In “My Top 5” we turn the spotlight on Houstonians who leading and helping to shape our city and its culture. This week, we’re very pleased to feature Anne Olson, president of Buffalo Bayou Partnership, who is heading up the renovations of both Buffalo Bayou Park and the Sunset Coffee Building, and share her favorite things to do in Houston.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Anne Olson
- Walking around my Woodland Heights neighborhood – I live in Woodland Heights just outside downtown. It is a great neighborhood to walk in and to ride your bike. It’s filled with lovely historic homes that have porches…a rarity in Houston. We love to just sit on our neighbor’s porch, chat and have a drink of wine. We have lived in the neighborhood for over 30 years and have seen many changes but it is still a great place to live. Every Christmas we have Lights in the Heights. This event has become a holiday tradition not just for Woodland Heights residents but people throughout the city.
- Shopping Destinations – My favorite shopping destinations are Thompson & Hanson gift shop on Alabama, Anthropologie on Westheimer in Highland Village, and a store that is called Installations which used to be in the Heights but is moving to the Near Northside. Thompson & Hanson’s store is filled with garden gifts and beautiful French primitive furniture. Anthropologie always has unique clothing, housewares, books, etc. However, what I like best of all are the store’s window displays…always unique and creative. Installations’ is amazing. It specializes in industrial antiques. Since one of the owners is Dutch, they always have items from Holland. Though it’s not at its Heights location anymore, It should open in several months at the new location, just north of North Main Street, east of I-45.
- Rice Design Alliance Programs – I like to attend programs put on by the Rice Design Alliance. The organization always has interesting speakers who focus on architecture, urban design and art. The programs are usually held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Over the years, I’ve heard a coterie of national and internationally recognized speakers.
- The Menil Collection – Not only is the Menil one my favorite Houston museums, but also the neighborhood in which it is located. I love the architecture of the buildings and the new café is great. The nearby bungalows (all painted the same gray) remind me of the bungalows in my Woodland Heights neighborhood. It is understated and simple, yet beautiful. There are always people just sitting on the Menil’s lawn and in a small park nearby. And when I visited recently I noticed a nearby community garden sponsored by the University of St. Thomas. A not-to-be-missed exhibit is the current The Infinity Machine in the Byzantine Fresco Chapel.
- Rice Gallery – Another favorite museum is the Rice Gallery at Rice University. The museum specializes in temporary public art. I’m always amazed by the artists that have exhibitions there. The gallery is very small but it’s always transformed into something really spectacular.
About Anne Olson
Anne Olson is president of Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP), an organization overseeing beautification and revitalization activities along Houston’s historic Buffalo Bayou. Over the past 20 years, Anne and the BBP board have raised and leveraged more than $150 million in private and public funds for the waterway’s redevelopment Anne has overseen the award-winning $1.3 million Buffalo Bayou and Beyond master plan, and developed a comprehensive bayou enhancement program that includes land acquisition, trail and park development, robust programming, and permanent and temporary public art. She has masters’ degrees in journalism and library science and has served as director of public relations for Houston Public Library and executive director of Houston’s East End Area Chamber of Commerce. In 1988, she also created and produced the original Lights in the Heights celebration in the Woodland Heights, which has gone on to become one of Houston’s favorite winter holiday celebrations.