Looking for a variety of things to do in Houston? This is thee article for you to read. Why? Well, Houston has made its way to my top five list in the realm of favorite locations in the United States to visit. To prove it, I’ve visited 3 times within a year.
It’s a melting pot of culture, people, and art. If you’re looking for a variety of foods, things to do, and entertainment, it is the place to go. Today, I will give you the ultimate list of the best places to stay, eat, and play. Keep reading!
Where To Stay
C. Baldwin, Curio Collection By Hilton, is a modern luxe hotel located in the heart of downtown Houston at 400 Dallas St. C. Baldwin was awarded #2 over The Four Seasons Houston By Travel + Leisure in July 2022. It’s safe to say this spot is a pretty big deal.
I’ve been interested in staying at the C. Baldwin Hotel for a while, and this trip was the perfect opportunity. I must say as soon as I entered the lobby I was happy with my choice.
The staff was A1 from the valet to concierge, professional, crisp, and courteous. The overall ambience and aesthetic of the establishment gives modern with a hint of 60s, 70s. The lobby is very open with cool instagram worthy quotes, art, and plants.
There is an upscale lounge and bar area, on-site fitness center, coffee shop, and an onsite Italian Restaurant “Rosalie”. The outdoor patio is lush filled with greenery and tons of seating to accommodate a casual seating set-up for you and friends to share laughs, eats, and drinks.
Deluxe wifi was an included upgrade along with a food and dining voucher for me and my guest. My favorite part…on-site bike rentals!! Being that I’ve been more active and gym ready this was a serious plus. Keep reading to find out how I took advantage of this.
Valet is on-site and prompt and ran about 40.00 per day. Truth be told once we parked we never drove the car again for the entire stay. Why? Because this hotel is central to just about everything Downtown. You can literally park and ride share or walk for your entire stay, if your focus is the Downtown Houston area.
Inside The Room
The inside was comparable to any other upscale hotel. Double queens beds, dapper art work, seating, and beautiful contemporary decor. The bathroom was modern with an amazing 2 way shower.
Very clean and the staff was prompt. For example, We called one morning looking for tea and it was delivered to us within 10 mins. Fresh towels were brought without request the next morning and room service was provided everyday, it just had to be requested at check-in. Remember, post-covid not all hotels are operating to this capacity.
The beds were crazy comfortable and the down pillows were a plus. The rooms are soundproof from what I could tell. Needless to say, we slept like babies.
The Cons To Staying At C. Baldwin
The only thing I can say I disliked about this hotel is the fact there is no pool on site. Bummer. So, if you’re looking for a poolside lounge this is not the destination for you.
Would I Stay Again?
Overall, would I stay at C. Baldwin again? Absolutely. In a heart beat. The hospitality, perks, and overall vibe was a yes for me.
Where To Eat
In search of a spot to enjoy smoothies and acai bowls we stumbled across the Post Market. Houston’s newest hub for culture and events. From the outside it appears to be an old post office because it was once the headquarters for USPS. However, behind the doors is a modern, display of neon lights, food, people, bars, live plants, seating, wild winding stairwells. This place blew my mind. It’s simply a cool hip spot.
Lucky for me, we were fortunate to catch a market which featured vendors selling handmade goods, art, and clothing. Again, mind blown. If you visit Houston this is a must do.
A few things to note
- Food, food, and more food – over 20 vendors to choose from. Take your pick from sushi to hamburgers.
- Bikes are encouraged – they have 3 bike rack locations (This was extremely useful to us, keep reading to find out why)
- The Skylawn – A rooftop lawn with views, lounging, and activities for kids.
- They have a concert hall – frequent live entertainment, check the website for more info.
- Great Sushi – I grabbed a Shrimp Tempura Roll for lunch from East Side King
If you visit Houston this is a Post Market is an absolute must do. Check out their website for more info about this amazing space.
We found Thrive on Google in search of a good smoothie spot nearby. What we didn’t know was that it was inside the above listed Post Market. After swooning about the market we stopped here for a refreshing and healthy breakfast option versus our regular Saturday Brunch.
Thrive Juices is more than a juice bar. They are a natural powerhouse offering smoothies, raw juices, shots toasts, cleanses, and infused water. At first glance the aesthetic of this spot is cool, hip, and modern. Everything is easy to find and well labeled. The menu had plenty of options for all flavor pallets.
What I ordered from Thrive Juices
My cousin and I went with the Ninja Turtle smoothie which is a blend of spinach, avocado, green apple, protein, and your choice of milk. We opted for the oat milk. After a morning bike ride, I needed to recharge and grabbed a bottle of “Love Water’ alkaline water infused with mint, and raspberry. Delicious and refreshing.
