My Top 5: Greater Houston CVB’s A.J. Mistretta

Photo credit: Matthew Barre

At the start of every week, “My Top 5” features Houstonians who help create Houston’s distinctive culture, character and community and highlights their own very favorite things to do in the Bayou City. To kick off Houston’s Gay Pride Week, we spoke with A.J. Mistretta, senior public relations manager at the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau and editor of its collection of websites, including

My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston

by A.J. Mistretta

  1. Drinks at the Lancaster Hotel and Hotel Icon – Downtown is definitely the place to go out these days, especially Market Square with its mix of new and well-established watering holes. But I really love having drinks in the lobby of the Icon and the Lancaster. There’s just something about these two properties with regal histories that sets them apart from most hotels in Houston. Icon is a great spot for a nightcap and I particularly enjoy the Lancaster in the Theater District pre- and post-show.
  2. Taking in a show at Alley Theatre – I’m a big fan of live theater and luckily Houston has one of the best resident performing companies in the country. Every year Alley produces its version of the newest and most acclaimed shows on stage. Next season they move to the University of Houston for a year to allow for a major renovation of the Downtown building—the plans look awesome.
  3. Running Rice – I try to run three times a week and my favorite place right now is the trail around Rice U. Rice has it all—an oak-lined trail, views of stately homes that surround the campus and a great network of runners. In the summer, I try to go around dusk, but be careful of the low-hanging branches on those oaks after dark.
  4. Checking out the latest at the Houston Museum of Natural Science – One of the first places I take people who come to town is HMNS. We all know Houston has a great Museum District and HMNS plays a big role in that. Their permanent collection is terrific but the museum also has incredible temporary exhibits year-round.
  5. Sunday Funday in Montrose – Sure, going out on a Friday or Saturday night can be fun. But there’s nothing like Sunday Funday. It all starts with the right brunch (I recommend Gloria’s or Beaver’s). From there it’s an afternoon of day drinking at gayborhood favorites like Crocker Bar, South Beach and F Bar. Monday may be rough, but it’s worth it.

About A.J. Mistretta

A.J. Mistretta is the senior public relations manager at the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. In addition to working with journalists covering Houston as a destination, he oversees the online content of the GHCVB’s network of websites. A.J. is the editor of, an expansive website that details events, ongoing activities and more for LGBT visitors and locals. He previously served as a writer and editor for newspapers and magazines in Austin, Houston, Dallas, and New Orleans.

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