Free Weekend Fun in Houston June 24-26

Get ready for a weekend of free fun! Here is a snapshot of 15 Free Things to Do in Houston this weekend, June 24-26:

Latin Beats 900p

FRIDAY

Enjoy classical music – The Houston Symphony’s ExxonMobil Summer Symphony Nights returns Friday and Saturday nights, June 25-26, 8:30 pm. Friday’s performance features The Firebird. Free tickets for covered seats are available at Miller Box Office on performance day, 10:30 am – 1 pm. Miller Outdoor Theatre is located at 6000 Hermann Park Drive.

Watch a movie under the moon — Don’t miss free outdoor movies this weekend. Two are Friday — 1) Mr. Dial Has Something to Say at Discovery Green (part of the Self-Taught Artists and Musicians (Menil Collection), and 2) Jerry McGuire at GreenStreet, 9 pm, 1201 Fannin.

Enjoy an orchestra under the stars — More than 100 musicians from around the world are showcased in this free performance as part of the Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival. Located at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands. The free concert begins at 8 pm.

Love live musicCooper Wade is on stage Friday for free live music at Willowfork Drainage District’s Central Green Park in Katy. The fun is 7 pm – 9 pm at 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd.

Learn to salsa dance — Enjoy free salsa dance lessons at Latin Beats every Friday night at Downtown Aquarium. Learn salsa dancing from professional dance instructors from 7 pm – 11 pm. A live band will play, since it’s the last Friday of the month. The Aquarium is located at 410 Bagby at Memorial.

SATURDAY

Free yoga in the park — The summer series, Savasana into Summer, returns Saturdays at Hermann Park, thanks to Namitzi Yoga. The free weekly yoga class outdoors is open to all skill levels through September 24. Meditation is 8:15 am – 8:25 am with yoga from 8:30 am – 9:30 am. Kids can enjoy kids’ yoga in June. This is located near the Reflection Pond at Hermann Park.

Engage in free family fun — Head downtown for the annual favorite, FUNomenal Family Festival, at Discovery Green, 1 pm – 6 pm Saturday. The free family festival features live music, Mad Science show, Baby Olympics, special appearances by costumed characters and more. Prizes are available in the Baby Olympics! Located at 1500 McKinney.

Be amazed with science — Kids will love the chemistry and physics experiments as part of Houston Public Library Express’ Spin! Pop! Boom. The afternoon event (1 pm – 2 pm) features Foam Factory, a bungee jump and spinning platform, and more. Located at Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney.

basspro family campPlay at summer campFamily Summer Camp at Bass Pro Shops begins Saturday with free activities for kids Saturdays and Sundays (& Tuesday/Thursday) plus family workshops and more. Family Summer Camp lasts from noon to 5 pm through July 24. Engage in activities such as casting challenge, BB shooting range, weekly crafts, free workshops, free photo download, plus the catch and release pond July 2-3. Bass Pro Shops has two Houston-area locations in Katy (5000 Katy Mills Circle) and Pearland (1000 Basspro Drive).

Enjoy classical music – The Houston Symphony’s ExxonMobil Summer Symphony Nights continues Saturday, 8:30 pm. Saturday’s performance features Prokofiev’s Fifth. Free tickets for covered seats are available at Miller Box Office on performance day, 10:30 am – 1 pm. Miller Outdoor Theatre is located at 6000 Hermann Park Drive.

Celebrate the survivors — As part of Survivorship Week, MD Anderson presents its Survivorship Concert with the music of Collector’s Item. Take a pic in the SmileBooth and enjoy free glow necklaces. Located at Sugar Land Town Square.

Love a parade — The LGBT Pride Celebration is Saturday, noon – 7 pm, featuring a variety of festival performances, Family Fun Zone, and Health and Wellness Pavilion. The Pride Parade kicks off at 8:30 pm at Lamar and Smith with more than 100 floats. The festival is located downtown near City Hall at Tranquility Park and Hermann Square.

Love outdoor music and fireworks — Folks in north Houston can enjoy Waterway Nights each Saturday in June with live music, strolling entertainers, and fireworks over The Woodlands!  Fireworks begin at approximately 8:55 pm. Located at Waterway Square in The Woodlands.

SUNDAY

Play at summer campFamily Summer Camp at Bass Pro Shops begins Saturday with free activities for kids Saturdays and Sundays (& Tuesday/Thursday) plus family workshops and more. Family Summer Camp lasts from noon to 5 pm through July 24. Engage in activities such as casting challenge, BB shooting range, weekly crafts, free workshops, free photo download, plus the catch and release pond July 2-3. Bass Pro Shops has two Houston-area locations in Katy (5000 Katy Mills Circle) and Pearland (1000 Basspro Drive).

