5 Must Do Things in the Galleria & Uptown

The Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park makes a great picnic stop when you need a break from shopping | Courtesy of Uptown Houston

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.

With the largest shopping mall in Texas (drawing over 30 million visitors annually), over 700 retailers lining the streets, and ample opportunities to wine and dine, this luxurious neighborhood is the shopping mecca of Houston.

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

Shop ’til you drop

Shop designers, trendy fashions and more at the Galleria | Courtesy of Simon Malls

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 Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Céline, Dior, Versace, 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.

Wine & dine

Dine on culinary treats from around the globe at Galleria-area restaurants | Courtesy of Simon Malls

Not surprisingly, the Galleria has an expansive dining scene to match the shopping. The mall rocks Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Fig & Olive, JOEY Uptown, Nobu, and fine dining Indian stunner, Musaafer, to name a few.

Post Oak Plaza houses Kenny & Ziggy’s, a local institution serving 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.

Over in Uptown Park, Etoile Cuisine et Bar is wonderful French affair. For incredible dry-aged beef, you’ll want to head to hometown hero, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse; seafood lovers should check out the Mexican-inspired Caracol; those looking for a bit of nostalgia with a modern twist can find just that at The Warwick; and the theatric Juliet offers an epic dining and nightlife experience complete with a cinema-inspired atmosphere and things like 24 Karat Gold Tomahawk Ribeye.

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.

Get your sweet on

Dive into chocolate-covered delicacies at Cacao & Cardamom on Post Oak | Courtesy of Cacao & Cardamom

The bakery and dessert offerings in the area 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 you’ll find chocolates, crepes, waffles, ice cream and more at ChocolateZeina in Briargrove Plaza.

Take a picture at the Waterwall

The Waterwall makes for great photos and park hangouts | Courtesy of Uptown Houston

Sitting opposite the Williams Tower, the showpiece of the nearly three-acre Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park is the 64-foot tall, semi-circular fountain dubbed “The Waterwall.” Designed by legendary architect Philip Johnson and John Burgee 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.

Please note the Waterwall is undergoing maintenance and repairs through late October 2022. Public park areas are still accessible.

Treat yourself at the spa

The Trellis Spa at the Houstonian offers prime R&R in Uptown | Courtesy of the Houstonian

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.

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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 .