Houston is known for many things. We are known for the fact that we don’t have any zoning laws, so you can find a tattoo parlor right next door to a preschool. We are known for our restaurants. There are so many fabulous places to eat in this city; you will never run out of places to try. We are known for our arts, our culture, and our growth. Houston is a fantastic city, and today we are going to introduce you to some hidden gems in Houston that are some real discoveries that you may or may not know about. If you don’t, you will be glad that you do now!
TOP 10 HIDDEN GEMS IN HOUSTON
Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is a stunning display of Turkish architecture at its finest, and it is the first traditional Hindu Mandir of its kind in North America, and we are lucky enough to have it right here in Houston! The Mandir, which is comprised of 2 types of stone, exterior Turkish Limestone, and interior Italian marble, has more than 33,000 individual pieces which were carved by hand in India then shipped to the USA and assembled in Stafford, TX like a giant 3-D puzzle. Because the Mandir is a place of worship and prayer for followers of Hinduism, if you are going to visit, please be sure to respect their guidelines, which are no tank tops, shorts, or skirts shorter than knee length, and you are required to remove your shoes before entering. No phones or photography allowed inside the Mandir. To see an actual hidden peaceful gem in Houston, take a drive out to the Mandir in Stafford, TX, you won’t be disappointed.
Though Haak Winery isn’t officially in Houston, it’s close enough that we are calling it a hidden gem. What started with two grapevines and a hobby has turned into a beautiful spot for wine tasting, weddings or just a day out of the city to enjoy a walk in the sun and among the award-winning Blanc du Bois grapes.
James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace, located on the Rice University campus is one of our favorite hidden gems in Houston that is not to be missed. The skyspace is acoustically engineered to host musical performances and to act as a laboratory for music school students. The skyspace is best viewed at twilight and at sunrise, when the light perfectly reflects through the aperture in the 72-foot square knife-edge roof, transforming the Skyspace and the entire surrounding campus with natural beauty.
We talked about the most inspirational places to find graffiti walls in Houston, but we didn’t talk about Kingspoint Mullet, which is a graffiti hidden gem that is located in the Almeda and Kingspoint area. This area, which was once a place for graffiti artists to show their stuff is now an actual gallery, and if you go and visit, you can ask permission and do your art work on the walls if you can find some spare wall on the inside of the building. We love our graffiti!
Sometimes the hidden gems in Houston are sitting right in the middle of Westbury. Willow Waterhole Park is a 290-acre development offers ponds, walking trails and gazebos and is a fantastic quiet place to go and reflect. Willow Waterhole hosts music festivals and is truly a mecca of peace and tranquility. There are also some great volunteer opportunities available here to get involved.
Want to see a beautiful sunset? Take a drive out to Archbishop Joseph A Fiorenza Park off of Eldrige. Here you can fish, run, walk, go birding, enjoy nature, walk your dogs, have a picnic and there is a great play area for the kids. Fair warning, when the gem of a sun starts to fade in the sky, the park can get crowded, because everyone wants to see the show, it’s not only free, but it’s gorgeous.
Imagine a working farm that has been restored from 1800’s that now sits among new homes in the suburban area of Klein and you would come upon our next hidden gem, Wunderlich Farm. The farm is used to portray to Klein ISD school kids what life was like in the 1800’s. In fact, the 4th Graders spend a half day working the farm, from tending to the animals to working the crops. Whether you go and explore the house, the farm or the area, you will be amazed at how you are taken back in time and how much simpler things were back then. So, turn off your cell phones and leave them in the car when you visit this top ten!
If you want to find peace and tranquility in one of the more unusual hidden gems in Houston, take a visit out to Glenwood Cemetery. This cemetery is landscaped in a naturalistic style with curving roads and walkways and is one of the oldest cemeteries in Houston. It is a private cemetery, but is open to the public, and plots are still available to be purchased. While walking through, take a visit with some of the famous that have been buried here, such as the founders of Baker & Botts, George R. Brown, and Roy Hofheinz.
The McGovern Centennial Gardens are a hidden gem inside a gem! Located within Hermann Park, The McGovern Centennial Gardens is an oasis of various gardens that you can meander through via a spiral path. When you get to the top of the path, you will have an aerial view of the entire scene from 30 feet up, and it is spectacular! Be sure to bring your camera!
We talked about the hidden gem of a winery, so why not a brewery? Karbach Brewing Company, which was named after the street it sits on, just loves to make beer. Whether you take a tasting tour or go for the day and have lunch, you will certainly enjoy watching the beer being made and get an education of how to taste and enjoy some hops and lager.
Tell us some of your favorite hidden gems in Houston that we missed!