Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and lucky for you, League City is home to some truly romantic restaurants that serve up cuisine that you and your date will fall in love with. For waterfront views and fresh seafood Opus Bistro and Steakhouse With waterfront views from every table, Opus Bistro and Steakhouse at South Shore Harbour offers an upscale setting and a mouthwatering menu. Choose from savory starters like seared scallops or escargot, and select from entrées like fresh Gulf red snapper, Cajun shrimp and grits, or a juicy 22 oz. bone-in ribeye. Opus also offers a vast selection of wines and an imaginative craft cocktail menu. Call for reservations: 281-334-5225 For creative flavors in a cozy setting Main St. Bistro Offering an inventive menu and known for its ever-changing daily specials, Main St. Bistro has something for every palate. Savory entrées cleverly combine Creole, coastal, and Hispanic flavors to create sophisticated masterpieces, while delightful desserts offer the perfect after-dinner pop of sweetness. This local favorite has a reputation for amazing cuisine, and features an intimate setting next to Helen’s Garden in League City’s Historic District. Call for reservations: 281-332-8800 For refined cuisine and live music South Shore Harbour's Valentine's Day Dinner For a Valentine’s experience that feels like it’s straight out of a movie, look no further than the Valentine’s Day Dinner at South Shore Harbour. This posh event features an elaborate three-course meal paired with wine, along with live music and door prizes. To really wow your date, book an overnight stay at the resort with a special Sweetheart Room rate. Call for reservations: 281-334-1000 ext. 2037
You may have noticed that there are literally thousands of American Robins traveling through our area this winter! They’re everywhere – flying in large flocks overhead, feeding on lawns and park grounds by the hundreds, and filling the tops of trees foraging for berries. I love hearing their cheerful voices throughout the day. We’re experiencing a migration event known as an irruption, when a species that is normally a short-distance migrant suddenly surges southward one year in incredibly large numbers. This is thought to be due to conditions that have drastically reduced the availability of food sources in their normal range. Robins are omnivores, meaning that they eat both animal- and plant-based foods. Approximately 40% of their diet consists of invertebrates in the form of earthworms and insects, with the remaining 60% made up of a wide variety of fruits and berries. They tend to feed on more protein-rich food early in the day. For this reason, it’s common to see them patrolling lawns and park grounds in the morning, searching for worms and insects, and then foraging in the tops of trees later in the day. If you’ve seen robins foraging in the grass, you’re probably familiar with their behavior of running for a few steps and then pausing, tilting their heads to the side as if listening intently. They actually forage by sight, so they’re really staring at the ground instead. American Robins are also attracted to feeders, preferring ground-feeding stations and platform feeders. If you’d like to attract robins to your yard, try adding hulled sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, suet, mealworms, and fruit such as oranges and grape jelly. While robins are known as “early birds” due to their arrival in the spring in most areas, that isn’t true in our area, where they are primarily winter visitors. However, the species also serves as an early warning of environmental problems in a habitat – namely, pesticides. Since they forage heavily on the ground, they are highly vulnerable to pesticide poisoning, dying off in large numbers from eating poisoned prey. If you want to provide a healthy habitat for birds, remember that insects are an important food source. You must have insects for a healthy ecosystem. Please don’t use pesticides! I hope you find time to enjoy watching this beautiful species while it is abundant in our area. Don’t wait – they will be migrating northward before too long! #LeagueCityBirding Contributed by Kristine Rivers, founder of Birding for Fun.
This park is an ode to water conservation, complete with a rain garden, water cisterns, outdoor classroom, native plant life, educational signage, a green-roof pavilion, and more. A playground space is centrally located, and there are also restrooms within the pavilion facility. The historic, century-old Ghirardi Compton Oak Tree lives on the park property, a testament to the legacy of League City’s founders who planted oaks throughout the city. Visit Ghirardi WaterSmart Park at 1910 Louisiana Ave. in League City.
