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Houston 2018: 12 Things to Do in Houston You Haven't Thought Of

house covered in recycled beer cans in Houston, Texas
Image via Jonathan Beitler/The Orange Show

It's a new year in Houston. Are you ready to explore the city? There's so many things to do in Houston – some you may not have even known about. Make the new year all about exploring and getting out of your rut with these 12 Houston activities.

1. Jam Out at Cactus Music

It's a Houston classic celebrating 43 years in 2018. Cactus Music has survived the music industry downturn and is thriving thanks, in part, to a resurgence of vinyl. It hosts weekly live in-store performances offering free Saint Arnold beer to folks of legal age. Don't miss its Dollar LP section featuring gently-used vinyls. Located in Montrose at 2110 Portsmouth.

2. Get Your Steps in with ArCH Walking Tours

fountain and trees in front of Houston City Hall building
Image via AIA Houston

Explore Houston's architecture, design and history through ArCH Walking Tours by Architecture Center of Houston. A variety of tours are available each month to different Houston neighborhoods including Montrose, Houston Heights, Urban Art, Buffalo Bayou, Third Ward Bike Tour, Rice University, and more. Tours are just $10 for 2 hours with an expert docent. Check out the schedule online.

3. Enjoy Classical Music from the Texas Medical Center Orchestra

Engage in classical music with Houston's finest physicians and medical professionals! Texas Medical Center Orchestra, celebrating its 19th year, comprises 70 musicians from the Houston medical world that enjoy performing classical music as a creative outlet. The group hosts two annual concerts at Hobby Center for the Performing Arts and several free performances at the Texas Medical Center. Get more info online.

4. Catch a Movie at Aurora Picture Show

If the arts are your thing – particularly the cinema – then you need to check out Aurora Picture Show. Founded in 1998 by a former home theater specialist, the venue shows artist-made, non-commercial film and video that will fill all your indie movie needs. This microcinema has become popular over the years, offering the chance for locals and visitors to explore unconventional video work. Screenings take place every month and you can find the current schedule online. You won't regret adding this to your places to visit in Houston.

5. Behold the Beer Can House

Image loving beer so much that you decided to adorn your house with the cans leftover. That's what one man, John Milkovisch, did back in the 1960's. The story goes he hated to waste anything – including the beer cans left over from the 6-pack he drank a day – so he took them and added them to parts of his home. Since his passing, the home is now fondly known as the "Beer Can House" and is now one of those unique places in Houston to visit. You can visit the house on the weekends from 12 pm – 5 pm.

6. Make a Visit to Canino Farmers Market

entrance to the Canino Farmers Market in Houston, Texas
Image via On the Grid

This family-owned farmers market and produce company has more than quadrupled in size since it opened in 1958. The front is similar to a grocery store with scales and produce. The back is more flea market style, purchasing directly from vendors – many of whom speak only Spanish. Canino's sells local and Texas fruit and vegetables as well as other regions. You can also find nuts, spices, beans, fresh eggs plus plants, flowers, and herbs. It's open daily from 6 am – 8 pm. Discover more Houston-area farmers markets.

7. Take the Kiddos to Frolic’s Castle Indoor Playground

playground area at Frolic's Castle playground
Image via Memorial City Mall

Dubbed the world's largest play area in a shopping mall, Frolic's Castle is a perfect option for those rainy days – and even sunny days when you're looking for things to do in Houston for kids. This new addition to Memorial City Mall in 2014 features a three-level Enchanted Forest playspace that is ADA-accessible. Parents like how it's fully enclosed to keep the kiddos in range. Kids love the drawbridge, two-level tube slide, and the interactive sounds such as the sleeping giant, fire-breathing dragon, bubbling cauldron, and swimming gator. If you're lucky, you can meet Frolic the fire-breathing dragon in person when he visits the castle. Check out Frolic’s schedule here.

