The Top 10 Must See and Experience Places in Houston
So you’ve decided to take your next trip to Houston and need some reliable information on what to see and where to go. You’ve heard of the Galleria Mall, NRG Stadium, and Midtown but what about all those rare and unique places that only the natives know about? If you’re reading this, you’re the kind of person that wants to step off the beaten path and truly experience Houston at its finest. You are looking for only unique and rare experiences. This comprehensive guide was written by locals, for tourists and will give you a sneak peek into some carefully selected Houston destinations that you might not have heard of before. So get ready and take notes because we are about to give you an insiders’ perspective on 10 of Houston’s best hidden gems!
In no particular order:
#1 YoYo’s Hot Dogs
Phone: (713) 839-6207
YoYos is basically everything you have ever wished for in a hot dog stand and more. In fact, they have completely revolutionized the hot dog eating experience in Houston. You can currently find them at two separate locations but call or check their website first because they sometimes move. One stand is parked outside of Little Woodrow’s at 2306 Brazos Street and the other has its spot at Midtown, inside Capitol Bar on the back patio at 2415 Main Street. The location outside of Little Woodrow’s is the main location and is open Thursday-Saturday from 9pm-3am.The location on Main street is only open on Sundays from 6pm – 11:45pm. Both locations are popular areas to visit and you will get a chance to meet the owner, YoYo, at the Main Street location and his brother, JonJon, at the Brazos location. They both have managed to keep things very simple and both of them still operate the stands like true champs. The menu at any of YoYo’s hotdog stands is about as simple of a menu as you can possibly imagine. They don’t sell burgers, or sandwiches, or anything of the sort. They sell hot dogs, soft drinks, and bottled water and that’s all folks. They use only Nathan’s all beef dogs which any hot dog aficionado will tell you are the absolute best you can purchase. They aren’t small either by any stretch of the imagination. These are big, juicy, hand grilled dogs that won’t leave you wanting more food afterward. Yes, you heard that right, these dogs are hand grilled and the buns are toasted for your enjoyment right in front of you.
What are the toppings you ask? They are totally unique toppings that we had never before heard of on a hot dog before YoYos but it’s an explosion of goodness for your taste buds. The fully loaded dog, which is only $5 by the way, comes with a dash of pepper, warm cream cheese, spicy mustard, curry ketchup, grilled onions, crunchy fried onions, honey mayo, and a tiny splash of Sriracha. If you want to be part of the “In Crowd” and you already know you want the dog fully loaded, just say “All The Way” when you order. This ensures you will get YoYo’s perfectly designed recipe. Just so you know, it is HIGHLY recommended to get the hot dog, “All The Way”. This is the recipe that has won YoYos countless 5 star Yelp reviews, numerous accolades in print as well as online publications, and a huge cult following of hotdog lovers from all over the country and beyond. If you have some sort of aversion to spicy food, when ordering, make sure to say, “All The Way, No Spicy” and YoYo will prepare the dog without the spicy mustard and Sriracha. Be prepared to stand in line though.
YoYo and his brother JonJon take exquisite care when making your dog for you. This process takes time but is completely worth it. Be sure to show up early and get in line with the rest of the hungry dog lovers. If you are out of cash then don’t worry, these guys take credit cards as well. What began as a simple hot dog stand is now becoming a phenomenon in Houston. They even offer catering services for group, private, corporate, or any other type of event that you can imagine. YoYos truly provides some of the best food we have ever tasted in Houston or even the surrounding area. Bring a date, bring your friends, bring your drunken self and get yourself a dog, All The Way, and we promise you that you won’t regret it!
#2 Houston’s Downtown Underground
Did you know that Houston has miles of tunnels underneath your feet that lay host to restaurants, a ton of retail stores, and movie theaters? This place has to be the #1 date spot in all of Houston because of its uniqueness and hidden demeanor. So to explain a little bit, back in the 1930’s, a man named Ross Sterling decided to connect two buildings that he owned via an underground tunnel. Shortly thereafter, an entrepreneur named Will Horwitz decided to connect his three movie theaters to these tunnels. Then things got a little crazy and today these tunnels cover 95 underground city blocks and to walk all the passageways would cover just about 6 miles. These tunnels are 20 feet below the surface of downtown Houston and are accessed from the street only from the Wells Fargo Plaza and McKinney Garage on Main street. Otherwise, you can get to this literal spider web of tunnels from street level stairs, escalators, and elevators located inside office buildings spread throughout the city.
