In our Must Do Things Around Greater Houston series, we take a look at Houston’s vast array of communities, neighborhoods and destinations to bring you five fun, tasty, surprising and enticing reasons you should give each one a visit.
While you may not think of spending much time at Rice University (whether you’re a student or not), you may want to rethink hitting the 294-acre campus.
For starters, it makes for a quite lovely weekend stroll (especially when its followed by a nearby wallet-friendly brunch). And catching a Rice Owls game is always a good idea.
But the fun and action doesn’t stop with sports and food. Here are five more ways to experience college life at Rice University.
5 Must Do Things at Rice University
- Shop local at the Rice University Farmers Market – Every first and third Sunday of the month from 9am to 1pm, Feel Good Group and Rice Village District put on a hoppin’ local farmers market over near Amherst and Kelvin. Show up to support local farmers and small business owners, meet your fellow Houstonians, and sip, vibe to music, and pick up some fantastic artisan goods while you do so. Get directions to Rice Village Farmers Market.
- Have a Twilight Epiphany – Head over to Shepherd School of Music and you’ll find the magnificent Twilight Epiphany Skyspace sittin’ pretty. Built in 2012 and designed by brilliant artist James Turrell (known for his The Light Inside tunnel at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), the acoustically-engineered pyramidal structure is equipped with a LED light sequence that projects onto the roof and evokes the sun’s arc. The Skyspace structure is open and available to the public throughout the day, with light sequences occuring daily at sunrise and sunset. It is free and open to the public, with a suggestion to arrive 10-15 minutes early to guarantee a seat. Get directions to the James Turrell Skyspace.
- Get cultured through theater and art – The Moody Center for Arts is at the heart of the arts at Rice, offering three exhibition galleries, plus pop-up and permanent installations and art works across campus. Be sure to also catch the pop-up art installations from the Rice Public Art program, which works in collaboration with the Shepherd School of Music, the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts (VADA), the BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) and the student organization Art Lab, among others. The Shepherd School of Music, by the way, unveiled a brand new hallmark opera house, the Brockman Hall for Opera, completing a vision more than two decades in the making and featuring a three-tiered, 600-seat, European-style theater with an orchestra pit for 70 musicians. The Rice Players, the university’s oldest student-run theater company, puts on two large and a few small productions each year, typically in the 466-seat theater, Hamman Hall. Look out for announcements on upcoming productions on their Facebook. And at the Rice Cinema in the Rice Media Center, you’ll find a roster of films, from classics and indies to foreign features and documentaries.
- Have a drink in a hidden bar – In Norse mythology, Valhalla is a majestic, great hall in Asgard, ruled by the widely revered god of healing, death, sorcery, knowledge, and battle, Odin. But at Rice University, Valhalla has been the unofficial hangout ruled by Rice’s graduate students for over 40 years. The no-frills bar, run by graduate students and alumni, is hidden beneath the steps of Keck Hall. Head here to get a taste of college life through cheap tall glasses and bottles. Get directions to Valhalla.
- Go on a hunt for the university’s secret symbols – You may have already taken a stroll on the beautiful campus and taken in its majestic architecture, but next time you do so, you may want to look a little closer. Hidden in plain site, you’ll find secret symbols depicted on many of the university’s most prominent structures. Take, for example, Lovett Hall’s Sallyport arch, where you’ll find four heads depicting the four stages of college life carved into the columns. One portrays a satisfied senior, at peace with his accomplishments; another shows an anxious junior, his face full of worry as he is yet to fulfill his requirements. The third shows the all-knowing sophomore, now mature after having completed his first year; and finally, opposite him lies a giddy, goofy-faced freshman, excited for his college life to begin. But that’s just the beginning. This article from the Houston Chronicle does an excellent job highlighting some of the more fascinating symbolism on campus.
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