Hunting For Fun at CITYCENTRE — Houston’s Mixed-Use Pioneer Keeps the Unique Events and Creative Activations Coming

Spring Break Scavengers and Much More Beckon

Heather Staible

March 2021

The past year has brought plenty of unique challenges and the marketing team for CITYCENTRE has tackled them with a clear plan. It’s about pivoting, adapting, staying flexible and being safe.

That has meant reevaluating the heavy schedule of public events on the groundbreaking mixed-use development’s expansive lawn such as concerts, festivals and art shows. What it hasn’t meant is completely canceling the events, amenities and activations that give the Midway  lifestyle destination its charm and joie de vivre.

Instead, the industrious team has embraced the challenge of creating a clean, safe space where Houstonians can still shop, dine, stroll and have fun.  

“It’s important to understand the brevity of how marketing and technology have both changed post-pandemic. Our team made a significant shift in how we execute and plan events for the public and are continually transitioning to respond to consumer demand,” says Shannon Bedinger, Midway Senior Vice President, Marketing + Communications. “We have always utilized metrics to analyze the success of our events, but now more than ever, we are utilizing a multitude of technologies to analyze the value for our tenants and patrons and the safety protocols we can put in place.”

“Adapt, not cancel,” Emily McMenamin, Midway Marketing Strategist, Marketing + Communications, says of the mixed-use experts’ approach. “We shifted our strategies to consider COVID safety. How many people will an event draw. How can we have more space. How can we make an event the most comfortable.”

Through that lens, CITYCENTRE is set to launch The Hunt, an exciting cross-campus scavenger hunt running from March 12 to 21 — during the heart of most Houston schools’ spring break. This truly interactive event sends scavenger hunters throughout CITYCENTRE through the Scavify app where they can rack up points to win prizes such as gift cards to CITYCENTRE shops and restaurants.  

This innovative take on a fun spring break idea is a way for families to get out of the house and into Houston’s fresh air and sunshine. While some tasks involve purchasing items from shops, hunters can also earn points by doing a cartwheel on the lawn and uploading the video or finding specific pieces of art around CITYCENTRE.

“It’s extremely interactive,” McMenamin says. “You can earn higher points when purchasing things if you want to, but you don’t have to.”

McMenamin drew inspiration for The Hunt from Century Square, the Midway mixed-use development that’s brought many new programs to College Station. Century Square’s own scavenger hunt turned into a great success, giving Texas A&M University students and local families alike a fun, safe event that only required a smartphone.

In addition to The Hunt, CITYCENTRE visitors can look forward to live music performances every weekend on the plaza, and there are other outdoor events in the works for the latter half of 2021, including a possible Fourth of July event and something absolutely adorable involving puppies. McMenamin does not want to give away too many details yet, but urges CITYCENTRE lovers to stay tuned for more.

“We think about these projects as living, breathing brands,” Midway CEO Jonathan Brinsden says. “We want people to think like it’s theirs.”

Events like The Hunt help build that sense. CITYCENTRE is not just a place to shop or eat or workout. It is a place to have fun with your family, a place to appreciate unique art and more.

Singing Trees — and Holidays to Remember

By now, CITYCENTRE has a reputation for doing these creative events and activations. The mixed-use trailblazer featured Singing Trees during this past holiday season. This blended outdoor music and an immersive light show in the trees in the courtyard between Fellini Cafe and Paper Source. The light technology was a first in the city of Houston. There was even a free pop-up ice skating rink. Visitors were asked to wear masks and socially distance during the event.

The Singing Trees was a Covid-safe holiday event.

It was a COVID Christmas, but still a festive — and fun — holiday season at CITYCENTRE. Now, with more and more Texans getting vaccinated and COVID numbers dropping, there is even more hope for the rest of 2021. And beyond.

“We are always trying to add amenities for our retailers and our community, while keeping COVID in mind,” McMenamin notes. “It’s getting better all the time. There’s a lot of fun ahead.”

That’s the way it always is at CITYCENTRE.