon–2 pm, Sun 2 pm–2 am.
The Wine Cellar | 540 Texas
Unwind and relax with more than 400 varieties of wine and imported beers. Wine tastings Mon–Thu, 2–7 pm. Daily 11 am–midnight. thewinecellarhouston.com
EDITED BY NICOLE MARIN
Performing Arts 42 Market Square Park 48 Festivals + Special Events 49 Discovery Green 50 and more
ESCHENBACH CONDUCTS BRUCKNER
Mar 4–5 Former Houston Symphony Music Director, Christoph Eschenbach, returns to Houston with his authoritative interpretations of spiritually uplifting works by Anton Bruckner. Bruckner’s Te Deum (We Praise Thee, O God) is a joyous, celebratory statement featuring the magnificent Houston Symphony Chorus, and his First Symphony is a marvel of accessible lyricism and grandeur. Tickets start at $25. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
THIRD COAST PERCUSSION
Mar 4 Called “sonically spectacular” by the Chicago Tribune, Third Coast Percussion brings all the electricity and energy of live percussion to their performances. This Chicago powerhouse will hit the stage in the Cullen Theater in a truly tour-de-force show. Tickets $23–$53. 8 pm. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org
MENDELSSOHN & TCHAIKOVSKY
PERFORMING ARTS AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
Through Mar 5 An American in Paris is the new Tony Award-winning musical about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. Tickets start at $30. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org
Through Mar 5 Gordon wants to learn how to rap, thinking it will gain him respect, admiration, and the attention of a beautiful woman. What he doesn’t know is that his journey to learn how to rhyme will take him not just deeper into hip hop, but deeper into his legacy and his purpose. Based on true events, NSangou Njikam leads us on a lyrical ride to discover what it really takes to freestyle. Tickets start at $45. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
Through Mar 19 A brutal and tender vampire myth told through the turbulence of a coming-of-age romance. Oskar, a lonely boy from a broken home, is bullied at school and longing for friendship. Eli, the young girl who moves in next door, doesn’t attend school and rarely leaves home. When a series of mysterious killings plagues the neighborhood, these two young misfits, sensing in each other a kindred spirit, forge a deep connection. But the shocking truth about one of them tests their young friendship—and love—beyond all imaginable limits. Tickets start at $30. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
A LITTLE DAY MUSIC
Mar 1 A Little Day Music is a series of free concerts presented at noon on the first Wednesday of the month in the Grand Foyer of the Wortham Center. Each concert is designed to deliver Da Camera’s signature programming to an audience including senior citizens, Downtown professionals, and homeschool students. The series features a variety of chamber music and jazz, presented in an accessible one-hour concert format. Audiences are invited to enjoy their lunch while listening to the music. Free. Noon. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com
dancers: Melody Mennite & Christopher Gray. photo by Amitava Sarkar
Mar 2–12 The story has been a favorite for generations, but make no mistake, this is not your childhood Cinderella. More tomboy than princess, Stanton Welch’s title character is a striking woman of substance, determination and spunk. She’s in control, fighting the oppression and will of her evil stepmother with wit and vigor. And when she finds true love she grabs it—and wisely holds on with both hands. Tickets start at $25. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS.
BRENTANO STRING QUARTET
Mar 3 Experience the brilliant Brentano Quartet and one of the cornerstones of western music in an entirely new way as they elucidate and visualize the fugue in their performance of one of J. S. Bach’s final works. The set, and the choreographed movements of a corps of dancers, illuminate the themes and counterpoints of Bach’s masterpiece, performed live by the Quartet. Tickets starts at $37.50. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com
Mar 4, 11 and Saturdays in April Garbage Island is a fun and interactive kid’s show in the vein of children’s sketch shows such as You Can’t Do That On Television and The Muppet Show. Featuring absurdist humor and improvisation as well as audience participation, Garbage Island takes place in a literal garbage dump where off-the-wall characters come to life to solve mysteries using creative and critical thinking skills with an underlying message of earth consciousness and rubbish reuse. Tickets $10 per child, parents and children under 2 get in free. 10:30 am. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291.
recroomhtx.com photo by Saverio Truglio
Mar 9–12 Rediscover Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides during this Margaret Alkek Williams Sound + Vision concert with striking images of the Scottish landscapes that inspired it from photographer James Richardson. Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 receives a thrilling performance from Ingrid Fliter, and the program concludes with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, Pathétique. Tickets start at $25. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
MEN ARE FROM MARS—WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS LIVE!
Mar 9–12 Off-Broadway hit comedy Men Are From
Mars—Women Are From Venus LIVE! is a one-man fusion of theater and stand-up and is a light-hearted theatrical comedy based on the New York Times No. 1 best-selling book of the last decade by John Gray. Moving swiftly through a series of vignettes, the show covers everything from dating and marriage to the bedroom. Sexy and fast paced, this show is definitely for adults, but will leave audiences giggling like little kids! Tickets start at $74. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org
MARQUIS HILL BLACKTET
Mar 11 Chicago native trumpeter Marquis Hill was the winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition in 2014. Widely recognized as one of the pre-eminent voices on the instrument of his generation, Hill makes his first Houston appearance with his ensemble The Blacktet. Tickets start at $37.50. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com
THIRD COAST PERCUSSION
datebook. THE KING AND I
PINK MARTINI RETURNS
Mar 17–19 Come along with Pink Martini, Steven Reineke and the Houston Symphony for an amazing, not-to-be-missed evening as you travel on a musical journey from a samba parade in Rio de Janeiro to a quaint piazza in Naples, Italy. Throw yourself at the band’s eclectic tunes like Sympathique, City of Night and Brazil, as well as songs from their forthcoming album, which is set for a 2017 release. Tickets start at $35. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
AN ACT OF GOD
Mar 17–Apr 16 An Act of God is a sinfully funny and photo by Matthew Murphy
THE “PROBABLY A SHOW” SHOW
Mar 11 This Saturday Night Live style comedy show features sketch, musical comedy, and stand-up comedians. Tickets $10. 8 pm. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomhtx.com
THE KING AND I
Mar 14–19 Set in 1860’s Bangkok, the award-winning musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children. One of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s finest works, The King and I boasts a score which features such beloved classics as Getting To Know You, I Whistle a Happy Tune, Hello Young Lovers, Shall We Dance and Something Wonderful. Tickets start at $35. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525.
