Whether you want to make the most of the city while you’re young, are a newcomer with no friends and not much else to do, or have lived here forever but need a good reason to put on pants, consider this your official guide to everything you need to do in Houston before you die (or leave town, which would basically mean you’re dead to us). Time to start living:
1. Kayak the Buffalo Bayou
Work up a sweat while you take in the Houston skyline, navigate the twists and turns of the bayou, or explore the three-mile stretch from Lost Lake to Allen’s landing. Bayou City Adventures offers tours for all levels of experience.
2. Pull of the Museum Triple Crown
3. Tailgate at NRG Stadium
Texans tailgate parties are a thing of legends. Bring some meat to grill, a table for flip cup, and your party hat.
4. Sip a classic at Anvil
What started out as a training guide for Anvil’s bartenders has become a list of 100 classic, expertly crafted cocktails for you to work on. Better get started.
5. Experience the Houston Ballet
The fifth-largest professional ballet company in the US puts on over 75 shows in the beautiful Wortham Theater every year. That’s 75 chances to get cultured and earn some major points with the girlfriend.
6. Catch a free show at Miller Outdoor Theatre
Bring a blanket, picnic, and box of wine to Miller Outdoor Theatre, where you’ll find free music, plays, and shows running March through November.
7. Get rowdy at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo
Watch bull-riding, eat smoked meat and deep-fried everything, and catch live music during this glorious 2½ week event in March. Just be sure to two-step at the Hideout afterward.
8. Treat yourself to a fancy-pants meal
Oxheart and The Pass may only be a few years old, but both dining destinations have become Houston standbys. Hit them up for seasonally inspired, extravagantly plated, and seriously good tasting menus. Or hit up old-school fine-dining resto Tony’s for a full-on classic experience.
9. Slurp oysters at Gilhooley’s
The dive’s wood-fire roasted, Parmesan-garlic butter coated oysters are totally deserving of the short drive to San Leon.
10. Eat a CFS at Triple A Restaurant
Fattening up Houstonians since 1938, this no-frills diner makes the meanest chicken fried steak in town.
11. Cheer on the Astros at Minute Maid Park
Or at the very least, smash a stuffed BBQ baked potato into yo’ mouth.
12. Conquer the Memorial Park loop
13. Catch a cult classic at the River Oaks Theatre
14. Grab a taco from Ultimo Taco Truck
Head to Long Point for fat and fluffy flour or fresh corn tortillas stuffed with impossibly delicious things like chicharrones, barbacoa, and lengua. Now wash it all down with a Mexican coke. Rinse. And repeat.
15. Spend a late night at House of Pies
Because a giant slice of Bayou Goo tastes even better at 4am.
16. Staycation at Hotel ZaZa
With views of Downtown and the beautiful Hermann Park, plus a pretty dope pool, bar, and restaurant, it’s impossible to have a bad time at this boutique hotel.
17. Get some Frenchy’s
Open since 1969, this Third Ward standby fries up the crispest, most satisfyingly greasy bird in town. Even Beyoncé knows it.
18. Bring Fido to the Johnny Steele Dog Park
Or, if you don’t have a dog, creepily watch others’ dogs splash around in the ponds.
19. Take in the skyline from 60 stories up
The Sky Lobby, located on the 60th floor of JP Morgan Chase Tower, boasts killer views of the city. Plus it’s free and open to the public on weekdays from 9am-5pm.
20. Two words: Pedal Party
Because there’s nothing more fun than a tandem bike/trolley with a keg in the middle.
21. Block party in the Heights
Lights in the Heights (December) and White Linen Night (August) are two street ragers you don’t want to miss.
22. Brave the lines at The Breakfast Klub and Killen’s Barbecue
23. Spend an entire Sunday day drinking
26. Go orange for the Houston Dynamo
Because let’s face it, they may be one of the best sports teams in the city.
27. Sit courtside at the Toyota Center
Or go for the gold and sit with the "Red Rowdies" in section 114.
28. Get a tres leches cake from El Bollilo
Graduation? Friend’s birthday? Another lonely Friday night? It doesn’t matter what you’re celebrating; a tres leches cake from El Bollilo Bakery should be involved.
29. Run the Houston Marathon
Or, who are we kidding, just drink on the sideline and cheer them on.
30. Eat your way through Chinatown
Hit dim sum at Hong Kong Dim Sum or Fung’s Kitchen to eat all the dumplings and fried chicken feet your little heart desires. Get after hours pho at Pho Binh by Night, Vietnamese crawfish at Crawfish & Noodles, or tongue-scorching eats at Mala Sichuan.
31. Hit up Downtown classics
32. Get kolaches from the Original Kolache Shoppe
Open since 1956, the unassuming bakery on Telephone makes some of the most addicting Czech pastries in town. Get kolaches filled with cream cheese, poppyseeds & fruit and klobasneks stuffed with sausages, cheese, and jalapeños.
33. Go see the bats
Visit the Waugh Bat Bridge nearly any day at sunset to see over 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats spiraling out from underneath.
34. Actually go to Free Press Summer Fest
Even though it’s in June and you’re bound to be sweating like a madman for the majority of your time there, this two-day music fest is easily Houston’s best.
35. Host your own crawfish boil
Time to man up, throw down some newspaper, and boil some mudbugs for your friends.
36. Visit Mission Control
Sure it’s a tourist trap, but you can’t live here and not visit the Johnson Space Center at least once.
37. Play 18 holes at Memorial Park
Or hit up the driving range.
38. Eat a tamale at a dive bar
See that guy with a giant tray full of hot tamales? Go say hey. Now get some tamales.