We’re sure you already have Super Bowl Live and the NFL Experience on your to-do list, but what else?  Downtown Houston is busting with excitement and there are tons of places to explore while you are visiting. Below are our top ten recommendations, in no particular order!

1. Super Bowl Opening Night- The NFL kicks off Super Bowl LI festivities on Monday, January 30 by hosting the participating teams and fans in primetime at Super Bowl Opening Night Fueled by Gatorade at Minute Maid Park. Fans can be a part of the media frenzy and watch first hand one-on-one interviews. In addition, the event will feature live musical performances, special appearances and autographs by NFL Legends, cheerleaders and team mascots.  Plus you can strut your stuff on the Red Carpet fan photo opportunity. Get your tickets here! 

2. Treebeards- Located in Historic Market Square, this Htown institution is normally open for weekday lunch only, but lucky for us they have announced that they will be extending their hours for Super Bowl weekend!  You can get your Cajun favorites such as chicken and shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice, etouffee and other Southern-style deliciousness on Friday night, Feb 3 from 5 to 9 pm and Saturday, Feb 4 from 11 am to 2:30 pm, 5 to 9 pm (in addition to their weekday lunch hours). Be sure to try their signature melt-in-your-mouth butter bars, they’re addictive.  315 Travis, treebeards.com

Special Event: Treebeards and Vermeil Wines Celebrate the Big Game with Super Bowl XXXIV Winning Coach Dick Vermeil and Special Guests!  Don’t miss this opportunity to meet and chat with Coach Vermeil and enjoy fine wines from his Calistoga, California winery with pairings by Treebeards. Friday, February 3 from noon to 2 pm.  Tickets are $51 per person, RSVP by Jan 31 to to edie@treebeards.com or call 713.225.2160.  

3. Last Concert Café- Hidden in the downtown warehouse district, this Tex Mex cafe, serves handmade fresh food and great live music 7 nights a week.  A large outdoor stage area, picnic tables and its own “beach” (in lieu of a dance floor) gives the feeling of being in your neighbor’s back yard.  During Super Bowl week, the kitchen will be open until 11 pm and the bar until 2 am and be sure to check out their musical lineup.  1403 Nance. lastconcert.com

Monday- Open Mic Night
Tuesday- DJ Chaney 
Wednesday - Hellina Bucket and Potroast 
Thursday- The Hightailers 
Friday- Funk Festival
Saturday- DJ
Sunday Brunch- Atomic Nightingales 
Sunday- Big Screen Game

4. Market Square Park- The heart of Historic Market Square, Market Square Park is just a couple of blocks away from where Houston was founded by the Allen Brothers and was home to Houston’s City Hall for more than 100 years.  In 2010, the park was redeveloped into the beautiful and chill neighborhood park it is today.  Wanting to create a laid back respite away from the craziness of Discovery Green, the park will host Movie Night: Jerry Maguire on Wednesday, Feb 1 starting at 7 pm and local music Friday (11 am to 3 pm) and Saturday (11 am to 4 pm) afternoons. Presented by Wonky Power Music, bands will include up and comers Dollie Barnes, Birthday Club, Young Girls, Charles Brown, Mind Shrine, El Lago, Camera Cult, Vodi and Handsomebeast.   After hanging out at the park, explore the cool and eclectic bars and restaurants in the hood.  301 Milam.  Marketsquarepark.com

5. Buffalo Bayou & Bcycle- Visitors always seem shocked by the amount of green space in Houston.  Downtown is incredibly fortunate to have Buffalo Bayou graze our borders and, more importantly, the $53 million transformed Buffalo Bayou Park just steps away!  Visitors can enjoy the greenbelt which consists of many activities for exercise and enjoyment such as the hike and bike trails; exercise stations; the Jim Mozola Memorial Disc Golf Course; a dog lover’s park; canoeing and kayaking; and children’s playground.

