NOT A RUFF-RUFF DAY

Checking out some dog-friendly patios in Houston

Photo by Clare O'Brien

I could talk about my dog, Marvin (who I consider my son), all day long. Literally. I love being a (hypothetical) mom, but, I feel guilty leaving him home alone all day. So, I decided to find the best places in Houston to go to that he can tag along to with me.

We started the day getting some brunch at Barnaby's in River Oak. Overall, the food was fantastic, although, we had some small issues. I think there was a total of six spots in their parking lot, after all, it is Houston. The patio was pretty small for being such a "dog-friendly" restaurant, but since it was so shady it made up for it. Since the food was so good and there are multiple locations, I would definitely come back to Barnaby's and bring Marvin.

After hanging out at the TERRIBLY small, Discovery Dog Park, we had some lunch at Good Dog in the Heights. I can't say enough about how amazing this place is! The people were so nice and seemed genuinely happy to be serving us. When we walked in, they immediately gave Marvin his own personal water bowl, which is super rare for Houston. They had games available like Corn Hole and Jenga, on their shady patio (which has a nice sized fan too). It's a very cute concept to eat hot dogs on picnic tables like you're at a B-B-Q, but with topping that you wouldn't normally expect.

For dinner, we went to Onion Creek, just down the street from Good Dog, and I loved their menu! They had a good range of appetizers and everything came out in a timely manner. They had a great big patio and tons of shade and fans! With Marvin being a black lab, I'm always concerned about the amount of shade for him. We went there to watch the Astros game and I don't think there was a bad view for anyone. They also had very clean bathrooms which is hard to find when you're doing casual dining.

We rapped things up at Nett Bar in Washington Ave area. It had decent shading, but the environment was so fun I didn't mind the fact that I was sweating buckets. They had a ping pong table, Corn Hole, Connect 4, and a bunch of other games. Parking was easy which is always a plus.

Overall, Marvin and I had a great day exploring Houston, eating a bunch of food (because of course I shared with him), meeting new people and going to new places. It's hard to find dog-friendly places that are truly dog-friendly, so, I am glad I found: Barnaby's, Good Dog, Onion Creek, and Nett Bar, for the next time I want to spend a day with my dog... which will probably be tomorrow.

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

I have been creating long distance walking tours in Houston since 2016. One thing, I learned quickly is that I better be curious and ready to learn….ALOT. It has been a wonderful ride. Here are a few things that you probably didn't know about Houston.

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Scandal of Rice University

Rice University is known as the Ivy League of Houston. But, I bet you didn't know that it almost did not exist. William Marsh Rice made his fortune in Houston. With a net worth of $3 million, he was the second richest man in Texas. He wanted to give back by opening a university here. This is where it gets interesting. His lawyer, Albert T. Patrick decided that he deserved the money more. He and Rice's valet, Charles F. Jones, murdered Rice using chloroform. Patrick wrote a series of forged checks to himself to acquire the fortune. They would have gotten away with it, but, one of the checks had Rice's name misspelled. Houston thanks the Rice's trusted friend and lawyer, James Baker for not letting sleeping dogs lie. Not only do we have an amazing university, but Houston Tourism Gym has some great tours starting at Rice University.

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Secret Bubble Button of Buffalo Bayou

Many people have heard of the secret bubble button of Buffalo Bayou. Few know where it actually is. You can find this urban legend on the Mosbacher Bridge before you get to the Wortham Center. What will happen if you push this button? A massive bubble display will appear in Buffalo Bayou beneath the bridge. How did it get there? This secret attraction was installed by artist Dean Ruck to help churn the bayou and keep it oxygenated. This helps to control foul odors in the bayou. Press here to see the Secret Bubble Button in action. Unfortunately, the button had to be disabled during Hurricane Harvey and has yet to be reactivated.

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Market Square Park was home to not ONE, but FOUR City Halls.

Four score and only a couple hundred years ago. Okay 1836. Market Square Park was actually home to city hall and an open market that sold goods that arrived from Allen's Landing, where the Allen Brothers founded Houston. You could buy meat, firearms, produce, and animals at the market. Due to storms and fires, city hall had to be rebuilt four times until finally it was moved to 901 Bagby St.

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Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine.

We have all had the light and tasty Kolsch by Karbach called Love Street. The real Love Street was a psychedelic club called Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine. None other than David Adickes (artist of Virtuoso and the I Love Houston Sign) was the owner. Love Street showed light shows in the Zonk Out room and featured a number of psychedelic bands from the 60's. Another cool fact is Love Street was one of the first places that ZZ Top performed.

When you are out and about, take time to stop and ask a few questions. This way you not only learn about the beautiful city that we call home, but you get to know some of the amazing people that make Houston feel like home!

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