Welcome to Houston, y’all! Whether you are from far-off places or around the block, there are plenty of new, exciting sites to see and experiences to have in America’s fourth-largest city. In fact, there are so many things to do that all of those websites and guidebooks may overwhelm you a bit. To make things a little easier for you, the Thresher has weeded through the good and the bad in order to find the real gems tucked into this awesome place.
For the artsy and outdoorsy: Miller Outdoor Theatre
Location: Hermann Park, past the zoo.
How to get there: You can walk from campus
The scoop: Nestled within walking distance from Rice is one of Houston’s hidden artsy treasures, Miller Outdoor Theatre. This architectural masterpiece hosts free or low-cost events year-round in all variety of genres, including fireworks on July 4, symphonies, plays, dance performances and much more. Delicious food is often sold on site, and the theater is frequently surrounded by food trucks. Miller’s a great way to explore culture in your own backyard — literally.
For hipster concertgoers: House of Blues
Location: 1204 Caroline St.
How to get there: METRORail
The scoop: Houston’s overrun with music venues, but this one’s a treat purely because it’s so accessible from Rice. Just hop on the Metro, ride along for four or five stops, and you’ll be there in no time. The other perk of House of Blues is how diverse its offerings are — they host events almost every night of the week and feature acts from every genre of music, from country, to indie-rock, to ’70s throwback. It’s a great place to check out if you want to get off campus and listen to some high-quality live music in a relaxed setting.
For the budget-conscious sports fan: BBVA Compass Stadium
Location: 2200 Texas St.
How to get there: METRORail
The scoop: Houston’s an amazing city if you like watching professional sports, but sometimes the tickets can get a little pricey. Houston’s professional soccer team, the Dynamos, allows you to get in on the action without breaking the bank. The team plays at BBVA Compass Stadium, easily accessed from campus by the new Purple METRORail line, and tickets go for cheap on resale websites like Groupon. Just because tickets are affordable, however, does not mean you’re not in for an excellent time. The team is playing well and the venue is top-notch, so the games can be just as exciting as an early season Texans or Astros game.
For the quirky: Beer Can House
Location: 222 Malone St.
How to get there: Uber, or get a friend to drive
The scoop: In 1968, a Texas man got very bored, and several years later, Beer Can House came into existence. A Houston institution, BCH is exactly what it says in the name: a giant architectural structure created from over 50,000 beer cans. Though the creator, upholsterer John Milkovisch, swears it is not a piece of art, many would beg to differ, and the site has gained international attention in recent years. BCH is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. for admission and tours. A visit to this attraction is a pretty safe bet if you are looking for a weird adventure during your stay in Houston.
For the adventurer: Discovery Green
Location: 1500 McKinney St.
How to get there: METRORail heading north
The scoop: Nestled in the urban jungle that comprises downtown Houston is a little patch of peace and nature. Discovery Green hosts events year round, most of which are free and open to all members of the community. In the winter, the park hosts ice skating and free holiday movie showings. In other seasons, events run the gamut from free tango classes to yoga sessions to wine tastings. The park is also just a great place to lay down a blanket and have a picnic with a friend. Regardless of when you make a visit, you will find something interesting to check out.