Walkable Houston: Navigation Boulevard in the East End

Courtesy of East End Farmer's Market

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.

A jewel of the East End, the Navigation Boulevard esplanade offers a taste of history, culture, and entertainment, making it destination worth visiting. Take a walk around the vibrant district and experience authentic eats, arts and more.

Play & Explore

  • Navigation EsplanadeStroll the esplanade, which features solar LED lamps, benches an old-fashioned iron archway, and imagery of the original industry in the East End: shipping, railroads, and oil. The esplanade also plays home to a lineup of fun events, including spring’s Tacos Over Texas festival, the annual Frida Festival, the East End Street Fest, and Tamale Festival Houston at the year’s end.
  • Guadalupe Plaza ParkAlongside historic elements like a restored fountain and memorial tree, Guadalupe Plaza Park boasts family-friendly amenities, green spaces, and a splash pad.
  • Talento Bilingue de HoustonAt the north end of Guadalupe Plaza Park, this bilingual theater and arts education center focuses on the Latino arts experience through performances, music and film festivals, and galleries.

Eat & Drink

  • The Original Ninfa’s on NavigationFeeding locals since 1973, this Navigation institution sparked Houston’s fajita craze with thanks to its addicting outside skirt steak, darkened and served straight from a sizzling hot comal alongside scratch-made tortillas. Get it alongside everything from Oaxacan-style pork tamales and Gulf shrimp enchiladas to wood-grilled Texas redfish and fajita burgers.
  • El Tiempo CantinaThis beloved Tex-Mex spot offers boozy margs, killer chile con queso, sloppy enchiladas, churrasco-style carne asada and more.
  • Dona Maria Hit this Mexican café for enchiladas, tacos, and huevos rancheros on the cheap.
  • Merida Mexican This authentic Navigation Boulevard spot is known for dishes like cochinita pibil and handmade empanadas yucatecas.
  • Villa ArcosSee why Villa Arcos’ super breakfast tacos have become an East End staple.
  • Andes CafeLocated on Canal, this South American kitchen offers flavors from Venezuela to Peru, with dishes like Peruvian lomo saltado, Argentinean choripan, and Ecuadorian salchipapas.
  • Moon Tower Inn A block away on Canal, Moon Tower Inn a fantastic, 66-tap lineup of brews and outrageous creations like duck dogs with apple brandy and a fiery cheeseburger packed with 13 chiles. The chill ice house is also known to host movie nights, crawfish boils, and all other kinds of fun shenanigans in its sprawling yard.
  • The Original Alamo TamalesThis tamale house uses old-school family recipes to make grandma-style tamales in flavors like spicy pork, chicken, beef, jalapeño and cheese, and bean.

Shop & Support Local

  • East End Street MarketOn Sundays from 10am to 2pm, the East End Street Market stretches along the Navigation esplanade. The local farmers and street market has grown to house over 30 vendors in its first year. Head here for organic produce and eggs, artisan cheeses and baked goods, flowers, crafts, art, jewelry and more. Be sure to check out the 4th Friday Night Market, too.
  • La Familia Meat MarketHit this East End market to pick up specialty meats, baked goods and tacos.  
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Brooke Viggiano
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 .