Mar 15, Apr 12, May 10 Tired of swiping left or right? Love watching old episodes of The Dating Game on YouTube? Ready to see something actually happen in real life? Join us for Houston’s first and only live dating show with host Dana Harrell and her musical sidekick wizard, Greg Cote. Send any single friends our way. Imagine this part like a Jewish grandmother—“It will be a great story for your grandchildren.” Or come and watch a great story for someone’s future grandchildren. Must be 21+. Tickets $10. 8 pm. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomhtx.com
LEGENDS & PRODIGY
Sound and Movement Collective will premiere a new work with different dance artists accompanied by a group of incredibly talented musicians and a filmmaker to create a truly experimental immersive experience for the audience all brought together by artistic director/sound artist Lynn Lane. Tickets $10. 7:30 pm. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomhtx.com
festival happening at the beginning of each season. Every film is made entirely on mobile devices. The public is invited to submit their works for consideration by Mar 19 (visit website for more info). Tickets $10. 8 pm. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomhtx.com
mixed-repertory is an international program of LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO abstract, contemporary ballet by three dancer and audience favorites. Jirí Kylián created Stepping Stones during a visit to Australia as a reflection on man’s desire to preserve his heritage. Hans van Manen’s Grosse Fugue showcases Houston Ballet’s strong male lineup and proves unequivocally why he is Holland’s most famous choreographer. And, in his Houston Ballet debut, choreographic wunderkind Justin Peck uses the company’s strong corps to create intricate and BEETHOVEN 6 & 7 architectural patterns into which featured dancers are Mar 23–26 An exploration of nature, Beethoven’s integrated. Tickets start at $25. Wortham Center, 501 Pastoral Symphony evokes cheerful feelings upon Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org arrival in the countryside and a harrowing storm that
Mar 16 Enjoy a spectacular evening as the Houston
Mar 14, Apr 11, May 16 Each month The Transitory
SPRING LE FILM FESTIVAL DE MOBILE PHONE
Mar 22 Rec Room’s Phone Film Festival is a quarterly
Mar 16–26 The spring
TRANSITORY SOUND AND MOVEMENT COLLECTIVE
critically acclaimed new play where the Almighty and His devoted angels answer some of the deepest questions that have plagued mankind since Creation. He’s returned to set the record straight … and He’s not holding back! This hilarious 90-minute comedy is “written by God” and transcribed by 13-time Emmy Award winner David Javerbaum (The Daily Show). Tickets start at $50. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
Symphony welcomes back the consummate musician, Ben Folds. This one-night event features a performance of Folds’ acclaimed Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. With his irreverent wit and professional musicianship, expect Folds to deliver a night of exciting orchestral arrangements of familiar hits, paired with selections from his latest album So There, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Classical and Classical Crossover charts. Tickets start at $29. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
resolves in one of music’s most satisfying finales. Beethoven’s lively Seventh Symphony abounds with high spirits that surround a haunting second movement, featured in films such as The King’s Speech. Tickets start at $25. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO
Mar 24 Hairy-chested and in tutus, the all-male Trockaderos have delighted audiences with their playful, entertaining view of traditional, classical ballet for four decades. With hilarious parodies of classical and contemporary dance, you will never see ballet the same way again! Tickets $43–103. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.4772. spahouston.org
X RAY SPEC SHOW
Apr 13 Join us at Rec Room for an interactive look inside the Hollywood film industry. Hear spec scripts read aloud, workshop material with a panel of experts, watch pilots from failed or existing TV shows, and Skype with working actors from LA. Informative and fun! Tickets $8. 8 pm. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomhtx.com
FALLA & ESPAÑA
Apr 13–15 Bask in the Iberian sunshine with colorful Spanish inspired works, including Chabrier’s España and Falla’s complete score from The Three-Cornered Hat. Principal Cello Brinton Smith also presents Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s lost Cello Concerto, giving the first professional performance of this acclaimed composer’s work since its 1935 premiere by the great cellist Piatagorsky under the baton of Toscanini. Tickets start at $25. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
DANCE SALAD FESTIVAL
Apr 13–15 Now celebrating its 22nd anniversary in
HAYDN & BEETHOVEN
make powerful impressions, indeed. Tickets starts at $39. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525.
known Farewell Symphony as well as his lesser-known Symphony No. 6—a breathtaking musical portrait of a beautiful sunrise in the morning. Beethoven’s spirited Piano Concerto No. 2 was a mighty showpiece that helped to introduce this great master to the Viennese music scene. Listen as Beethoven’s genius and Haydn’s charm intertwine in this magical night of music. Tickets start at $19. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.533.0080. mercuryhouston.org
Mar 25 Haydn’s talent for melody delights in his well-
Mar 31–Apr 2 Experience a riveting semi-staged performance of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio. This politically charged drama follows the heroic struggles of Leonore, who disguises herself as a man (Fidelio) to rescue her husband Florestan, a political prisoner tormented by the tyrant Pizarro. An inspiring hymn to freedom, this opera contains some of Beethoven’s most powerful and beautiful music. Tickets start at $25. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
Apr 2 Interest in the
uncanny brought about all manner of oddities during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, from wax museums to gothic fiction. In chamber works from this era, musical depictions of the supernatural took on lives of their own outside the opera house. Shorn of traditional theatrical trappings, the purely aural spectres of Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven
Apr 4–16 Dreamgirls is about the triumphs and tribulations that come with fame and fortune—a love letter to a time when the music of Motown reigned supreme. Winner of seven Tony Awards and two Grammys for Best Cast Album and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Follow this female trio’s journey, both behind the scenes and onstage, through the changing musical and cultural climate of the 1960s and ’70s; the girls overcome cutthroat business deals and unscrupulous managers only to discover that fame can’t replace family. Tickets start at $30. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. tuts.com
A LITTLE DAY MUSIC
Apr 5 A Little Day Music is a series of free concerts presented at noon on the first Wednesday of the month in the Grand Foyer of the Wortham Center. Each concert is designed to deliver Da Camera’s signature programming to an audience including senior citizens, Downtown professionals, and homeschool students. The series features a variety of chamber music and jazz, presented in an accessible one-hour concert format. Audiences are invited to enjoy their lunch while listening to the music. Free. Noon. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com
Apr 8–9 As one of the most beloved and iconic musicals of all time, Annie the Musical is returning to the stage in time-honored form. Annie centers on the story of little orphan Annie, equal parts pluck and positivity. Set in New York City in the depths of the Depression, Annie is determined to find her parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York orphanage, run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. In an adventure-filled show, Annie finds a brand new home with billionaire Oliver Warbucks. Tickets start at $33. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA.
Houston and the 25th season since its inception in Brussels, Belgium, Dance Salad Festival promises another gathering of world-class performers. Famous in their own countries, participating dance companies and dancers including the Susanna Leinonen Company (Finland), Norwegian National Ballet (Norway), Shantala Shivalingappa (Paris), and others, have won praise from critics and audiences wherever they have toured. Watch them when they grace the Wortham Center stage this spring! Tickets start at $19.50. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 832.487.7041.
SELL YOUR BODY SHOW IV
Apr 15 This eclectic and perspective variety show will be back for the fourth time with burlesque, performance art, storytelling, and stand-up. Sell Your Body Show is created and produced by Britt Vasicek and always promises naughty, educational, and incredibly entertaining acts. Tickets $15. 8 pm. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomhtx.com
Apr 18 Kobie Boykins, a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, reveals our latest venture to Mars, the Mars Science Laboratory, better known as Curiosity. Join him for an engaging evening on the Red Planet with an update on the very latest chapter in the ongoing story of the fascinating Mars exploration. Tickets start at $15. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
THE PINES OF ROME
Apr 20–23 Finnish violinist Elina Vähälä, “whose brilliant technique is matched by abundant spirit, sensitivity and imagination” (Chicago Tribune), performs John Corigliano’s The Red Violin Concerto, based on the composer’s Oscar-winning film score. Acclaimed Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko also leads the orchestra in two Technicolor tone poems by Respighi. Tickets start at $25. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
Apr 20–May 13 A provocative account of three intertwined lives at a camp for internally displaced persons in Darfur. The story follows an aid worker’s mission to save and protect lives, a journalist’s pursuit to deliver a page-one story and a Darfuri woman’s
datebook. photo by Eva Ripoll
quest for safety. It is a searing story of urgency and international significance. Tickets: Pay-what-youcan ($10–$100). Landing Theatre @ the Docks. 1119 Providence. 562.502.7469. landingtheatre.org
ASPEN SANTA FE BALLET
Apr 21 Aspen Santa Fe Ballet shares its bold vision to the world with top choreographers, a distinctive and groundbreaking repertoire, and virtuoso dancers, fostering a jewel of a dance company that’s centered in the American West. Their deep commitment to curating new ballets while also cultivating burgeoning new choreographers has resulted in an adventurous and cutting-edge repertoire. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet has come to epitomize the contemporary-classical genre. Tickets start at $43. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org
LOTT ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS—MARTHA REDBONE: BONE HILL—THE CONCERT
Apr 21–22 A new musical work for theater, featuring characters from four generations of a family living high on a mountain top in Appalachia. In telling their stories the cast takes the audience on an epic, unexpected American exploration of family, history, and identity. Tickets start at $37. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
THE BIG ROOM
Apr 21–22 Houston’s own Laura Gutierrez, named one of Dance Magazine’s 25 To Watch, will be presenting a new contemporary dance work that will challenge the audience’s perception of dancers in non-traditional performance venues. Tickets $15. 7:30 pm. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomhtx.com
Apr 22 New Orleans-based artist and Grammywinning trumpeter and composer, Terence Blanchard, has traveled many different musical paths in his career. Now, Blanchard powerfully and playfully journeys into a new jazz realm with his quintet, The E-Collective—an exciting zone of grooved fusion teeming with funk, R&B and blues colors. It’s a first foray into straight-up groove for Blanchard; come enjoy the dance-steeped party he and his quintet have cooked up! Tickets start at $42.50. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050.
