5 Must Do Things in Bellaire

Photo courtesy of Nature Discovery Center

In our series of Must Do Things Around Greater Houston, we take a look at Houston’s vast array of neighborhoods and communities 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.

Bellaire got its moniker thanks to its “good air” or Gulf breezes; at least, it was advertised that way in a promotional ad in 1909. It may have been actually been named after Bellaire, Ohio—a town served by the Burlington Railroad—as Bellaire’s founder, William Wright Baldwin, was once VP of the railroad (but where’s the fun in that theory?). Baldwin developed the area to serve as a residential neighborhood and agricultural trading center for the land surrounding it, known as “Westmoreland Farms.” Today, the landscape remains largely residential, even being dubbed the “City of Homes.” But that’s not to say there’s not excitement to be had. Take these five must do things, for example.

Note: For the purposes of this list, Bellaire is defined by this map.

5 Must Do Things in Bellaire

  1. Get schooled at Bernie’s Burger Bus – The big yellow bus is ready to take you to school, or detention, with its from-scratch, juice-dripping burgers, hand-spun shakes, and tasty sides. Get the Study Hall, a homemade bbq sauce and crispy-seared pork belly-topped cheddar burger with house pickles; or the gluttonous Detention, in which two old school cheeseburgers get sandwiched with two bacon grilled cheeses. Fries get the full treatment, too, with toppings including green chile cheese and pecan-smoked bacon, Italian white truffle oil and Parmesan, and slow-cooked beef and gravy. Just save room for the cookie butter shake. Click here for directions.
  2. Become one with nature at the Nature Discovery Center – The Nature Discovery Center makes igniting a local passion and respect for nature its mission, and it does so via themed exhibits, special events, family-friendly activities, and hands-on learning programs. Check out Russ Pitman Park, a 4-acre park lush with prairie grasses, tall pecans, native understory, wide lawns, and wildlife. Explore, play, stroll and picnic on the grounds, take a guided nature bike tour of Brays Bayous, go bird-watching, and look out for a lineup of fun events, from lunches with birds to the Twilight Gala. Click here for directions.
  3. Get a caffeine buzz at Dandelion Cafe – You don’t have to drive to Montrose or the Heights to find hip cafes. Bellaire gets a taste of the good stuff from Dandelion Cafe, which serves locals roasts from cult favorite Greenway Coffee. Sip flawlessly-executed flat whites, cappuccinos, and lattes (plus fresh juices and hot tea), and do so with pastries from local vendors. Craving lunch? There’s a solid lineup of salads, sandwiches, and paninis, from the superfood salad packed with kale, quinoa, and blueberries to a roast pork panini with aged provolone and red pepper remoulade. Click here for directions.
  4. Have a date night at Costa Brava Bistro – Love is in the air (and in the kitchen) at this intimate Spanish and French bistro. Co-owner and general manager Angeles Dueñas’ years of expertise in the hospitality industry sets the tone for a truly impressive evening, while co-owner and executive chef Kitty Bailey’s fine-dining fare will have you swooning at the table. Feast on duck confit with smoked bacon; an aromatic paella ripe with shrimp, calamari and mussels, plus chicken, pork and beef; braised rabbit leg in hunter’s sauce; and silky crema Catalana, a Spanish version of the classic French crème brulee, alongside some Port. Click here for directions.
  5. Relax and reset at Evelyn’s Park – Five acres of relaxing green space offer the community a place to unwind in the beautiful outdoors. Before the park opened, it was home to Teas Nursery, the very first business in Bellaire that opened in 1910. Over a century later, it remains a reminder of the importance of reconnecting to the sights, scents, and sounds of nature. Escape the sun under the canopies of live Texas oaks, stroll the intimate gardens and meander the trails, and let the kids wear themselves out on the expansive lawn and natural playground. The park also boasts public art installations, fun events, and a new (to open) cafe, Betsy’s at Evelyn’s. Click here for directions.
Photo courtesy of Evelyn’s Park Conservancy
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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 .