League City History & Heritage
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in League City
If you're looking for great food and a good time this Cinco de Mayo, look no further than League City. Here are some of our favorite local Mexican restaurants, many featuring Cinco de Mayo specials, music, and more! Red River Cantina 1911 E. Main St. A redrivercantina.com What to order You can't go wrong with their beef or chicken fajitas! Red River Cantina will also be hosting a Cinco de Mayo parking lot party from 4 to 10pm, so don't miss out on the fun! Abuelo's Mexican Restaurant 2505 South Gulf Freeway, Pinnacle Park Dr. abuelos.com What to order Try the Platinum Hand-Shaken Margarita for a refreshing zing paired with a fajita combo or enchilada platter. Mr. Sombrero East side of League City: 6011 W. Main St. West side of League City: 2640 E. League City Pkwy #123 mrsombrero.net What to order The Gio's Special is to die for—a breaded and fried avocado stuffed with fajita beef, paired with one beef taco al carbon and a side of rice and beans. Mr. Sombrero will also be offering a margarita special from Cinco de Mayo through Mother's Day. Marinas Mexican Restaurant & Bar 3500 W. Main St. Marina's Facebook page What to order Marina's is known for their keto bakery products, and can also make some of their restaurant menu items keto friendly. Try their keto Carne Asada or Shrimp Diablo for a savory meal you can feel good about. They also have outdoor, pet-friendly dining, providing a refreshing and laid-back ambience. La Brisa Mexican Bar + Grill 501 N. Wesley Dr. labrisa.net What to order Their street tacos are the perfect way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. With chicken, beef, or pork, options you'll get three tacos topped with cilantro, onions, sliced avocado, and served with a spicy jalapeño salsa. Yum! La Brisa is also offering specials the entire week of Cinco de Mayo. Las Haciendas Mexican Bar and Grill 2951 Marina Bay Dr. labrisa.net What to order Try the Houston Plate for an indulgent feast. Sizzling chicken or beef fajitas, one quail, two shrimp brochettes, sausage, pico de gallo, guacamole, tortilla; served with rice and charro beans. Las Haciendas will also be hosting live music on Cinco de Mayo. Esteban's Cafe y Cantina 402 W. Main St. A estebanscafe.com What to order Get the Acapulco: Two cheese enchiladas, a tamale, a taco, a bean chalupa, and a chili con queso chip. It's s little bit of everything. Luna's Mexican Restaurant 6555 South Shore Blvd. lunasmexicanrestaurants.com What to order Luna's has a huge menu, so it's hard to pick just one thing! Spend some time perusing their many options, and take advantage of their Cinco de Mayo special. If you order two entrees, you'll get a free order of queso! Jimmy Changas 2504 S, Gulf Fwy. jimmychangas.com What to order It's a week-long Cinco de Mayo celebration at Jimmy Changas! The Bad Daddy Chimi is a must-try. It's a fried flour tortilla with fajita beef and cheese, smothered in queso, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and avocado ranch. If you order a Cinco Rita this week, you'll get a commemorative glass and $1 is donated to St. Jude's.