Apr 22–May 7 The epic journey of gods,
mortals and giants comes to a thunderous close. Houston Grand Opera concludes its historic four-part Ring cycle with Götterdämmerung, (Twilight of the Gods), the final opera in Wagner’s tetralogy. The heroic Siegfried gives Brünnhilde the ring as a token of their love, but they unexpectedly face challenges beyond their control. In the definitive act of self-sacrifice, Brünnhilde returns the universe to its natural order. Watch as the Rhine overflows, Valhalla burns, and the kingdom of the gods is destroyed. Don’t miss the fourth and final piece in this overwhelming production, featuring an outstanding international cast. Tickets start at $23. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.228.OPERA.
Apr 25–30 The incredible story behind one of the world’s most beloved characters: Peter Pan. Playwright J.M. Barrie struggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers and their beautiful widowed mother. Spellbound by the boys’ enchanting make-believe adventures, he sets out to write a play that will astound London theatergoers. With a little bit of pixie dust and a lot of faith, Barrie takes this monumental leap, leaving his old world behind for Neverland, where nothing is impossible and the wonder of childhood lasts forever. The magic of Barrie’s classic tale springs spectacularly to life in this heartwarming theatrical event. Tickets starts at $30. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525.
ALTON BROWN LIVE—EAT YOUR SCIENCE
Apr 27 Alton Brown is a James Beard Award winner
and author, as well as host of the popular Food Network series Good Eats. He has also hosted several other series for the network, including Cutthroat Kitchen, Iron Chef America and The Next Food Network Star. Fans of food and science won’t want to miss Alton Brown’s latest show that includes as Alton Brown DANCE SALAD FESTIVAL puts it, “things I was never allowed to do on TV.” Tickets start at $43. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org
ACADEMY SPRING SHOWCASE
Apr 28–29 Featuring the gifted
young artists of Houston Ballet Academy, the annual Spring Showcase offers dance lovers a glimpse into the future of the professional company. Whether they’re performing scenes from well-known ballets or works created especially for them, the dancers display exceptional skill and a multitude of talents. Come, see if you can identify the stars of tomorrow. Tickets start at $35. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS.
houstonballet.org photo by Filip Van Roe
BOND & BEYOND
Apr 28–30 It’s a night of espionage at the Houston Symphony as we celebrate the best of 007 with Bond & Beyond. Enjoy familiar favorites from one of the most successful film franchises of all time, including Goldfinger, From Russia with Love, Diamonds are Forever and Casino Royale. Tony Award winner Debbie Gravitte joins Mike and the orchestra to perform select works on the program, including Adele’s Academy Award-winning song Skyfall. Tickets start at $35. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO
Apr 28–May 12 A comedic tale of stolen love as
only Mozart could write it. A damsel in distress is captured by Turkish pirates and awaits her fate in the harem of the Pasha Selim. Witness the charming antics of her fiancé and his servant on their journey to rescue their beloveds as this colorful comedy unfolds. James Robinson’s innovative production of Mozart’s comic gem brings the action to the decadent railcars of the 1920s Orient Express, making a triumphant return to HGO after nearly a decade. Tickets start at $18. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.228.OPERA.
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
Apr 28–May 21 Following the success of Death of a Salesman and All My Sons, the Alley returns to one of America’s greatest playwrights with a new production of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge. This dark and passionate story centers on Eddie Carbone, a longshoreman by trade, who is confident of his place in the working-class Brooklyn neighborhood he calls home. That life changes when he agrees to harbor his immigrant cousins. A love affair exposes a dark family secret, and suspicion, jealousy and betrayal soon follow. Tickets start at $30. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
DR. SEUSS AT THE SYMPHONY
Apr 29 Join us for a Saturday morning with Sam I Am and the spectacular world of Dr. Seuss! Featuring Seuss’ highly imaginative characters with song and dance, our storybook celebration explores music from Green Eggs and Ham. We also pay tribute to the lively sounds of classic animation with a zany Looney Tunes medley and Rossini’s famous Overture to the Barber of Seville. Tickets start at $25. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
A LITTLE DAY MUSIC
photo by Keith Ladzinski
May 3 A Little Day Music is a series of free concerts presented at noon on the first Wednesday of the month in the Grand Foyer of the Wortham Center. Each concert is designed to deliver Da Camera’s signature programming to an audience including senior citizens, Downtown professionals, and homeschool students. The series features a variety of chamber music and jazz, presented in an accessible one-hour concert format. Audiences are invited to enjoy their lunch while listening to the music. Free. Noon. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com
LOTT ENTERTAIMENT PRESENTS—SEX TIPS FOR STRAIGHT WOMEN FROM A GAY MAN
May 4–7 This romantic comedy takes the audience on a hilarious and wild ride where no topic is taboo and the insider ‘tips’ come straight from the source: a gay man. The play is set at a local university auditorium where the English department holds its monthly meet-the-authors event. Robyn is the shy and studious moderator of the event and the featured author is Dan Anderson of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. With the help of a hunky stage assistant named Stefan, Dan aims to turn this event upside down with a highly theatrical, audience interactive sex tip seminar. Tickets start at $42. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
May 5 A remarkably inventive musician who is at home in both the worlds of jazz and contemporary concert music, American pianist and composer Vijay Iyer’s originality draws much from his rich Indian heritage. With Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi, performed by Iyer and the virtuosic International Contemporary Ensemble, Iyer responds to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with an explosive work of live music and film inspired by the ancient Hindu Holi festival of colors and love celebrated each spring. Iyer is joined by members of International Contemporary Ensemble, the imaginative, genre-defying ensemble which serves as Artists-in-Residence at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival. Tickets $37.50. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com
FUN HOME photo by Joan Marcus
A NEW REQUIEM
May 5–7 Hear the world premiere of a major work by Houston Symphony Composer-in-Residence Gabriela Lena Frank as she unveils her Requiem, a multicultural work that interweaves traditional Latin and MesoAmerican texts with new passages by Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz. Then discover Shostakovich’s thrilling Symphony No. 5, a gripping masterpiece sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Tickets start at $25. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
POLY WANNA PODCAST LIVE!
May 6 Poly Wanna Podcast is a polyamory podcast hosted by Britt Vasicek. It features stories, tips, and insights into the lifestyle of ethical non-monogamy. The show will feature stand-up comedians, musical comedy and a Q&A with the audience members. Tickets $10. 8 pm. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291.
May 11–14 “A fearless pianist for whom no score is too demanding...” (Wall Street Journal), Yefim Bronfman returns to Houston with Bartók’s heart-pounding Piano Concerto No. 2. The program concludes with Stravinsky’s colorful ballet score, Petrouchka. Tickets start at $25. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
THE 5 BROWNS
May 12 Five siblings, all under the age of 40, with one mission: waking up classical music by introducing it to the widest, largest, most excited audience they can find. Whether that means performing individually or, most famously, together with complex five-piano arrangements, the 5 Browns reveal a deep connection to the music while bringing fresh energy and character to their sound. All five siblings attended Memorial High School and have toured extensively all over the world— from the Grand National Theater in China to the Alice Tully Hall in New York City. They will bring their reinvigorated style of classical music to Jones Hall. Tickets start at $43. 8 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org
datebook. LOTT ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS—6 GUITARS
SHAHAM PLUS BRAHMS
May 12–13 Award-winning writer/performer Chase
May 19–21 Hear Gil Shaham go “sailing through the
May 23 According to Men’s Journal, climber Mike
Padgett will premiere his original work, 6 Guitars, a pitch perfect blend of music, comedy and characters. Chase Padgett delivers a virtuosic performance as he becomes six different guitar players—each with a distinct voice, view and musical style (blues, jazz, rock, classical, folk and country). During this 85-minute show, each of the characters, ranging from a 19-yearold rock prodigy to an 87-year-old blues man, share their journey with music from discovery to mastery through songs and stories that leaves every audience laughing, crying and falling in love with music all over again. Tickets start at $27. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
darting off-kilter rhythms and pyrotechnical flights in the violin’s highest register with panache” (South Florida Classical Review) in Prokofiev’s spellbinding Violin Concerto No. 2. Marc Albrecht then concludes the season with Brahms’ heroic Symphony No. 1, a monumental work that takes listeners from darkness to triumph. Tickets start at $25. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
Libecki is one of the “World’s 50 Most Adventurous Men.” Follow Mike as he tackles mud and mayhem on the massive Poumaka Tower in French Polynesia, encounters fear and friendship on the Bamiyan slopes of Afghanistan and dodges polar bears while exploring Greenland’s icy waters. Tickets start at $15. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
May 13 A must-see for any music lover, Mozart’s final composition is a profoundly moving work, brimming with drama, hopefulness and redemption. Now, experience Mozart’s unforgettable music with the instruments he would have written for in his own time—to truly experience his genius. Tickets start at $19. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.533.0080.