8. Bring Fido Along to Dog-friendly Restaurants & Bars

If you love living life with your pooch, don't miss this list of local establishments that welcome dogs on the patio, thanks to Dog Friendly Houston. These folks have received City of Houston permits by passing a sanitation and health inspection to be named dog-approved patios. You'll find lots of familiar names including Christian's Tailgate, Canopy, Back Street Café, The Lake House, West Alabama Ice House, Antidote Coffee, Zoes Kitchen in the Heights & more. The majority of spots are inside the loop.

9. Stroll Through Glenwood Cemetery

structure within the Glenwood Cemetery in Houston, Texas
Image via Urban Houstonian/Flickr

History buffs will enjoy browsing Houston's first professionally designed cemetery that opened in 1872. It resembles other 19th century romantic garden cemeteries with its large oak trees, rolling hillside, and park-like setting. Houston's elite are buried here along with Houston landmark namesakes including the Allen Brothers, William P. Hobby, George R. Brown, George Hermann, the last president of the Republic of Texas, founder of the Houston railroad, Houston's first female physician, first President of the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Texas, and Howard Hughes. The cemetery entrance is on Washington Avenue between Studemont and Sawyer. Gates are open daily from 7 am – 5 pm.

10. Take a Behind-the Scenes Tour at a Local Houston Brewery

groups of people at a Houston brewery tour
Image via Vicki Powers

Houston is turning into a hot-bed of craft breweries. Check out the famous Saint Arnold, Houston's oldest brewery since 1994, which hosts an amazing Saturday Open House. Discover a plethora of other brewery options and tours around town such as 8th Wonder Brewery, No Label Brewing Co., Buffalo Bayou Brewery, Karbach Brewery Co., 11 Below Brewery, Spindletap Brewery, Southern Star Brewing Company (Conroe), and Lone Pint Brewing (Magnolia). Most brewery tours in Houston cost around $10 and include sample beers. Many are dog-friendly outside, so it's more Houston venues to bring your pooch.

11. Ride the Hermann Park Train near Houston Zoo

Be a kid again (or bring your kids!) and ride on the Hermann Park Train in Hermann Park near Houston Zoo. This local favorite has been making loops around the park since 1957. The updated Hermann Park Train is a replica of an 1863 C.P. Huntington stream train. Thanks to a new route, the train stops at mini stations with connections to Texas Medical Center, Houston museums, and METRO light rail. Tickets are just $3.50 per ride – or $7 for an all-day pass (week days only).

12. Create Your Own David Adickes Sculpture Tour

three sculptures of president's heads in Houston
Image via Vicki Powers

Houston is proud of Texas artist David Adickes, whose work is visible throughout the city. Whether it's the iconic Presidents' heads or "We {Heart} Houston" sign, you'll love snagging a photo at these Houston landmarks.

  • "the Virtuoso" – A 36-ft. tall cellist commissioned by The Lyric Center. It's Adickes first large sculpture. Located at Prairie and Smith downtown.
  • Presidents' heads and Charlie Chaplin – The giant concrete presidents' heads are now behind a chain-length fence, in addition to the 35-ft. Charlie Chaplin. This is the new location of Adickes Sculpturworx Studio, 2401 Nance. While you can't stand beside the heads anymore, it's still fun to see them and marvel at the creativity.
  • American Statesmen Park – The four 18-ft. tall concrete presidents' heads sit on a tiny slice of land as you approach downtown on I-10, Smith Street exit. Similar to Mount Rushmore, you'll find Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington. It's dubbed "Mount Rush Hour" for that reason! Located at 1400 Elder.
  • "We {Heart} Houston" sign – This iconic structure moved from it’s former position off I-10 & Taylor at 1816 Thompson Street to the EaDo Promenade near the 8th Wonder Brewery.

Stop wondering what to do in Houston this new year. With these 12 spots to check out, you'll have tons to keep you busy!

About the author

Vicki Powers

Vicki Powers, formerly of Houston on the Cheap, is a native Texan and freelance journalist. She loves helping Houstonians learn how to live in a big city without spending big bucks.

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