Our smoothies were top tier. It was hard to believe no sugar or cow’s milk was added to this beverage. So good, we circled back around later that day for a second smoothie, and again the next morning for breakfast and enjoyed the acai bowls.
The second smoothie I ordered was The Bali (matcha, pineapple, kale, lime juice, agave, coconut h20). Not as good as the Ninja Turtle but still delicious. The following day I ordered the Tropical Bowl. An acai bowl topped with fresh mango, kiwi, pineapple, strawberry, and coconut flakes.
I have zero complaints about my indulgences.
Things To Know About Thrive Juices
- Thrive is Black-Owned – I even had the pleasure of meeting one of the founders. Turns out he was born in Jacksonville, Fl!
- It is 100% Raw, Organic, and Mostly Vegan
- Thrive uses only eco-friendly packaging
- They recycle – return your bottles to get $1 off your next purchase
Not only is Thrive Juices good for you, they are doing their part to be good to Mother Nature. If I lived in Houston I would hit this spot more than a few times a week. For more info be sure to visit their website ThriveJuices.com
My second time visiting Houston I had the pleasure of going to NBA Superstar James Harden’s restaurant Thirteen. I went for brunch, I enjoyed it so much I vowed that when I returned I would have dinner here as well. I briefly talked about my brunching experience in my post about Memorable Things To Do In Houston. This Black-Owned spot deserves to be mentioned in detail of places to eat. These people know how to cook. I don’t know what else you want me to say.
Everything I Sampled and Ate
Pineapple Tai Wings – Flavorful cooked to perfection. A for sure highlight appetizer dish.
Honey Garlic Cauliflower Bites – Sweet, crisp, and delicious! If you like really sweet and cauliflower of course I’d say go for it.
Lamb Chops – Large, tender, and flavorful. They are served on top of a bed of rice which was to die for. The green dipping sauce that is served on the side had my eyes rolling in the back of my head when combined with my chops.
Lobster Mac n Cheese – Well portioned (It could honestly be served as an entree), with a nice sized fried lobster tail as the crown. Not only was this dish seasoned well, the cheese was ooey gooey. Whew. My only complaint is that I wish they put some lobster inside the actual dish instead of just on top.
Broccolini – A little spicy and cooked to perfection. I do want to note Thirteen offers plenty of “green” options. Brussel sprouts, salad, and collared greens. When I’m eating so hefty, I’ve got to have something green on my plate. Shout out to them for giving variety.
Sidecar – Made to perfection and aesthetically please to the eye. I felt a buzz after one drink. It cost about 22.00. Be sure this is your poison of choice because a few of these can add up fast on your tab.
Thirteen By James Harden – Getting In
Parking is not an issue here because you have three options. 1 valet for 25.00, 2. parking in the parking garage directly across the street for 10.00. 3. Park at a public parking spot/meter for as little as 1.50 per hour. We lucked up and snagged a public parking spot and paid 3.00 for 2 hours.
To enjoy the dining area you must have reservations. I highly recommend doing this in advance. We lucked up and locked in a Saturday slot… at 5:45pm. We waited about 10 mins to be seated. I know there are mixed reviews about the service. However, both times my servers were top notch. Especially this time.
Vonzay was attractive, highly knowledgeable, charismatic and personable. He knows this establishment and it shows. He took marvelous care of us and even gave me pointers on how to have my lamb chops prepared so that they would come out perfect.
Aside from a bar and hookah lounge adjacent to the dining room, I was told there is also a night club and bowling alley downstairs. My mission this trip was not to party so I did not partake. However, my next go round in Houston I would certainly check it out after a fine dinner.
I love Thirteen by James Harden. I would hands down visit this place frequently if I were to live in Houston.
Other Great Places To Eat In Houston (Quick Reviews)
- Prey Houston – Another black owned establishment. I devoured the cajun jerk season marinated lamb chops served over fried rice. DELICIOUS. Make note that our waiter Erin was AMAZING. Great personality and she helped out with my IG posts. She asked us to leave a review and in return we would get a free shot.
- Velvet Taco – Sunday we wanted street tacos. Unfortunately our time of departure didn’t line up with the times some food trucks opened. We opted for this spot instead. We took a chance solely based on the Google reviews (4.6). It did not disappoint. Menu Highlights #6.5 Beer battered cauliflower. Packed with flavors and love. You honestly don’t realize it isn’t any meat involved, it was that good. #17 Mexi-Cali Shrimp. These guys know how to make the flavors explode… blackened shrimp, napa slaw, sriracha aioli, avocado corn pico, micro cilantro, flour tortilla.
