Last weekend my BFF was visiting from Seattle, and even though we crossed all our fingers and toes that she’d be here for Houston’s best springtime weather, the city was hit with a mega-rainstorm on Saturday. Sheets of rain drizzled down all.day.long. That kind of put a damper on our rodeo plans, but it made me get creative with plans to still get out for some adventures around town in spite of the rain. Here are some of my favorite local rainy-day activities (or really, things to do when the temperature hits 100 degrees and humid, too!).
1. Catch some exhibits at a museum
When was the last time you stepped foot in a museum? (Other than for the annual Halloween bash at the science museum. Drinking next to the dinosaurs doesn’t count.)
Houston has a pretty brag-worthy museum district – go take advantage of it! The Museum of Fine Art, the Menil Collection (free!!), and the Museum of Natural Science are some of our faves. More off the beaten path are the Art Car Museum, Houston Holocaust Museum, DiverseWorks, and Project Row Houses.
2. Tour a microbrewery
Most, if not all, of Houston’s microbreweries have tours and open houses on the weekends (and some on weekdays, too). We love meeting friends at St. Arnold’s for a picnic and beer tasting. Buffalo Bayou Brewery is also a fun place to try some new local flavors. I hear 8th Wonder Brewery in EaDo is cool, too – it’s on my to-do list 😉 .
3. Escape the rain (or heat) at the movies
Growing up in New Jersey, we didn’t have central A/C. Instead, on the hottest days of summer, my mom would take us to the movies to go cool off. These days, our favorite theaters here in Houston are Sundance, River Oaks Theater, and Alamo Drafthouse.
Forget Dallas – Houston has some pretty great shopping. From the Tanger and Cypress outlets, to the Galleria and Highland Village, to the thrift stores in Montrose and the Heights, there’s something for everyone. I love browsing the pretty party supplies and gowns at BHLDN, furniture shopping at West Elm and High Fashion Home, hunting for vintage stemware and kitschy art at The Guild Shop and Blue Bird, and finding the perfect party costumes at Retropolis.
5. Lunch in the tunnel
The downtown tunnel system was made for us to escape the rain and heat. You can find just about anything you’re craving down there – my favorites are Salata (fresh salad bar), Treebeard’s (Cajun), and Baoz (the holy grail of dumplings).
While you’re downtown, follow the tunnel to the Chase Tower and ride up the elevator to the Observation Deck – this is the best spot for 360 degree views out over the city, even on a drizzly day.
6. Unwind in a cafe
7. Head somewhere cozy for a craft cocktail
Order a Moscow Mule at Moving Sidewalk or a Leather Elbow at Honeymoon (helloooo beautiful wallpaper and vintage lounges!). And Anvil is a cocktail bar staple that’s about as cozy as it gets. You’ll forget all about the rain within minutes.
8. Tour a historic mansion
I ponied up money for MFAH memberships for two full years before I even heard of Rienzi or Bayou Bend. Both are beautiful historic mansions with temporary and permanent art exhibitions and period furniture, and they’re open to the public and occasionally have festive events, too. (Next month at Bayou Bend is Jazz & Juleps – tempting, no?!) If you’re willing to drive a little further, Galveston is like a mecca for Victorian mansions.
9. See a performance in the theater district
Last month, on a whim, I bought two last-minute tickets to The Book of Mormon at the Hobby Center, and a week later we reserved season tickets for next year’s Broadway line-up. It was that good. If you’re in the mood for some live entertainment, chances are between the Hobby Center, the Houston Symphony, the Houston Ballet, and the Houston Opera, there will be something going on any given afternoon or evening.
10. Escape Room
We recently braved the Escape Room with four friends, and it was such a fun experience – I wish we could do it again and again. (We’re not-so-patiently awaiting the creation of a new “room” so we can try a different challenge.) Without giving too much away – you and your friends are locked up in a room for one hour, and you’re given clues to solve the puzzle to escape the room. Only 20% of those who’ve tried have been successful. Challenge accepted?