Houston is such an eclectic and diverse city with people from all over the world and offers so many activities to explore on a weekend getaway.
I did my usual scan of calendar events in Houston and came across some exciting events such as the Houston Food Fest, The Heights Morning Market, the Streets of HTX Art Show, and few others to check out if time allowed. We booked a one-night stay at Sara’s Inn, our favorite little bed and breakfast in Houston and began our weekend of fun!
Where to Explore:
Houston Food Fest
Our first stop was to the Houston Food Fest, held at the Hermann Square Park downtown. We saved our appetites and arrived for a late lunch. After purchasing our tickets, we began to walk from booth to booth checking out the various food items while being offered and smelling the aroma emanating throughout the festival.
Frito-Lay Company had a booth right at the entrance. They were giving away free sample bags of their Honey BBQ flavored chips, if passerby posed for a picture in front of their banner. My hubby was quick to take a pose!
Since the heat index outside was in the 104 degrees, we jumped in line for a Pop Fancy Pops popsicle, which are organic fruit flavored treats. We sampled the delicious watermelon-cucumber popsicle which hit the spot and cooled us off a bit.
Next we sampled, the Dumpling Haus, where these ladies were cooking up homemade dumplings filled with either chicken, pork, or tofu. We ordered up six chicken dumplings with chili sauce. These were very yummy!
Since my husband loves to cook, we stopped to check out Chef’s Satchel, selling leather knife holders and kitchen satchels, as well as nicely designed cooking aprons. The had some snazzy looking cooking gear!
We checked out the lemonade stand and several other food trucks to see what was on the menu. We ate a shrimp taco and a chicken fajita taco from Tila’s Taco Truck.
Over 70 different food vendors participated. The vendors included food trucks, local eateries and restaurants offering pizza, ice cream, tacos, BBQ, Pho, and much more. Along with the great food, live music entertained the crowd.
With our bellies full, we set out to do some mural hunting in downtown Houston! Houston graffiti artists have taken blank walls and turned them into vibrant canvases to bring their own stories to life. As we were out taking pictures, we saw people stopping to use them as a backdrop for a posed shot. Houston has several famous murals created by graffiti artist GONZO247. These murals draw in visitors hence bringing life and foot traffic to the forgotten areas of Houston.
Below are some of the murals I discovered along with their location so you see and enjoy them, too.
Twins -800 Main & Walker – by Jasmine Zelaya
City of Love – 806 Main St. (JW Marriott) – by Michael C. Rodriguez
Houston Is Inspired (Market Square Park) – 907 Preston St. – by Gonzo247
Stack Burger – 703 St. Joseph Pkwy by Scott Tarbox
Sky Dance –1415 Louisiana St by C. Finley
The Out of This World Wall – N Main and Gargan Street by Gelson Danilo Lemus aka w3r3on3
East Houston (Graffiti Building)
Kungfu – @kungfuart painted on Mercy Night Club at 1505 St. Emanuel St.
Zipper – artist Kelly Graval painted on the backside of Mercy Night Club 1505 St. Emanuel St.
Justice – 1503 Chartres St.
Florece – 2104 Leeland by Mario Figueroa aka Gonzo247
Happy Beach Wall –800 Chartres by Zosen and Mina Hamada
We were only able to capture the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, of all the murals the city has to offer and we were very impressed with what we found. At this point we were hot and ready to head back to Sara’s Inn for a shower and some air conditioning. We still had an evening event to attend!
HTX Art Show
A couple of months ago I saw a post on Facebook about the Street HTX Art Show. I clicked interested and decided to put it on the calendar to attend. This show is held at Hardy and Nance Studio, located in the historical downtown art warehouse district which provides artists with studios to create their masterpieces The art media is visual arts such as paintings, sculptures, jewelry and photography. We had a chance to visit with many of the artists and learn about their work and what truly inspires them.
Greeting us at the entrance is one of Robin Baker’s black and white paintings. He is a figurative artist specializing in bright and bold colors along with black and white. Typically, he paints nude male images. He desires is to change people’s view and appreciate male bodies.
Laurence Unger’s studio had interesting pieces of mounted animals and colorful paintings. She is focused on short-form storytelling and filmmaking and includes a combination of paintings, photography and other mixed media into her film work. I found her artwork a little bizarre but somewhat interesting.
I must say that the one painting that captured my attention was the bright watercolor canvas called “Looking Up” created by Lizabeth Ortiz. Born in Mexico City, she has become one of many inspiring artists and was honored in 2008 at the Latin Grammy for her work with Frida Festival in Houston.
