Every February, Houston is inundated with cowboys from across the state who come to celebrate the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Many of Houston’s urban cowboys come out to celebrate the event each year, but some local businesses celebrate the best of country and western all year long. Check out one of these top places to find cowboy culture in Houston the next time you’re looking for an authentic western feel outside of rodeo season.
American Cowboy Museum
Price: Determined by appointment length and activities performed
Hours: By appointment only
Here, families can explore a ranch – still in operation today – that has been in the same family for seven generations. The museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of the west, with a special emphasis on the contributions of Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics and women to the development and culture of the west in the 19th century.
SSQQ Dance Studio
Price: A one-month course of up to 8 classes is $50 per person
Hours: Classes are offered weekday evenings and Sunday afternoons; check the monthly schedule for specific levels and times.
Though this studio offers classes at all levels in numerous styles of dance, SSQQ began as a studio that taught the two-step, polka and other western dances. Even the name is taken from the two-step: SSQQ is short for “slow, slow, quick-quick,” which the instructors call out to keep the beat on western nights. Each class is taught by instructors with years of experience and include individual time with the instructor for each student.
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Texas Junk Company
Price: Varies depending on items purchased; boots can start as low as $30
Hours: Thurs to Sat -11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This Montrose institution is the go-to place for cowboy boots, odd-ends and knick knacks. Hundreds and hundreds of pairs of boots in all styles are crammed into the storefront, making your shopping excursion one part treasure hunt and one part savings. Texas Junk Company is constantly getting new inventory of all kind, so be sure to visit often.
The Oil Ranch
Price: $12.95 per person; children under 2 get in free.
Hours: Winter hours are by appointment only; Summer hours are Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
A little outside the city in Hockley, TX hides a gem of a ranch that still operates much in the same way it did years and years ago, before Houston was a bustling metropolis. Families can come visit, meet the cows at the dairy and try a hand at milking, take a tour on a hayride, meet many tame ranch animals in the petting zoo, and learn about the Native American culture of Texas in the Indian Village. Other outdoor activies such as fishing, swimming, and a life-sized maze ensure the whole family will have a great time.
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The Burning Pear
Price: Entrees run $10-30, averaging about $18
Breakfast/Lunch Hours: Mon to Thurs—6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fri—6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sat to Sun—7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sun—7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dinner Hours: Mon to Thurs—5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fri—5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sat to Sun—5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sun—5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The Burning Pear in Sugar Land prides itself on serving authentic “cowboy cuisine.” Drop in for happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Burning Pear’s denim bar, or come on a Sunday for the expansive brunch buffet. Large parties can opt for the group dinner menu which offers three courses at $37 per person. The first course allows each diner to choose one of two featured salads; the second includes entree options such as brown sugar rib-eye, seared sea bass and chicken fried steak; and the delicious desserts feature warm apple crisp and maple bread pudding. Signature plates for regular dining include freshly made guacamole, fried green tomatoes, savory steaks, and the maple bread pudding.
Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.