LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch
With its combination of posh retailers and homegrown restaurants, this is an excellent place to while away an afternoon. Boutique clothier Francesca’s has built a following, as has the Round Top Collection Gallery, which offers seasonal home décor including customized signs and art. Our favorite spots to fuel up are Bernie’s Burger Bus and Dish Society, where locally sourced ingredients play a starring role. End the day with cupcakes and macarons from The Sweet Boutique and a walk on Central Green, where you can take in live music or maybe a movie, do a little tai chi, and
even commune with the ducks that inhabit the property’s pond.
23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd., 281-395-5533, lacenterra.com
Old Town Katy
While perhaps best-known for its affordable, new-construction homes, Katy actually dates back to the mid-19th-century. Just west of the old MKT railroad line that gave the town its name, a few precious blocks form a historic town center that showcases a cadre of local boutiques and antique shops. The area, lined with towering oaks, offers a charming alternative to Katy’s traditional shopping centers, as well as a handful of well-maintained historic sites, including the original town post office and several old homes. Katy Market Days feature food trucks, family activities, local treats and wares from craftsmen and artists each month.
Old Town Katy is centered around 3rd St. and Ave. B.
There are only 28 velodromes, or cycling tracks, in the U.S., and Katy is home to one of them, built for the 1986 Olympic Festival held in Houston. Today the Greater Houston Cycling Foundation maintains the 33-degree, banked course, holding races on Fridays from April to October—entrance is free for spectators—in addition to open sessions and classes for riders of all ages and experience levels. “It’s really a fun race. It’s social,” says Doug Evans, the track’s race director. “People train together, they race together, they forge strong bonds and friendships.” He says it’s a great spectator sport, too. “You can see the entire track from the stands. You see everything that happens.”
19008 Saums Rd., alkekvelodrome.org
Mary Jo Peckham Park
Minutes from downtown Katy, this 32-acre oasis offers visitors everything from running paths to mini golf to a koi pond to plenty of shady picnic spots. An indoor fitness room and swimming pool are located on site—use of amenities is free with registration—and there’s even a lake stocked with catfish and rainbow trout, thanks to Texas Parks & Wildlife’s Neighborhood Fishin’ program. Take your furry friends to the dog park next door.
5597 Gardenia Ln., 281-496-2177, pct3.com/parks/peckham-park