The Ultimate Girls Weekend in Houston
Ready to revel in a weekend with your favorite ladies? Houston delivers with fabulous shopping, standout spas, to-die-for dining and nightlife that keeps the party going well into the night. Wondering where to begin? Let us help.
Where to stay:
Getting around: Traveling from Bush Intercontinental or Houston Hobby Airport, take Super Shuttle or a Metro bus to Downtown ora cab anywhere you need to go. In the city: Take a cab or use the MetroRail to travel between downtown, the Museum District and other neighborhoods. For more information about how to navigate the city, click here.
Noon: After dropping your luggage off at the hotel, head out for a bite to eat. (After all, you’re going to need that energy for the shopping cardio that’s in store.) River Oaks' Tiny Boxwoods is a solid option. Tucked inside the Thompson & Hanson Nursery, the charming café boasts a beautiful garden and patio, along with a well-edited menu of soups, salads and sandwiches. Other casually-cool light-bite contenders near Upper Kirby: Local Foods, Giacomo's Cibo e Vino (near Highland Village) and Paulie’s in Montrose.
2PM: Before venturing to The Galleria–the city’s holy grail of retail–pay a visit to a few of the city’s most-coveted boutiques. Located near Petite Sweets (a great place to grab a macaron), Kuhl-Linscomb is an all-in-one gift, home and accessory emporium that regularly lands on the pages of national pubs like Elle Décor, Lucky magazine and The New York Times. A few blocks away, fashion mainstay Tootsies shines in its 35,000-square-foot West Ave space. Find couture clothing and ready-to-wear fashion by top designers and rising-star names. Other worthy (and nearby) detours: River Oaks Shopping Center, Highland Village and Uptown Park.
4PM: When you’re ready to get down to buying business, venture just outside The Loop to The Galleria.The three-story compound makes room for more than 375 stores, an ice rink, two hotels and several restaurants. Akin to the designer names on New York’s famed Fifth Avenue or Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, The Galleria boasts boutiques like Tory Burch,Valentino, St. John and Yves Saint Laurent. Neiman Marcus,Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Macy’s flank the sprawling structure.
7PM:After schlepping those fabulous finds back to the hotel–and squeezing in a quick power nap– it’s time to start getting ready for the night. Wondering where to go in a city with several thousand restaurants? Depends what you’re craving. Upper Kirby’s Kata Robata is a sushi staple among locals, El Tiempo Cantina makes a mean marg and Dolce Vita does pizza right. For modern American fare, try Benjy's or Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette, which are known for putting fun twists on traditional cuisine.
10PM: Keep the party going at Under the Volcano. This Rice Vilage-area hotspot is the perfect place to sip a martini or margarita (especially the signature strawberry basil variety). Looking for something more high-energy? Lucky Strike Lanes calls Downtown’s GreenStreet home, as does the House of Blues and Pete's Dueling Piano Bar–the latter of which puts a decidedly more interactive spin on the piano-bar concept.
9AM: Ease into the day with brunch at River Oaks' Backstreet Cafe. The local gem—which is set inside a 1930s-era cottage—offers New American cuisine and one of the city’s most-loved patio spaces. Snag a table out back, where mature oak trees curb the summer heat. Go for the brioche French toast, Backstreet Benedict or the Crawfish Grits, paired with a not-too-sweet wild berry mimosa or the pineapple-tinged, fresh-fruit sangria. Make reservations and avoid the wait.
10:30AM: Productivity is overrated. Girls weekends are made for rest, relaxation and plenty of pool time. After brunch, venture to the Museum District--set Hotel ZaZa for a big chill massage or exfoliating body treatment at ZaSpa.The 11,000-square-foot spa features 11 treatment rooms and the Sanctuary—an oxygen therapy room, where guests unwind in plush robes before heading to a treatment room.
12:30PM: Cap off the afternoon at the adjacent pool, which overlooks Mecom Fountain. Available exclusively for hotel guests—and ZaSpa patrons—the outdoor oasis is a hub for pretty young things and the occasional wild antic. For double the fun, book one of the poolside cabanas, which offer prime people-watching opportunities.
2:30PM: Before venturing back to the hotel, pay a visit to the nearby Museum of Fine Arts, Houston or the Menil Collection. Both stay open until 7PM on Saturday and contain works by some of history’s most influential artists. The 300,000-square-foot MFAH is dedicated to paintings, sculptures, costumes, photography and textiles dating to the antiquities, while the Menil pays homage to 20th-century works. There, visitors can peruse pieces by Andy Warhol, Henry Matisse and Pablo Picasso, among many others.
6:30PM – (Option 1): Channel your inner artist at Montrose’s Pinot’s Palette—a relaxed, teacher-led painting studio that blends creativity and BYOB. Saturday classes start at 7PM and wrap up at 10PM, so you’ll want to bring along some food (and vino) to tide you over. Lucky for you, the Texas-sized Spec's superstore is nearby. Much more than a beer, wine and liquor emporium, the Smith Street Spec’s remains an epicurean destination with its imported food offerings (cheeses, meats, sweets and freshly-made sandwiches). Of course, you could always grab dinner at Max's Wine Dive, just across the street, too. (Note: Pinot’s Palette classes fill up quickly, so make reservations in advance.)
10PM – (Option 1): Afterwards, venture to Boheme Cafe & Wine Bar. Located just a stone’s throw from Pinot’s Palette,the eclectic, culture-filled café offers light bites (artisan cheese plates, pizzas, quiche) and an impressive drink menu. For those post-painting partiers that want to kick things up a notch, catch The Wave to Downtown's Market Square, where a pedestrian-friendly cluster of bars and lounges await. For $15 all night or $8 one way, the privately-owned jitney service will pick up passengers and take them to and from most places inside the 610 Loop.
6:30PM – (Option 2): On a clear Houston night, it’s hard to beat a free performance at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Most Saturday events begin after 8PM, featuring everything from Houston Symphony concerts and Theatre Under the Stars productions to professional step shows and works by the Houston Ballet. Before the show, venture to Midtown for dinner at Ibiza or Reef, before catching the MetroRail to the Museum District-set theatre. (Note: Guests are able to BYOB to performances, but no glass containers or bottles, so plan accordingly.)
10PM-ish – (Option 2): Following the show, catch the METRORail back to Midtown, where nightlife options abound. Looking for your scene? Find culture vultures congregating at the Tiffany lamp-lit Nouveau Antique Art Bar and the professional set at 13 Celsius, where a stellar selection of wines by the glass and small food items keep patrons happy. After it’s all said and done, round out the night with a hearty bowl of pho from Mai's Restaurant.
10AM: After sleeping in—it’s called the day of rest for a reason—head to The Heights for brunch at Down House.The cozy restaurant is ready to revive party people with chicken and waffles, breakfast tacos, biscuits and top-notch lattes. (There is a chicken wing-topped Bloody Mary on offer, too, if you’re feeling up for it.)
Noon: Before everyone says their goodbyes, fit one last shopping excursion in along 19th Street. The quaint, locally-owned stretch of shops offers everything from clothing (Jubilee), home décor (Casa Ramirez Imports) and art (Gallery M Squared).
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