As one of the most diverse cities in America — with the largest medical complex in the world, as a gastronomical capital of the States (there are more than 10,000 restaurants) and home to over 2 million people — Houston is filled with many hidden beauty and wellness gems. And each neighborhood has its own story to tell — you will immediately spot the differences between River Oaks, Downtown, Montrose, the Heights and Rice Village.
Luckily, I have lived here my entire life and I am here to guide you on the perfect beauty-filled weekend.
Vibrant, 9 a.m.: Start your day off with breakfast at Vibrant, the contemporary health-conscious restaurant known for making all of their bread, cheese, milk and sausage in-house from scratch each day. On site, they have a garden where they source a majority of their ingredients. They are also 100 percent gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. May I recommend the chia seed pudding?
1931 Fairview St., Houston, TX 77019
Kuhl-Linscomb, 10:00 a.m.: You have been waiting your entire life to stumble upon Kuhl Linscomb, you just didn’t know it. There is only one location, but the eclectic megaplex spans 100,000 square feet, making it is easy to lose track of time wandering through all five of their buildings. Covering two city blocks, the showrooms feature: furniture, garden, outdoor fun, baby and children, stationery, gifts, travel, housewares, books, lighting, men’s and women’s fashion, lighting, and most importantly, beauty and wellness. Their beauty section carries high-end brands alongside international brands. Think: Mason Pearson hair brushes, Boy Smells candles, Oribe hair products, fragrances from Italian apothecaries and baby foot exfoliation peels. As an added bonus, they will gift wrap all your gifts for free.
2418 W. Alabama St., Houston, TX 77098
Phoenix Rising Acupuncture, 12:00 p.m.: Drive over to Phoenix Rising Acupuncture for a cosmetic acupuncture session with Lori Earley, Houston’s skin wizard. After meeting a doctor of Chinese medicine on a retreat, Earley quit her job selling pharmaceuticals and enrolled in the American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Cosmetic acupuncture gives the skin a more youthful appearance by inserting tiny needles into the face to stimulate collagen and elastin production. On top of that, this non-invasive treatment uses jade rolling, facial sculpting and LED light therapy during your 90-minute session. ($165)
1219 S. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX 77019
Local Foods Rice Village, 2:00 p.m.: It is time for lunch at Local Foods Rice Village, a hip yet casual bistro that serves specialty sandwiches and salads along with a variety of healthy sides. All of their food is locally sourced from Texas farmers. The crunchy chicken sandwich is my personal favorite.
2424 Dunstan Road, Houston, TX 77005
Nap Bar, 3:00 p.m.: After exploring Rice Village, you may find yourself exhausted. Not to fret, there is a Nap Bar in your area. You can schedule a nap that spans anywhere from 20 minutes to four hours. Created by Khaliah Guillory, Nap Bar aims to help improve productivity by giving us a comfortable place to doze off. It offers showers, comfortable pajamas, pillow mist, ashwagandha root shots, and anything else you may need to get into a restful state.
6111 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX 77005
Axelrad, 7:00 p.m.: I would end the night at Axelrad, a trendy beer garden adorned with colorful hammocks. Play one of their many board games, listen to live music, or indulge in a specialty cocktail (my favorite is Kom-Hooch-Ah with kombucha). There are always food trucks onsite, but if that doesn’t speak to you, Luigi’s Pizzeria next door has pizza and gelato.
1517 Alabama St., Houston, TX 77004
Barry’s Bootcamp, 8:30 a.m.: Start your morning off with a Barry’s Bootcamp class at their brand-new location in River Oaks. This HIIT cardio and strength interval workout was founded in Los Angeles but opened its Houston doors just last month. Barry’s signature red (workout) room is no joke, but the class will give you the fuel you need for the remainder of your beauty escapades. The original HIIT workout is 50 percent treadmill and 50 percent strength training. You can burn up to 1000 calories in these 50-60 minute classes. And if you failed to pack workout gear on this trip, don’t worry — they have a shop upfront where they sell Barry’s x Lululemon workout gear. Before you head back to the real world, take a shower in their luxurious locker room stocked with Oribe products and Dyson hair dryers.