The tunnels are all climate controlled complete with heat and air conditioning. We had no idea but evidently there are also similar tunnels in Chicago, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Montreal, and Toronto. Who would have known? More about these tunnel systems from these other cities in a separate article for sure! The tunnels contain a bunch of different types of shops and neat places to experience while you are down there with your date, yourself, or your group of friends. Down these hidden passageways, you will find newsstands, flower shops, technology centers, dry cleaners, copy centers, food courts, gift shops, and banks. These fun passageways are only open during business hours and are a must see and experience location while in Houston. You could spend hours down there just walking, getting lost, and enjoying the local businesses that have set up shop down there.
Yes, it is easy to get lost in this vast cavern of concrete but you should be able to determine where you are with maps as well as by paying attention to the architecture and signage that is all around you to help guide your way. If your adventures happen to take you to downtown Houston anytime soon then you and your group should definitely check out the tunnels. It’s free and something to tell everyone back home about!
#3 Psychic For Love
Address: 6008 San Felipe St, Houston, TX 77057
Phone: (281) 501-2990
Perhaps you don’t think that psychics or mediums should be considered a hidden gem in Houston but Psychic For Love should be able to change your mind. With hundreds of 5 star reviews on Google and Yelp, you can’t go wrong with this place. Psychic For Love was founded by Anna Fields, who is a licensed, bonded, and insured spiritual 5th generation psychic. She officially got her start 15 years ago and currently boasts thousands of happy and satisfied customers. She will meet with you in person or if the thought of that scares you a bit, you can also schedule a phone reading or online session.
She boasts a 100% success rate in advising and helping with very common issues such as infidelity, love, depression, family, divorce, health, cleansing negativity, and even removing obstacles. She even guarantees her work so you really have nothing to worry about with her. When you are down on your luck or just are seeking answers to life’s troubles, Anna Fields can help! You need to be careful when you seek out mediums or psychics though and we understand that. We wanted to feature only the best of the best in this article of hidden gems in Houston and what better way of doing this than to check out their reviews. Well, if Anna isn’t being truthful about her gift then she sure does a good job of hiding it from lots of positivity online for her work. She has a comfortable office at 6008 San Felipe in Houston and really takes her time with each and every customer. She strives to please and comfort those that come to her for advice on just about anything troubling them.
This is perhaps the only hidden gem in this article that is located in Houston but is able to service customers located worldwide. She does tarot card readings, palm readings, psychic readings, chakra/aura readings, past life/channeling readings, and a ton more. Be sure to give her a call for your specific needs and let her provide answers to questions you struggle with. Psychic For Love also sells a number of items such as books, potions, and herbal remedies for a wide variety of ailments. You won’t regret it and who knows, maybe you will come out feeling like a whole new person! Be open, be coachable, and trust her to give you the enlightenment that you are so desperately needing.
#4 Anvil Bar and Refuge
Address: 1424 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006
Phone: (713) 523-1622
If you are planning on coming to Houston and happen to enjoy a cocktail or two every once in a while, then you and your friends really need to check out Anvil Bar and Refuge located on Westheimer Rd. This place is all about the drinks. The best drinks, with the best possible combinations of alcohol and mixers you can encounter while in Houston. The first thing you read about on their website is that they are dedicated to making the best drinks they can with the highest quality spirits and ingredients known to mankind. Now, you might be saying that there are a bunch of bars that offer different types of drinks in the Houston area, so what makes this place a hidden gem? Well, to answer that question, it’s quality. Quality customer service from the bartenders. Quality of ingredients and even quality and care to perfect the drinks on their menu.
It must have taken years to plan out all these drinks! Anvil got its start in 2009 and has been gaining in popularity as the word gets out about their drinks. They have a list of over 100 custom drinks for you to choose from with eight of them being staple ones. Other than that, they have a small but well liked selection of beers. Their bartenders are very well trained and knowledgeable about everything alcohol related and will be able to give you some custom advice on what to sip on while there. As far as food goes, they have a very robust selection of cheese and meat plates that you can customize yourself with your choice of four rare cheeses and three different types of meats. It doesn’t end there though. They also have delicious pretzels, chicken pot pies, and more to munch on while getting your drink on.
As for the alcohol, they have very unique, exclusive to Anvil, selections with names such as Vanity Project, Disco Smile, Hop Frond, Airmail, and more! Realistically, you would probably have to come here hundreds of times to try all the different types of cocktails that they offer. The atmosphere is cool, calm, and collected there as well.Don’t worry about dressing up either, they don’t want you to! It’s casual dress code day at Anvil all 7 days of the week and they have no reservation policy. The building they are in is both modern and industrial but this is the kind of place that you can easily make friends, find a date, or just enjoy an inviting and friendly atmosphere. Anvil Bar and Refuge shouldn’t be missed on your next trip to Houston. Trust us when we say with 100% confidence that this place has the best drinks in Houston!
