Walkable Houston: Bagby Park in Midtown

Photo courtesy of Midtown 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.

The accessible area near Bagby Park, including popular streets like Bagby, Gray, Louisiana and McGowen, is full of hidden gems, art pieces, tasty eats and funky watering holes.

Play & Explore

  • Bagby Park – With plenty of greenspace for lawn games like bocce and cornhole, plus a 5,000-square-foot dog park, stage, picnic tables and in-park food kiosk, hanging out at Bagby Park is the perfect way to spend a nice day. Be sure to take a photo with the oversized Midtown letters, and check out the lineup of activities, including Yappy Hour, Wine Down featuring live music and Midtown in Motion interval training and yoga classes. The park is open from 8am to 10pm daily.
  • “Give Advice & Aspire to” Wall – Located in Bagby Park, this inspiring chalkboard wall lets you give your best advice on one side and reflect on your aspirations on the other.
  • The Escape Hunt Experience – See if you have what it takes to complete the challenges and escape the room at this escape hunt on West Gray, which features rooms like Houston We’ve Had a Problem and Murder in Marylebone.
  • Howl at the Moon – This rockin’ dueling piano bar is known to get the party going, open Thursdays through Saturdays from 7pm to 2am. Request a song, sing along, and dance the night away.
  • Midtown Retreat Salon & Day Spa – Unwind at this salon and spa, which offers nail and hair services, massages and facials, lash extensions and more.

Eat & Drink

  • Belle Station – Get good eats, craft cocktails, craft beer, and a party scene at this Gray Street nightlife spot and patio bar. Daily specials include 2-for-1 Burger Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, and Sunday Brunch.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings – Catch a game on the big screen at this popular wing chain, located on Brazos and Gray.
  • Café Layal – Hit the hookah and dig into hummus, shawarma, falafel, and kabob at this Gray Street haunt.
  • Christian’s Tailgate – Stop in this nearby sports bar to see why its one-pound burgers are so popular, and tack on some buttermilk onion rings, while you’re at it. Daily specials include $1 Taco Tuesdays, Steak Night Wednesdays, and Karaoke Saturdays.
  • CoCo Crêpes, Waffles & Coffee – Grab an outdoor table to people watch at this popular café, located right on the Gray Street promenade. Here, you’ll find coffees and teas alongside sweet and savory crepes filled with ingredients from raspberry compote, bananas, and white chocolate mousse to Moroccan sausage and sun-dried tomato pesto, plus waffles and panini.
  • Cyclone Anaya’s – You’ll find this Mexican Kitchen packed on weekends, as locals chow down on everything from frozen margs and mimosas to chilaquiles and enchiladas.
  • Coaches Pub – Escape the party crowd at this chill sports pub, featuring TVs, darts, and choice hot wings.
  • Charivari Restaurant – Hidden away in a strip center near Bagby and McGowen Street, this unexpected gem offers a fine dining experience right in Midtown. Taste European sophistication through dishes like Vienna pork schnitzel, Budapest-style foie gras, and Bavarian roast duck.
  • Dogarz Doner – Head to this sandwich spot for gourmet döner in a fast-casual setting.
  • The Dogwood – One of Midtown’s best patio bars is just a few blocks down on Bagby. Hit it to enjoy spiked sweet tea lemonades, cheap brews, and bites like buffalo shrimp poppers, street tacos, and loaded burgers.
  • The Fish – Located on Gray, The Fish offers Japanese plates, rolls and handrolls, and nigiri and sashimi, plus an excellent happy hour and reverse happy hour.
  • Freshii – Eat and energize as you build your own salads, wraps, burritos, and bowls, or choose one right off the menu.
  • Front Porch – Hit the shotski at this poppin’ Gray Street haunt, which also offers seasonal crawfish boils, tasty pub grub, and specials like Trivia Tuesdays and Tuesday and Thursday Steak Night.
  • Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ – Get shared plates and grill your own meat and veggies at this fun Japanese bbq spot. Don’t forget to add on spicy Korean bibimbap and some s’mores for dessert.
  • Ibiza Food & Wine Bar – On the corner of Louisiana and McGowen, this sultry spot rocks Mediterranean-style small plates, local seafood and meats, and a wall full of wine (at retail prices, nonetheless). Indulge in la plancha-style Portuguese octopus, jamon Iberico, pizza with burrata cheese, chili-crusted redfish, and crispy duck confit.
  • Izakaya – This Japanese gastropub wows with shareable plates, Japanese whiskeys, killer happy hour, and a special ramen brunch. Get eats from fried chicken karaage and yuzu octopus to spicy tuna poke and yakisoba noodles.
  • Komodo Pub  Hit this popular dive for cheap booze and board games in a chill setting.
  • Little Woodrow’s – Known for its sprawling patio and seasonal turtle racing, this fan-favorite sports bar rocks dozens of cheap beers, a full bar, rotating food truck, and plenty of TVs and seating.
  • Maba Pan-Asian Diner – Asian food gets a twist at this unassuming counter-service joint, which dishes out plates from Osso Buco Szechuan salad and crispy skin-on General Tso’s to pho fries and slow-roasted pork belly tacos.
  • Minuti Coffee – See and taste Minuti’s Italian passion for the bean and cup through lattes, cappuccinos, and espresso.
  • Nit Noi Cafe – Set on the corner of Gray and Louisiana, this Thai spot has been serving Houston since 1985. Get laab salad, green curry duck, fried whole tilapia, and stir-fried rice noodles.
  • Oporto Fooding House and Wine – Just a few blocks west on West Gray, Oporto offers Portuguese petiscos (tapas) and boutique wines in a chic, taberna setting. Sip sangria and caipirinha cocktails and share plates of bacala croquettes, Moroccan lamb and beef meatballs, and tomato rice kissed clams, mussels, scallops, prawns, and Gulf snapper.
  • Rico’s Morning Noon + Night – Set right in Bagby Park, this Rico’s is open from early morning ‘til late at night, offering things like mimosas, coffee, smoothies, and all-day breakfast tacos, plus burgers and dogs, fries and salads, kids meals and shakes, beers, and wines.
  • Russo’s New York Pizzeria – Grab a slice or a pie at the Gray Street location of this popular pizza joint.
  • Pub Fiction, 3rd Floor & Irish Cowboy – This powerhouse trio occupies Hadley between Smith and Louisiana. Check out Pub Fiction for game day drinks, burgers, and wings by day and party music by night; head upstairs to 3rd Floor for wines, craft brews, and views of the city; and pop over to Irish Cowboy’s patio for live music, cheap drinks, and a backyard vibe.
  • Shot Bar – Midtown’s favorite late night haunt comes complete with a shot wheel and packed dance floor.
  • Spec’s Deli – Pick up a prosciutto baguette or turkey-avocado sandwich at the deli housed inside Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods.

Shop & Support Local

  • Fluff Bake Bar – Be sure to check out the Saturday morning bake sales at Sugar Fairy Rebecca Masson’s fantastic bake shop, located on Gray. And stop by anytime to fill up on Masson’s famous fluffernutters, snickerdoodles, and cupcakes.
  • Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods –  Located between Smith and Brazos, this massive booze shop offers a library of brews, wines, and liquor, plus everything from gourmet cheeses and salamis to glassware, bar accessories, and gifts.
  • Tiff’s Treats – This cookie delivery shop bakes only keeps a few treats on hand to keep orders as fresh as possible; so call ahead for large orders or stop in to pick up one or two cookies or a Tiffwich ice cream sandwich.
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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 .