Texans like to do things BIG, and Mardi Gras is no different. League City is home to America's Largest Mardi Gras Boat parade—Yachty Gras—and this year the city will be hosting several family-friendly Mardi Gras events. Precautions will be taken at each event to ensure everyone can celebrate safely this year. So come on out to League City and CELEBRATE with us! Beads and Bark in the Park | January 23 Bring your krewe—and the family dog too—out to League Park (in the League City Historic District) for this paws-itively adorable Mardi Gras celebration. Kids are encouraged to decorate bikes, trikes, and wagons at home and ride them in the Kids Krewe Parade at noon. They'll even get to throw beads out to the crowd! There will also be an opportunity for kids to decorate their very own Mardi Gras masks. Dress up your dog in their favorite purple, green, and gold attire for the pet costume pawrade and contest, beginning at 10:30 a.m. There will be a $5 registration fee for each pet on the day of the event, which will be donated directly to the League City Dog Park Association. Along with the parades, there will be live Zydeco music, yard games, king cake, pictures with the mermaid "Hope of the Sea,"and plenty of family fun. *Masks are required and social distancing measures will be enforced. When: January 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Where: League Park, 512 2nd St., League City Yachty Gras Kick-off Party | January 30 What better way to celebrate the largest Mardi Gras boat parade in the country than with a PARTY? Grab your favorite Mardi Gras mask (and don't forget your face mask, too), put on your most festive Mardi Gras attire, and enjoy this jovial soirée. There will be live music provided by Andy and the Dreamsicles, a cash bar, hors d'oeuvres, and a silent auction. Tickets are $20 per person, and can be purchased in advance or at the door. When: January 30, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Where: Lakewood Yacht Club, 2322 Lakewood Yacht Club Drive, Seabrook, TX Yachty Gras Grand Night Boat Parade | February 6 Yachty Gras is America’s Largest Mardi Gras Boat Parade and Bay Area Houston's most popular Mardi Gras event. Local boat owners form private “Krewes” and decorate their boats with a theme of their choice. The Grand Night Boat Parade begins in the Clear Lake Channel and passes by the Kemah Boardwalk. Boat krewes throw beads to revelers along the way, and the parade judges tally their votes for the most lavishly decorated boats and most enthusiastic krewes. The parade will then pass by South Shore Harbor at 9 p.m. Yachty Gras is an event to be enjoyed by the entire family. When: February 6, 7 p.m. Where: Clear Creek Channel (League City to Kemah) Learn more about celebrating Mardi Gras in League City
7 Reasons to Finish Your Christmas Shopping in League City
If you still haven’t checked everyone off your holiday shopping list, there's still plenty of time to buy gifts for friends and family. Instead of browsing the internet aimlessly for hours, take a trip out to League City for a very merry Christmas shopping experience. Here are seven reasons why you should stop and shop in League City: 1. Tons of boutiques In fact, we’ve got so many boutiques we made a map for them to make it even easier for you to make your way around town. Check out our shopping page for more amazing locally-owned shops you should visit, and interviews with shop owners. Our local boutiques carry a little bit of everything, from home décor and fashion to food items and toys. If you don’t know what to get your friends or loved ones, you'll definitely find a gift at one of these wonderful shops. 2. Our charming Historic District is decked out for the holidays We don’t mean to brag, but our Historic District looks like it came straight out of a Hallmark movie. It’s only a matter of time before there’s a Hallmark film titled “Christmas is Pretty in League City”—or something even cheesier—but definitely culminating with a kiss in our gorgeous gazebo. Take your own romantic photos in League Park in front of our cozy holiday photoscape, near our greenery-draped gazebo, or by our 20-foot-tall Christmas tree. Family photos are also popular in this park, but at the very least grab a Christmas selfie to share on social media and to commemorate your time with us. Be sure to tag us with #LCHoliday. 