Morning, noon, or night, people find something special to eat or drink at Cork Grinders. As day breaks, cups of Katz coffee and custom-made breakfast sandwiches fill the room with their aromas to wake up anyone who walked in still sleeping. By night, the restaurant's team switches out their coffee drinks for wine and locally brewed beer and the room takes on a lounge-like vibe. Much the of the dining action surrounds the panini press, which grills tasty sandwiches such as the Nola with house-made crawfish and the Texan with bacon, cheddar, and barbecue sauce. But the room itself is a draw all on its own, too. With a drink in hand, diners ensconce themselves in cozy seating framed by distressed walls and high ceilings, often listening to musical acts play on the small stage.
At each of its 31 area locations, the YMCA of Greater Houston pursues a mission to bring health, wellness, and personal growth to communities. Kids leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to a teen Youth & Government program that stirs up confidence and leadership abilities in students, preparing them for mudslinging student-council campaigns.
Zumba, ballroom dance, and Les Mills group exercise classes shake up adult workout routines, as complimentary childcare frees up parents to pursue fitness goals. Meanwhile, adult sport leagues such as basketball and racquetball result in friendly competition and hyper-literate team names inspired by obscure philosophers.
Illusion Institute takes its name from the ultimate illusionists: basketball players. They’ll feign a dribble to the left, then charge to the right. They’ll fake a pass, then take a shot. The trainers keep their illusionist students sharp with private or group basketball training, camps, and game recording.
Thanks to the colorful, sparkling mural that's spray-painted on the front windows of Bounce USA, kids are likely to get excited as soon as you pull in the parking lot. Once inside, they can scale numerous bounce houses and inflatable slides during open play or private birthday parties. The play center is open to kids of all ages, and also has arcade games, board games, and an Xbox. It's not just for kids, though, as Bounce USA hosts adult nights on the second Friday each month that invariably test parents' abilities to lie to their kids about where they're going. Concessions help revelers refuel with nachos, hot dogs, and snow cones.
Located at the base of the impressive San Jacinto Monument, the San Jacinto Museum of History covers the width and breadth of the Texas story. Its exhibits and features range from artifacts from Spanish colonization to depictions of the battle in memory of which the monument was erected. The collection includes more than 30,000 objects and artworks to peruse for clues as to exactly when the wild pick-up truck began roaming Texas.
They museum really breathes life into history, though, with its Texas Forever!! film exhibit. The 35-minute documentary drama, shown every hour on the hour in the Jesse He. Jones Theatre, condenses the course of history into 3,000 images, including 35 original paintings commissioned exclusively by the museum.
Established: Before 1950
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Staff Size: 11–25
Parking: Parking lot
Reservations/Appointments: Not necessary
Most popular offering: Ride to the top of San Jacinto Monument
Pro Tip: San Jacinto Museum of History is located at the site where Texas won its independence in 1836.
Located at the base of the towering San Jacinto Monument, the San Jacinto Museum of History chronicles the formation of Texas lore. This year marks the 175th anniversary of Texas independence, and the museum provides festive fact-gatherers with a moveable feast of 17,000 local objects, 18,000 volumes, and 700 feet of historic party streamers gathered from Texas and New Spain, the United States, and Mexico. While admission to the museum is free, member benefits include access to special exhibits and the Jesse H. Jones Theatre. Members are also granted access to the San Jacinto Monument’s observation deck, which provides a hang-glider's view of the Houston skyline and the mighty Battleship Texas.