#5 Bayou Wildlife Zoo
Address: 5050 FM 517 Rd, Alvin, TX 77511
Phone: (281) 337-6376
One of the best ideas for dates or just overall fun outings with the family is a visit to Bayou Wildlife Zoo. This Houston gem is an animal lovers dream and a great place to get a really good look at over 560 different species of animals. From everyday ponies to white rhinoceroses, this place is a gem for everyone from kids to adults. The founder, Clint Wolston had been developing a private animal reserve that was eventually transformed into a full blown zoo a little while later. Just so you know, children under two are indeed allowed into the park free of charge. The pricing for those of age is very affordable and definitely worth the price of admission. Everyone gets a chance to pet exotic wildlife and experience these majestic animals up close! The petting zoo is a place where you can walk right up to the animals or purchase food for them. Interact with animals such as pigs, goats, deer and baby animals.
Pony rides are also very popular with the children. The park is located on 80 acres of prairie and woods in Alvin, Texas. They have knowledgeable guides who will escort you around the park either in a tram or for the brave, on foot. The rides last about 45 minutes and is an incredible experience for individuals or groups of up to 30 people. What really stood out to us about the tour was the wide varieties of interactions with the animals that this park offers. In most traditional zoos, you seem to see the animals from a distance or through glass. Bayou Wildlife Zoo allows you to feed the animals, ride the animals, and get a glimpse into their environment from an up close perspective. With over 560 different types of wildlife, this gem of a zoo is a place that you can’t afford to miss. Bring the family, bring the friends, or just bring yourself, Bayou Wildlife Zoo is a must see and experience hidden gem of Houston!
#6 Nan’s Games Comics and Toys
Address: 2011 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77098
Phone: (713) 520-8700
It seems like every city has that one really cool comic and game shop that everyone should check out. In Houston, the name of this place is called Nan’s Games Comics and Toys. It’s located right off of Southwest Freeway in Houston and is open seven days a week for your enjoyment. Walking into this place on your own or with your friends would be a great idea. We spent hours there and didn’t see it all. It’s basically floor to ceiling comics, classic games, toys, action figures, puzzles, RPGS, board games, war games, card games, and miniatures. Shelf after shelf and everywhere you look you will find the games of your childhood all the way up to the top selling games or figurines of today. Nan’s Games has been legendary for virtually forever in the Houston area. A ton of people know about it but it’s still a very niche place and has thus earned its place here in this hidden gems of Houston article.
They have been around for 30 years now and have been accumulating items of great value to the right customer back before their storefront even existed. They have a ton of great reviews online and the vast majority of them state that this place is a gem of a comic store in the Houston area. So, if you are into gaming and comics then be sure to check this place out immediately because you just found your new go to place. If you aren’t really into that sort of thing then you still need to check Nan’s Comics out for a few hours with a friend. You will see toys from your childhood that you had forgotten about long ago. This place is a blast and a really cool idea on how to spend some of your time off. Check them out!
#7 Urban Movement
Address: 1718A W 23rd Street Houston, TX 77008
Houston has always been known for its propensity for enjoying sports of all kinds. From sky diving to parkour, Houstonians do it all! Wait, Parkour? Yep you read that right. It’s the newest and greatest sport to come to the Houston area. It’s also literally sweeping the nation right now as a result of the hit show American Ninja Warrior. If you’ve seen the show then you know exactly what we are talking about. If not, then Parkour should be your exercise while here in Houston. Urban Movement is the name of the establishment and parkour is the name of the exercise or art. It’s basically a super intense workout that teaches you to better move through your environment. You will learn to train the body and mind to overcome obstacles in your way.
The whole time, exercising your body and improving balance, stamina, and strength. You hop over walls, do flips on trampolines, hang upside down on rafters, devise ways to get through obstacles, and do anything to test your body and mind. Urban Movement has four locations now all around the Houston area. The main location, located off Lawrence Street, is their indoor location where they teach classes and have open gym. There are three other locations that are at the perfect public parks for parkour. Don’t just randomly show up at these places though because they are only there when classes are being held. At Urban Movement, they really stress the fact that this stuff might actually change you.It’s a different kind of fitness regimen. So why do parkour? Well if you do it you will be sore the next day for sure. It’s intense because your body isn’t used to jumping and twisting like it does with this art.
