If you like pretty flowers and ogling the homes of the insanely wealthy, then Azalea Trail Houston is perfect for you.

Azalea Trail Tickets Each March, residents of Houston’s exclusive River Oaks neighborhood (in association with the River Oaks Garden Club) open portions of their homes and gardens to the public for education and enjoyment. Guests can bask in the beauty of manicured lawns, the perfume of freshly bloomed flowers, and the wonder of echoing mansions.

The historic house and art museums of Bayou Bend and the Rienzi are an annual inclusion, as well as the Forum of Civics Building Tour which functions as a hub for “plant education.” The private homes available to tour vary from year to year.

The purpose of the Azalea Trail Houston, the first inception of which was in 1935, is to teach visitors about architecture, flower arranging, and the horticultural possibilities in the South Texas region.. Proceeds from the Azalea Trail Houston are donated towards community projects like horticultural education, conversation, and civil beautification.

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Here are some photo highlights:

Azalea Trail Flowers Azalea Trail Display Azalea Trail Houston River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail Display Azalea Trail Houston River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail Display Azalea Trail Houston River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail Garden Azalea Trail Display Azalea Trail Houston River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail house Azalea Trail Display Azalea Trail Houston River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail Display Azalea Trail Houston River Oaks Garden Club Houston Azalea Trail Length

I wouldn’t consider myself a plant buff. I just like looking at pretty flowers. In fact, which I toured the Royal Gardens in Saint Andrews, Scotland with my sister, our Cambridge-educated guide kept getting very technical when all I wanted to do was quite literally stop and smell the roses.

But the Azalea Trail Houston was a blast. Mainly because I got to see the insides of homes I can’t even afford in my dreams. But the flowers were pretty great, too.

Interested in checking out the River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail? You should be! Here’s how to make it awesome:

Quick Tips for the Azalea Trail Houston:

  • Go on Friday

Azalea Trail Display Azalea Trail Houston River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail Garden House The Azaela Trail Houston runs for three days: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. My mom, sister and I went on Friday thinking we could knock it out, but we got so caught up in the flowers and mansions that we didn’t finish looking at everything, so we returned on Saturday and most of the lines were considerably longer.

  • Pack a lunch

Azalea Trail Display Azalea Trail Houston River Oaks Garden Club Houston Azalea Trail Display Pop a cooler in the car with a few sandwiches and water bottles. The serious case of home-envy you’ll get will work up an appetite, but stopping for lunch can take a big chunk out of your day–especially if you want to see everything in one day!

  • “Go” before you Go

Azalea Trail Display Azalea Trail Houston River Oaks Garden Club River Oaks Garden Club Forum

You obviously can’t use the bathroom at the private homes on the trail (creepy much?), so if you find yourself in need of a potty, try St. John’s Episcopal on River Oaks Boulevard or the Forum of Civics Building.

  • Parking is a Breeze

Azalea Trail Display Azalea Trail Houston River Oaks Garden Club Houston Azalea Trail River Oaks is still a neighborhood after all, so parking for the Azalea Trail Houston is a breeze. Most of the homes are usually within walking distance of each other as well, so if prefer to leave your car, that’s fine.

Azalea Trail Houston tickets vary in price and can be purchased at many locations around the city. For more information on exact prices and dates, check out the River Oaks Garden Club website here.

The dress I’m wearing is from Dress Barn. 

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Azalea Trail Azalea Trail Display Azalea Trail Houston River Oaks Garden Club

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The NFL Experience is definitly an event for people who like football.

I’m the worst Texan ever.

Seriously y’all: I only drink sweet tea occasionally, my two-step could use some serious workshopping, and I hate football.

So it took me a little bit to get excited about Houston hosting Super Bowl LI.

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Houston NFL Experience

worshiping at the altar of the NFL as soon as I found out Chris Evans would be in Houston

BUT as soon as the Patriots made the cut I got real excited real fast because we all know that Christopher Robert Evans lives and breathes Patriots football.

I’m on a tight budget these days and couldn’t afford to get tickets to the actual game (nor do I think I could actually force myself to sit through it) or cool “exclusive” events around town, but I did head to the NFL Experience Houston with my sister for some major celebrity stalking.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t see Chris. But I did meet Eddie Redmayne one time.

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Quick Tip: always take public transport (or park far away an Uber in) to Super Bowl Events, no matter the city. 