3. Waterfront views that will soothe your holiday stress Not everyone is a shopaholic, and checking off those gift lists can be daunting. Take a shopping break at one of our many waterfront spaces and enjoy the refreshing peace of mind that only nature can bring. Countryside Park and Heritage Park both have lovely views of Clear Creek, along with green space and walking trails for a truly stress-clearing experience. Visit South Shore Harbour Marina to see a bevy of beautiful boats, League City’s iconic lighthouse, and a tranquil panorama of Clear Lake. 4. We've got our very own holiday gift guide How many towns have their own Holiday Gift Guide? We aren’t sure, but ours is probably the best. Santa's helpers have scoured League City in search of clever, unique, and versatile items that make great gifts, and compiled them all into one festive guide that will help inspire shoppers in need of some direction. Check it out online, or visit a local boutique to pick up a copy. 5. Mouthwatering lunch breaks Nothing is worse than shopping on an empty stomach. When you need to fuel up, check out some local favorites like Main St. Bistro, South Shore Grille, Esteban’s Café y Cantina, Red River BBQ, Craft 96 Draught House + Kitchen, King’s Bierhaus, Rustika Café & Bakery, or Pierogi Queen. Don’t forget to grab some tasty seasonal treats at Cupcake Cachet after your meal! 6. We're friendly and hospitable League City has some of the friendliest shop owners you’ll ever meet. They’ll take time to answer your questions, help you find an item, or just chat about the weather. You won’t get this kind of service online, or even at the mall. It adds to the magic and warmth of the holiday season, especially in a year when human interaction has been limited. Just make sure to wear your mask and practice safe social distancing so everyone can have a healthy, happy holiday. 7. We're conveniently located League City is directly between Houston and Galveston, about a 30-minute drive from each. It’s the perfect place to stop and shop, visit some festive holiday sites, and enjoy the beauty of nature by the water. With Christmas just around the corner, take some time to visit League City and find unique items that will make your holiday special and memorable in the best possible ways. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!
In just the past couple of weeks, I have been lucky enough to see several Bald Eagles. It takes my breath away every time I see these majestic birds! I remember catching glimpses of them when I was young while traveling back and forth to Oklahoma, but they were rarely seen here. That has changed dramatically over the last decade, and now they are reported regularly throughout the greater Houston area. In fact, many pairs have established breeding territories successfully. Although nest sites are usually kept somewhat secret in order to protect the inhabitants, there is a well-known nest in Webster, and it is not unusual to see eagles soaring overhead in League City. photo courtesy of Kristine Rivers The Bald Eagle population throughout North America increased substantially due to its protection beginning in 1978 under the Endangered Species Act. Prior to that, it had been drastically reduced due to the use of the pesticide DDT, and by hunting. The species recovered well enough from conservation efforts that it was removed from the Endangered Species list in 2007; however, it is still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Our resident population is joined by winter migrants, so you are much more likely to see a Bald Eagle this time of year. With heavy bodies and a wingspan of nearly 7 feet, adults are unmistakable in flight, holding their broad wings flat while soaring. It is easier to overlook an immature eagle, especially when perched. Although juveniles are just as large, it takes five years for them to molt into the familiar adult plumage (white head and tail, dark brown body and wings, and bright yellow bill and legs.) When young, they have dark heads with mostly dark bodies and wings; as they mature, the brown becomes mottled with an increasing amount of white. Immature eagles can be recognized by their immense size and long, heavy, hooked bill. If you’d like to try to find Bald Eagles, look for them in forested areas near bodies of water with fish populations large enough to support their appetite for their favorite prey. They prefer perching and nesting in tall, mature pine and hardwood trees that provide clear views of their surroundings. They are also scavengers, so you may see them soaring in a kettle of vultures as well. It’s always worth a check! #LeagueCityBirding Contributed by Kristine Rivers, founder of Birding for Fun.
League City Launches Comprehensive Shop Local Holiday Campaign
League City launched its “Think Big Shop Small” 20 Days of Shopping holiday campaign in tandem with the official reopening of historic League Park—after nearly a year of renovations—with a ribbon cutting and press conference on November 17th, 2020. The holiday campaign includes A 30-page print & digital gift guide featuring local retailers. A relaunch of the city’s app—Discover League City— that offers exclusive shopping deals. A partnership with the Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theatre’s Nutcracker cast to release 20 daily videos featuring local boutiques and gift ideas. Coordinated events, including the Mouse King Market (vendor market) and Nutcracker in the Park (ballet and sword-building lessons), tree lighting, and seasonal photo-scape in the historic downtown district that continues to draw additional shopping traffic and exposure. "Stay and Shop" specials at League City hotels, providing discounted rates to visitors coming to League City for shopping and holiday events. The Gift Guide, Coupons, and "Stay and Shop" hotel rates will run through 12/31.
