5 Must Do Things in The Heights

Historic 19th Street in the Heights | Courtesy of Shop Heights 19th Street

In our Must Do Things Around Greater Houston series, we take a look at Houston’s vast array of communities, neighborhoods and destinations to bring you five fun, tasty, surprising and enticing reasons you should give each one a visit. Originally published in 2016, we are now refreshing, updating, and adding to this series, including new neighborhoods and destinations.

Dating back to the 1890s, the bright and vibrant neighborhood of The Heights is filled with historic architecture, thrifts, mom ‘n’ pop shops, and hip new bars and restaurants. 

From sugary treats to the city’s best antiques, check out our five Heights must dos.

5 Must Do Things in the Heights

  • Stroll the 19th  Lined with a jigsaw of boutiques, artsy stores, restaurants and thrift shops, historic 19th Street is the shopping mecca of the Heights. Peruse through Chuck Roast‘s vintage vinyl at Vinal Edge Records, get manly American-made goods at Manready Mercantile, and hit the historic Heights Theater for a show. When you get tired, Boomtown Coffee can provide the perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
  • Get a sugar rush at Fat Cat Creamery and Hugs & Donuts – How do you choose between donuts and ice cream? Maybe you don’t have to, because these two sweet spots are neighbors. Fat Cat Creamery uses fresh, local ingredients to churn out small-batch ice cream in awesomely unique flavors, including an addicting Milk Chocolate Stout made with oatmeal stout beer and the swoon-worthy Bourbon Pecan Pie. Just next door, Hugs & Donuts delivers big time with made-from-scratch gourmet donuts and kolaches. Get incredibly airy donuts in flavors like Biscoff Cookie Butter and a classic sprinkled-and-strawberry-iced number named The Homer. Or go for the cakey variety, packed with things like blueberries and Fruity Pebbles. Click here for directions.
  • Catch live music at the White Oak Music Hall – Just on the cusp of the Heights, this awesome music hall boasts three gorgeous performance spaces, the 1,000+ capacity downstairs Music Hall, the 200+ capacity upstairs stage, and the 2,000+ capacity open-air Lawn at White Oak Music Hall. Each of these spaces play host to concerts and music events throughout the year, from indie rock and country to hip-hop and R&B. After (or before) the show, head over to the next-door Raven Tower, an outdoor patio bar with 24 taps and a cool indoor/outdoor space. Click here for directions.
  • Eat straight from the Garden at Coltivare  This Italian kitchen from chef Ryan Pera and beverage master Morgan Weber is seriously fresh thanks to the 3,000–square foot urban garden in the side-yard. But don’t come here expecting your Nonna’s gravy. Instead, you’ll find inspired takes on classics, like oxtail sugo with slurpable housemade pasta, blistered butternut squash pizzas, and shareable whole wood-roasted fish. Just save some room for the refreshing cocktails and desserts. Click here for directions. Looking for more great eats? The Heights is chock full of fantastic restaurants, including but not limited to Japanese handroll joints Hando and Handies Douzo, MF Sushi offshoot Ume, Bobby Heugel and Justin Yu–backed hotspots Squable and Better Luck Tomorrow, scratchmade Thai spot Kin Dee, fried chicken & oyster joint La Lucha, and by-land-and-sea restaurant Field & Tides.
  • Sip old school classics at Johnny’s Gold Brick  This throwback cocktail bar perfectly shows off the Heights’ vintage feel. Pop in to sip through a flawless roster of classics, from Manhattans and Moscow Mules to the Boiler Maker, which is like a miniature Old Fashioned with a Lone Star chaser. Each is just $8. Click here for directions. Keep the good times going by popping into another neighborhood jewel, rum and tiki bar Lei Low, where you’ll find chill vibes, a kitschy atmosphere, and Mai Tais galore. Click here for directions to Lei Low.
Courtesy of Lei Low

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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 .