Houston NFL Experience

Houston gets hyped

Houston NFL Experience

Houston gets even more hyped

My sister had the genius idea to take the Houston Metro bus into downtown which saved us $25 (minimum — they were straight up gouging people on parking places) and the relationship-ending fight that would’ve been born out of Super Bowl traffic.

However, once people got out of their cars, the foot traffic around Discovery Green wasn’t too bad and we were able to wander and take in the ~*NFL Experience Houston*~ without feeling suffocated.

As someone who doesn’t like football, the pressure for accomplishing anything at the event was low and I was actually able to have a great time — although y’all KNOW I was on high alert for Chris Evans at all times.

Houston Super Bowl NFL Experience

Sisterly Bonding (after not fighting cause we took the bus)

Quick Tip: if you decide to attend the NFL Experience in your own city, go Monday — Thursday to avoid the crowds.

There were a lot of NFL heavyweights there (but I didn’t know who any of them were, so I can’t really report back on that part of the Superbowl experience — my bad y’all) filming TV spots for later in the week, a field goal contest, and the best part (since I didn’t end up finding Chris Evans) a satellite PUPPY BOWL.

Check these pups:

puppy bowl houston

puppppieees

And this kicker:

Houston NFL Experience

I didn’t even bother to wait in line for this nonsense

There were also a few cool art installations sprinkled throughout Houston’s Discovery Green Park, including a line of humongous NFL helmet replicas from each team.

My sister picked the Cowboys because she’s married to their biggest fan, while I went for the Packers because if Harry Styles likes them, they must be the best.

Green Bay Packers Houston Texas

Go pack goooooo

Cowboys Houston Texas Super Bowl

Maybe they’ll give her a ring next year…

Houston is also home to NASA (like our only claim to fame…wait no, we have Beyonce), so the Space City’s upcoming programs were fully on display at the NFL Experience Houston.

I’m not a STEM person, but my sister was in heaven as an engineer. She had a field day talking to the NASA team and learning all about the future of space travel and research.

Houston NASA Super Bowl

we <3 NASA

We ended our night at the Superbowl Experience rushing back to the bus stop on the OTHER side of downtown Houston from the festivities after a quick munch stop at a local grocery store.

Quick Tip: Never eat at events like the NFL experience. It’s way too much. Also pee at a store before you get there. 

Houston Texas Super Bowl

pretending we are pumped

I rooted for the Patriots in Super Bowl LI because they also won in 2015 and I got the day off school because of it — so I feel like I am in their debt. It was my senior year of college and I went to Mount Holyoke in South Hadley, MA. They’re real serious about football up there guys.

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NFL Experience Houston

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Wondering what to do in Houston this weekend? America’s 4th largest city is a crossroads of culture; a gathering place for diverse foods, museums, and experiences.

If you have some free time while you’re in town, check out these great things to do in Houston:

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NASA / Kemah Board Walk

What to do in Houston this Weekend NASA

Either it’s your life’s ambition to sit in Mission Control and say “Houston, we have a problem,” or you’re a total liar. You have to visit NASA when you’re in Houston. It’s our claim to fame and pretty much the coolest thing we have around here.

But it is a bit of a hike, so I recommend spending the morning at Johnson Space Center (of One Direction fame) before enjoying an evening at the relatively nearby Kemah Board Walk, which sports carnival rides, a great view of the water, and delicious places to eat.

Galleria / Water Wall

The Galleria is Houston’s premier shopping destination, but most importantly it’s home to a GIANT ice rink that you can use to cool off in the Texas heat. Because let’s be real. It’s always hot in Houston.

The Water Wall is also nearby. No one’s actually sure what it’s for, but it’s a great Space City photo OP. If you catch a couple getting engaged here, consider yourself a local.

The Museum District

What to do in Houston this Weekend

What to do in Houston this weekend? Visit the Museum District — it has something for everyone: from a brand new dinosaur exhibit to art spanning thousands of years to the history of bicycles. Seriously y’all. Something for everyone.

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Galveston Island

If you have a spare day, or even spare afternoon during your Houston sightseeing experience, pop down to Galveston Island to take in Texas history and catch some sun.

Galveston is home to the magnificent Moody Gardens, an “educational tourist destination” made famous by its three Pyramids, each housing different educational and recreational activities. They’ve even got penguins.

