Houston is home to the fourth largest pride celebration in the country, with over 500,000 attendees. While the neighborhood of Montrose is considered by many to be the epicenter of our city’s gay community, our pride parade is so big it is now held nearby, in the heart of downtown Houston. Downtown destinations are all walkable and distinct, with every street offering unique entertainment. Each block and each building is its own microcosm of different food, drink, history, culture, music, and merriment.
Hilton Americas-Houston is the official host hotel of Pride, with spa amenities to fulfill all of your primping needs. Beyond the standard hotel fitness center, the Hilton also has a full service skyline spa and health club, dry saunas and steam rooms, and even salon and barber services. Those seeking a more historical Gatsby vibe should look into Hotel Icon on Main St., where you can party like it’s 1929. This 12-story luxury retreat built in 1911 was originally the Union National Bank, having the distinction of being one of the nation’s first concrete and steel skyscrapers. Magnolia Hotel on Texas Ave. is sleek and sophisticated, with a highly rated restaurant and a rooftop pool with gorgeous city views.
Houston’s exceptional food industry is booming, with notable institutions like the James Beard Award winner Chef Hugo Ortega’s Oaxacan restaurant, Xochi. A Houston institution, Greek restaurant Niko Niko’s has both a downtown and Montrose location. Their gyros, baklava, and signature lemon potatoes are famous for good reason. While El Big Bad on Travis St. has superb Tex-Mex fare, they are even better known for their massive menu of specialty-infused tequilas. With flavor choices from tamarind to Texas pecan to a mixture of blueberry, jalapeño, and cilantro, thirsty patrons will find infinite custom-margarita possibilities.
Local femme favorite, Little Dipper is a cozy and welcoming joint with an impressive cocktail list along with an array of beer and wine. Right next door is Boomtown Main Street Cafe & Bar, a recent rebranding of the former Honeymoon Cafe. A lively and bright cafe during the day with a renowned brunch and outstanding locally-roasted coffee, Boomtown Main Street is also a fully functional bar. Boomtown can pour a traditional cocktail as well as the next, but they are famous for their delectable and creative custom coffee-and-tea-based cocktails. Public Services Wine & Whiskey offers incredible drinks in a truly stunning historic location, redefining the concept of classic. Warren’s Inn is a laid back joint with an old school jukebox with plenty of Dionne Warwick and Whitney Houston to sing along to over a stiff martini.
To wind the night down, venture just past downtown in to Midtown at Rich’s, a gay Houston landmark. DJs will be spinning from 10PM-3AM. As the only official Pride after party, Rich’s encourages folks to purchase tickets in advance to skip the line. A few days after Pride, on June 20th, the afterparty continues with the fierce “Rock the Runway” event that Fear the Queer will be presenting at Rich’s. A fabulously bizarre collective of performers, Fear the Queer makes Sasha Velour look like Sasha Demure.
With a plethora of prideful events happening all month in Houston, partygoers should have no problem whatsoever painting the town rainbow.