Courtesy of the Woodlands Resort & Conference Center.

When they’re not shopping, sitting on the hill at the Pavilion, or driving into Houston, residents of The Woodlands hit a few go-to spots and annual events for entertainment and recreation. 

Riva Row Boat House

Courtesy of the Riva Row Boat House.

The Woodlands is kayak-able year-round. Start out at Riva Row Boat House and follow The Woodlands Waterway past Town Center, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, and Waterway Square. Or head in the opposite direction, and you’ll hit Lake Woodlands, where fishing is permitted. thewoodlandstx.com/rivarowboathouse

Live at Night at Waterway Square 

By day, Waterway Square, home to a giant synchronized fountain and sharply manicured green space, is quiet and calm. But at night, this one-acre plaza—arguably the communal heart of The Woodlands—gets a lot of traffic. Each spring and fall, the Square hosts Live at Night, a free outdoor music series that runs the gamut from jazz to country. Like almost everything else in The Woodlands, the concerts are family-friendly. Don’t forget to bring blankets, chairs, and food. And yes, coolers are allowed. Saturdays from March 1–April 26, and September 13– October 11. Free. waterwaysquare.com

The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center

Out-of-towners and residents alike partake of the spa services offered here, as well as two golf courses, The Oaks Course and Panther Trail (membership required). In addition, a $60 million renovation of the Resort is underway; when complete, the updated center will gain a high-end steakhouse and—wait for it—lazy river, featuring waterfalls as well as something called Puffy’s Sprayground, a splash pad and fountains named for The Woodlands’ mascot, Puffy Pine Cone. woodlandsresort.com

The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival 

April’s Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival has become one of the community’s signature events, attracting more than 200 artists from across the country and thousands of attendees to The Woodlands Town Center. The festival features tents, live music, and face painting for kids, not to mention culinary art demonstrations by local chefs, but there’s also work on display by serious artists. Need another reason to attend? Last year’s festival raised $65,000 for charity. April 12 and 13; see website for tickets; woodlandsartsfestival.com

The George Mitchell Nature Preserve

The Woodlands has more than 160 miles of hike and bike trails, including the George Mitchell Nature Preserve (part of the Spring Creek Greenway), a sizeable tract of dense forest that offers three miles of bike trails as well as a two-mile loop just perfect for jogging, hiking, and exploring with dogs and kids in tow. Keep your eyes peeled for snakes, deer, and more than 200 species of birds, including American bald eagles, all of which have been spotted in The Woodlands. springcreekgreenway.com

Crush Wine Lounge

The Woodlands has a handful of nightspots to choose from, but our favorite is Crush, a wine lounge in the heart of Town Center that hosts a Latin dance party on Thursday nights. Choose from hundreds of wines on offer in the downstairs lounge, then head to the rooftop to join the DJ and the twirling couples. 20 Waterway Ave., Ste. 200, 281-362-7874, thecrushbar.com

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