The Houston-native DJ shares her favorite places to eat, go out, and enjoy a good sunset in her home city.
She also happens to be a proud Houston native.
“Houston is such an amazing and versatile city. The people are warm and welcoming, the food is comforting, and the culture is undeniable,” says Calderón. “Every time I come home I’m as proud to see how much it’s grown as I am proud to see the important things never change—nothing beats southern hospitality.”
Though Calderón moved to LA a decade ago, her music career is rooted in her home city: “I’ve always had a hand in music at every stage of my life. From growing up in a musical home with a gifted musician for a father and training with piano teachers to middle school beat making on digital software and selling mixtapes I’d make bi-weekly on burned CDs in high school.”
DJ Orange Calderón’s Perfect Day in Houston, Texas
6 a.m. — Sweat Start
Breakfast at The Dunlavy. It has beautiful chandeliers and floor to ceiling windows overlooking Lost Lake but totally laid back with an order-at-the-counter atmosphere. The Super Powered Smoothie, ricotta pancakes, and baked desserts are all bomb. I also love Brothers or Laredo Taqueria for breakfast tacos, Grace’s for brunch, The Breakfast Klub for their Katfish and Grits.
12 p.m. — Coffee to Go
By the time you get back, shower, and change, it’s time to grab a quick coffee before we move on with our day. A few of my favorite places to grab a good cup of joe and even hang for a bit to get some work done are Tout Suite downtown, any of Boomtown’s three locations, or Vibrant in Hydepark. All very different, very cute cafe vibes.
1 p.m. — Choose Your Own Adventure
Now that we’re caffeinated and ready to go I’d suggest a chill mid-day adventure. When the weather is nice Buffalo Bayou Park is a great place to rent bikes, go kayaking or canoeing. The Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark has an amazing view of the downtown skyline—I did a mixtape cover photoshoot there a few years back!
If the morning workout was enough physical activity for the day I emphatically recommend visiting Strange Bird Immersive, Houston’s own world-famous escape room. I went with a group of friends earlier this month and was blown away. It’s an immersive escape experience with live actors, puzzles, clues, and intrigue. It’s ranked #3 in the world and totally lives up to the hype.
If art is more your thing, The Museum of Fine Arts always has amazing exhibits.
Also, Top Golf is fun any time of day.
3 p.m. — Rockin’ Tacos
I don’t know about y’all but I’m hungry again. Green Seed Vegan is a cozy little plant-based restaurant and elixir bar in the heart of the Third Ward area and I adore it. The Rockin’ Tacos are made with sunflower walnut ‘chorizo’ and I ate them every day for a week straight after the first time trying them—no joke!
Earthcraft Juicery in Highland Village has great cold-pressed juices, bowls, and superfood smoothies if you’re in the mood for something light and quick. Victor’s Secret is my favorite juice, especially after a workout.
Personally, I love a late dinner. I’m a bit of a night owl and reservations are set for 8:45 so we’ve got some time to kill. The best place to be in Houston during the sunset is definitely Twilight Epiphany, the James Turrell Skyspace at Rice University. Easily the city’s most iconic public work of art. It’s an absolute must-see.
For dinner, mood is everything. Coltivare is a rustic Italian spot and one of my personal favorites for a good cheat meal. I see the Black Pepper Spaghetti in my dreams, but it’s hard to go wrong here—everything is fresh and fantastic. Giocano’s is a casual neighborhood Italian joint (order the Snapper Special with potatoes and cavolo nero, verza, e bietola for the table). Steak48 is an upscale steakhouse and a “scene” if you’re looking for one, and of course, there’s always Mexican food: Hugo’s, El Tiempo Cantina, or Irma’s Original are all great.
After dinner, we can grab a homestyle drink at Julep for some Southern cocktails reimagined, or hit Axelrad Beer Garden for live music, games, and best of all: HAMMOCKS! Honorable mentions (and great IG photo ops) include 8th Wonder Brewery and Present Company.
1 a.m. — Soak It Up
I’ve been going to Mai’s Vietnamese Restaurant since I was in high school. It’s open until 3 a.m. during the week and 4 a.m. on weekends. Perfect for after the club when you’ve had too much to drink and need a good plate of fried rice to soak it up!