I’m still wistfully remembering my days in Houston ya’ll. It was just the best time and exactly what I needed. The flip side of that is that there is such a huge drawback to that City and it’s strongly connected to my soul. When something rescues you it becomes a huge part of your heart and you feel like you’ve literally left a piece of your heart back there. Texas has that effect on me. I’ve loved every time I’ve been there and I feel like I’m just a little bit Texas. So, if you’ve never been to Texas I would strongly suggest considering it for a vacation. Houston is such a great place with so much to do. You can catch up on my Visit Houston posts and get some great ideas for your visit –> here (or by clicking the Travel tab up top).
On my list was checking out one some of the local breweries and distilleries in the area. Since I happen to be a whiskey fan I decided on Yellow Rose Distillery. They offer a $10 tour, which includes tastings of their six different types of whiskey. They also have a great bar where they make some fabulous cocktails. Catch them the right time and you’ll get $5 drinks! You can catch tours Friday 4:30 and 5:30 pm and six tour options on Saturday on the 1/2 hr starting at 11:30. One really awesome thing about Yellow Rose is that they want you to come to hang out! Bring your kids, bring snacks and bring a board game and hang out with your friends. I would recommend their Old Fashioned AND their liquor chocolates. Those were so heavenly! You can also grab some of their special maple syrup and their Yellow Rose cocktail glasses. Supporting local businesses is so important, especially a business where they work so hard to make a quality local product.
A good used book store should always be on everyone’s list. This particular one in The Heights might need more than one visit because of its size. So many nooks and crannies, and I guarantee you will find something to tickle your fancy. There are 76 sections with over 100,000 books. You can find out of print books and current titles. Plus if you’re real lucky you might get to have good conversation with the owner who is often behind the counter…or get to pet the shop cat. Either way, put Kaboom Books on your list for things to check out while in Houston.
Welcome to the main drag of what is known as Houston Heights. The Heights, a planned community created in 1890 is a wonderful place to spend a good part of your afternoon if you are looking to get out of the downtown city part of Houston. Its everything you could ever want in an older part of town, a town within a town. The beauty of Houston Heights is in the tree-lined streets, the beautiful stately homes ( I might have scrolled a few pages worth on Zillow ), the fun art and 19th Street. The streets are lined with small business and locally owned shops, each with their own uniqueness. Visit the historic Heights Theater, built in 1929, and refurbished to be what it is now, keeping the Art Deco feel intact. 19th Street is also a bloggers dream, with adorable shops with quirky colors, and a few of those famous Houston Murals. Some of my favorite stores on the street include
- Vinal Edge Yes you did see the spelling and you wondered briefly if I had misspelled it. Nope, I didn’t. I heard about this shop from my friend and I came with room in my suitcase specifically for this shop. In business since the mid-80s, Vinal Edge has established themselves as a go-to record store in Houston. They have a great Jazz selection and a surprisingly decent classical selection. The classical selection is always a little iffy in many of record shops I’ve been in. The pricing is also very good as well. Most importantly they have a great listening area for you so you can check out your record stack before you purchase it. If you are into records give Vinal Edge and once over. Perhaps the coolest thing is that you can also place an order online and they will ship to you!!!
- Dramatika – Dramatika is a locally owned frame shop, but step inside and find unique gifts that I’ve never seen anywhere and a solid collection of hysterical greeting cards. And yes, I realize that greetings card aren’t something that people usually care about anymore as snail mail is not as popular as it once was. You might change your mind after stepping into Dramatika.
- Sweet Bribery – This yummy ice cream shop isn’t the only place to get some ice cream in The Heights, but man if it isn’t the cutest. The fluorescent Texas sign is probably my favorite thing, aside from the fun and unique ice cream flavors! The Bourbon Espresso was heavenly!! Sweet Bribery carries vegan and gluten-free options, which I know is appreciated, and you can have your ice cream served in handmade waffle cones! Each flavor is handcrafted and their ice cream is made from the simplest ingredients. Their master pastry chef was just nominated for Best Pastry Chef by Culture Map Houston, and it is well deserved.