May 16–28 Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, Fun Home introduces us to Alison at three different ages, as she explores and unravels the many mysteries of her childhood. A refreshingly honest musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes, “Fun Home is extraordinary, a rare beauty that pumps fresh air into Broadway.” (New York Times) For Mature Audiences. Tickets start at $30. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. tuts.com
JESSICA LANG DANCE
May 25–Jun 4 In remembrance of the 400th
of the nation’s pre-eminent companies. Their newest work, Tesseracts of Time, merges together the art forms of architecture and dance. This dance for architecture is divided into four parts like the seasons compressed into 20 minutes. Including massive sets specifically designed for the piece by Steven Holl Architects, Tesseracts of Time aims to re-evaluate the art of architecture. Tickets start at $43. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org
anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, David Bintley is creating a fantastical production of The Tempest, set to a commissioned score by British composer Sally Beamish. At once stormy and sweet, Bintley’s Tempest promises to be an exciting recount of Shakespeare’s supernatural tale. Banished to a deserted island with his daughter, Miranda, Prospero conjures up a horrific storm in which a magical story unfolds. It’s an enchanted yarn filled with drama, passion, a struggle for power and, of course, love. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org
DON QUIXOTE’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURES
May 21 One of history’s greatest literary figures, Don
Quixote inspired many musical works over the years, from Renaissance songs to a Broadway musical. Ars Lyrica’s 2016–17 season finale features core string players and singers in a pan-European survey of Baroque music devoted to this Ingenious Gentleman of La Mancha. Tickets start at $39. 8 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org
MONDAYS Baby Time, 10:30 am Toddler Story Time, 11:30 am Preschool Story Time, 1 pm
TUESDAYS Toddler Yoga, 10:30 am Toddler Playtime, 11:30 am
WEDNESDAYS Lego Mania, 3 pm
THURSDAYS Minecraft, 3:30 pm
May 20 Jessica Lang Dance has quickly become one
Houston Public Library FAMILY FUN
EXHIBIT: GUARDIANS OF SUNDA STRAIT— THE WARTIME LOSS OF THE USS HOUSTON & HMAS PERTH Through Jul 2 The Guardians of Sunda Strait exhibit tells the dramatic and brave story of the crews of the USS Houston and HMAS Perth, when both ships were lost in the Battle of Sunda Strait during World War II off the coast of Indonesia. This exhibition brings together emotional accounts from survivors of the battle as well as significant objects from various international collections, including items from the Australian War Memorial, the Royal Australian Navy’s Heritage Collection, the Sea Power Centre Australia, the University of Houston and the US Navy’s History and Heritage Command. Julia Ideson Building.
STEM @ YOUR LIBRARY
Mar 4, Apr 15, May 6 Explosions, gadgets, and pulleys, oh my! Join us for exploratory activities that make science, technology, engineering and math fun! Children and tweens ages 5–12. 3 pm. Central Library.
GUARDIANS OF SUNDA STRAIT
All events free and open to the public. Central Library, 500 McKinney Julia Ideson Library, 550 McKinney 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org
Mar 11, Apr 1, May 13 Van Gogh, Da Vinci, and why not you? Explore talented artists and try your hand at mimicking their signature styles to create your own work of art. Children and tweens ages 5 –12. 3 pm. Central Library.
Mar 17 Sit back, relax, and enjoy a free screening of Hugo (PG). 2 pm. Central Library.
8TH ANNUAL BOOKS ALIVE! CHILDREN’S BOOK CELEBRATION
May 6 Children are invited to enjoy an afternoon of fun and exciting activities with children’s book author and illustrator, Grace Lin. Her books include The Ugly Vegetables, Dim Sum for Everyone! and her first children’s novel, The Year of the Dog. Festivities at the Library’s Plaza include science experiments with Mad Science of Houston, crafts with Pop Shop, Puppet Pizzazz and much more. Noon–3:30 pm. Central Library.
Market Square Park
DON’T MISS ART CAR PREVIEW
Mar 11 Spend the afternoon getting a sneak peak at some of the cars that will be featured in the 2017 Art Car Parade! Bring the family out for interactive fun and an art show before settling onto the lawn for a Q&A panel with some of the movers and shakers involved with the Orange Show. Learn about the history of the Art Car Parade and how it came to be during a special film screening of Art Car: The Movie. The fun begins at 3 pm and the movie starts at 7 pm. Free.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY IN HISTORIC MARKET SQUARE
Mar 17 Get lucky this St.
Patrick’s Day weekend with a ton-o-Irish fun in Historic Market Square. Kick things off at Market Square Park with some festive fun and games and a few surprises along the way. Beer specials and live music by Murder the Stout included. Then spend the rest of the evening visiting the neighborhoods eclectic bars and restaurants for drink specials on your Irish favorites. 5 pm. Free.
DREAMGIRLS: PRESENTED BY THEATRE UNDER THE STARS
Mar 23 In anticipation of their run of Dreamgirls,
Theatre Under the Stars brings one night of Motowninspired fun to Market Square Park. Come early and get your spot on the lawn for your chance to partake in the pre-movie entertainment and win amazing prizes, including tickets to see the full production of Dreamgirls at TUTS in April. Then settle in for the feature presentation as the Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow gets the film going on the big screen. 7 pm. Free.
DOOMSDAY WRESTLING LIVE
Apr 22 Join us on Saturday, April 22 for an evening of headlocks and hi-jinks with the wackiest wrestlers that you’ve ever seen. Described as being like the WWE but intentionally funny—and named Best Comedy Show by the Houston Press—Doomsday Wrestling has been entertaining Houston with its unique brand of over-thetop “comedy wrestling” since 2003. And now the best little wrasslin’ show in Texas is set to body slam Market Square Park into submission! This event is suitable for all ages. 7 pm. Free. doomsdaywrestling.com
CINCO DE MAYO
May 5 Kick off the Cinco de Mayo festivities with a concert in the park with an amazing musical lineup featuring hometown favorite, Gio Chamba. Grab a cerveza from Niko Niko’s and claim your spot on the lawn for the dance party. 7 pm. Free.
PILATES DAY IN THE PARK
May 6 Pilates Day is an annual, international, community event celebrated on the first Saturday of May every year. To celebrate the 2017 event, our friends at Instep Pilates are bringing the Pilates to the park! Grab your mats and your workout buddies and head to the park for a free workout led by an Instep Pilates pro. Come early for your chance to snag swag and enter to win some amazing prizes. 10 am. Free.
PUPPIES FOR BREAKFAST
May 13 Join Market Square Park, Neue Creative and Modular Dog for Puppies for Breakfast—a unique outdoor festival, which brings all things dog-centric to one place in Downtown Houston. This year’s event will include over 40 dog industry vendors and artists, a costume contest, a mayor of Market Square contest, an area for four four-legged friends to play in, music and much more! A few of Houston’s best food trucks along with Niko Niko’s, will be on-site serving breakfast and lunch throughout the festival. The event is free and open to the public, with a suggested $5 donation to help a local dog rescue. 10 am–3 pm. Free.
