Walkable Houston: Mid Main in Midtown

Photo courtesy of Mid Main 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.

Located in Houston’s Midtown Cultural Arts and Entertainment District, the soulful Mid Main neighborhood sits along the 3500-3700 blocks of Main Street, right between the Texas Medical Center and Downtown. Take a stroll and you’ll find galleries and theaters, shops and arts, bars and restaurants and more.

Note: For the purposes of this list, the walkable area of Mid Main spreads from Elgin to Alabama, between Louisiana/Milam and Fannin.

Play & Explore

  • First ThursdaysThe Mid Main district puts on a block party the first Thursday of every month, with local businesses, live music, art and more. Look out for details and other upcoming events on Facebook.
  • The Continental Club – This lively music club is a destination for roots rock, Gulf Coast soul, traditional country and blues, rockabilly, and garage rock. Be sure to also check out sister spot Shoeshine Charley’s Big Top Lounge, a bar and dance club offering live music and plenty of good times.
  • Escape the Room Midtown – You’ll have 60 minutes to complete your mission at this themed escape room experience, located in a nearby courtyard off Louisiana and Stuart.
  • MATCH Houston Set on Main and the light rail, the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston rocks four performance spaces, three rehearsal studios, 3000 square feet of gallery space, and offices for up to 60 arts professionals, providing a collaborative space for dance, music, theater, film, visual art, and more.
  • The Catastrophic Theatre  Located at MATCH, this ensemble-based theater company strives to put on provocative new works that connect the artists and audience.
  • DiverseWorks You’ll also find this collaborative art community at MATCH, where it offers commissions, produces, and presents new and daring art in all its forms.
  • The Ensemble Theatre Founded in 1976, this Main Street theater strives to preserves African-American artistic expression to a myriad of audiences. It is the oldest and largest professional African-American theatre in the Southwest and one of the nation’s largest African-American theater companies owning and operating its facility and producing in-house.
  • Art Square Studios on Main These studios offer an idea cultivating environment for artists of all kinds, from painters and graphic designers to photographers and fashion designers. Look out for open houses and upcoming events online.

Eat & Drink

  • Alley Kat Bar & Lounge This cool cat’s bar and lounge sits near the corner of Main and West Alabama, offering live music, whiskey Wednesdays, poetry nights and more.
  • The Breakfast Klub This fan-favorite breakfast and lunch spot is known to draw in a weekend crowd thanks to its signature wings & waffles and catfish & grits.
  • Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails Get caffeinated and boozed up at this coffee and cocktail joint, located right on Main.
  • Natachee’s Supper ‘n Punch Burgers, chicken-fried steak, punch drinks, and all day breakfast are all on the menu at this neighborhood restaurant and watering hole. Lookout for live music on the stage outside.
  • Tacos A Go Go Set next to the iconic Continental Club, this taqueria offers breakfast and Mexican street tacos morning, noon, and night.
  • Spicy Girl Head to this Winbern spot for fiery Sichuan cuisine, from three pepper chicken and spicy boiled beef to peppercorn fish and mapo tofu.
  • Diced Poke Houston Also off Winbern, Diced Poke offers signature and build-your-own poke bowls, musubi, and “pokirritos.”
  • Kura Revolving Sushi Bar This conveyor belt sushi restaurant sits on the corner of Main and Holman.
  • Holman Draft Hall Set in a revamped building on Holman, this chic indoor/outdoor bar rocks plush couches, swing seats, and plenty of drinks, from the 100 tap brew wall to wines, frozen cocktails, and mimosas. Snacks, shareables, and eats include piled high tandoori nachos, housemade bratwurst, and citrus gochujang wings.
  • Mai’s This longtime Vietnamese joint is popular with the late-night crowd thanks to its 3am weeknight and 4am weekend closing times. Stop by to fill up on banh xeo, salt and pepper chicken wings, loaded pho, and bo luc lac.
  • Wooster’s Garden Relax, imbibe, and socialize with a few cocktails or craft beers at this trendy Milam bar, and supplement those drinks with warm pretzels, charcuterie and cheese platters, grass-fed cheeseburgers and more.
  • Beer Market The Midtown location of this popular sports bar sits on Milam, offering 365+ beers, solid pub grub, and no shortage of flat screens.
  • Artisans – Get high-end French fare in a chic, intimate setting at this Louisiana restaurant.
  • JINYA Ramen Bar – Located next to Artisans, you’ll find slurp-worthy ramen and more at this Midtown outpost of JINYA Ramen Bar.
  • Piola – Get fresh from the oven pizzas topped with porcini mushrooms, prosciutto crudo, burrata, and fresh arugula at this excellent Italian chain.

Shop & Support Local

  • Eight One Sneaker HouseThis funky sneaker and clothing boutique sits on Main and Winbern.
  • My Flaming HeartHit this Main Street shop for custom fitted vintage-inspired clothing, unique handmade jewelry, vintage cowboy boots, and unusual gifts from Texican and Mexican folk art to vintage trinkets and antique curiosities.
  • Sig Lagoon’s Record ShopNext door to the Continental Club nestled in between Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails and Big Kat’s Barbershop & Tattoo Parlor, this nostalgic record shop offers vinyl, posters, tiki mugs, bobbleheads, books, CDs, collectables, Houston-centric items, Continental Club tickets and more.
  • Milk + Honey VintageThis second-floor vintage shop and gallery sits above the Continental Club, focusing on the early 1900s to 1990s fashion, carrying a unique sprinkling of local and independent designers and hosting, creating, and curating monthly art shows and events.
  • Upstairs LairAlso above the Continental Club, the Upstairs Lair rocks an eclectic mix of men and women’s vintage clothes, accessories, and artifacts.
  • Big Kat’s Barber ShopHead to this unique barbershop and shave parlor for old-school indulgences, including a hot towel straight razor shave.
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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 .