Whether you’re staying downtown during your Houston vacation and are eager to explore, or you’re just an everyday resident looking for a little weekend adventure, downtown’s proximity to other hip neighborhoods makes it easy to get the full experience! Hop on the METRORail, grab a BCycle or take a short Uber ride and visit some of the city’s most popular neighborhoods.
Quickly becoming a hotspot for living, working and playing “EADO” as the area east of downtown is affectionately known, is the kind of neighborhood where history mingles easily with Houston’s ever-changing future. Here, you’ll find funky shops, state-of-the-arts sports facilities, independent restaurants and a host of activities for all ages.
8th Wonder Brewery
One of Houston’s beloved craft breweries, 8th Wonder offers seasonal and limited edition beers, as well as a host of favorites. The Taproom is open seven days a week, and the brewery offers an array of entertainment throughout the year. Get your Dome Faux’m with a side of voodoo fries from resident food truck, Eatsie Boys. 8thwonderbrew.com
2001 Commerce St.
Open ‘til midnight seven days a week, Tout Suite is an EADO gathering spot, serving up coffee, confections and killer soups, sandwiches and salads. The breakfast tacos are outstanding, as is the stuffed avocado. There’s also a serviceable selection of beer, wine and cocktails, making this the perfect dawn-to-dusk destination. toutsuitehtx.com
Leland St Murals
Aptly nicknamed, “The Art and Soul of the City,” beautiful murals and graffiti art can be found throughout the EADO neighborhood. The most prominent display of this form of art is at the Houston Graffiti Building located at the intersection of Chartres and Leland, which with the help of both local and international artists, has become a feast for the eyes! Stop by and check out the fun, quirky and thought-provoking murals that line these massive walls.
East End Market
2800 Navigation Blvd
Open every Sunday from 10 am-2 pm, the fun street market is an excellent way to explore this eclectic neighborhood. Browse through various offerings like handmade books, artisan jewelry, recycled crafts, market-fresh produce, locally produced food and dairy products, prepared foods and handcrafted wares. eastendhouston.com/market
Original Ninfa’s on Navigation
2704 Navigation Blvd
One of Houston’s most beloved and iconic restaurants, the Original Ninfa’s on Navigation is one of the best bets for Mexican food in a city full of amazing options. The restaurant, which is more than 40 years old claims to have started the “fajita” trend and we don’t doubt it- it’s hard to find many places that can top their selection of juicy chicken and beef skirt steak, marinated and grilled to perfection! ninfas.com
Midtown is a trendy neighborhood located just south of downtown. Nestled between the city core and nearby Montrose, this young and hip area is home to a rich cultural arts district, various high-quality dining options and an energetic nightlife.
MATCH is Houston’s newest destination for performing and visual arts. Every weekend, the beautifully designed complex hosts affordable shows from a variety of Houston arts organizations. matchouston.org
3500-3700 Blocks of Main
This three block stretch along the METRORail is a genuine mosaic of Houston’s local offerings. Here you’ll find one of the city’s best coffee shops and bars combined- Double Trouble Caffeine and Cocktails, a popular taco shop- Tacos A Go Go, and some of the coolest venues for live music- Continental Club & Shoeshine Charley’s Big Top Lounge. mid-main.com
Weights + Measures
This bakery, restaurant and bar has you covered morning, noon and night! Start the day with a pastry from Slow Dough Bake Shop, grab lunch or dinner in the restaurant, and enjoy a nightcap or two at in-house bar, Love and Squalor. weights-measures.com
Lauded as the “#1 Seafood Restaurant in the U.S.” by Bon Appetit Magazine, Reef is a restaurant not to be missed when in Midtown! From oysters on the half shell and crawfish croquettes to slow baked salmon and juicy softshell crab, it’s hard not to overindulge. If Reef is good enough for Oprah and Jay-Z to dine at when they’re in town, it’s good enough for us too! reefhouston.com
Irish Cowboy combines the craziness of an Irish Pub with the comfort of a Texas-sized backyard patio bar. Enjoy live music on the amphitheater-like stage, fuel up with a full bar menu and over 70+ draft beers, and compete in their weekly Ball of Thrones competition! irishcowboy.com
Neighborhood: THE HEIGHTS
Northwest of downtown sits a historic neighborhood that dates back to the late 1800s. The Houston Heights was actually its own township back in the day, so it has the feel of a small town, but with the benefits of being nestled within a booming urban core. Residents and visitors alike are drawn to its rich, character-filled architecture, mom and pop-type shops and funky restaurants.
