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Romantic Weekend in Houston

Day 1: Friday

Blacksmith Coffee

Houston’s sprawling 669 square miles is practically made for lovers — an adult playground for your whirlwind romantic weekend. Once you’ve settled into your digs, the most crucial Houstonian requirement is fulfilling your Tex-Mex quota. Grab lunch at Teotihuacan for your initiation with frosty margaritas and sizzling fajitas. Curb the food coma with a coffee or tea from Blacksmith, an artisan coffee shop that roasts their beans locally.

Make a beeline for Houston Museum of Natural Science for dinosaur fossils and Egyptian mummies, ending at The Cockrell Butterfly Center for the grand finale. This three-story glass pyramid filled with tropical plants is like a Discovery-Channel-level mating ritual waiting to happen. Instead of performing a dazzling dance with bright feathers to woo your partner, the exotic butterflies fluttering about and landing on your hands and on top of your head make for quite the display.

Dinner at Mala Sichuan on Westheimer showcases a beloved piece of Houston’s Chinatown in a low-lit Montrose bistro setting, filled with sensory-tingling plates like whole-roasted tilapia dripping with peppercorns served communally, ideal for sharing. With the work week finally behind you, Friday nights are always a tinge friskier than others. Dance off the day’s calories to a playlist full of 80s and 90s throwbacks at Barbarella.

Day 2: Saturday

MATCH

Soak up Friday’s questionable choices with the most high-quality carbs in the city at Common Bond for breakfast. Go off the beaten path to see some of Houston’s rather unconventional museums, like the quirky, hands-on Health Museum or the National Museum of Funeral History for a touch of the spooky and macabre with your dearly beloved.

Head to The Heights to shop at Heights Mercantile and grab lunch from Melange Creperie, a novel eatery serving sweet and savory crepes with locally sourced sides. Practice your catwalk strut in vintage thrift duds from the dressing room of El Bambi. See a play at MATCH in Midtown, the city’s most walkable neighborhood with the METRO rail running through the heart of it.

Take the rail to Xochi, the crown jewel of award-winning Chef Hugo Ortega (2017 winner of the Best Chef: Southwest category at the prestigious 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards, though he was a finalist for the award for six consecutive years) serving his signature central Mexican cuisine. Wind down instead of up at the moody and exclusive Tongue-Cut Sparrow for a cozy, speakeasy vibe mixed with a solid menu of classic cocktails.

Day 3: Sunday

The Dunlavy

After breakfast at The Kitchen at The Dunlavy, head along the bayou to The Cistern, an underground piece of Houston history now featuring art installations by local artists.

Lounge on the lawn of The Menil after touring their prestigious collections, winding around to world-renowned Rothko Chapel for some thought-provoking observation. Scope out the Broken Obelisk sculpture dedicated to Martin Luther King in the serene reflecting pool outside.

After a lunch of locally-sourced indulgence at Good Dog, walk over to the Houston Center for Photography for their most recent photo exhibit. For a romantic dinner and drinks, another James Beard-winning restaurant, Theodore Rex, offers ala cart items made for sharing.