This month, LOCAL Houston magazine asked our regular contributors where they would take family visiting Houston from out of town. What are the places our writers love? Read on.
JANICE SCHINDELER, writer: First on my list is Killen‘s BBQ in Pearland – from the hour-long line to the scrumptious brisket and monster beef rib, out-of-staters need to witness this Texas craze! Also the Houston Zoo, because gorilla land and the elephant space are just so wonderful. We always drive through the dream land of massive excess – River Oaks (as it has to be seen to be believed) – same for Tent City, though the contrast can be unsettling. For dining, Coltivare, StarFish, Underbelly, Potente, Xochi, Hugo‘s and Caracol are my favorite restaurants, plus Brennan‘s from Sunday brunch – because -– well, because it is Brennan‘s, the definition of excellence. Oh, and we have to go to Kuhl-Linscomb – it’s just so damn cool.
SARAH GISH, writer: I love all the labyrinths in Houston. It’s surprising, but we have over 20 sprinkled all over the city – so many that the Labyrinth Society, an international organization, decided to hold their annual meeting here two years ago! My three favorites are at the Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer, the University of St. Thomas and Faith Lutheran Church. You can find a list of Houston’s labyrinths here: www.gishcreative.com/Houston_labyrinth_list.pdf. Walk a labyrinth and feel immediate peace!
VICTORIA BARTLETT, contributing editor: I would drive around Loop 610 with commentary – it encompasses everything from skyscrapers built with oil and gas money to refineries to ship channel to lots of concrete to San Jacinto Monument to opening shot of “Urban Cowboy.” I’d also suggest a boat trip down the Ship Channel—just because it’s different, especially if visitors are from landlocked places. The Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center is my home away from home, and if they’re friends and family, they’ve been hearing about it for ten years. For food, I’d take them to Killen’s BBQ or Central TX BBQ (both in Pearland)—it’s Texas, they expect BBQ and these are my favorites. Also, Hickory Hollow for chicken fried steak—because if they’re really interested in Texas food, it’s gonna be chicken fried steak.
CARLOS BRANDON, writer: I would take out-of-town family members to see the Buffalo Bayou Cistern, to eat at Kata Robata, Cuchara and a whole food tour of Koreatown and to see both the Museum of Fine Arts and the EaDo street-art murals. I would finish this hypothetical weekend with some cocktails downtown: a Mezcal Margarita at The Pastry War and a Velvet Scotch at Honeymoon. This is my perfect Houston weekend, capturing the vast diversity of the city‘s food, arts and cultural scenes.
MIKE COOK, writer: Whenever we have out-of-town family visit, we always seem to end up at a Heights area brewery. Whether it‘s walking to Town and City or driving to one of the many other options (Eureka Heights, Great Heights, Brash, Platypus), we always have a good time. You may or may not even realize just how kid-friendly these breweries are – aside from having great beer, kids are welcome and dare we say, embraced. We’ll also hit Donovan Park and Heights Mercantile, both great for families of all ages (lots of young kids in ours). We almost always end up at Collina‘s, Theo‘s or El Tiempo if we go out to dinner (always accommodating to large groups). No, we don‘t have a drinking and/or eating problem; we just enjoy a good time!