Each week, our My Top 5 series highlights a Houstonian who is shaping the culture of the city and making an out-sized impact on its character. In turn, each shares their own favorite things to do in Houston when not hard at work. This week, we’re very pleased to feature Erin Locke, Community Programs Director at The Periwinkle Foundation.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Erin Locke
- East End Architecture – One of the first things that drew me to the East End was the architecture. In a city that is constantly evolving, I was immediately in awe of the collection of craftsman homes and turn of the century commercial spaces. There are many great ways to enjoy to architecture of the East End, take a ride on the Green Line and explore on foot, hop on a bike and take the trails to quiet neighborhoods or, for an up close look, visit local home tours such as the annual Eastwood Historic Home Tour. If you’re really interested in the history like me, take a visit to the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Julia Ideson Building.
- Historic Houston Salvage – My husband and I took on the renovation of a 100-year-old home, and while many original features were long lost, I was determined to mirror and maintain as much of its original attributes as possible. Historic Houston Salvage is my mecca, it’s like Antiques Roadshow meets Hoarders, in the best possible sense. You can buy and donate items here, and as a non-profit, their mission is to preserve and protect Houston’s Historic architecture. Make this your go-to for claw foot tubs, hardwood floors, doors, window parts and so much more.
- Panaderias and Tacos – Panaderias and taco joints are in abundance throughout the city. While most Houston residents visit the big names along Navigation Boulevard, it is more than worth taking a deeper dive into the neighborhoods to visit some hidden gems. From sweet breads and palmaritas to chorizo and menudo, there is something for everyone. My favorite panaderia is La Victoria Bakery on Lawndale, they have the best pastries, fresh tacos (and full entrees) and most importantly, good green salsa. A few other local favorites are La Reynera Panaderia on McKinney and Brother’s Taco House on Dowling.
- Arts & Culture – Designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts, Houston’s Greater East End is one of only 35 Arts and Culture Districts in the State. Designed to harness the power of cultural resources to stimulate economic development and community revitalization, the designation also attracts some really cool people who are bringing their talent to the area. There are a number of galleries and studios on the East End. Visit Anat Ronen’s studio on Navigation, or Hillary and Ford Waters’ metal and wood work FMW fab|lab on Leeland, where you can sign up for welding classes. You will find some of Houston’s most talented taking up shop on the East side. Check out the Greater East End Management District’s website for a great map of murals and public art.
- Dominoes at D&W Lounge – One night, while house hunting, my husband and I stumbled upon D&W Lounge and decided to brave the windowless building for a beer. Walking through the door was like stepping back in time to my grandparents’ garage. I immediately knew this was my kind of place, what could be better than having a cheap beer in a room full of treasures? I’m talking Marilyn Monroe, taxidermy, neon signs, cat portraits, and a unicorn on the ceiling. While most non-locals flock for Saturday night karaoke (a habit of mine as well), my favorite way to enjoy this spot is to park it at a dominoes table and spend the afternoon playing some bones. It is an ice house, so beer only. If you don’t have your own set of bones, they have some they can loan you.
About Erin Locke
A native Houstonian, Erin Locke has worked with The Periwinkle Foundation since 2008. Currently serving as Community Programs Director, Erin oversees the Periwinkle Arts In Medicine program in collaboration with Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers and works throughout the community to engage individuals, organizations and corporations in a volunteer capacity. She is passionate about the arts and its role in emotionally healing children and families affected by pediatric cancer and blood disorders and enjoys witnessing first-hand Houston’s vibrant arts community unite to enrich the lives of these young patients.