Take a break from school and enjoy an eventful weekend in Houston

Houston_Postcard_Final_Fanny_Trang

Jessica Lee

The final days of school are approaching, and it is hard not to have summer in mind. Final projects and examinations are on the horizon, and what better way to take your mind off the stress of school than a quick jaunt to Houston?

Friday
Houston is not as far away as it may seem. The trip clocks in at around three hours, which can fly by pretty quickly. Take Texas State Highway 71 to Interstate 10 East, and you’re there! If you need to stretch your legs or take a bathroom break on the way there, make a point to stop at Weikel’s Bakery in La Grange on the way. This authentic Czech bakery has been making homemade fruit kolaches since 1929, and though the building has lost a bit of its small town charm due to a recent expansion, the kolaches have not changed a bit.

Once you’ve gotten settled in Houston, head over to Highland Village for a bit of shopping before heading to nearby Tiny Boxwood’s for dinner. The cafe is very trendy and features entrees such as lamb burgers and risotto. The outdoor seating has a garden that creates a great ambience on a nice night.

If you aren’t too exhausted from the drive over, University of Houston senior Lara Norman suggests heading to Midtown Drinkery. This bar has a rooftop and serves as the perfect place to hang out with friends while enjoying a pint or two (or three).

Saturday
If you ended up drinking a bit too much the night before, be sure to eat breakfast at House of Pies. This diner is a Houston landmark. Serving traditional diner food, House of Pies is open 24 hours and is the perfect hangover cure. And you can’t leave without trying a piece of pie. The joint has dozens to choose from, but if you are a chocolate lover, try the Bayou Goo. This sweet cream cheese pie layered with vanilla custard and swirled with chocolate chunks in a pecan crust will have you craving more.

Then it’s off to the Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Texas’ oldest craft brewery. On Saturdays, the brewery hosts tours at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Admission is $7 per person and includes tastings. The tours are extremely popular with Houston natives because the tastings go a long way, and customers are encouraged to hang out. Many play board games brought from home on the picnic tables in the warehouse while sipping on their beers and eating giant pretzels. The staff at Saint Arnold does not judge; you don’t even have to go on the tour if you don’t want to.

During the summer months, Houston is sweltering hot. Beat the heat at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Currently, the museum is featuring three special exhibitions: the Civil War, artifacts of the Titanic and Terra Cotta warriors. But if you want to save a bit of money, skip the big exhibitions and simply visit the museum’s Butterfly Center. Student tickets are $7 and give you access to the butterfly habitat, which houses some of the world’s largest arthropods.

For dinner, Niko Niko’s is budget-friendly and tasty. The Greek American cafe was opened in 1977 and has been serving the Houston community amazing Greek food ever since. The cafe is usually packed, but service is relatively quick. Try their classic gyro and afterward indulge in the baklava. You won’t regret it.

Sunday
If you manage to wake up early on Sunday, take a shopping trip over to Rice Village before heading back on the road to Austin. The area has a mixture of chain stores and boutiques. Rice Village is also home to Lot 8, a boutique owned by Project Runway winner Chloe Dao.

As for lunch, check out Alicia’s Mexican Grille, located in the Westchase area. The service is usually good, and their Mexican food serves as the perfect ending note for your weekend vacations. If you aren’t the one driving, indulge in a margarita.

Published on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 as: Houston offers several shopping opportunities, eateries, musem exhibits