The infamous "Selfie Statue" may have drawn the nation's attention to Sugar Land when it debuted last year, but there are plenty of other reasons to head southwest down Highway 59 than snapping your own selfie with the statue (which is conveniently located right in the middle of the Town Square).
This sprawling suburb is known for its diverse dining scene and ample attractions, including a brand-new, high-profile concert venue, a champion minor league baseball team, and even its very own Houston Museum of Natural Science campus. Below, your itinerary for making the most out of a Sugar Land staycation.
The Sugar Land Experience
You could probably rent a palatial suburban home in Sugar Land via Airbnb, but we prefer staying in the thick of things at Sugar Land Town Square. There, the Marriott Town Square offers a rooftop pool, free shuttle service within three miles of the hotel, and walkability the likes of which you wouldn't expect to find outside the city. Bonus: All participating Sugar Land hotels—including this one—are offering discount cards to visitors through August 8, which gets you $2 off the ticket price at four popular area destinations. Rates start at $132/night.
6 p.m. Check in at the hotel, then walk across Sugar Land Town Square for a pre-show dinner at Bacon Bros. Public House. A carnivore's dream, this restaurant cures all of its own charcuterie in-house; chef Anthony Gray even makes his own hot dogs. Other can't-miss dishes: smoked catfish dip with dill pickle potato chips and trout caviar and the homemade pimento cheese.
7:30 p.m. Grab the hotel shuttle or an Uber for the 2-mile ride to Smart Financial Centre. The brand-new concert venue has already hosted headliners from Jerry Seinfeld and Billy Crystal to Sting and Tony Bennett. This summer, look for Hank Williams Jr., (Jul. 28), Rod Stewart (Aug. 12), The Avett Brothers (Aug. 18), Todd Rundgren and Yes (Aug. 23), Mary J. Blige (Aug. 25) and much, much more heading into September. Shows usually kick off at 8 p.m., and parking can be rough, so plan ahead.
9 a.m. The unassuming Anonymous Cafe was recently honored by Buzzfeed as the best bakery in Texas (according to Yelp reviews). See why for yourself over a lovely latte and a fresh-baked croissant stuffed with scrambled eggs, Gruyere cheese, bacon and more.
10 a.m. Grab your canvas tote bag and head down Highway 90 to the Farmers Market at Imperial, which takes place every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the shadow of the towering Imperial Sugar refinery from which Sugar Land gets its name. The red-brick building and bright white sugar silos make a compelling backdrop for the busy market, which boasts plentiful produce in addition to baked goods and prepared foods to take home for the week ahead.
11 a.m. Settle into one of the top tea rooms in Texas (according to Southern Living) for a relaxing lunch at Serenitea. Scones, dainty sandwiches and soups are served alongside your choice of tea, the latter of which you can purchase at the adjoining gift shop if you want to host your own afternoon teas at home.
12:30 p.m. Head back to the hotel for some pool time. When you can't take the sun any longer, walk (or take the hotel shuttle) across Lexington Blvd. for something even cooler than the pool.
2:30 p.m. Keep beating back the heat at the Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center. The rink is open for public skating from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday nights. Admission is $12 and includes skate rental.
4:30 p.m. Disco nap at the hotel!
6 p.m. Walk downstairs for dinner at Guru Burgers and Crepes, one of the most beloved burger joints in the area. The crepes are great too, but we have a hard time tearing ourselves away from The Astrodome (basically a Frito pie on a burger) or The King, which includes all of Elvis's favorites under one bun: peanut butter, sweet plantains (in lieu of bananas), grape preserves and bacon, all atop an Akaushi beef patty.
7:05 p.m. Make sure you get to Constellation Field in time for the opening pitch. The Sugar Land Skeeters, who won last year's Atlantic League of Professional Baseball championship, play in the type of old-school American stadium that'll have you nostalgic for Ebbets Field and Comiskey Park—when you're not cheering wildly from the stands, that is.
9 a.m. Anonymous isn't the only buzz-worthy bakery in town. Head to Cinnamon's for the biggest, most beautiful cinnamon buns you've ever seen, served in a wonderfully retro 80's setting. The kolaches are unconventional, but also worth checking out.
10 a.m. Powered by carbs, paddle out at Sugar Land Memorial Park, where you can rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards by the hour. All rentals are $20 and include a life vest; no reservations are needed. If you're a fan of fishing or mountain biking, you can do both here as well—provided you bring the gear.
Noon You might be a little sweaty and gross from all that paddling, but no one will care on the patio at Live Oak Grill. Sprawl out over a restorative lunch of chicken-fried steak and buttermilk pie at this casual, take-all-comers spot with a Texas flag painted on the roof.
1:30 p.m. On your way back to Houston, visit one of the great wonders of greater Houston, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (which is technically located in Stafford, a 10-minute drive from Sugar Land Town Square). The stunning Hindu temple, which sits on 22 acres of land, is the largest in Texas, painstakingly assembled using 33,000 pieces of hand-carved Italian marble and Turkish limestone.
Visitors are welcome from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and a free tour is offered at the entrance, but you'll have to make sure you're dressed appropriately before going inside: no shorts, no tank tops or short-sleeved shirts, no dresses above the shins, and no shoes. Before you go, make sure to grab a few goodies from the adjoining Shayona Sweets & Snack Shop.
3 p.m. Head home, and start planning that next staycation!