You can also relax on beach, play on Pleasure Pier (it’s right out of a movie) or visit the Texas Seaport Museum & 1877 Tall Ship Elissa, which tell the story of the 1900 hurricane that changed the course of history.

What to do in Houston this Weekend? EAT.

What to do in Houston this Weekend

Texans like to eat, y’all. And while smaller, family restaurants are always going to be your best bet, if you’ve got a hankering for some authentic Tex-Mex or a good Texas Ribeye, I’ve got you covered. Here are the best places to eat in Houston:

Taste of Texas is a Texas ICON, but that does come with a higher price tag. Expect to spend roughly $30-$60 per dish, depending on your meat.

If you still want a Texas steak, then check out one of Saltgrass’ many Houston-area locations. Just make sure not to fill up on the bread.

These two are really something to taco bout. With multiple locations throughout Houston and a wide variety of delicious dishes, if you want Mexican while you do your Houston sightseeing , you can’t go wrong here.

What to do in Houston this Weekend

The great famine is over y’all! If you can’t make it to the factory out in Brenham, make sure to down a half-gallon or two. Or three.

Of course this is just a short list of what to this weekend in Houston to get you started. Everything really is bigger in Texas and there’s too many cool things to do in Houston to list here.

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What to do in Houston this Weekend

 

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I’m obsessed with George Ezra.

My friend Dominique showed me his Budapest video while we were studying in Rome, and he instantly became the soundtrack of my travels. I’ve always associated him with adventure and he’s “been around” for the coolest moments of my life – so seeing him live has been a goal since I first heard his voice.

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George Ezra Houston tweet George Ezra in Houston tweet George Ezra Houston tweet

After a few near misses, we were finally going to be in the same city at the same time.

Only problem: I had no one to go with.

I didn’t think much about going alone for the two months leading up to the concert, but on the day of, I began to seriously consider not going.

It took me about 35 minutes to get to the Houston House of Blues, and I spent the drive alternating between speeding with excitement and slowing down with sickness. My sincerest apologies to anyone on the Katy Freeway last Monday night – you might’ve expected to see a 100-year-old blind lady, but no, it was only a nervous 22-year-old trying her best.

Why was I so nervous? I do stuff alone all the time (yes, I was that loser kid in high school who went to the movies by herself) but maybe concerts of beautiful, blond, British boys who sing like angels were the final frontier.

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George Ezra Houston House of Blues Parking

I timed myself to arrive exactly at eight, so I wouldn’t waste my phone’s battery while I stood around beforehand acting like I was waiting to meet someone.

Protip: if you buy standing room only tickets for a concert, never stand on the side by the entrance.

When I walked in, it was straight into a wall of tall people, but when I finally wiggled my way to the far side, I actually managed to get pretty close.

George Ezra Houston House of Blues

To my surprise, the show began right at eight. CharlotteOC was the opening act. Her music was familiar – but not in the trite sense. Although I’d never heard a single song from her before, as soon as she opened her mouth I felt wrapped up in her voice, like I wanted to listen forever.

Then she was gone, and it was time for George.

Finally.

Bare Necessities thrummed in the background and then there he was, wearing a NASA t-shirt and smiling.

He went right into Cassy O’, my actual fave, but as I sang along, I had to suppress the urge to shriek. The norm at the 1D and Jo Bro concerts I’d been to, everyone at this show seemed really….chill.

As the show went on, it became less and less of a thing that I was there alone. Just like at the movies, even if you go to a concert with people, you don’t really talk to them while it’s happening.

Another plus side of going to concerts alone:

In the jungle of general admission, you only have to look out for yourself. The girls in front of me passed up an opportunity to move closer to the stage because all four of them couldn’t fit, so I slid right up in there.

George Ezra Houston House of Blues George Ezra Houston House of Blues

After the show, I waited 3 ½ hours outside George’s tour bus (it seemed waaaaay less pathetic while it was happening), but alas, he goes to sleep right after his shows to stay healthy. Good on him. Although I was disappointed, I’ll just count it as another near miss and hopefully see him next time.

If you are looking for a cheap night out, definitely pop into the Houston House of Blues.

Eat before you get there, because the food is CRAZY expensive, and if you want to drink I suggest you skip the bar and use these instead.

Do you have any fun concert experiences to share? I’d love to hear them!

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