The Christmas Boat Lane Parade: Decades of Tradition
It all started 59 years ago with five friends and a clever idea... On a whim, these five men decided to decorate their boats with Christmas lights and parade them around Clear Lake. It was their personalized take on Christmas decorating, and a new way to celebrate the coming holiday season. Onlookers from lakefront homes and restaurants loved the gleaming spectacle on the water, and that evening became the very first Clear Lake Christmas Boat Lane Parade. What started as a casual get together with five friends has ballooned into an annual Clear Lake celebration between more than 100,000 friends from surrounding cities. Red Adair—the famed local oil well firefighter who was portrayed by John Wayne in the film “Hellfighters,” which was loosely based on his life—was one of the five original boaters. He participated every year he could, and today the Best Overall Boat Award is named after this hometown hero who, 59 years ago, decided Clear Lake could use a little Christmas cheer. This year, more than 60 boaters have spent countless hours planning and decorating their vessels, upping the ante to hopefully come home with the coveted Red Adair award. Every year they outdo themselves, with bigger, brighter, more innovative designs. 2020 Christmas Boat Lane Parade Info Hosted by the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Date: Saturday, Dec. 12th, 2020 Time: 6 p.m. Location: The parade begins in the Clear Lake channel—from the South Shore Harbour Marina and the Nassau Bay Lagoon—and proceeds out to Galveston Bay Public Viewing Kemah Boardwalk Both Sides of Kemah/Seabrook Channel Nassau Bay Lagoon South Shore Harbour Marina Clear Lake Shores Davis Road Canal/Constellation Pointe Register Your Boat Become A Sponsor
Grab your ugly Christmas sweaters, matching pajamas, or snazziest formal wear and head to League City’s historic League Park this holiday season. This year the park is decked out with a festive photoscape in front of the City’s beloved red train caboose. The glimmering holiday scene features two Nutcracker soldiers, dozens of crimson poinsettias, and several lighted Christmas trees adorned with red and gold ornaments. It's the perfect backdrop for stunning Christmas card photos, sparkling selfies, or a memorable family picture. (Share your pics using #LCHoliday, and tag us on social media!) A visit to League Park will have you feeling merry and bright during the most Wonderful Time of the Year. It’s like stepping into your very own Hallmark Movie, and you are the star! The park’s charming gazebo is draped in garlands and bows, and you can’t miss the 20-foot-tall drumming Nutcracker standing watch over Main Street. Adding to the park’s beauty are its sprawling oaks and well-manicured garden. When you've finished your photo sessions at the park, walk over to The Market Station, just steps away, and check out their gorgeous selection of seasonal home decor, or stop by Butler’s Courtyard—the very first brick building constructed in League City. Stroll across Main Street and check out the Shoppes at Founder's Square—a cluster of historic homes-turned-boutiques—for an exquisite holiday shopping experience. While you’re here, don’t miss Helen’s Garden just down the road. This lush garden is League City’s most photographed spot—meticulously landscaped with bubbling waterfalls and tropical plants—and it’s all dressed up for the holidays. If you can’t get enough of League City’s lovely tree-lined Historic District, there is plenty more to do. Check out this boutique map for a list of some favorite local shops, and stop for a lunch break at Main Street Bistro. When you’re ready to take in some local scenery, visit Heritage Park for peaceful creekside views, a pond filled with friendly turtles, a playground for kiddos, and even a museum dedicated to the famous Texas Longhorn cattle breed. On the evening of November 28, you’ll want to head back to League Park for the Holiday Tree Lighting, beginning at 6 p.m. Enjoy a free League City commemorative ornament to remind you of your time with us, and sip on a complimentary warm cup of hot cocoa. Cheers to a Very Merry Holiday Season!