- Voodoo Donut – Good things come in a pink box. I will be honest. I tried this spot for the first time recently at Universal Studios. I went all out and got a voodoo dozen sampler box. Let’s just say, I was not impressed at all. I knew there was NO WAY people were raving about these basic ass donuts, something had to be off. I put it in my mind I would go an Oregon store to give these a try. (This is how I discover new places to go people, don’t judge me lol) To my surprise and delight they have a store in Houston. Thank goodness I did not write this chain off. I went with the limited time Banana Cream cake. Oh, Em, Gee. Fresh, warm, and simply delicious. My cousin’s picks were just as good. Another donut I chose was the “Dirt”… basically an Oreo/ cookies and cream topped delight.
Where To Play
Remember when I mentioned our hotel had the option to rent bikes? We took full advantage of this perk. I’m a nature girl. Therefore, every time I travel I look for things to do outside or involving mother nature. We threw on active wear and took off.
We caught sites of Downtown and the beautiful metro scenery. Truth be told Houston does not have an “active” downtown like Chicago per say. However, they make up for it with this lush 160 acre park and trails. Buffalo Bayou park is not only massive, it’s gorgeous. It goes under and over buildings downtown, there is water with bridges and the views… the views are just breathtaking.
It stretches from the center of Downtown from Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street, between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive. It’s really cool how the city has integrated nature with city. On our ride we caught families and children playing at a kiddie park, skateboarders practicing at the skate park, fitness classes, and so much more.
We rode for about a full hour and made our way back to the Post Market for Acai Bowls at Thrive. The perfect healthy and active morning. If you’re into parks, this is the park of parks.
Granted we had bikes that were rented from our Hotel. However, the park offers bike rentals if you’re interested. Check out the Bayou Bike Rentals. It sits right in front of the water works area which bring me to the next topic on things to do in Houston.
There is a secret little amazing app I discovered earlier this year and I think every traveler should know about it, Atlas Obscura. This magnificent little gem hosts a system that allow you to plug in a location and it brings up hidden wonders and “weird” things for you to do. In the case of Houston they had more than a few things that caught my eye. However, the one thing that stood out was the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern.
The cistern is “A 90-year-old underground water reservoir offers a more industrial kind of tranquility.” This now inoperable 87,000 square foot space was one of Houston’s first underground reservoirs.
For $10 and a reservation we were given a 30 minute guided tour by a wonderful guide Rosemarie. Aside from getting a cool break from the outside elements, we were enriched with history about the reservoir system and how it went from a main source of water to a beautiful display of art and history. She even blessed us with a beautiful song using the cistern’s echo as the instruments. If you love history this is the place to be.
We were able to park our bikes in front. A cool break from riding and quite memorable.
Not only is this a great place to take the kiddos, adults can have just as much fun at this indoor art space that features interactive installations, immersive rooms, and carefully curated moments. At first, I thought it would be another selfie museum when in reality it was a life size art experience.
This state of the art experience featured a QR Code entry card that can be used in each room to snap pictures. At the end of your visit you’re sent all your photos in an email.
Throughout the tour you’re given treats that include macaroons, candied popcorn, and black dairy free ice-cream at the end. With rooms that feature a huge illuminated ball pit, striped room with floating balls, and confetti. This is a place you won’t forget.
This is yet another must see of things to do in Houston. If you can’t make it to Houston The Color Factory has locations in New York and Chicago.
This is a life sized art exhibit featuring a pyramidal structure accommodates 120 people between two levels. The Twilight Epiphany light sequence can be viewed every day at sunrise and sunset. I had the chance to visit at sunset. If you’re an artsy person, this is a sight to see. The Sunset light sequence begins about 10 minutes before sunset.
The Twilight Epiphany Skyspace is free and open to the public every day and lasts about 40 minutes. The seats fill fast. If you plan to go arrive early.
Wrapping Up: The Ultimate Guide Of Things To Do In Houston
Whether you’re a newbie to Houston or a local. Hopefully you found this article helpful. If you’re looking for even more things to do checkout out this article of 8 interesting things to do in Houston. Out of everything named I would totally do the bike ride in the park again and visit the Post Market. Those two alone are now staples when I visit H-town.
Check out some of these places and let me know what you think!
Keep Up With The #bbl
Looking for more? Here are a few ways to keep up with the Bad Babe Lifestyle (#bbl)
Stick Around. If you haven’t already, subscribe to receive instant updates when something new is posted. Just scroll below this post.
Slide past my Pinterest there’s tons of other foodie spots, fashion inspo, and goodies.
Sub to my Youtube there you can find fashion inspo and vlogs keeping up with my daily life.