4TH ANNUAL BAYOU JAMBOREE
May 22 No need to make the trek to NOLA to get your Cajun fix, join us for beer, crawfish, Cajun eats, a super fun kids zone and lots of horn-blowing, Cajun two-stepping fun in historic Market Square. Opening set by local funk band Journey Agents with a surprise headliner hailing from New Orleans! A few neighborhood favorites may even be on site selling some of their Cajun specialties. 3–7 pm. Free.
Apr 20, May 18 This popular park favorite it is back! Bring your blanket, lawn chairs or snag one of the tables at the park for a night of music and great prizes. $10 admission includes one bingo packet (approx 9 games). Additional games and daubers can be purchased for $1 each. 6–9 pm. Benefits Market Square Park and Buffalo Bayou Partnership. Note: Blanket Bingo is a monthly event through September. 6–9 pm. Bingo begins at 7 pm.
MOVIES ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE CINEMAS ROLLING ROADSHOW PRESENTS THE QUIRKY & THE CLASSICS Forget about trekking to the ’burbs for your Alamo Drafthouse fix and come Downtown instead! Join the Rolling Roadshow for these fantastic films under the stars. Free. Mar 23 Dreamgirls (PG-13) 2006, 130 min. 7 pm. Apr 12 There’s Something About Mary (R) 1998, 119 min. 7:30 pm. May 10 Office Space (R) 1999, 89 min. 8 pm.
RECREATION BAYOU BIKERS
Mar 5, Apr 2, May 7 Bayou Bikers meet at Market Square on the first Sunday of the month for 25- to 40mile bike rides exploring the bayous of Houston. Rides are open to all. Mountain bikes or bikes with fat tires are necessary. This is an informal group whose purpose is to show Houstonians and visitors the beauty of Houston’s waterways. First Sunday of the month, 8 am.
Mar 31, April 28, May 26 Critical Mass is an informal bike group that meets the last Friday of every month to ride around the city, raise awareness and advocate for a bicycle-friendly urban environment. All bikes are welcome. 7:15 pm.
PARK INFORMATION Market Square Park is open daily from 6 am–11 pm. Blankets, lawn chairs, and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase at Niko Niko’s. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages are allowed. Metered on-street parking is available and free after 6 pm. marketsquarepark.com Be sure to follow Historic Market Square on Facebook and Twitter for special event announcements, weather-related updates and other happenings in the neighborhood’s eclectic dining and bar scene.
datebook. 45TH ANNUAL BBP REGATTA HEARTMADE ART MARKET
58TH ANNUAL HOUSTON ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE
photo by Katya Horner
Mar 11 The Houston St. Patrick’s
FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS CITY HALL FARMERS MARKET
Wednesdays It’s a food-lovers delight at Urban Harvest’s City Hall Farmers Market. The public can enjoy a variety of locally prepared, ready-to-eat or packaged to-go foods, pick up farm-fresh weekly groceries and at the same time support sustainable food, all amid Houston’s dramatic Downtown urban setting. The farmers market features more than 30 vendors including fresh produce grown by local farmers, cheeses, breads, roasted coffees, and a variety of prepared meals, as well as food trucks. 11:30 am–1:30 pm. Hermann Square, 901 Bagby. 713.880.5540.
Day Commission presents the 58th Annual Houston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, one of the biggest in the nation, with over 100 entries to delight both the Irish and the Irishat-heart. Free. Noon. Rain or shine. Minute Maid Park and surrounding area. hsppc.org
SAINT PATRICK’S DAY AT SAINT ARNOLD
Mar 17 In true St. Patrick’s Day fashion, join Saint Arnold Brewing Company for specially themed dishes and special cask beer on tap served in a custom St. Patrick’s Day glass. Prizes awarded for the best “Donegal Beard.” Tickets $28. 5 pm. Saint Arnold Brewing Co., 2000 Lyons. 713.686.9494.
TOUR DE HOUSTON
Mar 19 The 12th annual bike ride presented by Apache Corporation offers Houstonians and visitors a unique way to view the city, with routes winding through Houston’s historic neighborhoods, scenic districts and parks. The Tour de Houston is a recommended training ride for the BP MS 150 and all proceeds benefit the city’s Reforest Houston program. City Hall, 901 Bagby.
with a challenging boot camp. No equipment is needed and classes are open to all skill levels. Free. 6:30–7 am. The Lawn at GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. 832.320.1201.
Mar 21 Learn all about rainforests, the animals
Wednesdays through May 31 Start the day off right
45TH ANNUAL BUFFALO BAYOU PARTNERSHIP REGATTA
Mar 11 Compete in Texas’ largest canoe and kayak race—a 15-mile paddling excursion from San Felipe and Voss to Downtown’s Sesquicentennial Park. Not a paddler? Cheer on racers along Buffalo Bayou and join in the free finish line festivities and awards ceremony with live zydeco music, activities, and food and drink. $50–$60 to race; free finish line festivities at Sesquicentennial Park (11 am–2 pm). 713.752.0314.
that live there, their importance and how you can save them. Activities include crafts, games, animal appearances, keeper chats, and more! Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. 713.223.FISH.
of over 40 local artists, crafters and creatives. The funfilled festivities will host a little something for everyone with live music, food truck fare and special interactive elements along the way. Celebrate the Houston art community and some of its best ambassadors, all in one place. Free. 11 am–6 pm. Main Street Square, Main at McKinney. heartmadehouston.com
HOUSTON CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL
Apr 1–2 This event is a child’s dream day filled with celebrity appearances, a petting zoo, five stages for entertainment and tons of fun activities. Tickets $10 online or $12 on day of event, children 3 years and under free. Located in the area surrounding City Hall, Houston Public Library, Tranquility Park and Sam Houston Park. houstonchildrensfestival.com
MUTTS + MELODIES
Apr 1, 22, May 6, 27 Pup Squad Animal Rescue will be holding pet adoptions on The Lawn at GreenStreet. Enjoy live music as you visit with these sweet puppies looking for their fur-ever home. Free. 1–4 pm. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. 832.320.1201.
30TH ANNUAL ART CAR PARADE
Apr 8 250+ originally decorated cars, bikes, and other wheel-based entries will fill the streets of Downtown Houston in this impressive parade presented by The Orange Show. Participating vehicles include entries from all over the United States, Mexico and Canada, making this the largest Art Car Parade in the world. Free. 2 pm. thehoustonartcarparade.com
Mar 25 Santiago Sent Us Tour starring The Tenderloins. Tickets $52.75. 5 pm. Revention Music Center, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000.
HEARTMADE ART MARKET
Apr 1 Back by popular demand, Heartmade Art Market will host its second ever festival right in the heart of Downtown Houston. Spend the day exploring the works
CITY HALL FARMERS MARKET
Discovery Green Spring Calendar The events listed are confirmed at the time of printing. For a full listing of Discovery Green’s spring events, please visit the calendar at discoverygreen.com Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase at the Lake House. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages permitted. Most events are free, unless noted otherwise. 1500 McKinney.
SCREEN ON THE GREEN
SPECIAL EVENTS AVENIDA HOUSTON PRESENTS THE RINK: ROLLING AT DISCOVERY GREEN
Mar 3–25 Show off your moves on Houston’s first
outdoor roller rink. Visit website for weekly and special events and daily hours of operation. $12 per person.
Mar 10 Think on your feet! Writers in the Schools (WITS) writing and slam workshops for poets ages 13–19. 6–7:30 pm.
SPRING BREAK WEEK
Daily, Mar 13–17 Celebrate Spring Break with five days of fun for the whole family. Noon–4 pm. Visit website for daily schedule.
RAINBOW AND ROLL HOSTED BY MAYOR TURNER’S LGBTQ ADVISORY BOARD
Mar 17 The annual citywide LGBTQ celebration
returns to the park! Skate on the roller rink and have fun as we celebrate with the ultimate dance party and electrifying entertainment. 7–10 pm.
FLEA BY NIGHT PRESENTED BY GREEN MOUNTAIN ENERGY
Mar 18, Apr 22, May 20 Treasure hunt for all things vintage, handmade, recycled, repurposed and renewed. Live local music, food trucks and fun under the stars and twinkling lights! Enjoy a special Earth Day edition of Flea by Night on April 22. 6–10 pm.