Free Wedding Dress for Houston Military Brides July 5

This amazing freebie is back this year, Operation Wedding Gown!

A Houston bridal salon is giving wedding dresses to military brides, thanks to a partnership with Brides Across America. This national, charitable organization helps unite military brides and bridal salons when military brides have not had a formal wedding as a result of deployment.

Don’t miss this wedding gown giveaway event in Houston:

July 5 — Impression Bridal Store: Store is open 11 am -8 pm.
Houston Galleria
3005 W. Loop South
713.623.4696
These dresses have been tried on, but never worn by a bride.

Interested in attending? Register online here with your $30 registration fee for admittance to the event.

Wondering if you qualify for this amazing bridal giveaway? Check out all the details on the How to Qualify page here. The short answer: for engaged couples planning a wedding in the next 18 months and had a deployment in the last five years or have an upcoming deployment. Couples who had a civil ceremony may qualify if they are planning a formal wedding.

Gowns are given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Before the event, Brides Across America provides a list of attending brides with their sizes to the salon to try to ensure a good selection is available.

Founder Heidi Janson’s organization has given away more than 12,000 bridal gowns thanks to the salons and designers who donate them. I hope one of my readers can benefit!

photo courtesy Brides Across America

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Comcast Focuses on Transforming the Customer Experience

Thanks to a recent event for local bloggers, I learned how Comcast is re-imagining its experience for the customer — from the features and re-design of its local stores to the new Xfinity technology and apps focusing on family friendly.

Redesigned Stores

Comcast ipad barAccording to folks at Comcast, its priority is to transform the customer experience. To date, Comcast has redesigned seven of the 12 local Comcast retail stores, with a new store coming soon to Cypress. The store at Voss and Westheimer, a former Blockbuster, is one of the largest in the country. One-third of the apartments in Houston are in a 10-mile radius of that store, so it’s definitely high volume and high traffic.

But rather than waiting in line like the DMV, customers can browse the store and interact with new technology, play at the iPad bar, do guided demos on the latest innovations, and more. Customers can pop in to pay a bill at the Express kiosk without waiting in a long line. These changes are based on the needs and feedback of Comcast customers.

Xfinity Mobile Apps

Comcast developed a variety of mobile apps to provide flexibility and convenience for customers. Forget to set your alarm after you leave the house? Rely on Xfinity Home to do that. Xfinity TV enables you to watch your X1 DVR recordings on your tablet or cell phone — while in the house or on-the-go. Or even download X1 DVR recordings directly to mobile devices to watch anytime. This helps more screens access the content! I have used Xfinity TV Remote frequently to set up my favorite show on the DVR after I have left the house! Having issues with your WiFi at home? Download Xfinity My Account to diagnosis connectivity issues, manage appointments or edit your WiFi password.

comcast store demoXfinity X1

Comcast’s new Xfinity X1 technology is changing the way you experience TV. How about a voice remote to change channels or search for your favorite show? This makes it easy for kids to find their favorite show, too! And thanks to integrated Xfinity apps, you can play your Pandora playlist, bring your Facebook feed or photos on the screen, or follow the Rockets’ game while watching another show. Kids can explore on their own in the Kids Zone, which is a safe place to let kids find new shows or content.

All of these efforts are helping Comcast work to make customer experience its No. 1 product. I am excited about the changes, especially since I’m a long-time Comcast customer!

I partnered with Comcast for this sponsored conversation. All opinions are my own.

5 Free Things to Do in Austin This Summer

If you’re looking for free things to do in Austin this summer, here are five activities that the whole family will enjoy, thanks to Heidi at Free Fun in Austin.

Austin Texas mural

Watch purple martins put on a show in the sky

You may have heard that Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in the world, but did you know about the Purple Martin Parties? Join Travis Audubon Society to witness an impressive “hurricane of birds” as the purple martins return to their roosting site, evenings in July.

Explore the Barton Creek Greenbelt

Barton Springs, Austin’s renowned three-acre spring-fed pool, offers a refreshing respite from the heat at a reasonable price. But if you’re looking for a free adventure off the beaten path, follow Barton Creek away from Zilker Park, and enjoy a hike along the scenic greenbelt.

Barton Creek Hike Austin Texas

Nature Nights at the Wildflower Center

Nature Nights return to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center this summer, every Thursday in June. These special evenings offer a rare opportunity to explore the Wildflower Center, including the wonderful 4.5-acre Luci and Ian Family Garden, at no charge. Admission for Nature Nights will be free from 6 to 9 p.m.

