Named one of the most friendly big-city neighborhoods in the country by National Geographic magazine in 2019, the Houston Heights charmed the magazine with its “mid-century bungalows and turreted Victorian houses” that draw young couples and singles to the area, “an older neighborhood a short bike-trail ride north of downtown Houston.”
“The addition of hiking and biking trails as well as green space, plus newer commercial developments like Heights Mercantile on Yale and the upcoming 4-acre mixed-use project M-K-T on N. Shepherd Drive, are inspiring both locals and visitors to get out and explore this vibrant community,” said Realtor Becky Davis.
The personality of The Heights shines through with all the unique things there are to see and do here.
First up, the ArtCar Museum (140 Heights Blvd.), is both and art installation and car show. The cars truly are a canvas for fantastic imaginations. Like any good collectors, the folks at August Antiques (803 Heights Blvd.) started in 1993 with just one room. Now they fill two buildings. In addition to selling Victorian, Mission, Empire, and primitive furniture, as well as architectural salvage, they will also restore and rewire fixtures and radios.
14 Pews (800 Aurora Street) is celebrating a ten year anniversary as a multidisciplinary, artist-run nonprofit. They’ve screened more than 800 Independent films in the former church and are still going strong. True North 2020 is the newest sculpture project on Heights Boulevard. The whimsical creations, including “Big Cabbage” (just what it sounds like) will be up until December 2020. In the last five years, the art scene has exploded near I-10 with the Sawyer Yards development, encompassing Silver Street, Spring Street, Summer Street, and Winter Street. Browse or buy, there are plenty of options for both.
It’s a ‘see’ and it’s a ‘do.’ If you have never taken in a show at the Heights Theatre on 19th St, add it to your list. The landmark theater spent one incarnation as an art gallery but it was originally built in the 1920s as the neighborhood movie house. Now, everyone from Mary Chapin Carpenter to the BoDeans takes the stage there.
The Heights Hike and Bike Trail is 4.6 miles and runs from West 26th St. to West 7th St. and North Shepherd Dr. to Hogan St. It is also called the MKT Trail, named for the old Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Southern Pacific Railroad. That’s appropriate because the trail follows part of the abandoned rail bed. Along the way, enjoy graceful water birds in White Oak Bayou as well as the adjacent parks and amenities. Spotts Park (401 S. Heights Blvd.) encompasses more than 16 acres between Waugh and Memorial. There are basketball and volleyball courts, a children’s playground, walking trails and picnic area, and numerous weekly exercise classes.
For opera lovers, Opera in the Heights (1703 Heights Blvd.) provides a stage for emerging opera performers and offers affordable opera to the community. But the talent is first rate. For an education on rum and colorful tales of Don the Beachcomber, stop by the cozy Rum & Tiki Bar Lei Low (6412 N. Main). You can wear your shorts from Chubbies. Finally, don’t miss the First Saturday Arts Market (548 W. 19th St.), a monthly outdoor art event offering food, live music and art display.
The restaurant scene in the Heights runs the gamut from upscale to down home cuisine, quiet cafes to lively patios.
Alice Blue (250 W 19th St.) is a modern bistro serving up a killer cold fried chicken as well as delicious pastas and classic cocktails. Ritual (602 Studewood St #1729) balances steaks, chops and ribs with vegetarian dishes and boasts a laid back bar to boot. Laissez les bons temps rouler at BB's (2701 White Oak Dr.), the self-described home of Tex-Orleans cooking. You can’t go wrong with either the shrimp po boy or the seafood gumbo. Better yet, get both. Colivare (3320 White Oak Dr.) does pizza and pasta to perfection and their vegetable garden adds more than just ambiance. Down House (1801 Yale St.) bills themselves as a locavore-friendly spot but the burgers and steaks are on point as well.
Field & Tide (705 E 11th St.) offers up a variety of Gulf Coast seafood. A favorite is the Fried oysters and Brussel sprouts appetizer. You’re welcome. Go to Mastrantos (927 Studewood St #100) for their house-made pastas or inventive brunch options. Hopdoddy Burger Bar (449 W 19th St suite d-100) dishes out burgers with unconventional toppings you didn’t even know you were craving, until you do. A roast beef and swiss on sourdough or smoked salmon on rye at Common Bond (449 West 19th Street Suite #B-100)? Decisions, decisions. Bellissimo’s (1848 Airline) might be the city’s most underrated restaurant. The Caesar salad and calamari are stars and there’s only a $5 corking fee for BYOB. Lastly, the Red Snapper a la Plancha at nearby Tampico Seafood (2115 Airline) is a must try. Enjoy it with a spicy Michelada.
You’ll find it hard to keep yourself to just window shopping on 19th Street, which is one of the city’s most walkable streets.
Start at Casa Ramirez (241 W. 19th St.), for Mexican dresses, folk art, Dia de los Muertos items, bilingual children’s books, cookbooks and other specialty items. Nearby Jubilee (325 W. 19th St.) keeps the fun in fashion and also has a lot of quirky things for the home.
The nose knows at Penzey’s (156 W. 19th St.) where you can get spices from around the globe, or make your own rub. Tea Sip (321 W 19th St, Ste. A) curates teas, like the Beach Bum or the Spiced Peaches, for you to take home and brew.
Neighborhood bookstore The Lift on 19th (365 W 19th St.) can set you up with a great read to lose yourself in while you sip.
Elsewhere in the Heights, C & D Hardware (314 E 11th St.) will surprise you with its offerings having little to do with nuts and bolts.
For gardeners, Another Place in Time (421 W. 11th St.) is celebrating their 20 year anniversary with a bright array of tropical plants. Heights Mercantile on Yale has brought in a number of popular tenants such as custom eyeglass shop Warby Parker, men’s dry goods store Rye 51, and Chubbies where you can snag some shorts that telegraph your intention to have fun. The soon to come M-K-T development on Shepherd has Anjouil's Boutique and jewelry store Burdlife signed as tenants.