Final Four Visitors: Ten Alternative Places to Visit in Houston
So, you've made it to town for the Final Four and you are shocked to find out there are no tumbleweeds, we all aren't walking around in ten-gallon hats and the area surrounding downtown and the medical center is not filled with strip malls and urban decay. Welcome to Houston!
You can skip the Beer Can House.
Now, what are you going to do? Unfortunately, Houston is not a city built for tourists. It's spread out. There aren't a ton of traditional "attractions" and mass transit is, how shall we say this, shitty. But, what makes our city so great is that you have to dig past the sprawl and chain strip mall hell to find the real Houston.
Fortunately for you, we've done the work for you. Now, you can enjoy H-Town like a resident with these ten alternative places to visit while you're in Houston.
Where You Might Consider Going: Washington Avenue
Where You Should Go: Market Square (Honorable Mention: Alabama Ice House)
If you want to get drunk with a bunch of Jersey Shore wannabes, surrounded by cops just waiting for you to do something stupid, by all means, hit Washington Avenue. But, if you want a decidedly more laid-back vibe where you can get your crunk on just as easily, Market Square is the place.
Not only does it have a nice park for hanging out early and maybe grabbing a bite to eat at Niko Niko's, it has the oldest bar in Houston, La Carafe, and Warren's, one of the best bars in town for getting an extremely strong drink with a side of Texas sass. Equally worthy is Alabama Ice House, outside of downtown on the western edge of the Montrose area (yes, we call it "the" Montrose 'round here), where you can hang outside under the oak trees and sip a Lone Star just like a regular Texan.
Upscale Night Life
Where You Might Consider Going: Hotel ZaZa or Midtown
Where You Should Go: Marfreless (Honorable Mention: Anvil)
Say you want to take your nighttime drinking up a notch and go for something a little more classy. Stay away from Midtown and try Marfreless, the speak-easy style bar under the staircase behind the River Oaks shopping center. Despite being known to locals as a makeout lounge (it was once thought you weren't a true Houstonian until you had done a little spit swapping upstairs), Marfreless is short on sleaze, but long on quiet chatter and good drinks. It's a damn fine place to take a date. If you like your cocktails more complicated, try Anvil. It might take a few minutes to get whatever amazing concoction they've whipped up for you, but it will be worth it.
Photo by Justine Schmider Marfreless