Twice in the past decade, we at the Houston Press have compiled our list of 100 things every Houstonian must do. The first list dates back almost 10 years and was limited to a very small radius around the city (30 miles). In 2017, we expanded it to include slightly further distances – up to 100 miles – given how far apart we are. How to exclude the Gulf of Mexico?
In 2022, many things have changed and some remain the same. If you’re familiar with these lists, you’ll probably see a few old favorites. They are classics for a reason. We will report them as they arise. Otherwise, you can now take a look at everything you need to do in the weeks and months ahead. We’ll be releasing these 10 at once over the next two months, so enjoy and (listen to Jurassic Park music) welcome to the Houston Bucket List, 2022 Edition.
Houston Bucket List Part 6
Houston Bucket List Part 5
Houston Bucket List Part 4
Houston Bucket List Part 3
Houston Bucket List Part 2
Houston Bucket List Part 1
See bats spiraling under the Waugh Street Bat Bridge. [CLASSIC]
Much like the bats on the Congress Street Bridge in Austin, Houston has its own thriving colony of Mexican freetails. The difference is that ours never migrate and show up every night at dusk. There’s even a landing for people to watch as they emerge from below deck to eat their weight in mosquitoes. We should really thank them.
Visit America’s largest port on the Houston Harbor Boat Tour. [CLASSIC]
You might think riding in a boat through the Ship Channel sounds a little weird, but it’s honestly fascinating. The boat tour run by the Port of Houston is also a difficult ticket. You have to book well in advance. It gives you a glimpse of one of the busiest ports in the country and one of the true pillars of our city’s thriving energy economy.
Hang on to the hill for a show at the Miller Outdoor Theater. [CLASSIC]
You might be wondering what exactly the free shows at an amphitheater in Hermann Park might offer. Well, in addition to plays and musicals for all ages, there are a ton of musical performances ranging from Latin music and symphonic rock to classic rock like America, which was recently in town. Sitting on the hill with a snack and a bottle of wine (we highly recommend insulated wine bottles to keep these things cool) is absolutely lovely after the sun goes down, even in summer.
Discover the power of orange at the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. [CLASSIC]
Every time we see a Keep Austin Weird bumper sticker, we think, “Yeah, but did you go to the Orange Show?” This humble citrus monument built by a postman is one of the weirdest things you’ll find in H-Town, tucked away in a south side neighborhood. Besides the spectacle of it all, they host a ton of events there, including concerts and art performances.
Buy fried chicken at Frenchy’s. [CLASSIC]
Houston has become a foodie mecca, a place where people go to indulge in the culinary feats of local chefs. So there’s no shortage of excellent fried chickens, but why not opt for one of the original classics at Frenchy’s. The original with its humble metal awning and window service may be gone (it moved a few blocks away a few years ago), but this killer chicken that’s been around since the ’60s certainly isn’t. not.
Dress up for Halloween on Lower Westheimer. [CLASSIC]
The annual Night of Debauchery and Crazy Costumes is not only fun for people who really like to dress up, but also for those of us who prefer people watching. We kind of wish they would move Pride month to October so it all caps off with a bacchanalia on October 31st. How funny!
Use Buc’ee facilities. [CLASSIC]
Insert the “everything is big in Texas” joke here. The impossibly large gas stations that advertise their spectacular bathrooms on interstate billboards scattered across the state are truly amazing. The bathrooms are spotless and have floor to ceiling doors and walls (as they should be). Also, their food is really really good. We are not joking. There’s a whole TikTok trend dedicated to stopping at the now-famous gas stations that are always crowded no matter which one you visit.
Lift your spirits and the Texas Renaissance Festival. [CLASSIC]
Another opportunity for adults to dress up comes at Ren Fest (as it’s nicknamed) north of Houston every October and November. Deep in the woods in a rather serene setting, the huge fairground is home to medieval games, shows and wares. It is also home to many fried foods and alcohol. If you want to take it on and stay in one of the campsites with the other “rennies”, you’ll see even more than the shows inside the festival.
Learn about history at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum and the Houston Museum of African American Culture. [CLASSIC]
Houston has a long and rich tradition of significant and historic black leaders, artists and influencers. Some of the most important stories of their lives and what some artists in the African-American community are doing today can be found in these two wonderful museums, just blocks from each other. Buffalo Soldiers refers to black American men and women who have served in the military throughout our nation’s history. And the Museum of African American Culture features important works by black artists. They both deserve your time and attention.
Have fun catching pearls closer to home during Galveston Mardi Gras. [CLASSIC]
Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a blast, no doubt. But if you fancy reveling in the same traditions that spurred the celebration but doing it closer to home, consider Galveston’s version. It has grown dramatically since its inception and celebrates many of our local traditions alongside the classics. It’s loud and fun and everything you know about New Orleans, but only an hour away. Book early because the hotels are filling up even if the weather isn’t good yet.