- Manready Mercantile – Looking for a manly shop full of leather, alcohol flavored toothpicks and candles? Yes, I said candles. Look no further than Manready Mercantile. Manready, opened in 2014, was opened to create a highly curated atmosphere of Houston-made, American-made and specifically chosen worldwide products that reflect the values of what it means to be a Texan. Many of the products are unisex, but a majority of products are products chosen by men, for men, which is something that was felt to be missing from the market in the way that Manready does it. The shop in and of itself is really cool to visit. Some of my favorite products are their candles that they make on site (my favorite is called John Wick), their alcohol flavored toothpicks and their hand-dipped bar glasses. Find cool Texas themed products like their recently launched vintage-inspired ball caps.
- Retropolis – The coolest resale shop in Houston, full of Vintage clothing and accessories for sale. It also has an interesting collection of rentals as well. You pick out just about any color of polyester suit with matching ruffle shirt! Find your next themed night costume or that PanAm stewardess bag you’ve been looking for. Its an adventure every time and should definitely be on your list of things to check out when in The Heights.
4. Graffiti Building/ Houston Mural (Gelazzi building) – EADO and The Heights
If you’ve followed me on Instagram you know that aside from my love affair with the Houston skyline you know that I loved the Houston street art. I had in mind to see as much as I could and my awesome friend delivered. I would definitely say that Houston is known for its street art, and it is commonly the subject of Instagram accounts. Anyone can feel like a fashion blogger in front of one of these. I know I did! The main place to go to see a lot of street art in one place is the Graffiti Building in EADO (east downtown) Several buildings are covered in them, and you can find the angel wings there too! There is so much good stuff there so get your camera ready.
Another mural that was high on my list was the Welcome to Houston mural in The Heights. Stop in to Gelazzi and grab some gelato, then get a super cute “Welcome to Houston” snap before you leave.
5. Wells Fargo Building View (downtown architecture)
There aren’t many places to see the view of Houston from up high, especially since the restaurant in the Wedge Tower has been closed for renovation (don’t worry that’s coming back soon and its going to be awesome!). But you can take a few elevators and an escalator and check out the floor to ceiling view in the Wells Fargo Building. It was incredible and made me a little nervous. But I’m glad we didn’t give up the search. Seeing all of the amazing architecture from that view is worth getting up there, and the stroll to get there has a ton of sites to see.
Another bucket list item should be the Julia Ideson Library Reading Room and the ceiling that is just outside of it. The Julia Ideson is a Houston Public Library in Downtown Houston. It was built in 1926, and for my fellow architecture lovers is modeled after the Spanish Renaissance. Everything about this place is gorgeous. In 1977 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
After George HW Bush passed away I learned that there was a park in Houston that was created to honor him. I knew that if I had some extra time that I needed to go visit. The whole Sesquicentennial Park and the green space that lines the Bayou Canal through the city is a great place to run while visiting Houston, eat a lunch, read or just take a walk in. Its close to the city, but I found it to be slightly removed the bustling and surprisingly peaceful. Come back and night and see the large silver art installations light up the night!
In 1968 retired Southern Pacific Railroad worker began the project that would become The Beer Can House. Eighteen years later the house slowly began is disappear. Over 50,000 cans are estimated to have been used for the project. The walkway and driveway is even art, with embedded metal and marbles making it a colorful and unique site. You can go inside the beer can house for a small fee of $5. During the winter and spring months you can catch the Beer Can House open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12-5, but in the summertime you would have more opportunities to visit during the week (wed-sun 12-5pm).
I happen to be an architecture lover. Looking at cool buildings makes me very happy. Houston is the perfect place for people like me, as their skyline is known for being awesome. Viewing it during the day is great, but come back at night and see how a lot of it is lit up, and how the different glass reflects the light. Its truly amazing. While you’re down there enjoy Houston’s nightlife and check out some of the coolest bars that I’ve ever been to. The downtown scene in the evening is one of the reasons I can’t wait to go back and one of the reasons Houston is being put on the travel map! Check out my post with 6 bars you must experience.
Probably one of my favorite buildings is the JP Morgan Chase building on Main Street in downtown Houston. The architecture is incredible as you can see from some of my pictures below, but the inside of this building is absolutely drool-worthy. Take a walk through and check out the old call boxes and mailboxes in the lobby, then go through and grab a bite to eat in Finn Hall.
There is so much to do in Houston that one list doesn’t even begin to cover it. Make sure to check out my other Houston posts linked here in this post, as well as up top in my travel drop down! You’ll find stuff to keep you busy for a whole weekend!