Everyone’s starting to get hyped for Super Bowl LI next Sunday, and the most exciting part is that it’s being hosted right here in Texas! Soon hoards of folks from all over the country will be traveling to Houston to see the Patriots and Falcons face off on the football field. No matter if you’re attending the game at NRG Stadium or just hoping to hang around and pretend like you’ve got tickets, there’s plenty to do in Houston between Super Bowl partying and tailgating. Here’s a guide on what to eat and see while you’re in town.
Stay In the Neighborhood…
Bernie’s Burger Bus: Ace lunch by heading to this old-school burger joint where you order gourmet burgers out of an actual yellow school bus. Along with massive burgers and made-from-scratch ingredients (that means homemade ketchup,y’all), you can also choose from eight different kinds of fries, with toppings ranging from chili and cheese to brisket and truffle oil! Wash down your meal with local beers on tap or a Cookie Butter Shake.
Capt Benny’s: If something seems fishy about this boat docked in the middle of town, it is…fresh fish to be exact. This seafood shack has been serving Gulf Coasts seafood to inland folks for the past 50 years. Pop in for a dozen fresh shucked oysters at the Oyster Bar (a local fave) or all the fried fish you can eat.
Jerry Built Homegrown Burgers: Follow the giant cow and mooo-ve on over to Jerry’s for a quick burger with fresh ingredients. They’ve got all your game day cravings from hot dogs and burgers to fried pickles and fries (try the spicy fries for an extra kick). And best of all, they’ve partnered with the Houston-based Saint Arnold Brewery to create a special burger topped with fried jalapenos and guac that pairs perfectly with the beer.
Luigi’s Pizzeria: Head to this family-owned neighborhood pizza joint in either Bellaire or Midtown for some of the best wood-fired thin crust pizza in Houston! Locals love the Supreme — which is so packed with toppings it requires two hands to eat — and the Italian classic Magherita Pizza topped with fresh basil and tomatoes. Don’t forget the fresh gelato for dessert! It is BYOB, but if you go to the Midtown location, you can take your pie next door to the Axelrad Beer Garden for a cold beer and a post-meal nap in a hammock.
Glazed, the Doughnut Cafe: This gourmet doughnut cafe, located just a few minutes from NRG Stadium, is conveniently opened 24-hours making it the perfect place to celebrate a win or perhaps drown your sorrows after the big game. Gorge yourself on decadent doughnuts like their signature Macon, a maple-glazed doughnut topped with bacon, or savory doughnut sandwiches (glazed breakfast sandwich anyone?).
Or Venture Out a Bit…
Montrose: Just a little farther away is this upbeat part of town where all the cool kids are hanging and you’ll find a plethora of Houston’s most iconic and eclectic eateries. For truly amazing Texas classics, head to El Real for authentic Tex-Mex or The Pit Room for beef sausage and brisket served on paper. Dare to try something new? Hit up Houston’s Japanese fusion hot spot, Uchi. If you’re craving Italian, Dolce Vita serves up thin crust pizza with just the right amount of wood-fired char and topped with bubbling cheese and authentic Italian ingredients.
Chinatown: Just a hop, skip and a jump from NRG Stadium is Chinatown, which boasts one of the largest Asian populations in America as well as some of the best foods. If you’re a beginner at foreign foods, head to Golden Dim Sum for amazing steamed dumplings and pot stickers galore — as well as a picture menu so you can see what you’re ordering. HK Dim Sum, also a dumpling house, is another must-visit. A local favorite is Vietnamese restaurant Saigon Pagolac’s Beef Seven Ways: a meal comprised of 7 different beef dishes. And for late night pho cravings, head just outside Chinatown to Pho Bingh by Night which stays open till 3 a.m. and serves pho with a rich broth and bone marrow.
Party some more: Of course nothing could be better than the actual Super Bowl…except for a huge FREE Super Bowl Party! Discovery Green is hosting “Super Bowl LIVE“, an epic nine-day party from Jan. 28 – Feb. 5 featuring food trucks, free concerts, prizes, a Virtual-Reality roller coaster and so much more!
Take all the selfies: If you’re in Houston and don’t take pictures with its most famous murals, were you really there at all? Pose with the psychedelic “Houston Is…” mural, send your friends well wishes with the “Greetings from Houston” mural or find the latest Houston mural obsession #BiscuitPaintWall on the wall of the interior design store Biscuit Home. And of course, no trip to town is complete without visiting the famous Water Wall, a U-Shaped 64-ft. tall waterfall in Uptown Houston!
Choose your Brews: Since you’re in town for the Super Bowl, head to 8th Wonder Brewery which was named after the beloved Astrodome and has a dome-shaped warehouse. Stop by the taproom during the weekend for their fresh brewed “Dome Faux’m” or tour the brewery during the week. Saint Arnold is another favorite brewery in Houston, and Texas’ Oldest Craft Brewery, started in 1994. Visit the brewery during the week and receive a free tour with a smaller crowd, or on Saturday pay a $10 charge but receive a souvenir glass and free samples, but expect a long line.
Be Artsy: If you were hoping to let your inner artist shine through between screaming your lungs out for your favorite team and downing beers, you’re in luck — Houston’s got a huge supply of amazing art museums (find a list here). View classic artworks by iconic artists like Warhol and Picasso at The Menil Collection or head to the ArtCar Museum (aka “Garage Mahal”) to view cars made into whimsical art pieces like giant rats and helicopters. For even more art, head to the Rice University campus at sunset to watch the sky change colors in the trippy art installation “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace by James Turrell. The best part? All three of these are FREE.
Act Like a Kid: No matter your age, you’ll definitely want to push the mysterious Red Button on the Preston Street Bridge for a laugh. Be sure to look into the Buffalo Bayou immediately after for a surprise (click here if you like ruining surprises)! Act like a monkey at the Houston Zoo, cure your curiosity at the Houston Museum of Natural Science or go batty by watching 250,000 bats fly out from under the Waugh Drive Bridge at dusk.
Check out our trip to Houston for more travel ideas!