5 Reasons to Add League City to Your Texas Road Trip Itinerary
League City makes an ideal stop on your Texas road trip itinerary. Situated near the Gulf Coast, directly in between Houston and Galveston, League City offers tons of family fun, with a little something for everyone. Here are five reasons you should visit League City during your Texas road trip this summer. 1. Water Recreation From scenic kayaking experiences along the Clear Creek Paddle Trail, to the excitement of boating and fishing on Clear Lake and Galveston Bay, waterfront fun is never in short supply in League City. Rent a kayak from Clear Creek Kayaks, or bring your own, and explore the gorgeous scenery during a leisurely paddle down Clear Creek. If you prefer the wide open spaces of the lake or bay, check out the many charter boat options available, and spend hours exploring, fishing, or simply relaxing on the water. Armand Bayou Nature Center also offers a variety of boat and kayak tours where you will have opportunities to see some of the local wildlife. 2. Unbeatable Boutique Shopping The boutique scene in League City is pretty incredible. With dozens of locally owned boutiques peppered throughout the city, you can enjoy a high-end shopping experience with down-home hospitality. Each shop boasts its own unique flavor of fashion, so it's worth taking the time to check out as many as you can. Learn more about League City’s boutiques, and download a boutique map to help guide your shopping experience. 3. Family-Friendly Attractions League City is just minutes away from some of Texas’s top attractions, so it’s easy to enjoy activities the whole family will love. Spend a day at Space Center Houston, enjoy the thrill of the Boardwalk Bullet wooden rollercoaster at Kemah Boardwalk, head to the beach or hang out at Schlitterbahn waterpark in Galveston, explore the pyramids at Moody Gardens, discover aviation history at the Lone Star Flight Museum, or hit some golf balls at Top Golf. 4. Southern Charm With a historic district that looks like it was pulled straight out of a Hallmark movie—white gazebo and all—League City is brimming with charm. Have a tea party at Holly Berry Tea Room, take a photo in the gazebo at League Park, stroll the gorgeous grounds of Helen’s Garden, visit the Butler Longhorn Museum for a truly Texan experience, and enjoy a meal at one of our many locally owned eateries. Nobody is a stranger in League City. 5. Hidden Gems Treasure Hunt Who doesn’t love a treasure hunt? Put on your best Indiana Jones hat, grab your smartphone, and try your hand at the League City Hidden Gems GeoTour. This geocaching tour will take you to some of League City’s most scenic spots, and you may discover some “southern charms” along the way. Download the official Geocaching® app, create an account, search for GeoTour code GT498, and begin your hunt! It’s a great way for families to spend time together. If you’re feeling the League City vibe, it’s time to book your stay. Check out these cozy accommodations. We can’t wait to see you in League City this summer!
Travel Tips: Explore League City in a Weekend
Recently, travel blogger Reesa Rei came out to visit League City for a weekend. From sunning at South Shore Harbour Resort's gorgeous pool, to exploring some of League City's most memorable landmarks, she had a blast seeing the sites. Discover how she spent her weekend enjoying League City and learn her best travel tips and recommended must-see spots. Then start planning your trip! Read the blog. Photos courtesy of Reesa Rei
How to create a bird haven in your backyard
Spring is in the air! We’re all excited to get out there and bring new life to our yards. This is the perfect time to add native plants to your backyard habitat to make it more attractive to birds and other wildlife. Birds seek out native plants and trees, knowing they provide much-needed resources – food, cover and shelter, and safe places to raise their young. Native plants are hardy, tend to propagate and spread on their own, and often require little maintenance. Adding them to your yard is a win-win! There are so many options, you’re sure to find something just right for your yard. Here are some tips to get you started: Seedeaters such as jays, cardinals, chickadees, and finches love seeding flowers like coneflower, black-eyed Susan, sunflower, coreopsis, and aster. Choose flowers like salvia, sage, bee balm, penta, wild petunia, verbena, and butterfly weed to attract pollinators. Host plants are crucial for butterflies. Plant milkweed for Monarchs, and passion flower for Gulf Fritillaries. Hummingbirds love flowering vines like clematis, trumpet vine, Turk’s cap, honeysuckle, and flame vine. Orioles, tanagers, waxwings, bluebirds, woodpeckers, and other birds love fruit! Try adding vines like Virginia creeper and grapevines; bushes like yaupon and holly; and trees like mulberry, persimmon, hawthorn, and olive. Birds also love trees such as sweetgum, pecan, oak, black walnut, and black hickory. Native plants and trees will also attract insects, another important food source for birds. Please don’t use chemical pesticides and fertilizers! Insects are necessary for a healthy ecosystem. Don’t forget to add a source of fresh water to your yard, such as a bird bath or trickling water feature. By creating a haven for birds and other wildlife, you are helping to replenish critical resources that have been lost due to development of our lands and waters. Visit nwf.org/certify for information on qualifying your yard as a Certified Wildlife Habitat® and participating in the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. #LeagueCityBirding Contributed by Kristine Rivers, founder of Birding for Fun.
