How and where to experience local in Houston

Texas

If you’re waiting for the heat to subside before you visit Houston, you may be waiting a while – but rising temperatures do nothing to keep the locals down. Art, culture and food that’s to die for is abound in this Texas metropolis, and we’re rounding up some of our best bets for beating the heat and having a blast.

Underbelly – Montrose
“Billed as ‘a story of Houston food,’ Underbelly Chef Chris Shepherd explores the heritage of the various communities in Houston (Vietnamese, Latino, Indian and Asian) and integrates those traditions into the menus he creates. The butcher shop in the back serves as a larder for the lamb, goat, duck and livestock he trucks in from the handpicked local farms and ranches. The garden out back only grows seasonal herbs and veggies. When people talk of local, the name that should be on everyone’s lips is Underbelly.” – as recommended by Houston local Jarrod Klawinsky

Underbelly, photo courtesy of Localeur
Underbelly, photo courtesy of Localeur

Twilight Epiphany Skyspace – Rice University
“Installation artist James Turrell, famous for his Tron-type lighting pieces, set up this futuristic temple at Rice University for those looking to get a little trippy. It’s artsy, it’s popular, it’s cool and it’s within walking distance to Valhalla, the school’s bar that has 95-cent cups of Ziegenbach and 50-cent candy. Cheap, yes. Outside the box, for sure!” – as recommended by Houston local Nick Esquer

Twilight Epiphany Skyspace, photo courtesy of Localeur
Twilight Epiphany Skyspace, photo courtesy of Localeur

La Carafe – Downtown
“Known as the oldest bar in Houston, once you step inside La Carafe, it’s hard to look away. With dim lighting, decades worth of wax dripping off the candles behind the bar and a thin layer of dust among the fixtures, La Carafe has preserved its charm. Housed in a building that was constructed in the late 1800s, you won’t find a more intimate spot for a glass of wine or a cold beer. If the weather is nice, be sure to take in the downtown Houston skyline and enjoy your drink on the patio.” – as recommended by Houston local Amy Caillavet

La Carafe, photo courtesy of Localeur
La Carafe, photo courtesy of Localeur

Buffalo Bayou – The Heights
“Nothing beats the view of downtown from the waters of Buffalo Bayou. You won’t want to swim in it, but getting down below the banks gets you off the asphalt and into the shade.” – as recommended by Houston local Brittanie Shey

Buffalo Bayou, photo courtesy of Localeur
Buffalo Bayou, photo courtesy of Localeur

Brooklyn Athletic Club – Fourth Ward
“It’s hard not to have a good time at Brooklyn Athletic Club. While their food and drinks are really good – you’ve got to try their BAC crab cakes with jalapeño aioli – what really shines here is the selection of outdoor games they offer. From a mini putting green in the front to the bocce ball and bean bags in the back, Brooklyn Athletic Club is a place to come with friends. With great food, great service and an even better atmosphere, Brooklyn Athletic Club is a must on your next Sunday Funday.” – as recommended by Houston local Gabriel Rafael

Brooklyn Athletic Club, photo courtesy of Localeur
Brooklyn Athletic Club, photo courtesy of Localeur

Manready Mercantile – The Heights
“I came here to buy a T-shirt and ended up leaving with a belly full of Old-Fashioned goodness. The staff here actually serve you this as you shop, and it’s a fine recipe (made with Bulleit). I suggest coming here because there are so many cool trinkets, jewelry, accessories and clothing that are available for purchase. The free liquor is an added bonus.” – as recommended by Houston local Greg Noire

Manready Mercantile, photo courtesy of Localeur
Manready Mercantile, photo courtesy of Localeur

Mam’s House of Ice Snoballs – The Heights
“Fluffy, flavored ice has never tasted better! Mam’s started as a rolling snoball stand, but with their success they were able to open a brick-and-mortar in the Houston Heights. They offer unique flavors such as Cajun Red Hot and Tiger’s Blood, but also the more traditional Blue Cotton Candy and Clearly Cherry … plus many more. Bring the pup so they can enjoy a doggie cone, too!” – as recommended by Houston local Britney Munguia

Mam's House of Ice Snoballs, photo courtesy of Localeur
Mam’s House of Ice Snoballs, photo courtesy of Localeur