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Visit Austin museums for free

If you’re on the hunt for air-conditioned entertainment options, you may want to check out some of Austin’s free museums! Use this handy list to see when popular destinations like the Bullock Texas State History Museum and the Thinkery, Austin’s exemplary children’s museum, offer free admission.

Thinkery Austin Children's Museum

See Shrek the Musical in Zilker Park

Pack a picnic and lay your blanket on the Zilker Hillside, to enjoy a musical under the stars. Zilker Summer Musical returns for its 58th year with Shrek The Musical. Catch a free performance Thursday to Sunday from July 8 to August 13, 2016.

For more ideas to help plan your Austin getaway, check out 75+ Free Things to do in Austin This Summer.

Heidi-headshot

 

Heidi Gollub is the founder and editor-in-chief of the award-winning website Free Fun in Austin.com. When not running around on adventures with her five children–ages three to 15–she volunteers for the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau and shares content with the local news. Recently, Heidi was a speaker at Mom 2.0 and the Texas Conference for Women.

Bayou Bend Summer History Camp: Receive $50 Off

Bayou Bend Summer History CampOnly a few spots left for Bayou Bend Summer History Camp! Plus you can snag an exclusive discount, thanks to Houston on the Cheap!

At Bayou Bend Summer History Camp, kids become blacksmiths, make candles, play colonial games, write with quill pens, wear 18th-century clothes, and more! The camp’s curriculum encourages campers to think about multiple perspectives on history, and form opinions based on questions and discovery through participation.

Designed for students entering or exiting 5th grade, this week-long program at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens culminates in a special presentation for family and friends. Each one-week session runs Monday–Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There are only a few spots left for the final week, July 18–22. Sign up today and receive $50 off! Call 713.639.7759 and mention promo code “$50 Off Camp” to receive this exclusive discount. Visit mfah.org/historycamp for more information on Bayou Bend Summer History Camp.

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens is the house museum for American decorative arts of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. It’s located at 6003 Memorial.

Cost: $375 ($325 with Houston on the Cheap discount)

Dates: Monday–Friday, July 18–22

Contact: 713.639.7759 / mfah.org/historycamp

This is a sponsored post for Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

How Houstonians Can Prepare for Potential Floods and Other Emergencies

photo: Doublehorn Photography

The 2016 floods in Houston will not be forgotten any time soon. Those who recently moved to Houston might wonder if this is the norm. It’s even confusing for folks who have lived here for years and have seen nothing like it.

Check out my latest piece for CubeSmart, How Houstonians Can Prepare for Potential Floods and Other Emergencies, as part of their online Newcomer’s Guide. I look forward to sharing new Houston-related articles each month!

I am proud to be CubeSmart’s City Guide Expert for its online Houston Moving Guide. I will be sharing monthly insight for folks moving to Houston looking for local perspective.

Disclosure: I’ve partnered with CubeSmart as their local expert. Articles are written by me and my own opinion.

CubeSmart city guide

7 Free Things to Do in Houston June 20-24

There’s never a dull moment in Houston. Here are 7 options for free fun in Houston June 20-24 before planning your free and cheap weekend!

We Love Houston sign

Monday (6/20) — Celebrate Summer Solstice all day at Rothko Chapel. Start the day with a free guided labyrinth walk at 6:21 am on the grounds of the chapel. It offers a pathway to prayer and meditation. The solstice celebration ends at sunset, 8:25 pm, with Japanese drumming group, Kaminari Taiko. Located at 3900 Yupon.

Tuesday (6/21) — Don’t miss the weekly Tai Chi at WFDD’s Central Green Park in Katy. It begins each Tuesday at 9 am and helps center your mind, body and spirit. Located at 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd.

Tuesday (6/21) — Head downtown for International Day of Yoga, 5:30 pm, at Discovery Green. Skip rush hour and bring your family out for music, lawn activities such as acroyoga, and local vendors. Located at 1500 McKinney.

Wednesday (6/22) — Tackle a challenging boot camp at GreenStreet’s Wellness Wednesday, a free weekly workout from 6:30 am – 7 am. Participants get a $1 off their next salad or wrap at Salata. Located at 1201 Fannin.

Wednesday (6/22) — Kids will love a free Hula Hoop Craft Building workshop 11 am – 1 pm at the Meyer Neighborhood Library, 5005 W. Bellfort. Pop Shop Houston is providing the supplies and knowledge for this class. Geared to ages 10 and up, but younger kids will just need your assistance. RSVP to the library.

Wednesday (6/22) — Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow presents Fargo at Market Square Park, 301 Milam. This free outdoor movie begins at 8:30 pm.