The best way to explore… on a bicycle!  With 14 Bcycle stations downtown you can easily get around on two wheels, and thanks to BBVA Compass, you can ride Bcycle for FREE during Super Bowl week (Jan 27 through Feb 5)!  Every 60 minute ride is free after the rider reserves the bike with a valid credit or debit card.  Tip: dock your bike within 60 minutes and then check it out again for FREE.  #WeAreMobile  buffalobayou.org and Houston.bcycle.com

6. Pop-up shops- Don’t miss these fun pop-up shops that will be open downtown for a limited time only!

Launch- Curated by Syndey Dao, this super cool pop-up features the works of some of the best local designers, artists and artisans from Houston’s creative community. Launch references the “launch” of Houston’s emerging designers which include Chloe Dao, Gino Vian, Brenda Grands and more. Featured products will range from clothes and jewelry to art and interior design pieces.  701 Avenida de las Americas, facebook.com/LaunchHTX

Mizzen+Main- Purveyors of performance fabric menswear (who happen to have JJ Watt as their spokesperson!), will make their home on The Lawn at GreenStreet from Jan 30 through Feb 5.  Join them for their opening night happy hour on Jan 30 from 5 to 7 pm and a collection launch party on Feb 2 from 5-8 pm. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. greenstreetdowntown.com

lululemon athletica- lululemon will make a guest appearance on The Lawn at GreenStreet Feb 2-4.  Whatever way you stretch, bend or twist, there is something for you.  #thesweatlife.  GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. greenstreetdowntown.com

7. Saint Arnold Super Beef Sunday- The first Sunday in February means one thing in Houston:  Super Beef Sunday. Oh, and on this particular Sunday, there’s that little football game being played. At Saint Arnold’s 4th Annual Super Beef Sunday, legendary Louie Mueller BBQ will be here alongside Pinkerton’s Barbecue and Harlem Road Texas BBQ and of course you will be able to enjoy Saint Arnold beer from your commemorative Super Beef Sunday pint glass. How convenient!  The event is from 11 am to 2 pm- do your best to arrive by 12:30 so you can try all of the different items the pit masters will have to offer. Tickets are $50 per person. Briskets and beef ribs to take home must be ordered at the time of your ticket purchase. They will not be available to purchase at the event. 2000 Lyons. saintarnold.com.

Side note: Brewery tours are at 1 pm and 3 pm Monday through Friday and noon, 1 pm and 2 pm on Saturday; $10 admission (includes souvenir glass and four 8 oz samples). Cheers!

8. Theater District- The district features nine world renowned performing arts organizations, and many smaller ones located in four major venues (Wortham, Hobby, Alley and Jones) within blocks of each other in downtown.  During Super Bowl week, there is a variety of offerings, included a performance by superstar Yo-Yo Ma with the Houston Symphony!  Pre-theater dining recommendations include Perbacco, Lawless Kitchen and Artista. For more info check out our online calendar

9. Art Blocks- Launched right before Final Four this past April, four site-specific temporary art installations can be found at Main Street Square (900 to 1100 blocks of Main Street). From the quirky interactive mas que la cara (more than the face) by Brooklyn art collective YesYesNo to an urban street intervention, Color Jam, by international artist Jessica Stockholder.  Our rotating Main Street Marquee is home to Giovanni Valderas’ Saludos and Trumpet Flower, by Houston artist Patrick Renner and Flying Carpet, is a sculpted canopy in which you can sit under, relax and people watch.  artblockshouston.org

Side note: There are dozens of pieces of public art downtown in addition to Art Blocks.  Some of the best known are permanent installations such as Joan Miro’s Personage and Birds (in front of Houston’s tallest building at 600 Travis); Jean Dubuffet’s Monument au fantôme and Margo Sawyer’s Synchronicity of Color, both located at Discovery Green; and Seven Wonders, Mel Chin's 70-foot columns that glow like giant lanterns, located behind the beautiful Wortham Theater Center. 

10. Game Day Fever at Phoenicia Specialty Foods & MKT Bar- Celebrate Super Bowl fever with local beer and pizzas from the Super Bowl teams’ respective cities/home states and Houston’s best DJs will be spinning to keep the party pumping all week.  For on-the-go options, you can’t beat this amazing gourmet grocery store.  Replenish with quick on-the-go food options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks or treats. We suggest the chicken shawarma which is always a crowd pleaser!   1001 Austin. Check out MKT Bar for more details
Special event: The Big Game Watch Party at MKT Bar- Watch the game with great food and good people. Team specials, games, prizes and frivolity will abound. 

This piece originated with Downtown Houston.