FOLLOW HABITAT CLUES TO IMPROVE YOUR BIRDING SKILLS (video)
Whether you’re a birding newbie or a longtime “bird nerd” like me, you probably know that all birds have common needs for food, water, and cover for protection. However, over time birds have developed an incredible variety of adaptations to help them survive in just about any type of environment. That means that within any given area, different species of birds take advantage of different sources of food and cover. As a birder, you can follow habitat clues to both find and identify more species of birds, no matter where you are. When you first arrive at a new location, take some time to scan your surroundings before you set out looking for birds. What broad categories of habitat do you see? Are there woodlands, or wetlands? Sandy beaches, or coastal prairie? Or perhaps a combination? You get the idea. Now, take a closer look. If there is water, is it fresh water or salt water? Shallow, or deep? Does it have a flow, or is it stagnant? Use these clues to help you narrow down the number of species you consider when trying to identify a bird. For example, imagine you see a bird foraging by diving repeatedly in shallow, fresh water with muddy banks. When you check your field guide or app, you can automatically eliminate any species that require deep salt water with a strong current. It is more likely to be a Pied-billed Grebe than a Common Loon. If there are trees, what type are they? Hardwood, pine, palm, or ornamental trees with fruit? Are they mature or newly planted? Is the understory clear and open, or dense with scrub and brush? Again, you can use these clues to help you narrow down choices when attempting to identify a bird. If you spot a woodpecker foraging in an urban neighborhood with mature oak trees, it is more likely to be a Downy Woodpecker than a Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Finally, what type of food sources are available for birds? If there is water, does it have a thriving ecosystem with fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects, or mammals as well as birds? Don’t forget, birds feed on plant materials too! Look for berries or other fruit, acorns and nuts, flowers with nectar, aquatic vegetation – anything that might be attractive to birds. Scavengers also love to forage around areas where people are active, searching for any potential food that may have been left behind or dropped. I hope that this inspires you to slow down and consider habitat the next time you’re out birding! For more on how to improve your birding skills by following habitat clues, check out this month’s video, or consider signing up for my upcoming virtual workshop on November 17, “Location, Location, Location! Understanding Habitat.” #LeagueCityBirding Contributed by Kristine Rivers, founder of Birding for Fun
How to participate in Global Bird Weekend in League City, Texas
Looking for ways to get more involved in birding during the pandemic? Try participating in October Big Day 2020 on Saturday, October 17! Sponsored by Cornell University, this 24-hour event collects data from people all around the world to help scientists develop a better understanding of current bird populations and distribution. It’s easy to participate – all you need is an eBird account! It’s free to sign up, and with the free mobile phone app, you can report your sightings on the go. Not familiar with eBird? You’re in for a treat! This citizen science tool is a bird checklist program used by millions of birders to report their sightings. Not only does it allow you to capture your own information, but it also puts a treasure trove of historical data collected from other birders at your fingertips. In addition, during global birding events such as this you will be able to watch results in real-time as others submit their information. You can participate anytime during the 24-hour event, which starts and ends at midnight, and bird anywhere you like – even your own backyard! You also have the flexibility to decide how much time you would like to spend. There’s no need to bird all day – even 15 minutes will provide valuable data. If you would like to venture out a little further, I encourage you to visit some of the parks in the League City area. With different habitats in each park, you can see a wide variety of species without going far from home. Not sure where to start? Watch my October video to learn more about some of our local birding hotspots. To get ready for October Big Day, visit ebird.org/octoberbigday, where you can register for eBird if you haven’t already done so. We would love to see a lot of reports from right here in League City! #LeagueCityBirding Contributed by Kristine Rivers, founder of Birding for Fun
Treat yourself to an unforgettable experience on the water when you rent a kayak from Clear Creek Kayaks. Experience the beauty of the Clear Creek Paddle Trail, and connect with nature as you paddle through this scenic waterway. Clear Creek Kayaks is now providing kayak rentals at Heritage Park on the weekends. A variety of wildlife will enhance your journey on the trail. Egrets, herons, turtles, alligators, and fish can be found throughout the creek, and the banks of the creek are lush with plant life, making you feel completely immersed in nature. Book your kayak rental today, or schedule a guided tour. Learn more at ClearCreekKayaks.com