FAMILIES ON THE GREEN
Mar 26 Families on the Green presented by Bracewell is the biennial fundraiser for Discovery Green that provides a snapshot of the park’s best programming. Join us for a fun afternoon of family-friendly fun, including a roller skating rink right inside the park. 2–5 pm.
SPACE CITY GRAND SLAM
Apr 2 Young poets vie for a spot on the 2017 Meta-Four Houston Team. 3–5 pm.
SUNDAYS IN THE PARK
Sundays, Apr 2–May 28 Make Sundays your favorite day in the park. Enjoy rounds of Jenga, cornhole and Bocce and jam out to live local music! 2–5 pm.
FUNOMENAL FAMILY FESTIVAL
Apr 29 What a FUN-omenal festival! Family fun in the park featuring rides, performances, activities and more! 1–6 pm.
May 19–20 A spectacular event you won’t want to miss! Houston-based contemporary circus troupe, Cirque La Vie, performs Sophia to live music by Two Star Symphony at 7:30 pm, followed by eVenti Verticali at 9 pm on the Avenida.
ENTERTAINMENT SCREEN ON THE GREEN PRESENTED BY BANK OF AMERICA Beloved family movies under the stars and Houston’s skyline. Arrive one hour early for contests and activities. Mar 4 Trolls (PG) 2016, 112 min. 7 pm. Apr 8 Moana (PG) 2016, 113 min. 8:15 pm. May 6 Ghostbusters (PG-13) 2016, 116 min. 8:30 pm.
H-E-B MOVIE NIGHT
May 5 Sing (PG) 2016, 110 min. 8:15 pm.
THURSDAY CONCERTS PRESENTED BY UHD Family friendly concerts showcasing the best music of the Gulf Coast! Concerts start at 7 pm. May 11 Joe Ely May 18 Del Castillo May 25 ThunderSOUL Orchestra and Grady Gaines & The Texas Upsetters
WEEKLY EVENTS KAYAK RIDES AND SUP (STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING) ON KINDER LAKE
Weekends, Mar 4–May 28 Enjoy SUP or a relaxing, guided kayak ride. No reservation required. $5 per person for kayak and $10 for SUP.
Mar 4–May 27 Bring your glass, paper, plastic and aluminum to a recycling station at Discovery Green. 11 am–2 pm.
Apr 4–May 30 Fun for toddlers and parents! Story time, activities and more with your favorite characters. 10:30 am.
YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP
Saturdays, Mar 4–May 27 Kids learn to express their thoughts and develop language skills, thanks to Writers in the Schools (WITS), HPL Express and Discovery Green in Houston’s only free and open writing workshop for kids. 10:30–11:30 am.
LEARN A LANGUAGE
Saturdays, Mar 4–May 27 Start your child on a journey toward learning a new language. 11:30 am–12:30 pm.
STEM SATURDAYS PRESENTED BY OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM
Mar 4–May 27 Girls Inc. hosts a fun, hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education program for kids. 12:30–1:30 pm.
DA CAMERA JAM AT DISCOVERY GREEN
Apr 13, 21, 27 Free concerts organized by Discovery Green and Da Camera of Houston to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month. Concerts start at 7 pm. Apr 13 Joel Fulgham Big Band featuring Pamela York Apr 21 Jason Moran, Chris Walker and Denardo Coleman Apr 27 Red Baraat
STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING
FITNESS IN THE PARK YOGA Mondays, 11:30 am–12:30 pm Tuesdays, 6:30–7:30 pm
DISCOVERY GREEN ON THE AVENIDA
Mondays, 12:30–1:30 pm
AVENIDA GRAND OPENING
Tuesdays, 6–8 pm
Mar 11 Celebrate the re-opening of the renovated
George R. Brown Convention Center with live music by the Tontons, street performers, aerial performance, fireworks and more. Free. 2–9:30 pm.
Wednesdays, 6–7 pm
PARKOUR Thursdays, 6:30–8 pm
HATHA YOGA Saturdays, 9–10 am
OTHER EVENTS FRENCH CULTURES FESTIVAL
Mar 10 Celebrating French language and culture. 6–10 pm. frenchculture.org
ART CAR SNEAK PEEK
Apr 6 Grand preview of the 30th annual Art Car Parade. See the cars up close and party with the artists. Live music by Kermit Ruffins, additional film and activities. Avenida Plaza and Discovery Green. Free. 6–10 pm.
EARTH DAY ON THE AVENIDA
UT HEALTH STROKE FEST
May 5 The Stroke Festival features free health screenings, health education and entertainment. 9 am–3 pm. strokefestival.org
the Avenida? Ice carving, live painting and more rotating art performances. Free. 7–9 pm.
HOUSTON FIRST MUSIC NIGHTS
perform live on the Avenida. Free. 7–9 pm.
featuring Italian performers, eVenti Verticali, following a 7:30 pm performance by Cirque la Vie and Two Star Symphony at Discovery Green. 9 pm.
promoting healthy lifestyles for families. 10 am–6 pm. healthyfestival.com
AVENIDA LIVING ART
Tuesdays, Mar 14–May 30 What will you discover on
powered inflatable kinetic 35-foot-tall sculpture. Performances at 5, 7 and 9 pm with a workshop following the 5 pm performance, art and science activities and the Flea by Night artisan, eco-friendly market. Free. 5–10 pm.
dog jumping competitions and more at this free, family friendly festival. 10 am–2 pm.
Free. 7 pm.
Wednesdays, May 3–31 Emerging Houston bands
May 19–20 Aerial spectacular physical theater
Apr 1 HealthFest is the premier event for
AVENIDA FUN AND FIT
Mondays, Mar 13–May 29 Fitness fun on Avenida.
Apr 22 Live performance of Pneumonica, a music-
Mar 24–26 Learn to cast, catch a fish, watch bassmaster.com/classic
AVENIDA INFORMATION Chiseled into the Downtown skyline and tucked between three professional sports venues is a destination that will take your Houston experience to the next level. Avenida Houston is the city’s newest dining, entertainment and arts district. The development includes the George R. Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green, Hilton Americas-Houston and Marriott Marquis.
BLUES AT THE BROWN
Wednesdays, Mar 15–Apr 26 Live lunchtime concerts on the Avenida featuring classic blues and more. Free. 11:30 am–1 pm.
DANCING IN THE STREETS!
Thursdays, Mar 16–May 25 Learn to dance along the Avenida. Two lessons each Thursday, ranging from line dancing to tango; two step to salsa; hip hop to ballroom. Free. 7–9 pm.
Fridays, Mar 17–May 26 See the circus along the Avenida. Acrobats, contortion and more! Free. 7–10 pm.
Saturdays, Mar 18–May 27 Avenida Houston is alive with strolling musicians, living statues and more! Free. 7–10 pm.
SPEAKER SERIES INPRINT GEORGE SAUNDERS READING
Mar 6 George
HAPPY HOUR WITH PINOT’S PALETTE
HAPPY HOUR WITH PINOT’S PALETTE
Apr 19, May 17 Make plans for an unforgettable evening of fun and fine art where the wine and the canvases are provided! All you need to do is bring your friends and get ready to be inspired by local artists from Pinot’s Palette who will guide you stepby-step through a featured painting. At the end of the evening,leave with your own masterpiece. Please note that this is an outdoor event. Main Street Square, 1000 block of Main. Space is limited, $20. 5:30–8 pm.
FRIDAY FLICKS ON THE LAWN Spread out on The Lawn at GreenStreet the fourth Friday of each month for a free movie night under the moon. Movies begin at 8 pm. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. 832.320.1201. greenstreetdowntown.com Apr 21 When Harry Met Sally (R) 1989, 96 min. May 19 Say Anything (PG-13) 1989, 100 min.
Apr 22 Join Bayou Buddies—Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s young professionals group—for their biggest fundraiser of the year featuring crawfish, live music, lawn games, libations, kayak demonstrations and boat tours. Guests will have a chance to bid on silent auction items including local culinary experiences, outdoor gear, and a private boat tour. Presale—$30 for non-members and $25 for Bayou Buddies members; Day of—$40 for non-members and $30 for Bayou Buddies members. Noon–4 pm. The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park, 105 Sabine. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
PARTY FOR THE PLANET
Apr 22 Join us for our Earth Day Celebration! Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. 713.223.FISH.