It’s a workout like you’ve never seen before. People love it because it gives their bodies a non-traditional workout that has some practical value. It’s about adapting to your surroundings mainly. They start with teaching you how to crawl all the way up to jumping around buildings. Literally! Being able to conquer your surroundings physically brings great self-satisfaction as well as confidence to the individual. Accomplishing anything brings you up and the fact that you are able to scale walls like Spiderman and leap from tall buildings makes for a major self-esteem boost. The staff are very cool as well and there are a lot of them to keep up with the high traffic that Urban Movement gets on a consistent basis. If anything in this review on this establishment or parkour in general interested you at all then you should check out Urban Movement
#8 Battlefield Houston
Address: 11755 West Little York, Ste. 202, Houston, Texas 77041
Let’s just start out by saying that this place is an adrenaline filled blast of a time! It’s a large laser tag facility and when we say large, we mean the absolute biggest place for virtual warfare in the entire country! It’s basically like stepping into a first person shooting video game but better. As stated earlier, they have this huge obstacle filled tactical battlefield complete with the newest and greatest equipment to use. They also have a mobile setup as well where they will actually deliver inflatable forts, walls, and obstacles to the park, backyard, or corporate function of your choosing. They will even bring the laser guns for you and your party to use. So, before you call this Battlefield Houston and book your next party, you need to decide if you want to go to them or if you want them to come to you.
Pretty unique right? It’s also not like going to the local arcade place and randomly running around shooting other kids with cheap guns. Battlefield Houston has a ton of different gaming options for you to enjoy such as domination, search and destroy, sniper, hitman, and more. Yes, exactly like any of the newer first person shooter games on the market today. The guns they use feel real, sound real, and weigh what a real rifle would typically weigh. No expense was spared here to make you and your party feel like you are on the battlefield, fighting for your life! Yes, it is that realistic here. Only the best of the best equipment for their customers. It’s basically a cross between paintball, airsoft, and traditional laser tag with all of the options of a traditional video game. They advertise their services as great for basically any type of function such as birthday parties for kids and adults, corporate events, youth groups, or any other team building event.
There is no better way to build confidence in your teammates or coworkers than to throw everyone into a dark arena with the goal of coming together to eliminate the enemy. It builds trust, confidence, and leadership. How well do you know your boss? Would you trust him or her on the battlefield? Battlefield Houston will allow you to find out the answer to these questions for sure. As far as an age limit, they require you to be eight years of age or older for obvious reasons. If you have a very small party or perhaps are coming on your own, don’t worry about making a reservation. For larger parties and corporate functions, be sure to call and book your time first as this will be easier for both you and them to accommodate.
#9 Shiloh Gun Range and 3D Archery
Address: 12703 Shiloh Church Rd, Houston, TX 77066
Phone: (281) 444-8930
Perhaps you are thinking that a shooting range shouldn’t be classified as a hidden gem of Houston but let us explain how this particular range works and then you can decide. Shiloh Gun Range is currently the latest and greatest shooting facility in the Houston area. They have all the latest technology as well as seasoned instructors to help you in so many areas of both firearm and bow and arrow techniques. Shiloh is a family owned shooting range and they claim to offer a safe and friendly environment for both self-defense as well as shooting sports. They offer air conditioned and heated classes and ranges to allow for year round use. This also isn’t just any ordinary shooting range where they just provide you with a place to discharge firearms though. They offer everything from private lessons for beginning and advanced shooters, tactical shooting, and concealed handgun courses. They also sell firearms, bows, arrows, and even ammunition for those that are looking for a great deal. What is really cool about Shiloh though is their 3D archery.
If you are like us, you probably have no idea what this is but let us explain. 3D archery allows you to pick out the perfect spot in their archer’s platform and shoot at a ton of foam animals placed strategically around the 2¾ acre property. These foam animals consist of deer, hogs, turkeys, cougars, bear, buffalo, and even a huge dinosaur t-rex! The purpose of this 3D hunting is to hone your skills as a bow hunter. Using a bow, it’s important to be able to accurately judge the distance you are away from the animal before you release your arrow. This setup that Shiloh has worked so hard for is the best place in Houston to practice your craft. It’s become so popular in fact that their setup is being used for competitions with various points being applied for hitting certain key areas on the foam animal targets. Did we mention that you can even utilize their services at night? This archers park is open from 10am-8pm on Tuesdays thru Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm-6pm. If you have never done anything like shoot arrows at a dinosaur from 110 yards away, or even learned how to shoot a handgun, Shiloh’s is the place for you. If you are looking for a date idea, or just something that you have never done before, then you need to check this place out!