League City is Soaring with Popular Birding Classes and Events
Birding enthusiasts are flocking to participate in virtual and in-person classes League City—in partnership with the cities of Bay Area Houston including Kemah, Nassau Bay, and Seabrook—has kicked off eight weeks of birding classes and events in celebration of spring bird migration. The first in a series of eight free virtual birding classes was held on March 22 with a whopping 362 registrants from across Texas and as far away as Tennessee. The series is designed to teach the basics of birding to anyone who wants to learn. The classes are held on Mondays in March, April, and May from 7 to 8 p.m. “Birding is one of the most popular hobbies world-wide, so it’s not surprising to see how many people signed up for these classes,” said Stephanie Polk, League City’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Manager. “Texas is an ideal place for birding because we actually have the most bird species of any state in the U.S. League City is part of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail and we have a variety of habitats that make for fun birding excursions,” said Polk. “We are also part of two large migratory paths, so we get a massive number of migrating birds during spring and fall migration.” The virtual classes are taught by Kristine Rivers, a Texas Master Naturalist and founder of Birding For Fun. Each class focuses on a different topic, ranging from how to use a field guide to understanding habitats and plumage variations. The remaining six classes are still open for registration at LeagueCity.com/birdingclasses. Participants can register for as many classes as they want for free. After each class, registrants will receive an email with a link to a recording of the class. League City is also hosting an in-person birding class series, but to accommodate for social distancing and field trips, the class was capped at 20 people and filled up almost immediately. Due to the popularity of these classes, the City is looking to expand in-person classes in the fall. Weekend birding events and exclusive hotel packages in April & May Birders who want to experience spring migration in League City can take advantage of exclusive hotel packages and rates designed specifically for them. Visitors who book an overnight stay at participating hotels will receive a free League City birding swag bag and local birding guide. On select weekends, they can also attend a free two-hour birding field trip led by Kristine Rivers. The field trip dates are April 24, May 1, and May 8. There will be four classes offered each day, with a limit of 10 people per class. Additional hotels are also offering exclusive rates for a limited time for birders who want to explore League City and enjoy a full weekend of birding and nature activities. Look for these deals at VisitLeagueCity.com/springmigration. Bay Area Houston’s celebration of spring migration will culminate with a Big Sit event in League City on May 15. “A Big Sit is a competitive birdwatching event hosted by Texas Parks and Wildlife as part of the Great Texas Birding Classic. A team of birders spot as many different kinds of birds as they can from within a 50-foot circle,” said Polk. “It’s a wonderful way to take part in birding and learn from experienced birders on location.” The Big Sit festivities begin on Friday, May 14 with a screening of “The Big Year”—a birding movie starring Jack Black and Steve Martin—food trucks, kayak rentals, yard games, and more at Heritage Park from 4 to 10 p.m. The Big Sit will run from midnight to midnight on May 15, and everyone is invited to enjoy an afternoon of live music, food, and fun at “Sundays in the Park” from 12 to 4 p.m. at League Park on May 16. Rundown of League City Birding Classes and Events March–May Virtual birding classes (free) April 5, 12, 19; May 3, 10, 17 In-person birding classes Full Vacation package birding classes (free with hotel stay at participating hotel) Dates: April 24, May 1, May 8 Times: 8–10 a.m., 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., 1:30–3:30 p.m., 4–6 p.m. Limit 10 people per class Big Sit weekend events (free) May 14 | 4–10 p.m. | Heritage Park | Outdoor screening of the “Big Year” featuring food trucks, kayak rentals, and more. Movie starts at sunset. May 15 | midnight to midnight | Location TBD | The Big Sit. Participants can choose the times they wish to attend and are not required to stay the whole time. May 16 | 12–4 p.m. | League Park | “Sundays in the Park” featuring live music, food, and more.
