Houston Museum District food + non-museum recommendations
March 16, 2022 6:05 AM   Subscribe

I'll be in Houston for the 1st time for a wedding this weekend, and have a free day on the other side of it - I'm going to hit some of the museums, and am looking for some add-on recommendations.

I'm staying near the Galleria (for the wedding), but planning on spending a good chunk of Sunday in the Museum District, mainly to visit the Menil Collection (already have a ticket) and the Museum of Fine Arts. I'll likely walk down to Hermann Park at some point.

I know almost nothing about Houston, so am looking for tips locals have for other things worth checking out in the vicinity of either. Especially interested in: real Mexican food, game, record, + book shops, graffiti/street art, community gardens, smaller/private galleries in the area, public libraries, interesting movie theaters (hoping to find something to see Sun. night), and a good, old bar (not fancy). Thank you in advance, Texas hivemind.
posted by ryanshepard to Travel & Transportation around Houston, TX (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Native Houstonian here. For a good old, really old, bar try La Carafe downtown. It is on Market Square. I think they serve only beer and wine. But I believe it is only of the oldest buildings in Houston. For a hipster dive bar try Poison Girl on Westheimer.
posted by jtexman1 at 6:54 AM on March 16, 2022

Vinal Edge is a fantastic record store and is located on a fun, walkable street in the Heights neighborhood.
posted by Tuba Toothpaste at 7:16 AM on March 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I grew up there! Be sure to stop in the Rothko Chapel while you're at the Menil, it's next door and there's just the one room of art. Excellent place for some quiet time, too.

The public library branch in the Montrose is pretty nice and in the museum district. That whole area (centered on Westheimer) is a lovely, interesting neighborhood. It's where you'll find small art galleries too.

"Real Mexican" could mean several things. Hugo's is the place folks have been excited about the past few years. It's Mexico Cityish, fancified, and very good. Classic Tex-Mex cuisine is sadly in decline. Ninfa's on Navigation is a good option for this; it got bought and updated a bit a few years ago and was quite good last time I went. It's a modest drive from the Museum District. (My last visit to both places was pre-Covid.)

There are lots of other great restaurants in Houston: Cajun, Creole, Vietnamese, Southern, Barbecue, Nigerian all have strong presence.
posted by Nelson at 8:22 AM on March 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh a slightly oddball suggestion on bar: the Alabama Icehouse. At least if the weather outside is reasonable. When I was growing up this was literally an ice house, they sold ice, and also some cold beer. It's grown into a big beer garden and is a good combination of relaxed, social, and nice without being too hipster or overdone.

This 2015 feature in Saveur has some other restaurant ideas.
posted by Nelson at 9:06 AM on March 16, 2022

Sound Exchange is the best record store in Houston (tied with Vinal Edge, of course). While you're at Menil and Rothko, you should go to the Cy Twombly gallery, it's right there, and it's gorgeous.
posted by unknowncommand at 6:11 PM on March 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For Tex-Mex, you'll be nearish Tapatia on Richmond, which people like, but there's also a great taco truck called Tacos Tierra Caliente that's immediately across from the W. Alabama Ice House, if you go there (which you absolutely should).
posted by unknowncommand at 6:26 PM on March 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Quarter price books is not far from the Museum district. Cactus music is easy walking distance from Quarter price. Nan's comics and games is just on the other side of the freeway. Also, Amy's ice cream is love.

Asgard Games is now two blocks west of the Menil.

Rice University is nearby, and has a Turrell


Rice Village is a hip shopping district, with a special shoutout to Murder by the Book. Absolute yes. The halfprice books there might be worth a stop as well. And see what else is interesting.

Smither park is small and neat, and the Orange Show is..... something.

Goode Company Armadillo Palace is always spoken of fondly. Molina's Cantina is a short car ride, maybe bus ride from the Museum district. I'd go to Ninfas though, because I've loved Ninfas since childhood and don;t feel the need to branch out lol.

It might be worthwhile to see what Discovery Green is doing that day, maybe cool, maybe nothing.
posted by Jacen at 8:08 PM on March 16, 2022

« Older Autopsy reports   |   Music Videos to teach POV and perspective Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.