As you might know, or even expect, I lurrrvve Beyoncé. My main goal when I visited Houston, her birthplace, was to do a Beyonce tour to learn more about where and how she grew up. Turns out though – THERE’s NO SUCH THING AS A BEYONCE TOUR OF HOUSTON. Couldn’t believe it. Shocked and appalled.
Sooo, I’ve been researching the top Beyoncé spots in Houston, so that if you ever find yourself in Texas’ biggest city you can do the Beyoncé tour of my dreams.
– Me and Beyonce hanging out in Chicago that time
Queen Bey was born and raised in Houston. She’s never forgotten her roots and regularly represents her home city in her music. She also hangs out at her old haunts when she’s in town, and is often spotted at her favourite restaurants.
I’ll be sick with jealousy if you see her…
How to Do Houston à la Beyoncé
– Pic from funplex.com
When Beyoncé was still just another little girl with dreams of being a superstar she liked to hang out at Houston Funplex Amusement Park. An epic arcade complex, Funplex has a ton of rides and games, a bowling alley and a skating rink. Beyoncé filmed the video for her 2013 single, ‘Blow’ at Funplex. The singer rides up to the Funplex entrance on a seriously pimped out pair of wheels and starts a sexy roller rink party that looks absolutely nothing like the skating birthday parties I went to as a child. Rumour has it that Beyoncé had her very first date at Funplex so the amusement park will always have a special place in her heart.
Another family-friendly Houston hang out Beyoncé frequented as a child is Wet’n’Wild Splashtown just north of Houston. Although I can’t see Queen Bey donning the bikini and joining the line up for the water slide any time soon, can you?
Beyonce grew up in the Third Ward district of Houston. The centre of Houston’s African American community, Third Ward’s Dowling Street is considered to be the centre of Houston’s blues music culture. Clearly influenced by the musical heart of her neighbourhood, Beyoncé has featured the streets of Third Ward in the music videos of ‘No Angel’ and ‘Drunk in Love’ from her 2013 self-entitled album. Beyoncé even adopted the persona of Miss Third Ward, a beauty pageant contestant, in the video for ‘Pretty Hurts’ (THE BEST SONG) from the same album.
In recent years Third Ward has been undergoing a slow process of gentrification with new shops, restaurants and coffee shops popping up alongside older establishments. Dowling Street is now known as ‘Emancipation Avenue’ in a bid to change the look of the area.
St John’s Church
Beyoncé has been a proud member of St John’s United Methodist Church in Downtown Houston since childhood and often attends service with her family when she’s in town. St John’s Church has also been the recipient of some sizeable contributions from Beyoncé over the years. In 2002, Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland donated $1.5 million to build a Youth Centre at the church.
– Pastor Rudy Rasmus looking proud as
In 2005, the pair, along with Beyoncé’s parents, created the Survivor Foundation to help house survivors of Hurricane Katrina displaced in Houston. And Beyoncé has forked out over $7 million over the years to support Houston’s homeless.
Since Hurricane Harvey the church has been a huge support to the local community with Pastor Rudy Rasmus at the helm.
Sports and Culture
Apparently Beyoncé tries to get back to Houston every year to attend the famous Houston Rodeo. Boasting the world’s largest livestock show, the Houston rodeo is about as country as it gets but in 2004 and 2007 the tobacco-chewng public were left open-mouthed when Beyonce herself stole the show. Over 2 million people attended the Houston Rodeo in 2017 – was Queen Bey among them?
Beyoncé is also a legit Houston Rockets fan. She wore a James Harden jersey in the video for ‘No Angel’, which also featured cameos from a number of famous Houston rappers such as Scarface, Paul Wall and Willie. Beyoncé and Jay have been snapped ringside at Rockets games a number of times and Beyoncé even has a song called ‘Rocket’ on her self-titled album. Recent news that the Rockets are up for sale has prompted an outpouring of love for Beyoncé in the sports press, with pundits hoping she and Jay-Z will take the team under their glitzy wing.
Presumably worldwide superstars don’t have tons of time to sightsee when they make pit-stops back home but recently Beyoncé visited Houston’s Menil Collection, which houses one of the most significant twentieth century art collections in the US. Just make sure you check the opening times before you go – I tried, and failed.
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Beyoncé has an appetite for the good, southern, home-style cooking she grew up on and in Houston she can gorge on her favourite dishes at all of her old haunts. She’s been spotted in B&B Butchers and Restaurant steakhouse located in Houston’s historic Dittman Bakery on a number of occasions. Famous for its Texas and Japanese Wagyu beef, Beyoncé has introduced her mother, husband and daughter to the menu at B&B.
Beyoncé has also been spotted in Houston’s Goode Company Barbeque, where she supposedly rates the turkey-sausage sandwich on jalapeno bread, has hit up The Breakfast Klub, where they specialise in Katfish & Grits and Wings & Waffles, and has been spotted at Max’s Wine Dive, a decidedly non-divey late night bar and restaurant.
If you see her, do send on my kindest regards / ask her to get back to me…
More on Houston
Visit Houston has loads of information on the city, check out their website here.