League City's Birding Guide Featured in Houston Chronicle
Our favorite birding expert, Kristine Rivers, was recently profiled in the Houston Chronicle. The article discusses Kristine's past and upcoming birding classes, and her efforts to educate the local community about birding. Kristine is the founder of Birding for Fun, and has been working with the League City CVB in recent years to provide birding classes, along with other nature-centric classes for kids and adults. Learn more about her upcoming classes here. Click here to read the original article.
Pierogi Queen Pierogis Sold in Houston General Store
League City's very own Pierogi Queen restaurant was mentioned in a Texas Monthly article featuring Henderson & Kane General Store in Houston. The store sells an eclectic variety of items, including Pierogi Queen's famous pierogis. Click here to read the original article.
Birds of a Feather | Red-winged Blackbirds
You know the old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together,” right? We usually think it refers to birds of the same species staying together, but in the case of Red-winged Blackbirds it’s even more accurate. Let’s take a closer look at this fascinating species, and I’ll show you what I mean. Red-winged Blackbirds are normally seen traveling together in large flocks. In fact, their genus name Agelaius derives from the Greek word meaning “belonging to a flock.” If you’ve been out just before dusk recently, you may have witnessed a mesmerizing flocking behavior known as a murmuration. In this amazing spectacle, thousands of blackbirds fly en masse in perfect synchronization, creating swirling, shape-shifting black clouds in the sky. After coming down to roost overnight, these huge flocks spread out as far as 50 miles foraging before rejoining the other members in the evening. In smaller flocks, Red-winged Blackbirds can be recognized by their distinctive undulating flight pattern, with rapid wing beats interspersed with short glides. Another behavior helpful in identification can be seen as flocks are landing: as the birds in the front light, the birds in the back fly over them to land in the front, creating a leap-frog effect. Males and females of this species are dimorphic, meaning they look different from each other. Males are glossy black all over, and easily recognized by their large, bright red and yellow shoulder patches (or epaulets) – the older and more experienced the bird, the more impressive the wing patches. Females are much smaller, brown, and heavily streaked, with a noticeable whitish eyebrow. They look like an entirely different species, and for that reason are often confused with sparrows. This time of year, when our resident population is joined by migrants from up north, identification is made even more difficult because males and females tend to flock separately. Males migrate before females in the spring, and after them in the fall. This means that even within the same species, birds with the same plumage flock together, apart from the rest! In breeding season, males perch high atop cattails and reeds, singing loudly while flashing their bright red epaulets. Females are more likely to be seen on the ground, foraging, and gathering nesting material. Red-winged Blackbirds nest in loose colonies in both fresh- and salt-water marshes. Due to the scarcity of appropriate habitat, males are polygamous, with as many as a dozen nesting mates crowded into one small territory. For this reason, the males’ flashy displays are not meant to attract females, but rather to defend their territories against other males. Once nesting has begun, the males shift their attention to defending the nests against predators. Throughout the summer, the Red-winged Blackbird’s diet is largely made up of high- protein pest insects, such as weevils, corn worms, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and flies. During the rest of the year, they feed heavily on seeds and grains, making them an unwelcome visitor around farmers’ crops. When resources are abundant, two to three broods are common. Females build new nests for each brood, creating intricately woven nests within the reeds, and lining the cups with mud and soft grasses. Nests are placed a few inches above the water surface to protect eggs and nestlings from predators. Unfortunately, this makes them susceptible to spring heat waves and large flooding events such as the one we experienced in late 2017 with Hurricane Harvey. Our local population was reduced to around 10% of its normal size, and marshes once filled with the cheerful sounds of Red-winged Blackbirds were eerily quiet. I’ve been very happy to see the species rebounding in our area in recent years, and to once more hear their bubbly songs and enjoy their flashy displays. If you’d like to attract Red-winged Blackbirds to your yard, try scattering some birdseed on the ground – they love millet, cracked corn, peanut hearts, and black oil sunflower seeds. You can purchase pre-mixed premium seed at the store, but I enjoy creating my own special mix. Either way, your yard is sure to be a popular spot with these beautiful birds! #LeagueCityBirding
Contributed by Kristine Rivers, founder of Birding for Fun.
