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Wednesday, September 23, 2020 — Houston, TX °

Six ways to spend fall recess


Illustration by Yifei Zhang

By Morgan Gage     10/8/19 9:49pm

With midterm recess quickly approaching, many students plan to attend the second weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival or return home for the long weekend. However, the number of things to do within the city of Houston or throughout the state is as large as Texas itself.

  1. Slow down and appreciate works of art.

The city of Houston is teeming with museums, and free admission into vast collections like that of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is just one perk of being a Rice student. However, avenues to view art in the area go beyond that. In the Houston Museum District, you can make the trek over to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston for a taste of modern art. As a part of the exhibition “Nari Ward: We the People,” one can take part in a simulated version of the citizenship process on Oct. 12 from 2-4 p.m. 

For vehicle enthusiasts or those searching for another sampling of contemporary art, the Art Car Museum offers art cars— cars designed with elaborate paint and features that border on sculpture on top of the actual vehicle——as well as other exhibitions. 

Additionally, the Menil Collection offers over 17,000 works of art, including painting, drawings, sculptures, prints and photographs with pieces by several artists, including Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. “Da Camera: Stop, Look and Listen! Jazz on the Lawn” will be presented on Oct. 12 from 3-4 p.m. for those who would like to listen to Latin jazz pianist Jose-Miguel Yamal and his quartet. The event is free, and those who attend are invited to bring blankets and picnics to enjoy the concert on the Menil’s lawn.

  1. Watch a piece of live theater.

Houston is home to a vibrant theater district that is nationally recognized as one of the largest and oldest in the country. Tennessee Williams’ memory play “The Glass Menagerie” opens Oct. 11 at the 4th Wall Theatre Company, and tickets are $17 for students. Students can also view F. Andrew Leslie’s adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House” at The Company OnStage for $15 with a student ID. Alternatively, go watch Shakespeare’s “A Winter’s Tale” at The Alley Theatre during their closing weekend. 

If you want to avoid leaving campus, the visual and dramatic arts department will be presenting Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” with showtimes running at 8 p.m. every day this weekend in Hamman Hall at a student ticket price of $5. 

  1. Get into the spooky spirit with ghost tours and haunted houses.

With almost half of October gone by, you may want to take this weekend as an opportunity to get into the Halloween spirit. Nightly Spirits Ghost Tours offers walking tours through some of Houston’s most historic allegedly haunted locales, including Buffalo Bayou, Market Square Park and downtown. For those over the age of 21, Nightly Spirits offers a haunted pub crawl where they guarantee you’ll see more than a few spirits. Both tours last around two hours and involve 1.5 miles of walking.

Creepy Hollow Haunted House is another option for those looking for a thrilling way to celebrate Halloween early. The venue has three different haunted attractions, the first of which is 288 Scare Factory, a viral genetic research facility infested by zombies. There is also the Dark Woods, a forest terrorized by a masked man who wields a bloody chainsaw. The third attraction, Pitch Black, drives the fear factor home with mutated killer clowns. Each of the attractions is tied together within a common universe: the experiments at 288 Scare Factory resulted in the mutations that led to the characters that inhabit Dark Woods and Pitch Black. Admission is $35 for adults.

  1. Take a day trip to Galveston to visit the beach and a night at the symphony. 

If you are able and willing to make the drive to the gulf coast, you’ll enjoy the abundance of free public art at the Galveston ArtWalk where you can visit rotating exhibits housed in galleries as well as inside local cafes and shops. 

Additionally, Galveston has multiple public beaches that you can visit before Houston has to say goodbye to warm weather and trade in swimsuits for sweaters. For those who missed Houston’s Greek Festival, the Galveston Greek Festival runs from Oct. 12-13 with $2 donations appreciated at the entrance. It is a celebration of Hellenism and Greek culture complete with food, wine, live music, childrens’ activities, including a petting zoo, dancing and tours of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church.

You can also visit Moody Gardens, an amusement park that’s home to an aquarium, rope courses, zip lines, tours on a replica paddlewheel boat and more. To finish the night, attend the Galveston Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 when it opens Oct. 13 at 4 p.m. with a student ticket price of $25. 

  1. Experience another city in Texas.

With historical landmarks near and throughout the city, San Antonio is a dream city for those who want to see famous sites of the Texas Revolutionary War such as the Alamo or the nearby towns of Goliad or Gonzales. The city itself is home to UNESCO world heritage site San Antonio Missions National Historical Park where visitors can view the largest concentration of Spanish missions in North America. Besides that, San Antonio is home to theme parks such as Six Flags Fiesta Texas and SeaWorld. In the heart of the city lies the  River Walk, a 15-mile stretch of restaurants, historic landmarks and attractions such as El Mercado, the largest Mexican market in the United States.  

Alternatively, turn your attention toward New Braunfels. Approximately a three-hour drive from campus, it is the perfect destination for  nature-lovers with plenty of opportunities to hike, fish, camp or kayak through the Guadalupe River. Hinman Island Park is perfect for scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, tubing and fishing. Additionally, New Braunfels is home to the Natural Bridge Caverns with two distinct cave systems and areas to mine for fossils.

  1. Attend one of the many festivals in Houston. 

Over midterm recess, several festivals will occur in the Houston area, including the Houston Italian Festival. If you want to attend a wine sampling event, enter a pasta-eating or grape-stomping contest and enjoy live music visit the University of St. Thomas from Oct. 10-13 to bask in a celebration of Italian culture.

Just over an hour’s drive away in the town of Todd Mission is the Texas Renaissance Festival, which offers enough food, mead, wine, ale and Scotch to satisfy a medieval court. This weekend will be themed “1001 Dreams” as fairies, elves and other whimsical magical creatures fill the festival grounds. In addition to a fantasy costume contest and fiery dragon-wing eating contest, there are opportunities to leave the festival with artwork and apparel such as corsets and elaborate hats, jewelry and medieval weaponry. 

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