The Houston Heights date back to the 1800s. People once used it to escape from big city life, but it now serves as hub for culture, small businesses, and hipsters galore. In 2013, the Heights as named one of the top 10 big-city neighborhoods by CNN, ranking in at number four. So what makes the Heights so special? Our best guess is the endless list of things to do in the Heights:
With Houston being one of the food capitals of the country, it’s no surprise that the Heights would be home to countless Houston-born restaurants. While it would be impossible to name every single delicious eatery in the neighborhood, there are a few places worth mentioning, in no particular order.
Start your morning right with Lee’s Fried Chicken & Donuts, open 7 AM. daily. Lee’s serves fried chicken combos with two to eight pieces and freshly-made glazed and cake donuts for the perfect sweet and savory combo.
When you get hungry later in the afternoon, head over to Yale Street’s Jus’ Mac, because who doesn’t love mac & cheese? You can get a classic CheeseBurger Mac (mac & colby jack cheese mixed with ground beef, onions, and garlic) or spice things up with the Hangover (hashbrowns, fried egg topped with pico de gallo and habanero sauce).
For dinner, Liberty Kitchen Oyster Bar brings you a bounty of meals straight from the Gulf Coast. Seafood is their specialty as they cook with fresh, local products with fish delivered straight from the gulf every day. Try to stop by for Happy Hour and get $2 Beers, $5 Wells, or two tacos for $1.49.
At the end of the day, Fat Cat Creamery offers creamy treats in their parlour, open until 10PM during the week and 12PM on the weekends. Similar to Liberty Kitchen, Fat Cat likes to keep things local, only choosing the finest ingredients from nearby farms and vendors, so you know that you’re spending your money well.
Thrifts and Antiques
Explore your individuality and find something unique for yourself at one of the Heights many thrift stores and antique shops.
Looking for a throwback vintage jacket? Sand Dollar Thrift Store has been operating in Houston for 30 years, offering great fashion at great prices. Every sale donates a portion of their profits goes to a Texas Charity. Other great Heights thrift stores include Goodwill on W. 20th, Value Village on W. 23rd, and Family Thrift Center on Durham.
If you’re looking for a “new” statement piece to personalize your living room, check out August Antiques on Heights Blvd. Here you’ll find some very unusual pieces brought straight from the New England and upstate and western New York. You’ll be certain to give house guests a run for their money here. Heights Station Antiques and Heights Antiques on Yale are also great antique stores worth checking out.
Finally, make sure to hit up the shops on 19th street. You can spend hours in this walkable section of shops, browsing everything from old records at Vinal Edge to unique children’s toys at Big Blue Whale. Check out the full list of shops on 19th here.
If you’re looking for live entertainment in the Heights, Fitzgerald’s, Heights Theater, and White Oak Music Hall (okay, White Oak is technically just east of the Heights) are some popular places to stop by. All host talents both big and small, local and nationally tour acts. Fitzgerald’s offers an intimate club vibe, while White Oak’s five-acre indoor/outdoor venue features three stages.
For something a little more unique, Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theater can introduce you to the art of puppetry. Over the years, Bobbindoctrin has produced over thirty original puppet plays with the goal of proving puppets are not limited to children. So audiences should be wary that these aren’t your kiddo’s puppet shows.
If you aren’t aren’t feeling the need to spend money, there a few parks in the Heights Houston that are worth spending an afternoon with your family.
On Heights Boulevard, kids can let their imagination run wild at Donovan Park. Made almost completely of wood, the play area is complete with rope bridges, slides, fire poles, chain ladders, balance beams, monkey bars, and conveyor belt. You won’t find a playground like this anywhere else in the city.
Other good parks in the Heights include Stude Park, Love Park, and Milroy Park, to name a few.
Museums & Galleries
The museum district is packed with exhibits and galleries that are worth visiting time and time again. But if you’re looking for some smaller, niche museums, the Houston Heights and immediate surrounding areas have a variety of great options.
For example, Houston is widely-known for its eccentric, annual Art Car Parade. However, you can get up close and personal with the cars at the Art Car Museum near the Heights. In addition to stand-out Houston cars, the museum hosts many other national and international artists and other fine art. Admission is always free.
Admire the diversity and talent of small, local artists who call the Sawyer Yards home. With spaces located on Silver Street, Spring Street, Summer Street, and Winter Street, you can walk in and roam the corridors to see (and maybe even buy) the work on display. Additionally, the studios often serve as venue spaces for festivals, markets, and other events.
Any true Houstonian knows that biking is not a just a hobby, but a lifestyle for many city dwellers. For $50 a person, you can explore the eclectic neighborhood on two wheels. Bikes, helmets, and water are provided for riders, so they can discover the area with a hands-on perspective. It’s 21+ for the Heights tour, so you might be in for some boozy treats as well.
Don’t like traveling far? Save on gas and hit everything at once on 19th Street. Lined with tons of boutiques, artsy stores, restaurants and thrift shops, you can find everything we named on this list on this block. Try some Chinese food at The Rice Box, pick up some vintage records at Vinal Edge, catch a movie or poetry reading at the historic Heights Theater, or celebrate the successes of local vocal group The Ink Spots at their very own museum.
Is there anything we left off the list? Let us know what your favorite things to do in the Heights in the comments below.