5 Must Do Things in Houston during Super Bowl Weekend

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Photo: Sarath Kuchi

In our series of Must Do Things Around Greater Houston, we take a look at Houston’s vast array of communities and neighborhoods to bring you five fun, tasty, and enticing reasons you should give each a visit.

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5 Must Do Things During Super Bowl Weekend

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The 51st Super Bowl will be played in Houston’s NRG Stadium on Sunday, February 5, 2017. The last time Space City hosted the Big Game was in 2004, and a lot has changed since.

This year’s Super Bowl expects to draw over 140,000 out-of-town visitors to Houston, with a crowd of 1 million fans expected to attend the Super Bowl experience over a 10-day period. As such, the nation’s fourth largest city is gearing up for the Big Game with a lineup of bigger and better events, a city-wide facelift and plenty of awesome things to eat, drink, and see.

5 Must Do Things in Houston for Super Bowl Weekend

  1. Hit up Super Bowl Live at Discovery Green The ultimate fan festival takes place in and around Discovery Green from Saturday, January 28 through Sunday, February 5. And the best part is, the whole event is free to attend. Expect a lineup of performers, including ZZ Top, Gary Clark Jr, The Suffers, Leon Bridges, Shakey Graves, Robert Ellis, Wild Moccasins, and Solange. There will also be interactive games and exhibits, food and fun for the entire family, and Future Flight, the signature attraction of the event that combines virtual reality and a drop tower taking riders on a trip to Mars and back.
  2. Rock out at concerts, events, and parties around town – The George R. Brown Convention Center is hosting the interactive theme park, NFL Experience, running Saturday, January 28 through Sunday, January 29 and Wednesday, February 1 through Sunday, February 5. Music fans won’t want to miss the blowout three-night concert series at traveling nightclub, Club Nomadic. The concert venue will be popping up in Sawyer Yards, opening with Sam Hunt and The Chainsmokers on Thursday, February 2 and featuring pop superstars Bruno Mars on Friday, February, 3 and Taylor Swift on Saturday, February 4. The Big Texas Party—featuring Texas barbecue, beer, spirits and wine, live music, and football players with Texas roots—will take place at Silver Street Studios on Thursday, February 2. And The 2017 Maxim Party, held at Sugar Land’s Smart Financial Centre, is sure to be a rager, as Maxim’s parties have earned a solid reputation as some of the most sought after, celebrity-attended events around. Click here for the Host Committee’s entire Super Bowl calendar.
  3. Fill up on the city’s best eats – As one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the nation, Houston’s food scene is all encompassing. Start with the H-town’s unofficial breakfast of champions, the almighty breakfast tacos, at La Guadalupana, Laredo Taqueria or La Mexicana. Or dive into excellent coffee and Vietnamese steak and eggs at Blacksmith. Craving something sweet? The viennoiserie and pastries at Common Bond or cardamom-spiced treats at Indian-fusion spot Pondicheri will do the trick; and so will the fried chicken and donuts at Lee’s Fried Chicken and Donuts. Brunch is an affair to remember, and you’ll definitely remember it at area hotspots like Max’s Wine Dive; authentic Mexican restaurant, Hugo’s; and Creole favorite, Brennan’s of Houston. Lunch and dinner are the perfect times for a great burger, which you’ll find at Hubcap Grill, Bernie’s Burger Bus and Stanton City Bites. Or try banh mi and pho at Café TH and Pho Binh. Those looking to get their barbecue on can do so with a quick trip to Pearland, where Killen’s Barbecue smokes up all the good stuff, including gigantic beef ribs and perfect brisket, incredible turkey and plump sausages (the smokehouse recently added dinner service). Steak lovers can hit Killen’s Steakhouse, or head to the Galleria or Downtown to take down dry-aged ribeye at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse. For something outside the box, try Peli Peli, an upscale South African stunner with locations around the city. Or take a trip to Chinatown, where you’ll find strip mall after strip mall of enticing, authentic eats from all over Asia. Click here to see our Chinatown guide. If you want to stay closer to the city, playful Japanese eatery, Uchi; modern neighborhood spot, Pax Americana; and Underbelly, which tells the “the story of Houston food” through seasonal, local, and globally-inspired shared plates, are easily among the best restaurants in the city. If you’re still hungry for late night eats, beer garden, and food hall Conservatory offers ramen, gyros, barbecue, and crepes.
  4. Explore Houston gems – Houston has no shortage of area attractions, including its world-renowned Museum District, which plays home to an organization of 20 museums, galleries, and cultural and community centers. Many of the museums, like the innovative Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and the incredibly serene Rothko Chapel, are always free. Others, like the Houston Museum of Natural Science and Children’s Museum of Houston offer free days for either the entire museum or certain exhibits. The district also houses the Houston Zoo, where you’ll find over 6,000 animals in natural habitat-style exhibits, including fan favorites like monkeys, elephants, and cheetahs. Guests can even feed giraffes at daily feedings, held at 11am and 2pm. Afterward, take a walk through the beautiful Japanese and McGovern Centennial Gardens. And kids will love taking a ride Hermann Park Railroad or a pedal boat out on the water. Downtown’s Theater District is the perfect spot to continue the tour. From the “Houston is” graffiti wall to grandiose theaters housing Houston’s ballet and symphony, Downtown is a mecca of art and culture. The Theatre Under the Stars at The Hobby Center presents hit Broadway-quality performances; At Jones Hall, listening to the Houston Symphony is a gift to the soul, while at the Wortham Theater Center, the Houston Ballet and the Houston Grand Opera are absolute delights. Get out and explore it all. Want some exercise? Hit the hike and bike trails along Buffalo Bayou Park to get views of the Downtown cityscape, enjoy urban art installations, and have fun at a dog and skate park. One of the park’s coolest attractions is the Cistern, an underground drinking water reservoir built in 1926 that was turned into a beautiful, open-to-the-public space complete with walking tours and video art installations. Over by Waugh, check out the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony, as over 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats make their way at of the crevices every night around sunset. Click here to see our complete guide to Buffalo Bayou Park.
  5. Drink local – Hit of one of Houston’s coolest craft drinkeries to sip local suds and more. The Hay Merchant, led by craft beer guru Kevin Floyd, offers 80 taps—75 draft and 5 cask engines, all cooled at the proper temperature to ensure perfect pours. There’s also an extensive bottle list, featuring cellared beers (the team is aging more than 200 kegs in the cellar as we speak), hard-to-find bottlings, readily available bottle-conditioned beers and beers that date back to 2001. The brewpub also has killer eats, including sweet and spicy crispy pig ears, which pair wonderfully with a nice, crisp brew. In Midtown, Wooster’s Garden rocks 49 carefully-selected taps, plus 42 house cocktails, a lineup of hot toddies and boilermakers, wines by the glass and bottle, and House Fireball. Cocktail fans won’t want to miss out on the expertly crafted concoctions at Anvil Bar & Refuge, Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirits Lodge, Houston Watch Co, and Julep; while whiskey aficionados should hit up Eight Row Flint and Reserve 101. Of course, we can’t forget the tequila. Check out The Pastry War and El Big Bad, both in Downtown.