At the start of each week, “My Top 5” features community leaders, entrepreneurs and other influential individuals who help shape our city. In turn, they tell us about their own favorite things to do in their down time in the Bayou City. This week we’re very pleased to feature Discovery Green President and Park Director Barry Mandel, who reveals his own favorites around the greater Houston area.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Barry Mandel
- Downtown Houston on a Sunday – Not only do I work downtown but I also call downtown home. I love the pace of downtown during the week but there is something unique about Sunday in downtown Houston. We love to grab something for breakfast at Phoenicia and then head out on our bikes to discover downtown.
- Art in Houston – There is nothing that compares to the variety of the arts available in Houston. First class, experimental, visual, performing, cutting edge, internationally renowned… We have it all in Houston. For instance, in the discipline of opera alone, Houstonians can choose from Ebony Opera Guild, Opera in the Heights and Houston Grand Opera.
- Galveston – We feel very fortunate to be only an hour away from the Gulf. Traveling over the causeway, you can’t help but exhale and breathe in the air. We’ve watched Galveston bounce back from storms and each time it seems to get better and better.
- Cemeteries – For some strange reason, I find cemeteries peaceful and contemplative spaces. Houston has some great cemeteries located in the heart of the city: the Jewish cemetery on Allen Parkway, Glenwood Cemetery and the US Houston National Cemetery.
- The Ensemble Theater – Over 35 years old, the Ensemble is one the oldest and largest professional African American theatre in the Southwest. Their productions are always inspiring, thoughtprovoking and great entertainment. We love being able to hop on the light rail and head into midtown for great cuisine and theater.
About Barry Mandel
Barry N. Mandel is president and park director of Discovery Green, a 12-acre park that serves as a public gathering space, holds hundreds of events, and welcomed more than six million visitors in its first six years. As a fourth-generation Houstonian, Barry has exhibited his passion and commitment to Downtown Houston throughout his accomplished career. Prior to joining Discovery Green, he led many successful ventures as President of the Houston Downtown Alliance, and Executive Director of the Theater District Association. Barry has volunteered his time to help numerous organizations including Casa de Esperanza, American Leadership Forum, Talento Bilingüe de Houston, Girls, Inc., the Holocaust Museum Houston, Houston Food Bank and AIDS Foundation Houston.