Walkable Houston: Arts District Houston

Sunday Streets | Photo courtesy of the Arts District Houston

While Houstonians definitely love their cars, there are nooks and crannies of the city that are best explored by foot. In our Walkable Houston series, we traverse those districts to find the prettiest parks, hottest restaurants and bars, coolest local art and shops, and most visit-worthy hidden gems.

With a half-mile walking radius, the Arts District Houston enriches the culture of Houston via arts and creative studios and galleries, dining and shops, public art installations and more.

At its heart is Sawyer Yards, a creative campus spanning over 55 acres of industrial warehouses. The area is roughly bound by the Memorial to the south, Spring Street to the north, Houston Ave to the east, and Sawyer to the west.

Play & Explore

  • The Silos at Sawyer Yards – The Silos offer over 80,000 square feet of private art studios and creative space, home to around 120 established and emerging artists and SITE Gallery, a site-specific alternative art space with a honeycomb footprint that is housed in the base of the old rice silos. Check out the calendar for upcoming events.
  • Silver Street Studios – With 20,000 square feet and 68 creative studios, this arts and event complex hosts some of the city’s coolest events, from pop-up shops, flea markets, and fitness classes to parties, art strolls, and food happenings. Follow the calendar to see what’s next.
  • Spring Street Studios – Set in the former Harris Moving & Storage Building, this refurbished building houses 80 unique studios and an extensive corridor gallery. Check out the calendar for upcoming events.
  • Summer Street Studios – This Sawyer Yards art complex has 24 workspaces for artists and creative entrepreneurs. Look out for upcoming events on Facebook.
  • Winter Street Studios – Another one of the repurposed warehouses comprising Sawyer Yards, Winter Street Studios is the home of 75 art studios for over 87 local artists. Follow its calendar for upcoming events.
  • Second Saturdays – On the second Saturday of each month, Sawyer Yards hosts its “Second Saturday” event, as artists of The Silos, Silver Street, Summer Street, and Winter Street Studios open their studios to the public from noon to 5pm and the artists of Spring Street open from 2pm to 7pm. Spend the afternoon wandering through the repurposed warehouses to discover paintings and sculptures, jewelry and clothing, photography and printmaking, textiles and mixed media, and more. You’ll also find The Market at Sawyer Yards, featuring folk art, artisan crafts, and specialty foods. The events are free and open to the public.
  • The Shops at Sawyer Yards – The up-and-coming Shops at Sawyer Yards is a 40,000 square foot urban redevelopment project, located at the corner of Edwards and Sawyer.
  • Station Theater – Check out live improv and comedy at this independent performance theater. Budding artists can also participate in improv and sketch classes and workshops. The Theater is located on Houston Ave.
  • Glenwood Cemetery – Walk the beautiful paths of the nearby Glenwood Cemetery, established as a private cemetery in 1871 and built on a site with a distinctive natural feature. The cemetery gates are open to the public every day from 7am to 5pm, with docent-guided walking tours available four times a year by reservation only.
  • “Rail to the Sea” Mural – Located at 1505 Sawyer, this colorful 5,000 square foot mural was created by local artist Janavi M. Folmsbee, who took inspiration from the sea to represent the bright and vibrant nature of Houston’s art community.
  • FotoFest International – This non-profit photographic arts organization offers year-round programming and exhibitions.
  • Writespace – This grassroots literary arts organization supports writers through writing workshops, festivals, manuscript consultations, readings, open mics, and other events.
  • WAPilates – This small and focused pilates boutique offers mat and reformer classes.
  • Mildred’s Umbrella Theater – This local theatre company offers fresh, innovative works and performances, with a focus on empowering female playwrights, actors, and directors.

Eat & Drink

  • B&B Butchers & Restaurant – Grab a New York-style deli sandwich in the bespoke butcher shop, or head into the restaurant for a full-on, classic steakhouse experience. Bonus: the rooftop patio boasts views of the Downtown skyline.
  • Café Brussels – Hit his Houston Ave café for Belgian eats with Houston soul, from mussels and frites to beef stew cooked in beer.
  • Catalina Coffee – This popular coffee shop rocks Amaya roasts, loose leaf teas, and a roundup of fresh pastries.
  • Darkhorse Tavern – Hangout in a 1920s-era building with a full bar, dart board, jukebox, and free popcorn.
  • Holler Brewing Company – Located in Sawyer Yards, this local taproom brews suds from the dark and roasty Looyah Milk Stout to the aggressively hopped Loudly Double IPA.
  • Liberty Station – Enjoy patio beers at this fan favorite neighborhood bar, and look out for the rotating selection of food trucks parked outside.
  • Local Pho Vietnamese Noodles – Get grilled pork bahn mi and pho loaded with brisket, meatball, and tripe at this Vietnamese slurphouse in Sawyer Yards.
  • Julep – Stop for a mint julep at one of Houston’s hottest (and appropriately named) bars, the Southern cocktailery, Julep.
  • Platypus Brewing – You’ll find Texan heart and Australian soul at this Washington Ave brewery, where the suds are crafted with rare Australian hops. The brainchild of two Aussie blokes and a Texas gal, the brewery also rocks eats like wings, fish n’ chips, and Aussie specialties like meat pies and sausage rolls.
  • Stanton City Bites – Just a few blocks north of Washington on the hood’s east end, this cult classic burger joint has been keeping locals well fed since it was first established as a grocery store in 1961.
  • Tacodeli – Tacos are stuffed with everything from migas and housemade chorizo to Gulf shrimp and pollo adobo at this Austin import, set on Washington Ave.
  • Taqueria Barba Taco Truck – You’ll find this taco truck tucked away behind Catalina Coffee and open daily from 8am to 3pm.

Shop & Support Local

  • Cutthroat Barbers – A nostalgic barbershop with a hip, modern vibe, Cutthroat offers haircuts and beard trims, full and partial shaves, and buzz cuts and shampoos. Even better? Every cut comes with a complimentary beverage.
  • Frame Tek – Get custom framing and expert craftsmanship at this art frame shop.
  • METTLE by FMW|fablab – Head to the Silos at Sawyer Yards to check out this retail showroom, offering custom designed furniture, art, hospitality installations, and everyday wares using metal and wood.
  • Reserve Supply Co. – This cool men’s store takes its style cues from music, art, skateboarding, and more.
  • Unbridaled – Located in the Silos on Sawyer, this bridal shop rocks dresses from Bohemian to modern.
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Brooke Viggiano is a food and lifestyle writer residing in Houston. When she's not contributing to publications like 365 Things to Do in Houston, Thrillist Houston and the Houston Press, she's on the hunt for the coolest happenings in the city. You can follow her musings on Twitter @BrookeViggiano .