19th Street is home to dozens of trendy lifestyle boutiques, thrift stores, antique havens, coffee shops and cafes. Stop by for the “First Saturday Arts Market” on the First Saturday of each month for live music, crafts and artwork. firstsaturdayartsmarket.com
Food & Drink
The Heights is often considered Houston’s hottest dining neighborhood with various local establishments and cuisines that span the globe. Our personal favorites include: Antidote Coffee, Southern Goods, Shade, Teotihaucan Mexican Café, BB’s Cafe, Collina’s Italian Cafe, Onion Creek, Coltivare, Down House, El Bolillo Bakery, Gatlin’s BBQ, Liberty Kitchen, Red Dessert Dive, Revival Market and Steel City Pops.
Hike & Bike Trail
The Rails-to-Trails project is a 4.62 mile, 10-foot wide, concrete, multi-use hike and bike trail along the old Missouri, Kansas, Texas Southern Pacific railroad right-of-way. The trail runs from 26th Street to 7th Street along Nicholson, and from Shepherd along 7th Street, to Spring Street, across White Oak Bayou, and under I-45 connecting you to downtown and beyond!
14 Pews is a super cool micro-cinema on Aurora Street in The Heights. This one time rustic church is a creative convergence of filmmakers, musicians, artists and Houstonians. 14pews.org
Restored to its theater roots, this super intimate live music venue just opened in late 2016 and already has a killer line-up of local and regional performers! The sound is amazing and there’s not a bad seat in the house. theheightstheater.com
Neighborhood: MUSEUM DISTRICT
Just south of downtown, tucked between the hustle of the city and the booming Texas Medical Center, lays the pedestrian – friendly Museum District. The Museum District hosts a variety of cultural attractions such as 19 museums, The Houston Zoo and ever so popular, Hermann Park.
Museum of Fine Arts Houston
Just a short walk from the METRORail is one of Houston’s most popular museums and one of the largest in America, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston. This museum boasts over 300,000 square-feet of space dedicated to a collection of over 65,000 works of art from all over the world! Mfah.org
1515 Sul Ross
This 30-acre campus is always free to visitors and houses approximately 17,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, and rare books. Be sure to check out the Dan Flavin Installation at Richmond Hall while you’re there or stroll over to the Rothko Chapel. Finish the trip off with a bite to eat at Bistro Menil. menil.org
If you’re in search of some fresh seafood eats that hold true to the Gulf Coast, look no further! This casual dining establishment prides itself on celebrating the flavors and traditions of the Gulf Coast. With a killer happy hour and plenty of oyster options, Danton’s is a must when in this neighborhood. dantonsseafood.com
1700 Hermann Drive
Get outside and enjoy some fresh air at one of Houston’s most popular green spaces! The 445-acre park has a little something for everyone! Rent a pedal boat and explore McGovern Lake or check out some of the finest jogging trails in the city. Then, head to the beautifully landscaped Centennial Gardens and get a birds-eye-view of the land as you make your way to the top of the labyrinth-like maze which overlooks the park. A visit to the Japanese Garden also makes for a tranquil and relaxing experience. hermannpark.org
6200 Herman Drive
Who doesn’t love animals? The Houston Zoo provides a fun, educational experience for the whole family. Spend the day watching the lions and tiger and bears… and getting to know the rest of the 6,000+ animals that call the Houston Zoo home. Houstonzoo.org
5701 Main Street
This Houston gem is hard to miss when exploring the city’s Museum District! This super-chic, Texas boutique hotel is the perfect balance between luxury and relaxation. Lounge in the hotel’s Monarch Bistro with your favorite cocktail or enjoy a fine dining experience prepared by the Monarch’s team of talented chefs. hotelzaza.com