Historic Art | A Birds-Eye View of League City
Tucked away in Helen Hall Library’s Local History Room, is the gem of League City. The 6-by-4-foot, 123-year-old wall hanging—painted on handkerchief cotton—portrays “League City (at the age of two years) and adjoining county.” Birds-eye view of League City was envisioned and created by J.M. Mahaffey—a “house, sign, and ornamental painter and paper hanger”—in 1898. At the turn of the 19th century, Americans were caught up in a fervor for representations of nationalistic life depicting commerce and civic pride. Although very little is known about the artist Mahaffey, it can be surmised that, he too, was swept up in the tide of pride that he depicted through the minute details in his painting. He showed a panoramic view of League City, the southern shore of Clear Lake, and the adjoining county east of the city. At the bottom of his work, he created panels depicting buildings significant to everyday life in the city: The railroad depot; the home of the proprietor of the meat market; the local newspaper; the hotel; the public school; and the dry goods, grocery, and general stores. Specific details surrounding the painting’s provenance aren’t clear. It hung in the League City State Bank in the 1930s, disappearing in the 1940s. In 1956, two League City women, twins Verna Harris and Vera Harper, painted a copy of the "newly discovered work," which hung in City Hall. In June 2000, Caroline Atkinson d'Etchegoyen, a former resident of League City, donated the original "Birds-Eye View of League City" to Helen Hall Library. However, the fragile original was quickly deteriorating. In the summer of 2001, local history specialist, Heather Campbell, transported it to Frederick, Maryland to the nationally-renowned painting conservator, Nancy Pollak. During the year she spent restoring the painting Nancy faced several challenges, the biggest of which was recreating the missing upper left corner of the painting, previously removed by a clean cut, almost as if it was souvenired. She extrapolated the lost section using historical maps and replaced it with a lighter synthetic fabric, creating a piece matching the aged original fabric. Her experience, she said, “was very unique and wonderful and a pleasure.” Among Pollak’s restorations are painted flags of the Civil War and a small section of the inner liner of General George Washington’s tent at the American Revolutionary War Battle of Yorktown in 1781. In October of 2002, Birds-Eye View came back to its birthplace and found a permanent home, ending its journey in the Helen Hall Library. – Article written by Joyce Zongrone of The League City Historical Society Visit The League City Historical Society
Black History in League City
The history of League City has been shaped by many influential people, including Alexander Winfield, one of the first African-Americans to settle in League City. Winfield was born in Virginia and served in the Civil War as part of the Ohio Color Troops, before enlisting in the regular army in 1867. After leaving the service in 1870, he moved to Texas and spent time in San Antonio and Austin, before settling in La Grange. Winfield and his wife Rosie raised their ten children in La Grange from 1879-1902, before deciding to move to League City. Descendants of the Winfield’s do not have a written or oral account of what brought Alexander and his family to League City, but documentation shows he had a connection with the Butlers, a prominent cattle ranching family in League City, and that he likely got involved in running cattle when he moved to Texas after leaving the army. In 1902, Winfield purchased 40 acres of land in League City for $750 at 8 percent interest. He paid off the land in eight years, never missing payment. The tract of land is now Hobbs Road, and to this day, several members of the Winfield family continue to live along the road. In addition to purchasing the land, Winfield founded a church, Winfield Chapel, which eventually would merge with another congregation and become the Faith United Methodist Church in Dickinson. Alexander died in 1915, but his surviving children and their descendants populate League City, Dickinson, and cities throughout the Bay Area. Alex’s daughter Lillie married Obie Hobbs, which Hobbs Road is officially named after. On July 27, 2019 over 150 descendants of Alexander Winfield gathered at Walter Hall Park for a bi-annual family reunion. During the gathering, League City Mayor Pat Hallisey presented the Winfield family with a resolution acknowledging them as a founding family of League City.
