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Perhaps no one knows the nooks and crannies of Houston as well as Omar Lopez. The singer-songwriter, guitarist and bassist spends most of his nights performing at various hot spots around the city with his cover band, Goodtime Muffin. When the 16-year North Houston resident isn’t immersed in the city’s music scene, he can be found visiting his favorite haunts with his wife, Jaclyn.
Lopez gave us the high notes on how to experience Houston like a local.
What’s a trendy neighborhood worth checking out?The Heights, which has a vintage vibe. You can walk down White Oak Drive and grab a drink on the deck at Onion Creek Cafe (I recommend the white cheddar chili con queso). Or, you can catch the game on one of the many big screens at Christian’s Tailgate Bar & Grill — their burgers have been voted as some of the best in Houston.
Where can you soak in the music scene?White Oak Music Hall and Raven Tower are both new venues that showcase a lot of talented local groups, and they are a stone’s throw away from each other. While at Raven Tower, be sure to take the narrow staircase up to the top deck for an amazing view of the Houston skyline.
Where do you head to unwind?Down House, a restaurant, bar and coffeehouse; Luke’s Icehouse, a sports bar; or The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, which has a huge selection of craft beer.
Where can visitors go for a “typical” Texan meal?Houston has some of the best food in the country, hands down. Fajitas and barbecue are most popular here. For Mexican food, I recommend The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation or El Tiempo Cantina, and for barbecue, Goode Co. or Gatlin’s BBQ.
What is Houston’s best-kept secret? You can make the bayou burp. At the Big Bubble at the Buffalo Bayou, there’s a red button hidden inside one of the pillars on the Preston Street Bridge. If you can find it, press it — the bayou will bubble and belch.