When you see the stainless-steel rings above each intersection, you know you’re in the right place. A shopper’s nirvana, the Uptown/Galleria area boasts more than 700 retailers, restaurants and hotels in two square miles, roughly bordered by 610 on the east and Chimney Rock to the west, with Uptown Park and Richmond to the north and south.
“The Galleria is iconic,” said realtor Becky Davis. “But there are so many other aspects to the area that make it special too. If you want to live in the center of things, Uptown should definitely be on your radar.”
More than 180,000 residents, in large part under 40, call the area home. And it is one of the largest business districts in the country, too, with 2,000 companies who’ve settled in.
"Uptown has something for everyone. If you're headed to a meeting or want to grab a glass of wine, walk your dog or shop for prom dresses, Uptown is the place to celebrate life's ordinary and extraordinary moments," said John R. Breeding, president of Uptown Houston District.
The perfect spot to have a picnic or take your wedding or quinceañera photos, the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park (2800 Post Oak Blvd.), features more than 2 acres of green space and almost 200 oak trees. The showstopper of this public park though is the 64-foot fountain that cycles through 11,000 gallons of water per minute. The nearby Williams Tower was named Skyscraper of the Century a while back by Texas Monthly. At 901 feet, it’s the tallest building in Houston, outside of downtown, and at night sends a 7,000-watt beacon across the sky.
Another building worth a visit is St. Martin's Episcopal Church (717 Sage), which offers free tours to the public. The church’s exterior was modeled on St. Elisabeth’s Church in Marburg, Germany—the country’s oldest Gothic church. St. Martin’s bells have a story too. They were cast by the same company that produced the Liberty Bell.
Nature lovers will lose themselves in the 10+ trails at Houston Arboretum & Nature Center (4501 Woodway Dr.) which also offers educational programs and guided walk. Nearby, the Clay Family Eastern Glades adds 100 acres of parkland to Memorial Park. The 5 ½-acre Hines Lake and wetlands trails are a hit with walkers and joggers.
Staycation anyone? The Italian-inspired Hotel Granduca (1080 Uptown Park Blvd.), is right across the street from all the shopping, but if you’re just looking to cocoon or sneak in a staycation, that’s OK too. Making its debut in 2008, The Post Oak Hotel is a $350 million, 38-story entry in the luxury hotel market. It includes a Forbes Five-Star Spa and even has helicopter access. If you crave even more pampering, the nearby Serente Spa (4801 Woodway Dr.), does all the things you would expect, and maybe a few things you don’t, like oxygen inhalation in Serente’s Zero Gravity chair.
Once rejuvenated, head over to the Galleria for a little retail therapy or maybe to indulge your inner Dorothy Hamill at the indoor ice skating rink, Ice at the Galleria (5015 Westheimer), where talent is not a pre-requisite for participation.
In 2017, the 50-year theatre company A.D. Players moved from Upper Kirby to 5420 Westheimer. The Jeannette and L.M. George Theater opened with To Kill A Mockingbird, in February 2017, and does four or five shows a year of both new and renowned plays. The Rooftop Cinema Club (1700 Post Oak Blvd.) is the way to go to see recently run and classic films. Personal headphones, deckchairs, cozy blankets and a full bar complete the experience. Ready to be a karaoke king or queen? At Spotlight Karaoke (5901 Westheimer), the drinks just make everyone extra talented.
You’d better come hungry to Chama Gaúcha Brazilian Steakhouse (5865 Westheimer), where even the salad bar is a carnivore’s delight. The protein keeps coming until you cry uncle.
If you have a hankering for seafood instead, make a stop at Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught’s Caracol (2200 Post Oak Blvd., Ste 160) for the Ostiones en su Concha, which are Gulf oysters on the half shell, with salsa bruja and lime. While you’re at it, try some Spanish octopus too.
At The Annie Café & Bar (1800 Post Oak Blvd, Ste. 6170), James Beard Award winner Robert Del Grande has returned to the Southwestern cuisine that made the original Café Annie so loved. And the terrace in good weather can’t be beat. Voulez-vous escargot? Head over to Etoile Cuisine et Bar (1101-11 Uptown Park Blvd.), where the cozy, yet glam, farmhouse feel adds to the French dining experience.
To cap off the night, stop by llaollao (5085 Westheimer Rd), for a frozen yogurt fondue or a yogurt garnished waffle. When you go to the French Riviera Bakery & Café (3100 Chimney Rock Road, Ste B), don’t leave without sampling their croissants, which get a lot of online love. They serve lunch, too, but try it for breakfast first. If your sweet tooth isn’t sated yet, grab a stool at Crave Cupcakes (1151 Uptown Park Blvd. #06), where they bake throughout the day to ensure maximum yumminess of their product.
You can’t talk shopping in this area without giving homage to the grand dame of them all—the Houston Galleria, which attracts more than 24 million visitors each year. While many Galleria stores have their devotees, one of the best loved is Nordstrom (5192 Hidalgo St.), where the customer service, and the shoe department, are legendary. Follow the column of palm trees down Westheimer to nearby Highland Village with a bevy of stores including Z Gallerie, Vineyard Vines and luxury bootmaker Lucchesse.
Uptown Park is another destination with distinctive retail offerings like Jumper Maybach’s “Artistic Boutique” featuring art exhibitions, rotating performance art, furniture, apparel, accessories and more. At Top Drawer Lingerie (1101 Uptown Park Blvd.), the offerings are a little more delicate, and luxurious. Ladies, stop in for a fitting. High Gloss (1131-06 Uptown Park Blvd.), owned by identical twins Lisa and Kim Glosserman, is your stop for handmade jewelry, sure to be one of a kind.
Luxury stores abound in the area, but for a top-notch experience—even if you don’t have the bank account to match—try Hermes of Paris (4444 Westheimer Rd Suite B100), where the sales associates won’t have you pulling a Julia Roberts a la Pretty Woman.
Tenenbaum & Co (4310 Westheimer Rd #100) offers both new and estate jewelry from the most prestigious lines, from Tiffany & Co., to Van Cleef and Arpels to Harry Winston. Luxury shopping, but for those looking for a “Do,” the pieces are also truly museum worthy.
Two furniture showrooms worth a look are Ethan Allen (1131-10 Uptown Park Blvd.), and Quatrine Home (2040 W Gray St #100). The first does traditional and contemporary, while the second will create a showstopping custom piece.