Thursday (6/23) — Enjoy seven museums for free each Thursday in Houston’s Museum District.

  • Houston Museum of Natural Science: 3 pm – 6 pm
  • Children’s Museum of Houston: 5 pm – 8 pm
  • The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: 10 am – 9 pm
  • The Health Museum: 2 pm – 7 pm
  • Holocaust Museum Houston: 2 pm – 5 pm
  • Houston Museum of African American Culture: 6 pm – 8 pm
  • Buffalo Soldiers National Museum: 1 pm – 5 pm

Free Weekend Fun in Houston June 17-19

Get ready for a weekend of free fun! Here is a snapshot of 14 Free Things to Do in Houston this weekend, June 17-19:

Miller Outdoor

FRIDAY

Enjoy the Houston Symphony – The Houston Symphony’s free ExxonMobil Summer Symphony Night returns to Miller Outdoor Theatre Friday and Saturday, 8:30 pm. Friday’s musical theme is Scottish Fantasy. Free reserved seat tickets are available on performance day from 10:30 am – 1 pm at Miller Outdoor Theater box office.

See miniature horses — Kids can walk and play with miniature horses and hear a story time at this free Pony Meet & Greet. This is located at Great Southwest Equestrian Center, 2501 S. Mason Rd. in Katy but some events are at the stable. RSVP to [email protected]

Watch the batsFamily Bat Chat returns Friday at the platform at Waugh Drive and Allen Parkway. Arrive 30 minutes before sunset to hear a brief presentation on Waugh Bridge Bat Colony. Free public parking at Spotts Park, 401 S. Heights Blvd. at Memorial. This is held the 1st and 3rd Fridays.

Watch a movie under the moon — Head downtown to celebrate the art and culture of India at A Bollywood Night, 8 pm. It also features a free outdoor screening of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Located at 1500 McKinney.

Enjoy summer tunes in Pearland — Folks south of Houston can hit free Concert in the Park each Friday night in June. Pearland’s free weekly concert begins at 7 pm at Southdown Park, 2150 Countryplace Parkway. This week features Big Joe Walker.

SATURDAY

train ride dayRide the train — It’s a Free Public Run Day at Zube Park, Saturday, 9 am – 1 pm, thanks to Houston Area Live Steamers. Families can enjoy riding model trains large enough to ride the 3rd Saturday each month, March – November. Zube Park is located at 17802 Roberts Rd. near Hockley.  photo: Rick White

Free yoga in the park — The summer series, Savasana into Summer, returns Saturdays at Hermann Park, thanks to Namitzi Yoga. The free weekly yoga class outdoors is open to all skill levels through September 24. Meditation is 8:15 am – 8:25 am with yoga from 8:30 am – 9:30 am. Kids can enjoy kids’ yoga in June. This is located near the Reflection Pond at Hermann Park.

See WWII planes and museumTour the WWII Museum and visit the hangar of the Houston Wing of the Commemorative Air Force 10 am – 3 pm. It’s a great chance to get up close to the Wing’s five flyable WWII military aircraft: climb into a cockpit of a WWII trainer or go inside a WWII Paratroop aircraft. Located at West Houston Airport, 2 miles north of I-10 east off Barker Cypress on Groschke Rd.

Watch Minions, free outdoor movie — Pearland Town Center is hosting a free outdoor movie, Minions, 7:30 pm Saturday. Located at 11200 Broadway, Pearland.

Celebrate Central Green’s 3rd birthday — Katy’s WFDD Central Green Park celebrates 3 years with its Island Night of fun, 6 pm – 9 pm. The evening includes steel drums, Hawaiian dancers, Pump It Up slide and bounce house, face painting, kids’ activity booths and live music by Vinyl Diplomacy. Located at 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd.

Enjoy the Houston Symphony – The Houston Symphony’s free ExxonMobil Summer Symphony Night returns to Miller Outdoor Theatre Friday and Saturday, 8:30 pm. Saturday’s performance features Dvorak and Tchaikovsky. Free reserved seat tickets are available on performance day from 10:30 am – 1 pm at Miller Outdoor Theater box office.

fireworksLove outdoor music and fireworks — Folks north of Houston can enjoy Waterway Nights each Saturday in June for live music, strolling entertainers, and fireworks over The Woodlands! Fireworks begin at approximately 8:55 pm. Located at Waterway Square in The Woodlands.

SUNDAY

Get outdoorsAdmission is free at Armand Bayou Nature Center’s Sunday in Nature, thanks to Dow Chemical Co. Last entrance will be 4 pm. Hike trails with naturalist interpreter, view live reptiles, relive 1895 history. Each month has a different theme. Located at 8500 Bay Area Blvd., Pasadena.

