Around the World in Houston: Discover Slovakia & the Czech Republic

Photo courtesy of Slavic Heritage Festival

With a labyrinth of cultures represented in every nook and cranny of town, Houston is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in America. To celebrate this world-class melting pot, we’ll be exploring a new region of the globe through a Houston lens each week, from annual festivals and museums to restaurants and cultural experiences. Join the journey with our Around the World in Houston series.

Explore Czech and Slovak culture via heritage festivals, polka dancing lessons and language classes, řízek, dumplings, beer and more.

Annual Festivals & Cultural Events

  • Houston Slavic Heritage Festival Every year, Houston’s Slavic communities gather to honor their Slavic heritage with ethnic foods, singing and dancing. The festival is open to the public, as all are invited to join and learn about the rich histories and cultures of the Czech, Croatian, Polish, and Ukrainian communities.
  • Czech Day Festival | FREE – In October, SPJST Lodge 88 Pokrok Houston celebrates an annual Czech Day Festival (the 2017 event was cancelled out of respect for those who were affected by Harvey), where all are invited to join in and learn about the culture through music, language, food and more. Admission is free.
  • Sacred Heart Czech Fest In Crosby, Sacred Heart Catholic Church puts on an annual Czech culture fest, featuring polka music, arts, crafts, live entertainment, food, games, and family fun. The event is held in October.

Museums & Cultural Organizations

  • Czech Center Museum Houston Since 1995, this non-profit cultural arts organization has celebrated the rich culture and history of the Czech and Slovak people, offering art exhibits, tours, movie nights, language instruction and more. The center promotes Czech/Slovak heritage by “preserving, recording and celebrating the language, scholarship, and the arts of Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, and Silesia.”
  • Czech Heritage Society of Texas (Harris County Chapter) This local nonprofit has been dedicated to the study and preservation of Czech genealogy, history, culture, and language since 1985.

Czech and Slovak Food & Drink

  • Two Czech Chicks Kolache Shoppe & Bakery With a babicka-approved dough recipe that has been passed down through generations of Czechs, this Danbury kolache shop offers light and fluffy numbers filled with everything from peach and cream cheese to sausage and cheese.
  • Old Towne Kolaches This westside spot stays true to the traditional Czech kolache, with real fruit fillings in flavors like apricot, apple, peach, cherry, and poppy seed. You’ll also find Tex-Czech kolache, filled with sausage, bacon, ham, eggs, chicken, beef, jalapeño and more.
  • The Original Kolache Shoppe Baked fresh daily since 1956, the kolache and klobasnek at this Telephone bakery mix Czech and Slovak tastes with local flare. Get locally-sourced numbers stuffed with poppy seed, raspberry and sweet cheese, sausage and jalapeño, or roast beef, cheese, and bacon.
    Polonia Restaurant Though this Spring Branch spot specializes in Polish cuisine, you’ll find dishes commonly found in Czech and Slovak cuisine, as well—from pork aspic (similar to Slovak huspenina or studeno), goulash and meat-filled dumplings to potato pancakes, sauerkraut soup, and Czech beer.
  • King’s Biergarten and King’s BierhausSchnitzel (known in the Czech Republic as řízek and in Slovakia as rezeň) is a popular dish in Czech cuisine; and if you’re looking for a taste of it, there’s no better spot than alongside potato salad and a giant beer at one of Hans Sitter‘s German biergartens.
  • Golden Grain This Russian food emporium carries a host of delicacies from across Europe, carrying over 5,000 products from 25 countries. Shop for gourmet foods, deli and cheeses, fresh pastries, and fine wine and beers.

Language Classes, Education Centers, Clubs & Meet-Ups

  • Czech and Slovak Languages ClassesLocated in Houston’s business and financial district off Post Oak, the Berlitz Houston Learning Center offers small group classes, one-on-one or live online classes with native-fluent instructors.
  • SPJST Lodge 88 Offering fraternalism for all ages, this Czech social club sponsors family-oriented activities and community service projects, including dances, picnics, tournaments, summer camps, polka dances, and food drives, among other things. The group proudly promotes its Czech heritage, but membership is open to everyone.
  • Polka Dance Lessons Located in the Woodlands, Country Dance Houston offers fun polka lessons for singles and couples, with the first lesson free.
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Brooke Viggiano is a food and lifestyle writer residing in Houston. When she's not contributing to publications like 365 Things to Do in Houston, Thrillist Houston and the Houston Press, she's on the hunt for the coolest happenings in the city. You can follow her musings on Twitter @BrookeViggiano .