#10 W Luxury Car Rentals
Address: 2500 West Loop South, Ste 120, Houston, Texas 77027
WARNING! The following review is all about adrenaline, sexiness, and extreme speed so buckle up and get ready because you are about to take a ride…literally!
Welcome to W Luxury Car Rentals, Houston’s premier exotic car rental company. This local business allows you to experience how a $300,000 supercar handles the many twists and turns of the many Houston highways! The experience will make any car nut feel like a million bucks. You’re in the car of your dreams amidst absolutely stunning views for miles and miles, how could you not feel like a million bucks? Pull over whenever you want and just enjoy the scenery from the beast of a machine that got you there. Get in touch with W Luxury Car Rentals if you’re really looking to impress or just be a big shot for a day. This exotic car company has been making high end car lovers happy since its inception. Now, when you think of high end vehicles, that is exactly what we mean. You get your choice between the latest models of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, a fair number of Audis, Mercedes, Porsches, Maseratis, and a ton more. You can’t go wrong! The best part about this entire experience is you actually get to drive these super high end cars without supervision! Everyone has heard of ride alongs at the race track, luxury car rental facilities and even test driving a new car. With these experiences you typically either ride in the passenger side or drive with a supervisor watching your every move. This company gets you in the driver seat, you control the experience. Do we have your attention yet?
W Rentals has a wide variety of packages to choose from. The minimum time to rent a luxury vehicle from these guys is 1 day. One full 24-hour period. Otherwise you can rent the vehicle of your choice for a weekend which is defined as 3 days, or a full week. Please contact them for details on if you need one of their vehicles for longer. Also, get in touch with them for your special events such as weddings, corporate functions, and other special requests. They truly work with all different types of needs.
Upon talking to the staff a W Luxury Rentals, it became immediately obvious that 90% or perhaps more of their paying customers are women. Might sound odd as you might think men would be more likely to enjoy cruising around town in a half million-dollar car and you would be right. Girlfriends, moms, and wives typically purchase a package as a gift and the men love it! It’s the absolute perfect anniversary, Valentine’s Day, birthday, Father’s Day gift or even “Just Because”. Can you imagine the surprise on your favorite man’s face when you tell him he gets to ride or drive the supercar of his choice? What a gift! Kids absolutely love the place as well. There is no price to seeing your son’s face when pulling up to the warehouse as he sees all his favorite toy cars come to life! So, if you don’t know what to get your man for his special occasion, give W Luxury Car Rentals a call for sure. Their staff will help you pick out the best package specifically catered to his wants and trust me, he doesn’t want a tie or socks this year! Get him something he will remember forever!
#11 Last Concert Café
Address: 1403 Nance St, Houston, TX 77002
Phone: (713) 226-8563
Last Concert Café is like a little piece of Mexico located in Houston, Texas. They have been around since 1949 and over the years they have perfected the Mexican cuisine that is so popular in Texas these days. What makes them stand out from the other Mexican restaurants you might ask? Well, Last Concert Café puts huge emphasis on fresh ingredients and extremely authentic Mexican food. That isn’t all though, they have decorated the place inside and out to look like a restaurant straight out of Mexico itself. The menu they offer there will have different selections for whatever time you show up there. With a brunch menu, lunch menu, and dinner menu, you are sure to get what you want at the time you want it there.
Depending on the weather obviously, the most coveted seating area at Last Concert Café is definitely their patio area. Here you will be able to enjoy your authentic Mexican cuisine while basking in the great Houston weather. Another feature that definitely sets this Mexican place apart from the competition is that they have live music playing for you on Wednesday through Saturday until 2am. If you decide to come on a day where they don’t have a pre-planned musician playing for you, they probably have karaoke going on, or something else fun for their guests. There is always something going on at Last Concert Café. You don’t want to miss out by missing this place on your next visit to Houston. It’s great for dates, by yourself, or huge groups of people. Did we mention that they also cater for private and public events? Authentic Mexican food for your next corporate function? They have you covered! What is also pretty unique about this place is the fact that you can’t just walk into the restaurant without knocking. When you get there and park, you will approach the famous red door and knock to gain entrance. Just another small detail that makes this place stand out from the rest. The food is absolutely to die for and not as expensive as you would think. Go check them out today or risk missing out! People come from all around the country to experience the Mexican food that only Last Concert Café can deliver!