Jewelry designer Rachel Goodman took recycled belts and made them into gorgeous bracelets with some of the most beautiful stones. She also designs earrings and necklaces which are unique and wearable with almost any outfit.
Naz Kaya-Erdal was born in Turkey and later moved to the United States to complete her Ph.D. in Environmental Design. She uses vibrant colors, distinct shapes, and complex geometry with pure color to express her thoughts and emotions. Naz uses her emotions to conceptualize her subject. Her canvas in the hallway drew us in with its remarkable size and colors.
Lee E. Wright had fascinating drawings and paintings of lovely curvaceous women. I was happy to see that the women were not all skinny and perfect! He was so kind to allow me to photograph him with one of his pieces. Wright’s art is included in many public and private collections such as the George H. W. Bush Library collection.
Hardy & Nance Studio showcases so many different talented artists under one roof. It was a pleasure to hang out with such creative people and get to meet many of the artists personally. I am inspired and eager to learn what drives an artist to draw the image, use that color of paint, or mold that shape out of clay. As a photographer I am always looking beyond the image that I see but more in the details of the picture.
Heights Morning Market
After a wonderful night’s rest, we had a delightful breakfast with the owners of Sara’s Inn, Jihye and John Deveau, and their 18-month-old son Noah, along with other guests. The Heights neighborhood offers very large trees along with beautiful historical homes to admire. We decided to enjoy the rest of our morning after breakfast walking through the neighborhood over to the Heights Morning Market located in the Onion Creek Café parking lot. Every Sunday from 9 am – 1 pm, this farmers market, along with local artists, is open for you to browse and pick up a few items to take home. You will find anything from fresh flowers, succulent plants, home-made jams and jellies, fresh eggs, jewelry, t-shirts, candles, to fresh meat products. It’s a great way to start your day!
Where to Dine:
Liberty Kitchen Oyster Bar
Before heading to the Street HTX Art Show, we wanted to have dinner. Liberty Kitchen Oyster Bar is in Houston Heights neighborhood, close to where we were staying so we chose to eat there. The atmosphere is casual, but modern with a lively vibe and energetic atmosphere. The food reflects the Gulf Coast with oysters being freshly shucked and served on the half shell or deep fried. We sat at the bar watching the preparation of grilled fish and other delicious appetizers and entrees. We ordered fried oysters which came with fries and split a Liberty Hamburger with a side of the biggest fried onion rings I have ever seen. The service was impeccable and the food was delicious.
A 2nd Cup
After attending the Street HTX Art Show, we decided to stop in the Houston Heights neighborhood at a coffee house called A 2nd Cup. As we entered the coffee shop, we could hear 1920’s music in the background playing in the room next door. We took a peek inside to see what was happening. Surprisingly, it was a room full of people of all ages, dancing and having fun! As I waited for my raspberry mint tea to be made, I read the plaques on the walls and discovered that this coffee house was created to raise money and awareness against human trafficking in Houston. The profit is used to help create second chances for survivors of such horrible situations. This was such a beautiful idea and the brainchild of a local named Erica Raggett.
As we headed back home to Victoria, we stopped at P.F. Chang’s at 4094 Westheimer. We were in the area doing some shopping and hungry for Chinese food. Our favorite starter here is Chang’s Lettuce Wraps which comes with seasoned chicken, a chunk of lettuce, and dried noodles. From the Signature Classics dish selection, we had Kung Pao Shrimp with spicy Sichuan chili sauce, peanuts, green onions and red chili peppers. I ordered the Chicken Pad Thai served with Thai spices, tofu, green onion and crushed peanuts on a bed of rice noodles. Our food was tasty and the service was on target.
Where to Stay:
For our short visit to Houston we decided to stay at a B&B in the Houston Heights area which was near the activities we planned to attend. We selected Sara’s Inn, ranked #1 on Trip Advisor and has been in business for over 30 years. This charming historic home is nestled in the Heights neighborhood and is within walking distance to many great restaurants, shops, and a trail that is great for walking, running or biking. You don’t feel like you’re in a big city when you stay at Sara’s Inn.
With only 48 hours in Houston we were able to fill our time with enriching activities all while enjoying the deliciousness of splendid restaurants. I love everything about Houston. The arts, the shops, the trails, the mixture of cultures, and most of all the warm hospitality. There is so much to do and I cannot wait to return and explore other murals in the city.
Have you been to Houston? If so, let me know what you loved about the city in the comments below!