5 Must Do Things in The East End

Photo courtesy of East End District

In our series of Must Do Things Around Greater Houston, we take a look at Houston’s vast array of neighborhoods to bring you five fun, tasty, and enticing reasons you should give each a visit. 

Located between Downtown to the East and the Port of Houston to the west, this sprawling neighborhood is rich in history and in culture. Not only is the district home to the Harrisburg community, an early Texas trading post that was once considered for the initial development of Houston by the Allen brothers, it is also home to two of Houston’s oldest Hispanic neighborhoods, Magnolia Park, and Second Ward.

With a thriving art scene, the expanding of the Brays Bayou trails and the light rail, and a mix of traditional and modern hitting everything from the housing to the food, there are plenty of reasons to check out this vibrant ‘hood. Here are a few.

Note: For the purposes of the list, the East End District is defined as the area represented on this map.

5 Must Do Things in The East End

  1. Explore the arts, music and culture – Founded in 1977, the Talento Bilingue de Houston has evolved into the largest cultural arts center of its kind in Houston. The bilingual theater focuses on the Latino arts experience through performances, music and film festivals, and galleries. For cutting-edge multi-media dance productions, The Pilot Dance Project is a must see. There’s also the East End Studio Gallery, which works side by side with artists to bring the community art shows, workshops, gallery talks, and educational outreach programs. With an awesome rotation of bands, cheap beers, and a dive bar attitude, Satellite Bar has become a hotspot for live music fans.
  2. Spend Sunday at the East End Street Market – Stretched along the Navigation esplanade, this 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 local food trucks. Afterward, take a stroll along the esplanade to explore more neighborhood gems. Sundays 10am to 2pm. Click here for directions.
  3. Taste the OG fajitas at The Original Ninfa’s on NavigationWhile this ‘hood has no shortage of authentically awesome Mexican and Tex-Mex eats (The Original Villa Arcos’ excellent breakfast tacos being just one example), you have to try the fajitas that sparked Houston’s fajita craze at least once. Mama Ninfa first began feeding locals from a small taco stand (and later a restaurant) in 1973. Today, Ninfa’s on Navigation is an institution thanks to their addicting outside skirt steak, darkened and served straight from a sizzling hot comal alongside scratch-made tortillas. Click here for directions.
  4. Have a damn good time at Moon Tower Inn Gourmet wild game weenies and craft suds are the name of the game at this totally chill watering hole. In addition to 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 ice house also hosts movie nights, crawfish boils, and all other kinds of fun shenanigans in their sprawling yard. Click here for directions. And be sure to check out sibling establishment Voodoo Queen Daiquiri Dive, as well.
  5. Take a Sam Houston Boat Tour –  Embark on a free 90-minute round-trip and educational tour along the Houston Ship Channel, complete with passing views of international cargo vessels and operations at Port Houston’s Turning Basin Terminal.The M/V Sam Houston, named after the legendary military commander who led the fight for Texas independence from Mexico and later statehood, has been operating as a public tour vessel since its inaugural voyage in 1958. Holding up to 100 passengers and available to individuals and groups, the 95-foot vessel features air-conditioned lounge seating and standing room outside on the boat’s deck. Reservations are required in advance and can be made online or by calling 713-670-2416. Click here for directions.
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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 .