5 Must Do Things in the Galleria & Uptown

Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park | Photo courtesy of Uptown Houston

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. Originally published in 2016, we are now refreshing, updating, and adding to this series, including new neighborhoods and destinations.

With the largest shopping mall in Texas, over 700 retailers lining the streets, and ample opportunities to wine and dine, this luxurious neighborhood is the shopping mecca of Houston. That shopping mall, by the way, draws over 30 million visitors annually. Here, we take a look at the Galleria and some of the other fun awaiting in this high-end district.

Note: For the purposes of this list, the Galleria and Uptown are defined as the area bound by South Voss to the west, I-610 to the east, I-10 to the north and Southwest Fwy to the south.

5 Must Do Things Around the Galleria & in Uptown

  1. Shop ‘til you drop – If you want to shop in Houston, this is the neighborhood to do it in. Most obviously, you’ll want to hit the Galleria, where you’ll find a seemingly endless line of big name and couture retailers and high-end boutiques, including Céline, Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus. There’s even an ice-skating rink (in case you didn’t wear yourself out shopping). For an al fresco experience, peruse the streets of Uptown Park, an upscale mall featuring everything from fine furniture and cigars to designer kids clothing. Near Post Oak, you’ll also find huge retailers like DSW, Nordstrom Rack, and The Container Store.
  2. Wine and dine – Not surprisingly, the Galleria has an expansive dining scene to match the shopping. Kenny & Ziggy’s serves up authentic NY-style delicatessen in the form of triple-decker sandwiches with housemade pastrami, corned beef, and roast turkey. Don’t miss the matzo ball soup, knish, and egg creams, either. Part café and patisserie, part casual eatery and part elegant dining room, La Table is perfect for a visit any time of the day. Its delectable eats run the gamut from croquet monsieur and croissants to caramelized cheese soufflé and parmesan-crusted rack of lamb. Over in Uptown Park, Etoile Cuisine et Bar is another French stunner. For incredible dry-aged beef, you’ll want to head to hometown hero, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse; seafood lovers should check out the Mexican-inspired Peska Seafood Culture and Caracol, and those looking to try something new can get a taste of South African fare at Peli Peli in The Galleria. The Galleria also hosts the stunning imports like Yauatcha, a contemporary dim sum tea house, and Nobu, a world-renowned sushi restaurant. In The Post Oak Hotel, the swanky Mastro’s Steakhouse offers another luxurious experience, complete with indulgent seafood towers, a 20,000-bottle wine library, and masterfully done steaks, from petite filet to a 48-ounce double cut porterhouse.
  3. Get your sweet on – The bakery and dessert offerings are just as sweet. Chocolate boutique Cacao & Cardamom will change the way you think about chocolate, with high-quality chocolate bars and truffles incorporating unexpected flavors like Szechuan peppercorn, lavender, and garam masala in addition to the classics. Araya Artisan Chocolate also offers irresistible gourmet chocolates alongside French macarons. At Flo Paris, enjoy Nutella crepes with a dark hot chocolate; at Creamistry, ice cream is frozen and crafted on the spot; and at the soufflé restaurant and wine bar Rise n°2, praline pecan and grand Marnier soufflés are pretty much a necessity. And the sweetness continues at luxury candy boutique, Sugarfina, which rocks grown-up treats like rosé-infused gummy bears and tequila grapefruit sours.
  4. Take a picture at the Waterwall – Sitting opposite the Williams Tower, the showpiece of the 2.77 acre Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park is the 64-foot tall, semi-circular fountain dubbed “The Waterwall.” Designed to look like a “horseshoe of rushing water,” the cascading fountain re-circulates 11,000 gallons of water per minute. The public park also boasts over 100 live oak trees, making it the ideal spot for a lazy afternoon picnic. Click here for directions.
  5. Treat yourself at the spa – Some of Houston’s most luxurious hotels call this neighborhood home. The Houstonian hosts a 17,000 square foot luxury spa house, the Trellis Spa, featuring 20 treatment rooms, an indoor float pool, fireplace, and tranquil room. Services range from body wraps and facials to aromatherapy massages and glow scrubs. At the Omni Hotel, the Mokara Spa offers Texas-inspired treatments, like the Texas Coastal Herb Poultice Massage or the Texas Chardonnay Therapy Facial. And standalone spa and retail boutique Fiori boasts a Tuscan villa feel with luxury service that will leave you relaxed and uplifted.
Photo courtesy of The Galleria
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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 .