1953 W. Gray St., Houston, TX 77019
Restore Hyper Wellness + Cryotherapy, 10:00 a.m.: Right across the street from Barry’s you will find Restore Hyper Wellness + Cryotherapy. I love this place for a quick 30-minute infrared sauna session ($39). But I went in recently for a cryofacial ($39), which is a noninvasive technique that helps to tighten your skin. While the sensation felt very similar to what I assume frostbite would feel like, my skin was noticeably glowy afterwards. They also offer full body cryotherapy, IV drips and compression therapy (perfect after leg day at the gym or if you had a long flight). Basically, it is the all-in-one wellness stop everyone needs in their busy lives.
1944 W. Gray St., Houston, Texas 77019
Bebidas, 1:00 p.m.: Not too far away you will find Bebidas, aka the world’s greatest smoothies and drinks shop. Order an iced oat milk latte and tell them I sent you. Just kidding, they have no idea who I am. During the summer, this place also functions as a snow cone stand, which makes for a fun Instagram photo in their courtyard. If you are feeling famished, they also offer rice bowls, avocado toast, sandwiches and tacos.
2606 Edloe St., Houston, TX 77027
Milk + Honey, 2:00 p.m.: It is time for the pièce de résistance. The cream of the spa crop. The crown jewel. Austin-native spa Milk + Honey is the best place to relax in Houston. They have all the fixings: quick mani-pedis, waxing, steams, massages, body polishing, lash extensions. But the main course is their facial menu. My personal favorite is their Ultimate HydraFacial, which will set you back $295 but is worth every penny.
2800 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX 77098
North Italia, 6:00 p.m.: I am not saying you have to listen to everything I say, but it would be in your best interest to do so. North Italia has one of the best pasta and pizza selections in the city — and it has a great ambience. But I would recommend making reservations beforehand through the OpenTable app.
1700 Post Oak Blvd.,Houston, TX 77056
Rooftop Cinema Club, 8:30 p.m.: After gorging on Italian food, head upstairs to Rooftop Cinema Club for an outdoor movie (buy tickets in advance). As you lay underneath the stars gazing at the Houston skyline, you will wonder why on earth you didn’t visit sooner. Nothing like a large movie screen to inspire you to uproot your life.
1700 Post Oak Blvd., Houston, TX 77056
Ulta, 11:00 a.m.: Does anyone else remember wandering into Ulta as a child with their $3.50 off any item catalog clipping? While the nostalgia is sweet, it is time to throw that image away. The newly redesigned Ulta stores are chic megaplexes that offer a fantastic range of brands like Sunday Riley, Morphe and Kylie Cosmetics. Ulta recently added a curated wellness section to their stores with items like Bawdy Beauty’s butt masks, Megababe’s Rosy Pits deodorant, and Fur oil (nothing is over $48). Everything in the Memorial area looks perfectly manicured, and this location does not stray from that vision. An open floor plan, friendly associates, in-store salon services and approximately 500 beauty brands make this a great store to get lost in.
12850 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77024
DEFINE body & mind, 1:30 p.m.: After a strong dose of retail therapy, we open ourselves up to the therapy that is a good workout. Check out DEFINE body & mind in the area for their bounce class — a barre workout that uses trampolines to make cardio fun again ($24). There are six Houston area locations, each one offering daily barre, cycling and yoga classes.
12525 Memorial Drive #255, Houston, TX 77024
Tiny Boxwoods, 3:00 p.m.: My favorite part about working out is the meal I indulge in afterwards. The perfect way to cap off your trip is with a nice outdoor brunch at Tiny Boxwoods. There is also a nice garden store in the backyard. Think about how much you have grown this weekend as you indulge in a breakfast pizza or lucky burger. Do not forget to order a Tiny’s cookie — awarded the best cookie in the city by the Houston Press.
3614 W. Alabama St., Houston, TX 77027
Levy Park, 6:00 p.m.: Sundays are meant for lounging so I want to end our time together at Levy Park. This vibrant urban space has a community garden, cornhole, ping pong tables, a childrens’ area and a dog park. The perfect place to decompress underneath the Houston breeze.
3801 Eastside St., Houston, TX 77098