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.
Bellaire got its moniker thanks to its “good air” or Gulf breezes; at least, that’s how it was advertised 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
Go big on some of Mutt City’s finest ‘que at Blood Bros. BBQ
“Blood brothers” Quy Hoang and Robin & Terry Wong (who are real-life brothers) ignited the Asian-kissed barbecue revolution back with the opening of their cult favorite smokehouse, Blood Bros. BBQ, back in 2013.
The trio took influence from their heritage (the Wong brothers are Chinese American and Hoang is Vietnamese) and Houston’s globally-inspired palate to put out Mutt City barbecue specials from Gochujang Pork Ribs and Brisket Fried Rice to Al Pastor Burnt Ends.
Open Wednesday to Sunday 11am to sell-out.
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 annual Fall Festival.
Open Tuesday to Friday noon to 5:30pm; Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5:30pm.
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 roasted mushroom panini.
Open daily 7am to 4pm; Sunday 8am to 3pm.
Have a date night at Costa Brava Bistro
Love is in the air (and in the kitchen) at intimate Spanish and French spot Costa Brava 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.
Open for lunch Tuesday to Friday 11am to 2:30pm; for dinner Tuesday to Saturday 5pm to 9pm.
Relax & 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.
Hit Evelyn’s Park to 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 cute cafe, Betsy’s at Evelyn’s.
Open Sunday to Thursday 7am to 11pm; Friday and Saturday 7am to midnight.
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