Kevin Hart is headed to Houston for two big nights of standup.
Hamsa in Rice Village is getting the party going every Thursday night.
Pick up a to-go charcuterie board from Hilton Americas and have a picnic in the park before the summer up. (photo: Hilton Americas)
19th Street will be a sea of white at White Linen Night this Saturday
Sponsor goodies on display at the Houston Restaurant Weeks Kickoff at The Annie Cafe & Bar. (Photo by Michelle Watson, CatchlightGroup.com)
The largest immersive experience in America is on display in Houston now until August 14th. (photo by Patrick Hodgan)
Summer is speeding towards an end and your schedule is liable to get packed again soon. Whether you’re a football fanatic, a business guru or social swan, things are about to get busy. Your free nights may be dwindling. But never worry, there are plenty of things happening in Houston in August that will make it easy to close this summer with a fun flourish.
From the foodie event of the year to Kevin Hart on the Toyota Center stage to White Linen Night in The Heights, these are the Best Things To Do in Houston This August:
Kevin Hart and The Music
Kevin Hart is taking over the Toyota Center as only he can this Thursday, August 4th and Friday, August 5th. Yes, Houston is one of the few cities lucky enough to get two shows from the comic superstar who’s shown he can sell out any size arena.
But there is also plenty of music. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is the place for big acts outdoors and Jack Johnson with Ziggy Marley is playing there on Friday, August 26th. Expect the double Grammy-nominated singer to perform “Banana Pancakes,” “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing” and other favorites.
Even, in this stifling Houston summer heat, the Pavilion keeps things somewhat cool with the help of massive ceiling fans. Wiz Khalifa and Logic (this Saturday, August 6), Robert Earl Keen (Saturday, August 20) and OneRepublic (Sunday, August 28) are also among the shows happening in a concert-packed August.
Houston Restaurant Weeks
Houston Restaurant Weeks lasts all the way through Labor Day, September 5 this year. For almost five weeks, you can dine at a multitude of restaurants and enjoy food from prix-fixe multi-course menus with a portion of the proceeds from each meal going to the Houston Food Bank.
Last year’s event raised more than $900,000 for the Food Bank with Ben Berg’s B&B Butcher’s coming in at the top of the donor list, contributing more than $55,000.
Curious about what you can get? The three course Houston Restaurant Weeks menu at society hotspot Brasserie 19 costs $55 and lets you choose from dishes like deviled eggs with caviar and pickled onions, trout almondine with brown butter and a flourless chocolate tort. A number of restaurants are also offering special menus to-go this year including Ouisie’s Table, Rainbow Lodge and Traveler’s Table.
Also giving back this summer is Federal Grille, which is offering a special menu benefitting local charity Camp Hope. Five dollars from each meal sold during lunch or dinner time at the Federal Grill will go towards veterans and their families who have been affected by combat and post-traumatic stress. Camp Hope’s mission is very important to Federal Grille owner Matt Brice.
Thursday Nights Date Nights
My mom has always told me “When we were younger, Thursday night was date night.” That may still be the case — and if not why not make it so? Houstonians have been flooding restaurants, escaping the heat and getting an early start on these summer weekends on Thursdays.
Rice Village restaurant Hamsa is one option. The soft lighting, intimate table seating and bold yet comforting interior design make this Israeli restaurant a good spot for special occasions or romantic evenings. On Thursdays, you can transport yourself to Tel Aviv with live music, belly dancers and late-night bites. At one point, shots of Israeli liquor are passed around as each table is asked if they are ready to party. The answer? YES.
Shareable must-try menu items include Hamsa’s various hummus options, chicken and shrimp skewers with in-house chimichurri and beef tartare with challah. You can also choose five items from the Salatim menu for $20 (my favorites were the baba ghanoush, labneh and squash tahini) and pair them with homemade pitas that are as soft as a cloud. The Middle Eastern restaurant’s upbeat energy lasts until midnight and the overall experience is truly unlike anything else in Houston.
Of courser, new doesn’t always mean better. River Oaks restaurant Armandos is a longtime staple for good reason. Mismatched framed mirrors hanging in the dining room, the Hall of Fame photo wall and a crowded bar of button-downs and batting eyelashes never get old. And on Thursdays, a live DJ almost blows the roof off the place — every week. Join dancing moms, preppy college students home for the summer, and intermediate salsa dancers for an unforgettable night (that you probably won’t actually remember thanks to Armandos’ massive margaritas).
