The Houston weather is beginning to get the idea — it’s officially fall.
In addition to stocking up on all your favorite pumpkin-flavored treats and breaking out those boots and scarves, we’ve got a few ideas for how you can celebrate autumn in our neck of the woods.
Texas Renaissance Festival
An annual tradition just a short drive (OK, an hour…and the traffic isn’t always pleasant) outside Houston, the Texas Renaissance Festival (aka RenFest) is a must-visit event this fall. Check out the website to learn more about each of the themed weekends of the festival, which runs Oct. 8 through Nov. 27. If we still haven’t convinced you, trust us that RenFest is an awesome way to take a daylong break from studying, giving you and your friends the opportunity to dress up in period costumes, walk around eating turkey legs and interacting with all the characters as if you’re living in medieval times.
Houston Coffee Shops
With menus including everything from irresistible espressos to delicious cortados, the vibrant coffee shop scene around the city is just waiting to be discovered. Switch up your study spot every now and then to explore different coffee shops minutes away from campus, and don’t forget to take advantage of the specialty fall flavors of the season. (A few of our favorites: The Nook Café, Southside Espresso, Barbazzar, Siphon Coffee, A 2nd Cup)
The Newly Opened Underground Cisterns
Built in 1926, Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern was the city’s first underground drinking water reservoir until it was shut down and unused for decades. Rediscovered and renovated over the past few years, the Cistern is now open to the public for $2 with a reservation. You can also book a special photography tour for $15 or visit for free on Thursdays (reservations are still required).
The Museum District
Our museum district is always a great spot to spend the day, but during the fall season other exclusive events hit the area that may not be there year round. Get in the Halloween spirit by checking out the new mummies exhibition at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, or unleash your inner art lover by visiting the upcoming Degas exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts.
Bayou City Arts Festival
Support local Houston artists by visiting the Bayou City Arts Festival this Oct. 8 & 9 downtown. Featuring the works of hundreds of artists in over 19 artistic media types, it’s also a great spot to get a head start on your holiday shopping.
Local Pumpkin Patches
Decorate your dorm in the fall spirit by picking out a few pumpkins from a local pumpkin patch. You’ll see these start popping up everywhere in early October, and you’ll find affordable pumpkins and other fall decorations of all sizes for sale. It’s a cheap and easy getaway when you want to explore a little bit of Houston while getting in the fall spirit.
Support Houston street artists during Via Colori, a street art festival that brings vibrant artwork to downtown Houston each November. With over 200 street artists, the festival is the perfect spot to spend a few hours witnessing Houston streets transform with color. This year, the event will take place Nov. 19-20 and costs $7 for general admission.
Houston’s Art Murals
Street art has become incredibly popular recently, thanks to the rise of Instagram, and in Houston, you’ll find more photo opportunities (and inspiring artwork) than ever. With everything from bright patterned walls to inspirational quote murals, you’re sure to find a spot perfect for your next post. Check out Wear + Where + Well’s Houston Mural Guide for a list of the best of the best.
Houston Theater District
Houston’s acclaimed theater district is bursting with life in the fall. Purchase tickets for the Alley Theatre, The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts or Theatre Under the Stars to witness an unforgettable show, or stop by the Houston Symphony or Houston Grand Opera to hear some inspiring music. The Nutcracker at the Houston Ballet is also a holiday classic worth the splurge.
The Houston Zoo
University of Houston students get free admission to the Houston Zoo just by presenting their student ID. Take advantage of this by going to visit Shasta VI (of course), along with dozens of other beautiful animals. Make sure to also stop by during the annual Zoo Lights exhibitions, which open on Nov. 18 and feature all sorts of bright and colorful holiday displays.
By Priscilla Aceves