They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and that only means one thing: Tough Mudder Houston is as big and bad as they come. Thanks to Creekside Edge ATV Park where you’ll be running up to 12 miles through what it typically ATV terrain–which means you can expect some serious mud, challenging trails, and lots of quad-crushing hills. Not to mention, you’ll be running through sand. Once you get to the finish, though, it’s time to enjoy post-race festivities in downtown Houston. Here’s what to do, where to stay, and what to eat to fuel yourself before and after Tough Mudder Houston.
Texas is known for its BBQ, so your first stop should probably be Gatlin’s BBQ, two-time winner of the Houston Press BBQ Award. Gatlin’s prides itself on their high quality ribs, brisket, sausages, and more–all served with what they refer to as southern hospitality. Need some literal stick-to-your-ribs food to fuel up for Tough Mudder? You’ve come to the right place.
Looking for breakfast fare, instead? No visit to Houston is complete without a meal at The Breakfast Club, named one of the best breakfast restaurants in the nation. This kasual–yes, they even say with a ‘k’–diner serves up southern fare so get ready to leave feeling stuffed. Think Wings & Waffles (six fried chicken wings served atop a golden Belgian waffle), Katfish & Grits (grilled catfish and grits, served with potatoes or 2 eggs) or even some healthier options like omelettes and fruit bowls.
Houston is a diverse city, and with that comes diverse cuisine. Himalaya, a restaurant serving authentic Pakistani and Indian cuisine, offers unique meals with a twist–and at an affordable price, too. Try the Paratha-dilla, an Indian twist on the Mexican classic which substitutes Indian flatbread for the flour tortillas. Or, sample the Chultz, Chicken Fried Steak that has been seasoned with Indian masala spices. Several vegetarian and vegan options are available, like the Mirchon Ka Salan. The dish takes nearly four hours to prepare and includes 67 ingredients, so you know it has to be good.
For unpretentious soul food at a sit-down restaurant, check out Kitchen 713. Head there for brunch like staples like avocado toast, biscuit and gravy, and pancakes–made with sweet potato, ricotta, and topped with lemon curd, granola and blueberry-maple syrup. Whether this is your pre or post-event treat, your taste buds will thank you.
Experience the adrenaline-rush of an unpowered flight while sailing over Houston at the Greater Houston Soaring Association. This 30-minute ride will bring you and your glider pilot into the sky. Keep an eye out for the Tough Mudder course. If flying isn’t your thing, check out Wake Nation Houston, where wakeboarders are pulled around a 12-acre lake by an overhead cable system. If you know what you’re doing, try the custom built jumps and rails to up your wake game. Wake Nation Houston also has an Aerial Adventures Rope Course where you can safely practice your balance, strength, and climbing skills.
Still looking to work your muscles? Head to the Texas Rock Gym, a state-of-the-art climbing facility that provides 14,000 square feet of climbable surfaces with 42 top ropes and a large bouldering area. Skilled climbers are on hand to show you the (literal) ropes and safety, and several additional classes, like yoga, primal fitness, and tai-chi, are also available.
Craving something a little more peaceful? Rent a car or take a shuttle to Natural Bridge Caverns, the largest commercial caverns in Texas. Though 190 miles outside of downtown Houston, this is one tour well worth the drive. Consider the Discovery Tour to see magnificent stalagmites, stalactites, chandeliers and soda straws–180 feet below ground. For a creepy experience, take the Lantern Tour, the first tour of the day. Participants will experience all the beauty of the caverns, but only by the light of their personal lanterns.
For gear that covers every need–from the sky, to the water, and even underground, check out Merrell’s new 2017 line.
For a budget-friendly stay with particularly plush accommodations, check out the HI Houston, The Rich Morty Hostel. Located in an historic mansion in the exciting Montrose neighborhood, filled with colorful tattoo parlors, cozy cafes, and art galleries. The hostel offers a free continental breakfast and a pool. Not to mention, you can say you stayed you’ve stayed in a mansion–for under $26 a night.
Needing something a little more luxurious (and a lot more quiet)? Hotel ZaZa is an art boutique hotel, so expect bright, flashy colors, fine dining, and pet-friendly rooms so Fido can sleep well, too. Hotel ZaZa Houston is centrally located in the museum district, making this a first rate choice if you’re looking to explore even one of the 19 cultural institutions that make up this area. Museums not your thing? Nearby Hermann Park offers a golf course, jogging track, and an outdoor theatre. There’s no shortage of activities here.
Interested in history? The Hotel ICON was built in 19111 as the Union National Bank Building but has since been converted into an award-winning hotel. As an added bonus, the hotel offers a shuttle than can drop you off or pick you up within a 3-mile radius of the hotel.
For lodging close to the Tough Mudder Houston venue, check out your options here.