History of Yachty Gras, America’s Largest Mardi Gras Boat Parade
Simple Beginnings Back in 1999, Bay Area Houston residents Roy and Leslie Olsen wanted to throw a Mardi Gras party. Rather than simply wearing some beads and eating King cake, the couple found a more creative way to celebrate. The Olsens got some of their boating friends together and held Bay Area Houston’s first Mardi Gras boat parade by the Kemah Boardwalk. They decorated their boats, played music, and tossed beads to onlookers while partying out on the water. The following year, the Olsens got even more boaters to participate, and the whimsical boat parade continued to grow. One of the early participants was Dr. Maurine Howard, who won an award for her decorated boat in 2002. That same year, Maurine came on board as the Executive Director of Yachty Gras to help facilitate the burgeoning event, and make it something everyone in the area could enjoy and be a part of. The parade has grown in popularity, with upwards of 10,000 people enjoying the nautical revelry from land each year, and is dubbed “America’s Largest Mardi Gras Boat Parade.” Historically, the most boats ever entered in the parade was in 2009 when more than 100 boats participated in the year following Hurricane Ike. During an average year, about 75 boats enter the parade. Boats are judged on decorations, music, costumes, and overall enthusiasm. Boat awards include Best in Show, the Marina Award (going to the marina with the most participants), the Admiral Award, and several others that recognize volunteers and special service. Over the decades boaters have pulled out all the stops with wild decorations and costumes, and entrants have included everything from row boats to enormous yachts. Yachty Gras Mermaid Iconic to Yachty Gras are its colorful mermaid posters that showcase a new mermaid every year. These posters are painted annually by none other than Dr. Maurine Howard herself, and have become collector’s items for locals. Her first mermaid poster was called “Enchantment of the Sea.” Her 2021 poster is titled “Hope of the Sea,” and will be available for purchase online at yachtygras.com or at Niche jewelry store, located at 447 Hwy. 3, just north of Helen Hall Library. Funds raised by poster sales are put back into the nonprofit and donated to local charities. Yachty Gras is an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, sponsored by many businesses and organizations throughout Bay Area Houston, including the City of League City. Over the years, Yachty Gras has supported local charities including Youth Educational Student Services, Kemah Police, Turning Point, Jennette Williams Foundation, Wounded Heroes of Texas, League City Animal Shelter, Seabrook Animal Shelter, Bay Area Animal Shelter, Sea Scouts, Hearing Aids for Children, Shriners Hospital for Children, and Wounded Warriors. Yachty Gras 2021 This year, the League City Volunteer Fire Department’s new fire boat will lead the parade, with the mermaid, Hope of the Sea, on board. The Grand Marshal—pageant queen and Ms. Texas 2020, Susan Hefner— will follow behind the fire boat with her royal court, ushering in the parade. This event is family friendly, and parade goers can expect lots of music, beautifully decorated boats, and of course—lots of beads! Social distancing and masks are highly encouraged. Date: Saturday, February 6, 2021 Start Time: 7 p.m. (arrive early for parking and the best vantage points) Where to Watch: Kemah Boardwalk | 15 Kipp Ave., Kemah
Cost: FREE Register your Boat: yachtygras.com/register For more information visit yachtygras.com or call 713-882-4040. Safety on the Water To ensure the safety of all involved, a mandatory Skipper’s meeting is held the morning of the parade, hosted by the Coast Guard and Chief Tracy Keele from Clear Lake Shores Police Department. At the meeting, boaters are briefed on parade protocol designed to keep participants safe. Boaters who don’t attend the meeting but enter the parade line are a danger to the safety of other boaters, and will be sent into Galveston Bay by law enforcement once they’ve made it through the line, and will remain there until the parade is over.
Valentine's Date Night in League City
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