Another option? A tacos and tequila date night at Canyon Creek Cafe, which is open from 11 am to 2 am every Thursday. This bar and restaurant located in Houston’s Rice Military neighborhood on Westcott draws in all ages with its relaxed atmosphere, big TVs for sports viewing and dog-friendly patio. Order tacos at the bar (or just channel your inner kiddo and get the crispy chicken tenders) and then take a seat outside under an Austin-themed painted mural.
Hilton-Americas Houston — the downtown hotel connected to the George R. Brown Convention Center— is offering picnic in the park supplies to non-hotel guests for $50. The kit includes a to-go charcuterie board, two water bottles, a box of chocolates and a picnic blanket. You can pick up your picnic essentials (or just bring your own) and head over to Discovery Green to bask in the sun and view art from local artists.
Picnic kit pickup is available every day from 6:30 am to 11 am at 1600 Bar + Grille and from 4 pm to 6 pm in the hotel lobby.
You can also bring your own picnic supplies and hit the lawn at Miller Outdoor Theatre for a free concert. Nearby restaurants on Binz Street offer their own options for park dining like the huge salad or sandwich from Barnaby’s and juicy tacos from Bodegas Taco Shop.
Miller Outdoor Theatre’s August slate includes a Beatles Let It Be tribute show on Saturday, August 20th and Houston Shakespeare Festival performances from August 1 through August 6.
Other outdoor hang options? You can sit by the water-surrounded sculpture at Menil Park and escape into the beautiful Rothko Chapel. Or bike 15 miles on the Buffalo Bayou Trail and then relax in the shade under the trees with a sandwich while looking out at the Houston skyline. Then there’s Memorial Park, where you can play golf or tennis or have a nice three mile walk. Then, head over to Memorial’s Clay Family Eastern Glades to picnic amidst colorful flowers.
White Linen Night in The Heights
Every year on the first Saturday of August, Houstonians gather in The Heights for the drink, food and shopping fest called White Linen Night in The Heights. It’s a Houston night like no other. No matter who you are or where you’re from you are welcome with open arms — as long as you’re dressed in white from head to toe.
Wear your walking shoes as you’ll be hopping from bar to house to store, going up and down the charming neighborhood streets beginning officially at 6 pm (but many start the heavy drinking in the am), and lasting till. . . let’s just say. . . late. Bars and stores, specifically those on 19th Street, will be offering deals and concocting specialty drinks in honor of the annual festivities inspired by the New Orleans tradition. This is a chance to get out and support local artists, shops, bars restaurants and more.
Need an agenda? Start your day off with a brisket grilled cheese, mimosas and live music at Heights Bar & Co.’s brunch, which lasts until 4 pm. Then grab a to-go drink and head over to 19th Street. Or stick around for free shots and photo booths from 7 to 9 pm, and late night $9 espresso martinis from 9 to 11 pm.
Patterson Park is also holding its own all-day event featuring extravagant decor and multiple DJs. DJ Little Martin plays from 4 to 8 pm and Kevin Valencia takes the stage from 8 pm to midnight. Expect tons of swag, drinks and photo-ops. You can get a specialty strawberry lemonade cocktail, play putt-putt golf and cool down with free ice cream.
Onion Creek Cafe on White Oak Drive is also getting into the White Linen Night experience. Beginning at 6 pm, the bar will have live music from DJ Fredster and The Shotgun Sally Band. A few other White Linen Night hotspots to consider? McIntyre’s, Little Woodrow’s and Permission Whiskey.
August also marks your last chance to see the largest immersive art land in America — Immersive Monet & The Impressionists. Once August 14th arrives, the run will be over so get tickets (adult ducats cost $34.99 and kids tickets run $19.99) if you still want to go. The 25,000-square-foot space features a 360 degree art spectacle that makes the paintings come to life and hit all five senses.
But that’s not the only worthy Houston art event. This Thursday, August 4th from 5 to 8 pm, Laura Rathe Fine Art holds the opening for its exciting new collective exhibition dubbed “Art of Paper.” Kandis Susol and Stef Ross are the two new artists joining a group of national and international artists displaying their paper-constructed pieces. Colorful floral patterns and massive sculptures of objects will all be part of the fun. The exhibition runs through August 27th.