Fridays through Aug 25 Strap on your dancing shoes and move to the beat! Enjoy free salsa dance lessons, a live DJ and salsa music, plus great food and drinks. No cover charge. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. 713.223.FISH. downtownquarium.com
Saunders, a MacArthur Genius fellow, named one of Time magazine’s 2013 100 Most Influential People in the World, and author of several story collections, including Tenth of December, will give a “choral” reading— along with five Alley Theatre actors—from his new novel Lincoln in the Bardo, as part of the 2016–2017 Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series, followed by an on-stage interview, book sale and signing. Tickets $5. 7:30 pm. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.521.2026.
BAYOU CITY BLITZ: RICE UNIVERSITY
Mar 8 Former Rice Owls starters Trevor Cobb, Jarett Dillard and Bucky Allshouse discuss the school’s football history and answer questions. Free. 7 pm. The Heritage Society Tea Room, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912.
FINGER LECTURE SERIES—CAPTAIN DAVE AND THE YANKEES: A TALE OF THE TEXAS BLOCKADE
Apr 20 Andy Hall tells the story of the blockade on
the Texas coast, as seen through the experiences of two young men. Members are free, non-members $5. Noon. The Heritage Society Tea Room, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
INPRINT ADA LIMÓN AND GREGORY PARDLO READING
Apr 3 Ada Limón, National Book Award finalist for her third poetry collection Dead Bright Things, and Gregory Pardlo, Pulitzer Prize winner for his second poetry collection Digest, will read from their work as part of the 2016–2017 Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series, followed by an on-stage interview, book sale and signing. Tickets $5. 7:30 pm. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.521.2026. inprinthouston.org
INPRINT COLM TÓIBÍN READING
May 8 Colm Tóibín, award-winning Irish fiction writer, playwright, essayist, and journalist, and author of the bestselling novel Brooklyn, will read from his new novel House of Names, as part of the 2016–2017 Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series, followed by an on-stage interview, book sale and signing. Tickets $5. 7:30 pm. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.521.2026.
FINGER LECTURE—BENEATH HOUSTON STREETS: UPPER BUFFALO BAYOU AND THE SAN FELIPE TRAIN IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
history of large rural areas that later fell beneath the city’s late 20th century urban sprawl. Members are free, non-members $5. Noon. The Heritage Society Tea Room, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
Heritage Society Tea Room, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912.
Mar 16 Dan Michael Worrall will discuss the forgotten
BAYOU CITY BLITZ: HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Mar 29 Former area high school stars, Robert Brown and Tom Nolen discuss Houston’s football history. Free. 7 pm. The Heritage Society Tea Room, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
BAYOU CITY BLITZ: THE HOUSTON TEXANS
Apr 12 Former Texans players and personnel discuss the team’s early history and answer questions from the crowd. Free. 7 pm. The Heritage Society Tea Room, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
FINGER LECTURE SERIES—HOUSTON’S RED LIGHT DISTRICT
May 18 Members are free, non-members $5. Noon. The heritagesociety.org
EXHIBITS & VISUAL ARTS ON MY JOURNEY NOW—THE LEGACY OF JOHN BIGGERS
Through Apr 6 Arts Brookfield presents On My
Journey Now—The Legacy of John Biggers, an important exhibition of selected early works by John Biggers, founder of the Art Department at Texas Southern University, accompanied by works of his accomplished and respected students. Free. Weekdays, 8 am–6 pm. Two Allen Center (Lobby), 1200 Smith. 713.336.2280. artsbrookfield.com
datebook. THE WEEKND
BAYOU CITY BLITZ
Through Apr 29 Houston is a city that thrives on football. A sold-out NRG Stadium and a lengthy waiting list for Texans season tickets are only the latest manifestations of a gridiron fixation that dates back more than a century. From the NFL to colleges, high schools and pick-up games in the park, Houstonians love the pigskin like few other cities in America. Visitors to the exhibit will explore Houston’s football past through iconic photographs and video, vintage equipment, trophies, uniforms, programs and other memorabilia. Free. Weekdays, 10 am–4 pm. The Heritage Society, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912.
GEOMETRY AND MOVEMENT—THE LANGUAGE OF COLOR IN MOTION
Through Apr 19 Arts Brookfield presents Geometry of Movement—The Language of Color in Motion, a vibrant collection of works by Marta Chilindron and Graciela Hasper. Free. Weekdays, 8 am–6 pm. Total Plaza (Lobby), 1201 Louisiana. 713.336.2280.
EARTH AND LIGHT
Through Jun 1 Arts Brookfield presents Earth and Light, a provocative exhibition of works by Madeleine Dietz, Perla Krauze, August Muth, Mario Reis and Regina Schumann. Free. Weekdays, 8 am–6 pm. 1600 Smith Lobby Gallery, 1600 Smith. 713.336.2280.
TRANSFORMING ILLUSIONS IN SPACE
Apr 18–Oct 16 Arts Brookfield presents Transforming Illusions in Space, a selection of diverse threedimensional works by early and contemporary Texas sculptors Free. Weekdays, 8 am–6 pm. Heritage Plaza (Lobby), 1111 Bagby. 713.336.2280. artsbrookfield.com
TROPICAL [IM]PRESSION: A GULF COAST HURRICANE RETROSPECTIVE
May 9–Jun 24 The exhibition features 67 color and black-and-white photographs that convey the collective impression recent hurricanes have made on the Gulf Coast region from Galveston, Texas, to Cameron Parish, Louisiana. Free. 10 am–4 pm. The Heritage Society, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
May 11–Sep 11 Arts Brookfield presents It’s Unreal!, an electrifying installation of works by Adela Andea. Free. Weekdays, 8 am–6 pm. Total Plaza (Lobby), 1201 Louisiana. 713.336.2280. artsbrookfield.com
CONCERTS REVENTION MUSIC CENTER
Mar 3 Maluma Mar 10 Bring Me The Horizon Mar 11 Experience Hendrix Mar 14 The Worship Tour Mar 17 Big Sean Mar 24 Excision Apr 14 Sebastian Maniscalco Apr 29 PJ Harvey May 6 Franco De Vita May 9 The xx May 12 Brian Wilson May 18 Miguel Bose
Revention Music Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. Revention Music Center, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000. reventionmusiccenter.com
HOUSE OF BLUES
Mar 3 Melendi Mar 4 Tesla Mar 7 Jake Miller Mar 10 Cowboy Mouth Mar 14 Whitechapel Mar 21 Kreator Mar 23 Skillet Mar 24 Maren Morris Apr 6 Jacob Sartorius Apr 8 gnash Apr 9 Testament Apr 13 The Revivalists Apr 14 The Rides Apr 17 Killswitch Engage & Anthrax Apr 22 Whiskey Myers Apr 26 Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness Apr 30 Trey Anastasio May 3 Rival Sons May 4 Jillian Michaels May 12 Damien Escobar May 17 The Damned
Mar 3 Winter Jam Mar 5 Green Day Mar 17 Game of Thrones Live Mar 18 Charlie Wilson Mar 31 Emmanuel & Mijares Apr 1 Panic! At The Disco Apr 8 Ariana Grande May 6 The Weeknd May 13 Lionel Richie, Mariah Carey May 20 New Kids On The Block, Boyz II Men, Paula Abdul Toyota Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.4HOUTIX.
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM
Mar 25 KSBJ 35TH Anniversary Concert BBVA Compass Stadium’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas. 888.929.7849. bbvacompassstadium.com
HOB’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. House of Blues, GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline. 888.402.5837.