Enjoy Houston Symphony Chorus — The Houston Symphony Chorus takes the spotlight in this free concert of choral classics. The concert will take place Sunday, June 19, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church at 3471 Westheimer Rd.. No tickets are required to attend this concert. General admission seating will be available on a first come, first served basis. Doors open at 3:30 pm.

Celebrate JuneteenthCelebrate Houston’s Juneteenth Celebration in Houston with traditional Gulf Coast music beginning at 7:30 pm. The line up includes Maceo Parker, Thundersoul Orchestra and the award winning Writers in the Schools poetry slam team, Meta-Four Houston. Free reserved covered seats are available on performance day at Miller Box office, 10:30 am – 1 pm.

Father’s Day Freebies and Deals in Houston

Father's Day freebiesDon’t forget to spoil dad this weekend for Father’s Day! Here is a round-up of Houston-area Father’s Day freebies and deals for food and fun:

FOOD

Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse: Dads who dine on Father’s Day, June 19, will receive a Dining Card good for one free lunch or dinner (the Full Churrasco Experience!) on their next visit. Located at 8250 Westheimer Rd. and in The Woodlands.

Grub Burger Bar: Dads can take advantage of a free burger at Grub Burger Bar June 17-19. Just mention ‘Free Fathers Day Burger’ to your cashier! This is valid for any burger, dine in only. Grub is located at 800 Town and Country at CityCentre.

Pollo Tropical: Enjoy a 2 Can Dine for $9.99 Meal Deal at Pollo Tropical Sunday. The deal includes two entrees, rice and beans, Sweet Plantains or Fried Yuca and two fountain drinks. Text “DAD2016” to 52198.

Spaghetti Warehouse: Dads eat free at Spaghetti Warehouse June 19 by choosing from Incredible 15-Layer Lasagne, World Famous Spaghetti & Meatballs or any of the restaurant’s Original Recipe Spaghetti entrees. No coupon required! Spaghetti Warehouse is located at 901 Commerce downtown.

TCBY: Dads can top off their free lunch with a free 6 oz. cup of frozen yogurt at TCBY.

FUN

Alamo Drafthouse — Catch a screening of Curious George Sunday at Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park and Vintage Park. Choose your price ($1-$3) with 100% of proceeds benefiting local charity.

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens: Dads, grandfathers and children 9 and under get free admission this weekend (June 18-19) to Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens to celebrate Father’s Day. Additional adults pay reduced price of $10 or $5 for kids age 10-17. Bayou Bend is located at 6003 Memorial.

Orangetheory: Dads can indulge in a free workout at Orangetheory all week through June 19. Simply call one of the 8 Houston-area studios to arrange the free class.

Studio Movie Grill: Don’t miss the $3 Family Rewind movie, The Neverending Story. The $3 screening is Sunday, June 19, at 2 pm. This is located at Copperfield, CityCentre and Pearland Studio Movie Grill locations.

Free & Discount Events: HMNS, Yoga Expo, Nick Jonas, Houston Texans, Born Yesterday, & more

FREE + a service fee!

The Goldstar Comp Train rolled out today, so a number of events are free plus a service fee:

HMNS dinosaurHouston Museum of Natural ScienceCOMP – $10 for admission to permanent exhibits at Houston Museum of Natural Science ($25 value)

The Yoga Expo HoustonCOMP – $17.50 for The Yoga Expo Houston at George R. Brown ($35 value)

Treasure Island$5 for Treasure Island at The Company OnStage ($10 value)

Houston Texans’ Pre-Season Games$25-$49 for Houston Texans’ Preseason Football ($45-$60 value)

Faith Evans and AvantCOMP – $27.50 for Faith Evans & Avant at Arena Theatre ($53 value)

Demi Lovato & Nick Jonas$25 for “Future Now”: Demi Lovato & Nick Jonas at Toyota Center ($43 value)

alley born yesterdayBorn Yesterday$26 – $30 for Alley Theatre’s Born Yesterday ($55 – $75 value)

Gwen Stefani$15 for Gwen Stefani at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion ($31.24 value)

Cinderella, Jr.$4 for Cinderella Jr. in Pearland ($8 value)

Little Women: The Musical$20 for Little Women: the Musical with A.D. Players ($40 value)

Society for the Performing Arts $104 for Society for the Performing Arts: Family Fun Series ($150 value)

Back to the Future: Unscripted$7 for Back to the Future: Unscripted ($14 value)

ComedySportz Houston$10 for ComedySportz Houston at Queensbury Theatre ($20 value)

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