5 Must Do Things in Upper Kirby & Greenway Plaza

Photo courtesy of Kirby Ice House

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

Named for one of the main streets that runs through it (which was named after successful businessman and “The Father of Industrial Texas,” John Henry Kirby), Upper Kirby and the neighboring Greenway Plaza are part of a booming commercial district. With a plethora of restaurants, boutiques, and thriving businesses, there are gems lining every nook and cranny. So let’s take a look at a few.

Note: For the purposes of this list, Upper Kirby and Greenway Plaza are defined by the area covered in this map.

5 Must Do Things in Upper Kirby & Greenway Plaza

  1. Go fresh at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market – Open Saturdays year round, rain or shine, Urban Harvest’s Eastside Market is hands down the most popular farmers market in the city. It only takes one visit to see why. Packed with fresh and organic produce from new and multi-generation farmers, local artisans crafting everything from seasonal jam and crusty bread to luxurious soaps and fresh-cut flowers, stands fulfilling your morning needs with hot coffee and breakfast tacos (and cupcakes!), and a lineup of live music and demos from Houston’s top culinary talent, it’s the place to be on Saturday mornings. 8am to noon. Click here for directions.
  2. Hit Houston’s gold standards of dining – Some of the best spots in town call this neighborhood home. Start with a brunch to remember at Indian-fusion restaurant Pondicheri, then hit its upstairs Bake Lab to pick up extra goodies. Sushi lovers claim Kata Robata to be one of Houston’s greatest, and who are we to argue? Chef Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi wows with razor-sharp cuts and impeccable raw creations, but you won’t want to miss the spicy soy milk ramen, either. Tiny Boxwoods boasts fresh bistro fare, a picturesque garden, and seasonal outdoor movie screenings, making it perfect for a date night. The Hotspot State of Grace rocks its very own Oyster Room worth checking out; and the food court in Greenway Plaza is plenty of reason to go underground, with trendy and exciting dwellers including burger-chan, Patrick Feges and Chef Erin Smith‘s Feges BBQ and The Rice Box. Those looking for fine dining can treat themselves to a top-notch meal at Tony’s, Chef Tony Vallone’s white table-clothed, Milan-inspired restaurant that boasts exquisite housemade pasta, world-class steaks and chops, and a killer soufflé. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, you’re not a Houstonian until you’ve had a slice of Bayou Goo from the beloved House of Pies.
  3. Get entertained – Have a drink or two and enjoy outside-the-box live music and sketch comedy at the cabaret showhouse, Music Box Theater. Established in 1990, McGonigel’s Mucky Duck is the spot for live music, boasting a lineup of country, rock, and Americana acts from near and far. And if you’re looking to let loose in the great outdoors, the newer Levy Park features a performance pavilion, activity lawn, interactive playground with water features, dog park, beautiful promenade, and community gardens. Lookout for a lineup of activities, from boot camp and kids yoga to programs from the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
  4. Find the perfect gift – Whether it’s a gift for yourself or a gift for a friend, you’ll most definitely be able to find something in this neighborhood. Kuhl-Linscomb is a shopping mecca, where you’ll find five massive buildings housing a seemingly endless library of antique and modern furniture, houseware, clothing and jewelry, children’s toys, cosmetics, and all kinds thingamabobs that would put Princess Ariel’s collection to shame. Over at West Ave, upscale shops from apparel and decor to beauty and spa, are lined up and waiting. There’s a shop from men’s American luxury brand Rye 51, the refreshingly awesome Milk + Honey Spa, and the 35,000 square-foot specialty fashion boutique Tootsies, to name a few.
  5. Unwind with some drinks – For the ultimate laidback hang, chill out at Kirby Ice House, where the crowd sipping local suds in the expansive yard is as relaxed as ever; or head to The Cellar Bar for a night of pool, arcade games, and stiff drinks. If Pinot is more your thing, you’re in luck, because this tiny ‘hood is stacked with wine bars. Get cozy over wonderfully curated selections at the European-style Oporto Café or the California-influenced Sonoma Wine Bar. At the buzzed-about, new kid on the block, Beckrew Wine House, get wine flights featuring small vineyard choices and sip espresso alongside small plates and pizzas. On Mondays and Tuesdays, you can even get a Margherita pizza free when you buy a bottle of wine. The Napa-style CRÚ Food & Wine Bar runs a similar special on “Pizza Mondays” when the purchase of a bottle earns you any pizza from the menu on the house.
Photo courtesy of Urban Harvest Farmers Market | Photo: Adam Brackman
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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 .