EXPOS Mar 5 Quinceanera Magazine Expo Mar 8–12 42nd Annual Fishing Show Mar 24–26 Bassmaster Classic Apr 1–2 36th Annual Texas Home and Garden Home Show
Apr 1–2 High Caliber Gun & Knife Show Apr 7–9 Anime Matsuri May 7–8 High Caliber Gun & Knife Show The George R. Brown Convention Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas. 713.853.8000. houstonconventionctr.com
TOURS BUFFALO BAYOU WALKING TOUR
Mar 4, Apr 20 Explore the city from a vantage point most people don’t see: the waterway that gave Houston life and has been its backbone for 175 years. Stroll along Buffalo Bayou Parkway for an overview of Downtown Houston’s history and architecture from its beginnings in 1836 to the efforts to revitalize the central city today. Tickets $10 10 am. Northeast corner of Market Square Park, 301 Milam. 713.520.0155. aiahouston.org
LOOKING BACK BOAT TOUR WITH LOUIS AULBACH
Mar 18, Apr 15, May 13 Take a look back with local historian and author Louis Aulbach to the late 1800s when Houston was founded. He will share stories about the Allen brothers and provide historical information about the people, places and events that helped shape our city. $40. 10–11:30 am. Sabine Promenade Boat Launch, 150 Sabine. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
SECOND SATURDAY BOAT RIDES
Mar 25, Apr 8, May 13 These 30-minute boat rides are a great way to spend the afternoon with your family. Escape from the city and enjoy the cool breeze as you glide along Buffalo Bayou’s waters. Look for graceful herons, jumping fish, and even an occasional alligator sunning on the banks. Adults $7, children (ages 4–12) $5. 10 am–2 pm. Sabine Promenade Boat Launch, 150 Sabine. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
TOWERS & TREES DOWNTOWN WALKING TOUR
Mar 5 The Towers and Trees tour explores the
magnificent architecture between Hermann Square and Discovery Green as well as the changing dynamics of our Downtown. We’ll look at the partially realized civic center plan surrounding Hermann Square, the historic backbone of Main Street, the ambitious 1970 proposal that would become Houston Center, the internationally recognized icons from the skyscraper boom of the 70s and 80s, and Discovery Green. Tickets $10. 6 pm. Hermann Square, 900 Smith. 713.520.0155.
URBAN ART WALKING TOUR
URBAN ART (DOWNTOWN) WALKING TOUR
Apr 6, May 20 This series of tours will look at public
art, architecture, place making and urban planning in Houston. Each new tour will focus on a small walkable section of Houston. Downtown Part 1 includes Market Square Park, Buffalo Bayou and areas West of Main Street. Artists featured on this tour include Mel Chin, Paul Kittleson, Louise Nevelson, Claes Oldenburg and Dean Ruck. Tickets $10. 6 pm. Meet in the NE corner of Market Square Park, 301 Milam. 713.520.0155.
WAUGH BAT COLONY BOAT TOURS
Apr 8 & 22, May 13 & 27 Guests will enjoy an amazing view of over 250,000 magnificent Mexican free-tailed bats as they emerge from underneath Waugh Drive Bridge. $30, (children under 4 are not permitted). Boat departs 30 minutes before sunset. Sabine Promenade Boat Launch, 150 Sabine. 713.752.0314.
ROCK BUILDING STONES: DOWNTOWN GEOLOGY & MATERIALS TOUR
Apr 22 This architectural and geological walking tour of Downtown goes beyond the typical architectural focus to include the provenance and geology of the buildings’ materials. These sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks have come from all over the world and now call Houston home. The tour is inspired by similar walks in Europe and adapted from the Houston Geological Society’s 1995 tour, Houston Building Stones. Tickets $10. 10 am. Meet in the southeast corner of Austin and McKinney Streets, 1001 Austin. 713.520.0155.
DISCOVER HOUSTON TOURS Ghost tours, tunnel walks and rail tours, architectural tours and more are available. Ticket prices vary. 713.222.9255. discoverhoustontours.com
HERITAGE SOCIETY HISTORIC HOMES TOUR Nestled among 19 acres in the heart of Downtown Houston, the Heritage Society boasts eight historic structures dating from 1823 to 1905. Each historic structure is authentically restored to reflect its original magnificence. Tickets $15 adults, $12 seniors, $6 children 6–8 and kids under 5 are free. Sam Houston Park, 1100 Bagby. Times vary. 713.655.1912.
MINUTE MAID PARK TOUR Get a behind-the-scenes look at Minute Maid Park including historic Union Station, broadcasting booth and press boxes, Astros’ and visitors’ dugouts, luxury suites and much more. Tickets $15 adults, $12 seniors and $10 for kids 3–12. Mon–Sat, 10 am and noon. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 713.259.8687. astros.com
SAINT ARNOLD BREWING COMPANY TOUR Visit Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s Brewery and get a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process. Their knowledgeable staff will explain the history, ingredients, and equipment used to produce the freshest beer. Tours are available Monday–Friday at 1 pm and 3 pm, and on Saturdays at noon, 1 pm, and 2 pm. After the tour, guests are welcome to stay for a free tasting. Admission is free Mon–Fri and is $10 on Sat. No reservations required. All minors under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 2000 Lyons.
SEGWAY TOURS OF HOUSTON Like the rest of Texas, Downtown Houston is a pretty big place to walk around. There are a lot of things to see up close and from a distance. Experience the Bayou City, once the capitol city of a sovereign country, from a walking perspective within a few hours while you have effortless fun on a Segway. $80. Daily: 10 am, noon, 2 pm, 4 pm and 6 pm. Meet at Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 866.673.4929. segwaytoursofhouston.com
SPORTS 2017 SHRINERS HOSPITALS FOR CHILDREN CLASSIC Mar 3–5 The 2017 Shriners Hospitals for Children
College Classic returns to Minute Maid Park for its annual college baseball tournament. The three-day tournament will feature match-ups between the University of Mississippi, Baylor University, Texas Tech University, Texas A&M University, Texas Christian University and Louisiana State University. Ticket prices vary. astros.com/collegeclassic
SWAC BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
Mar 10–11 Once again, Toyota Center will host the 2017 Southwestern Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament. Join other fans as they cheer on the men’s and women’s teams fighting for the conference title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Don’t miss your chance to see all the action leading up to Final Four weekend. $20–$60. 713.758.7200. houstontoyotacenter.com
Mar 4 Rockets vs. Memphis Grizzlies Mar 8 Rockets vs. Utah Jazz Mar 12 Rockets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Mar 15 Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Mar 20 Rockets vs. Denver Nuggets Mar 24 Rockets vs. New Orleans Pelicans Mar 26 Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Mar 28 Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors Apr 5 Rockets vs. Denver Nuggets Apr 7 Rockets vs. Detroit Pistons Apr 12 Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves For schedule info and tickets, call or visit website. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.758.7200. rockets.com
Mar 4 Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders FC Mar 11 Dynamo vs. Columbus Crew SC Apr 1 Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls Apr 15 Dynamo vs. Minnesota United FC Apr 22 Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes May 6 Dynamo vs. Orland City FC May 12 Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC May 31 Dynamo vs. Real Salt Lake For schedule info and tickets, call or visit website. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas. 713.276.GOAL.
Mar 30–31 Astros vs. Chicago Cubs (Exhibition Games)
Apr 3–6 Astros vs. Seattle Mariners Apr 7–9 Astros vs. Royals Apr 17–20 Astros vs. Anaheim Angels Apr 28–30 Astros vs. Oakland Athletics May 1–4 Astros vs. Texas Rangers May 9–10 Astros vs. Atlanta Braves May 19–21 Astros vs. Cleveland Indians May 22–25 Astros vs. Detroit Tigers May 26–28 Astros vs. Baltimore Orioles For schedule info and tickets, call or visit website. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 877.927.8767.
Historic Market Square
F RE E and EASY Minute Maid Park
AVENIDA DE LAS AMERICAS
The Shops at Houston Center
George R. Brown Convention Center
Main Street Square
Sam Houston Park
1 Toyota Center
ORANGE ROUTE T H U– FR I
SAT U R DAY 9 am–Midnight
Night out with friends?
9 am–6 pm
EVERY 7–10 MINU TES
FREE DOWNTOWN CIRCULATOR
New Evening and Weekend Route!
For everything you need to know about where to go, what to do and how to get there, visit downtownhouston.org
Greenlink is a partnership between the Downtown District and Houston First and operated by METRO