Walkable Houston: University of Houston

Photo courtesy of University of 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.

Founded in 1927, the University of Houston is the third largest university in the state, with nearly 43,000 students, 280 degree programs, and 12 academic colleges. From exhilarating collegiate sports (go, Coogs) to emerging arts and drama, there are plenty of reasons to check out this walkable campus.

Play & Explore

  • Blaffer Art Museum Founded in 1973, this contemporary art museum prides itself on being a catalyst for creative innovation and experimentation. Free and open to the public, you’ll find around six to eight visual and contemporary art exhibitions each year, plus a lineup of special events. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm.
  • Cullen Performance Hall Set amongst the tree-lined sidewalks in the heart of campus, Cullen Performance Hall offers a relaxed venue for musical concerts, public lectures, dance performances, and theatrical productions. Spend a lazy afternoon at the Cullen Fountain and Reflection Pool outside.
  • Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the ArtsDedicated to transformational collaborations across the performing, visual, and literary arts, this arts center commissions and produces new works, with public performances and exhibitions throughout the year. It also puts on the annual CounterCurrent Festival, a bold audio and visual festival that takes place in unexpected sites across the city. Stay tuned for upcoming events.
  • Moores Opera Center Founded in 1986, this center is home to the 800-seat Moores Opera House, a beautiful space designed to emulate the acoustics of an old European opera house. It boasts an enormous orchestra pit, flexible shell, state of the art sound equipment, and spectacular installation by artist Frank Stella. See what’s in store for the current season.
  • TDECU Stadium Cheer on the Coogs at TDECU Stadium, home of Houston Cougar Football. The open stadium seats 40,000 (including 5,000 premium seats), offering a dynamic view of the Houston skyline. Tailgating is allowed in the parking lots adjacent to the stadium as well as throughout campus. Check out the Game Day center for more information.
  • Fertitta Center Opened at the end of 2018, this state-of-the-art sports hosts University of Houston men’s and women’s home basketball games and women’s volleyball games.
  • Darryl & Lori Schroeder ParkAt this spacious ballpark, there is seating for 3,500 baseball fans, with a canopy red roof covering the upper general admission seats and shading fans during the hot Houston months.
  • Guy V. Lewis Development Facility This new home to the men’s and women’s basketball teams boasts 53,000 square feet.
  • Carl Lewis International ComplexFeaturing a nine-lane European oval-shaped track and regulation-sized soccer field, this complex hosts the UH track and field program and UH women’s soccer team.
  • Cougar Softball StadiumThis 1,200-seat complex is home to Cougar Softball, Houston’s youngest intercollegiate athletic program.
  • Lynn Eusan Park – This campus park hosts occasional festivals and film screenings.
  • M.D. Anderson Library The main library on campus, M.D. Anderson Library is located near the Cullen Performance Hall on University Drive. Other libraries include the William R. Jenkins Architecture, Design & Art Library, Music Library, and Health Sciences Library. All UH Libraries welcome visitors and community members to use library spaces, though you’ll need an accepted outside borrowers card to borrow materials.
  • Walking Tour Want to see the best of campus? Take an audio walking tour using a photographic guide of significant locations, available via your mobile device. You can also take a guided art tour with a Blaffer docent.

Eat & Drink

  • Calhoun’s Rooftop Bar and GrillThis university hangout features a full-service restaurant and rooftop bar, with 100+ flatscreens and views of campus and the Downtown skyline. Sips brews and nosh on wings, quesadillas, burgers, salads, flatbreads and more.
  • Eric’s Restaurant Located in the lobby of the Hilton University of Houston, this on-campus casual dining spot specializes in modern American cuisine. Dine on truffle fries, tomato and roasted beet salad, club sandwiches, grilled hanger steak, and morning specialties like smoked salmon frittata and chilaquiles.
  • Nook CaféGet your morning, noon or midnight pick-me-up at Nook Café, with hours from 7am to midnight on weekdays and 8am to midnight on Saturdays and Sundays. Located in the Cougar Den Plaza, the coffee shop serves up coffee, lattes, and espresso (try the Cougar blend), beer and wine, freshly-squeezed juices, and pastries and cakes.
  • Food Trucks Check out a rotating selection of Houston’s hottest food trucks, which park themselves on several pads around campus during daytime and late-night hours. Popular mobile eateries include Coreanos, YoYo’s Hot Dogs, Muiishi Makirritos, Flip ‘N Patties, and The Waffle Bus.

Shop & Support Local

  • Barnes & Noble This campus Barnes & Nobles is your destination for UH gear, gifts and accessories, books, school supplies and more.
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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 .