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8 Actually Fun Things to Do in Houston This Weekend

Thrillist logo Thrillist 7/29/2021 Brooke Viggiano

a plate of food on a table

© Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
Houston Restaurant Weeks is finally here, y’all. This Sunday, the month-plus-long charitable effort kicks off, on a mission to feed you and those in need as restaurants offer prix-fixe menus benefitting the Houston Food Bank (the citywide effort has raised a whopping $16.6 million over the years). You’ll want to get on those reservations stat, then clear your schedule for all the other awesome things going down in H-town this weekend.

Smash ribs and pins at Pinstripes’ Summer Backyard BBQ 

Friday, July 30

Upper Kirby

Bocce and bowling hangout Pinstripes is throwing a good old-fashioned summer BBQ, featuring Karbach suds to pair with an all-you-can-eat-and-drink, picnic-style feast—think fall-off-the-bone ribs, pesto-smothered chicken, gooey mac’ and cheese, and sweet treats from fresh watermelon to triple chocolate brownies. After you’re done stuffing your face, make sure to hit the courts or the lanes for an invigorating round or two.

Cost: Tickets run $40 per person

Hit up a brand-new, Black-owned food truck park

Friday, July 30 - Sunday, August 1

South Main

Houston’s first Black-owned food truck park has officially opened its doors—so to speak. Dubbed the Houston Grub Park, you’ll find it just south of NRG Stadium in an empty parking lot that's soon to be home to technology hub BayouTech Park. A 30+ lineup of Black-owned mobile eateries await alongside a fully stocked bar. Burrito-sized stuffed eggroll experience Saucy Nosh, New Orleans SnoBalls slinger Tutti Treats, and Trap Kitchen Hibachi, from West Coast darling Trap Kitchen, are all set to be a part of the mix. 

Catch all the Olympics action somewhere cool

Friday, July 30 - Sunday, August 1

Houston

Swimming and gymnastics finals, baseball’s opening round, and men’s and women’s soccer quarter finals are just some of the events headlining this weekend’s Tokyo Olympics roundup. Watch ‘em with a drink in hand (because you can do medal-worthy things, too) at some of Houston’s finest watering holes and gastropubs. Our “Where to Watch” list includes a Texas-sized soccer bar and beer garden, fun-loving craft beer bar where you can pair crispy pig ears with a hoppy IPA, a fan-covered patio where the Ranch Waters run deep, and so much more.

Cost: Cover charges and food and drink prices vary

Break out the boots for a honky-tonk in an airport hangar

Saturday, July 31

Southbelt/Ellington

The Lone Star Flight Museum is opening up its historic hangar for the 4th annual Hangar Bash, mixing beer, planes, and BBQ. This year, the event is going full-on honky-tonk, with live jams from The Honky-Tonk Revivalists, smoked meats and sides from Lone Star Cowboy Cookers, and flowing ice cold booze. There will also be plane tours, festival eats, carnival-themed games, an after-party and DJ, and a silent auction to support the museum and STEM learning center. The event kicks off at 4 pm, and the after party runs from 8 pm to 10 pm.


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Cost: GA tickets start at $55 per person (discounts available for members and designated drivers) 

Fill up on Japanese soul food

Saturday, July 31 - Sunday, August 1

Asiatown

The inaugural Otaku Food Festival is bringing a hearty dose of Japanese street eats to Houston’s Vietnamese Community Center. The free event will showcase a variety of vendors at its Japanese-style night market (open until 10 pm), plus cosplay contests, a parade, and an Itasha car show over two nights. 

Cost: No cover; food and drink prices vary

Score some of Houston’s best ‘cue at a Sunday afternoon pop-up

Sunday, August 1

Heights

Named one of Houston’s best barbecue joints by the pitmasters themselves, Khoi Barbecue will be popping up at Tenfold Coffee this Sunday, offering its crushable Viet-Tex barbecue for your walk-up and pre-order pleasure. Specials include fish sauce-caramel beef cheeks, brisket pho, and chicken rice with yuzukoshō.

Cost: No cover; menu prices vary

Discover the therapeutic art of paint pouring

Sunday, August 1

Midtown

...and enjoy some adult beverages while you do so. Axelrad Beer Garden will be pouring Eureka Heights brew specials as you pour your own customized creation. Choose your colors, add some flair with gold and silver foils, and see exactly how many beers you need to drink before your inner artist truly emerges. 

Cost: Tickets run $40 per person 

Help sustain a local institution

Sunday, August 1 

Upper Kirby/Rice Village/West University

Blues and zydeco bar The Big Easy is reopening its doors after a particularly rough year. Head to this Sunday’s Big Easy Revival & Fundraiser event to catch a heavy-hitting roster of artists, from The Big Easy House Band and Eugene "Hideaway" Bridges to Bluestown Shakedown and the TRZ Band. There will also be a silent auction featuring plenty of music memorabilia, artwork, concert tickets, and more. 

Cost: No cover; menu and auction prices vary and donations are encouraged

Start Houston Restaurant Weeks off with a bang

Sunday, August 1

Houston

Running through Labor Day, Houston Restaurant Weeks is back with 37 days of dining deals to benefit the Houston Food Bank. This Sunday marks the series’ first day, so you’ll want to peruse the participating restaurant list now to see which prix-fixe menus tickle your fancy. We’ve done a bit of digging ourselves, so here’s a start: Ecuadorian ceviche, Peking duck l’orange, and souffle en noir et blanc can all be had a Maison Pucha Bistro; new-to-the-scene NoPo Café Market & Bar has buttery baked oysters, Wagyu steak frites, and crème brûlée; and local fixture Rainbow Lodge never fails to impress with a lineup of smoked duck gumbo, confit lamb ribs, blackened Gulf redfish, and brown sugar whiskey bread pudding.

Cost: Reservations start at $35 per person for dinner, $20 per person for lunch and brunch 

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Brooke Viggiano is a Houston-based writer who suddenly has a ton of weekend plans. Follow her journeys on IG @brookiefafa or on Twitter @brookeviggiano.

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