Patrons looking for reasonably priced stores and food should visit the Portofino Shopping Center. This outlet mall sits just outside of The Woodlands and is a short drive from The Woodlands Mall area. The Portofino Shopping Center consists of a main strip of stores such as Old Navy, Sam’s Club, Bath & Body Works, and DSW Shoes as well as a few restaurants. A wider selection of restaurants borders the outskirts of the Portofino mall and ranges from Italian to Asian and Mexican. The main artistic attraction at the Portofino is the intricate fountain that marks the center of the outlet mall. Patrons can be found sitting around the fountain and enjoying the cooling mists of the water. If you are looking to get beautified, then head behind the Portofino to the Aveda Institute Houston and help a studying beautician practice their craft, or indulge in a professional stylist.
If you’re around The Woodlands Mall, walk across the street and enjoy Waterway Square. Waterway Square first and foremost offers a wide selection of restaurants for customers to sample and enjoy. The restaurants range from pizza places to fine-dining establishments. There are also a few bars sprinkled throughout the area. A great place to take a date or the family, Waterway Square sits close to the movie theater and entices customers to come have a meal before or after their movie. Take a stroll down the Waterway and enjoy the sounds of the water moving through the canal or stop by Waterway Square’s interactive fountain. This fountain is lined with benches for patrons to sit and watch different water shows that ‘dance’ to pre-programmed music. A favorite spot during Christmas time, the fountain’s water moves to Christmas-themed tunes.
An outdoor water adventure awaits you at the Riva Row Boat House. This location offers kayaks to patrons in order to tour the Woodlands Waterway and Lake Woodlands. Single and tandem kayaks are available and cost $15 for a single and $20 for a tandem kayak for the first hour and then $5 for every hour after. Make sure to bring identification in order to reserve the kayaks. Riva Row Boat House provides a map of locations to kayak as well as lockers to store belongings (bring your own lock). Spend the day on the water and enjoy The Woodlands from a completely different perspective.
Riva Row Boat House, 2101 Riva Row, The Woodlands, TX, USA, +1 281 210 3965
The Woodlands Mall is the only indoor mall in The Woodlands area. This two-story mall features a food court and a wide selection of stores that vary in price. An outdoor section of the mall has been added over the years and features sit-down restaurants as well as more stores to explore. Offering a unique feature, The Woodlands Mall offers a Water Taxi ride that tours the waters surrounding The Woodlands Mall along with a part of the Woodlands Waterway. During the winter months, The Woodlands Ice Rink opens beside mall property and offers the citizens of The Woodlands a chance to experience iceskating.
Citizens of The Woodlands are very serious about their pools. There are 14 public pools in The Woodlands for the population to use. One of the star water attractions is the Rob Fleming Aquatic Center. The aquatic center features a main pool, a three-lane swimming pool, and plunge pool. There is a two-story slide open to those who fit the height requirement as well as a children’s play area with a large dump bucket. Another great feature of the aquatic center is the lazy river, which allows patrons to float along and enjoy the sun with little effort. Pool fees vary, but there is a pass available to residents that allow pass holders to use all 14 pools in The Woodlands as well as the Rob Fleming Aquatic Center.
Another great way to get in touch with nature in The Woodlands is to try out the George Mitchell Nature Preserve. This nature walk is a part of the Spring Creek Greenaway, which is reserved land meant to protect and preserve the ecosystem of north Houston. Patrons are able to see what The Woodlands looked like before people inhabited the area. The George Mitchell Nature Preserve consists of a three-mile loop for biking and hiking as well a second connected two-mile loop with a wider path. In the future, the preserve will be connected to a larger set of paths and trails in the Spring Creek Greenaway, which will be available to the public and will span over a large portion of northern Houston.
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is one of the larger concert venues in the Houston area. This outdoor venue consists of a stage, built-in speaker and light systems, tented spectator seats, a lawn for seating, and a wide variety of concession stands and merchandise stalls. Many famous local, national, and international performers and performances have occurred at this concert venue. The Houston Symphony regularly plays at the pavilion as well as the Houston Ballet. For listings and events happening at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, click here.
Another concert venue existing in The Woodlands is Dosey Doe. Dosey Doe consists of two concert venue locations, Big Barn and Music Café, that are also restaurants. There is also one coffee shop location that is not a concert venue. Featuring local artists and groups, Dosey Doe offers a combination dinner and concert deal that allows diners to watch a live show while enjoying a meal. When concerts are not being held, Dosey Doe functions as a restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tickets and dinner reservations can be made online and in advance for concerts at both The Big Barn and Music Cafe.
By Samantha Beckett
Samantha Beckett is a a twenty-something world traveler, media enthusiast, and hardcore foodie.