Some of Houston’s Best Kept Secrets

by Lisa June

 

BAPS- Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
A breathtaking temple with detailed, hand carved marble walls, pillars and domes constructed without a single piece of iron or steel. Over 2400 Artisans in India created the carvings and then shipped them to Houston in 33,000 pieces, which fit together like a puzzle, then was constructed by volunteers in just 16 months. You will spend hours in amazement at the workmanship, beauty and spirituality of the Mandir.
open daily 7:30 am to 8:45 pm 1150 Brand Lane, Stafford, TX
houston.baps.org



Houston Bikeways and urban multi-use paths
The City of Houston is “On a Roll” and has been steadily constructing and improving the bike paths and shared use paths around the city with some dramatic bridges and paved ways through our parks and neighborhoods. With over 300 miles of interconnected trails which also includes rails to trails. To access maps and get more info go to Houston Bikeways Program on Facebook or  Houstonbikeways.org.



Memorial Park Golf Course
On 600 acres, nestled within one of the largest inner-city parks in America, is a gem to be enjoyed just minutes from many neighborhoods and Downtown. Memorial Park Golf Course is perfect for golfers of any skill level.  The course has a rating of 73 and a slope rating of 122. Home of the Houston Open from 1951-1963. Legends such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and other famous pros have played this top rated course.1001 East Memorial Loop Houston, TX 77007 memorialparkgolf.com



Waugh Drive Bat Colony
Nightly at sunset, nearly 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from the Waugh Drive Bridge over Buffalo Bayou to consume more than 1200 mosquitoes an hour.  As far as the experts know, this colony is the only one that stays active all year, while other Texas colonies migrate south to Mexico for the winter.  Located on Waugh Drive and Allen Parkway intersections there are observation areas. Get there about 20-30 minutes before sunset . Go to houston.tex.gov to learn about bat viewing etiquette and parking.

Kuhl-Linscomb
Designer Pam Kuhl-Linscomb started her career in the fashion design industry and since has transformed her talents into an award winning interior design firm in the Upper Kirby District. Pam was also listed in House and Garden magazine as “one of the best American designers working today”. Earning a Pinnacle Award of Excellence for outstanding service, everyone feels at home without the stuffy attitudes of some other  stores. The beautiful showroom is inspiring.
2424 West Alabama, Houston, TX 77098.

Ink Spots Museum
The fabulous music of the Ink Spots is very much alive and well in the Heights.  Legendary musician Huey “Ink Spot” Long is celebrated at this living museum at 117th East 20th st..  He lived to be 105 years old.  He would often be there  teaching and writing music on the weekends.
inkspotsmuseum.com

Diverseworks Artspace
As the name suggests, Diverseworks is a very unusual yet wildly successful contemporary artspace that nurtures and fuels the artists and allows them to fully express the wildest things an artist can dream. Diverseworks is just as involved with creating the audiences for the various artist and educating them with unique  multimedia  experiences.
1117 East Freeway, Houston, TX 77002   diverseworks.org

Downtown Tunnel System
With access to over 70 restaurants and coffee shops,  jewelry stores, optical, dental and medical offices,  shoe shops,  photo and framing stores, many newsstands, markets, gift shops and florists in the 7 miles of tunnels sneaking under the city, shopping is easy and fun to do. In a climate controlled system throughout, people can eat shop and commute in safety and comfort. There are many access points and exits to world above so one can mosey around for 95 blocks in the tunnel. The Theatre District  is also accessible. Free audio waking tours. Open M-F  6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.  
downtownhouston.org

Market Square  Historic District
Market Square has been the original business district and hot spot for Houstonians since the 1800’s and now has returned to its roots. With the modern urban neighborhood loft community sprouting, they are venturing out to the cafes and shops nearby . Sculptures, fountains, garden spaces and dog runs make family friendly Market Square Park a perfect place for an afternoon of fun or relaxation. Nightlife in Market Square has an ecclectic mix of past and present within a few blocks in The District. MetroRail is a block away.
marketsquarepark.com downtownhouston.org

19th Street in the Heights
A quaint little district where folks stroll leisurely down the sidewalk enjoying the myriad of merchants and cafes. Funky salons, vintage stores and little shops that are so fun and inspiring with fashion and home accents. Antique shops are abundant and offer some fantastic deals. White Linen Nights and Lights in the Heights are just a few of the community wide celebrations of their neighborhood.  This inspires residents get to know all of their neighbors and shop at local , small businesses which makes this an ideal place to experience.

Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Among the 12 parks that make up this sprawling green space near Downtown, Allen’s Landing is considered to the birthplace of Houston with the Allen brothers’ vision of trade along the waterways. Buffalo Bayou has been transformed into an ecological journey and waterway for your enjoyment. Kayak and canoe lessons and tours are available. Hike and bike trails have been improved and accessible to all. Dog parks and exercise spaces along the trails make it perfect to get a workout. Their is a free skate park as well. Connected with the new bridges and pathways, it is even easier than ever to enjoy.