5 Must Do Things in Upper Kirby & Greenway Plaza

Courtesy of Levy Park

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.

Named for one of its main roadways (which takes after successful businessman and “The Father of Industrial Texas,” John Henry Kirby), Upper Kirby and the neighboring Greenway Plaza are part of a booming commercial district.

With a plethora of restaurants, boutiques, and thriving businesses, there are gems lining every nook and cranny. So let’s take a look at a few.

Note: For the purposes of this list, Upper Kirby and Greenway Plaza are defined by the area covered in this map.

5 Must Do Things in Upper Kirby & Greenway Plaza

A bustling market with stalls, vendors, and families
Shop fresh from local farms, culinary gems, and the city’s best artisan goods at the Saturday market | Photo courtesy of Urban Harvest

Go fresh at Urban Harvest Farmers Market

Open Saturdays year round, rain or shine, Urban Harvest’s Saturday Farmers Market is hands down the most popular farmers market in the city—and it only takes one visit to see why.

The sprawling market is packed with fresh and organic produce from new and multi-generation farmers; local artisans crafting everything from seasonal jam, local honey, and scratchmade tortillas to luxurious soaps and fresh-cut flowers; stands fulfilling your morning needs with hot coffee and breakfast tacos (or dumplings!); and a lineup of live music and demos from Houston’s top culinary talent.

It’s the place to be on Saturday mornings.

Open 8am to noon.

A small dining table filled with colorful flowers, with hanging garlands of flowers overhead
The Bake Lab upstairs offers intimate dinners on special occasions at Indian fusion hotspot, Pondicheri | Courtesy of Pondicheri

Hit Houston’s gold standards of dining

Some of the best spots in town call this neighborhood home.

Start with a brunch to remember at Indian-fusion restaurant Pondicheri, then hit its upstairs Bake Lab to pick up extra goodies.

Sushi lovers claim Kata Robata to be one of Houston’s greatest, and who are we to argue? Chef Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi wows with razor-sharp cuts and impeccable raw creations, but you won’t want to miss the spicy soy milk ramen, either. 

Tiny Boxwoods boasts fresh bistro fare, a picturesque garden, and seasonal outdoor movie screenings, making it perfect for a date night.

The hotspot State of Grace rocks its very own Oyster Room worth checking out; and the food court in Greenway Plaza is plenty of reason to go underground, with trendy and exciting dwellers including Patrick Feges and Chef Erin Smith‘s Feges BBQ and Chinese takeout-style cult favorite, the Rice Box.

Those looking for fine dining can treat themselves to a top-notch meal at Tony’s, Chef Tony Vallone’s white table-clothed, Milan-inspired restaurant that boasts exquisite housemade pasta, world-class steaks and chops, and a killer soufflé.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, you’re not a Houstonian until you’ve had a slice of Bayou Goo from the beloved House of Pies.

Interior of Cactus Music with rows of CDs and Vinyl records
Cactus Music features stacks of classic and new music, along with gifts, books and more | Photo courtesy of Daniel Bosse

Soak in the local entertainment

On the edge of the Upper Kirby district near Shepherd, you’ll find Cactus Music, Houston’s oldest record store that nears its 50th anniversary in 2025. Here, you can browse a mind-boggling collection of vinyl records, CDs and tapes, plus all sorts of books, posters and quirky gifts. Local and touring bands are known to set up for free in-store performances and autograph sessions, so keep an eye on their upcoming calendar.

Established in 1990, McGonigel’s Mucky Duck is the spot for live music, boasting a lineup of country, rock, and Americana acts from near and far.

And if you’re looking to let loose in the great outdoors, Levy Park features a performance pavilion, activity lawn, interactive playground with water features, dog park, beautiful promenade, and community gardens. Lookout for a lineup of activities, from boot camp and kids yoga to free movie screenings and programs from the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

A view of West Avenue, with rows of cars and shops
Shop upscale retail and catch the area’s best dining at the Shops at Arrive River Oaks | Courtesy of Shops at Arrive

Find the perfect gift

Whether it’s for yourself or a friend, you’ll most definitely be able to find something in this neighborhood.

Kuhl-Linscomb is a shopping mecca, where you’ll find five massive buildings housing a seemingly endless library of antique and modern furniture, houseware, clothing and jewelry, children’s toys, cosmetics, and all kinds of thingamabobs that would put Princess Ariel’s collection to shame.

Over at the Shops at Arrive River Oaks, upscale shops from apparel and decor to beauty and spa, are lined up and waiting.

There’s the refreshingly awesome Milk + Honey Spa and the 35,000 square-foot specialty fashion boutique Tootsies, for starters.

A spacious outdoor patio with fans in University of Texas clothes watching sports
The sprawling outdoor patio at Kirby Ice House in Upper Kirby offers space to catch the game and sip some brews | Courtesy of Kirby Ice House

Unwind with some drinks

For the ultimate laid-back hang, chill out at Kirby Ice House, where the crowd sipping local suds in the expansive yard is as relaxed as ever; or head to the Cellar Bar for a night of pool, arcade games, and stiff drinks.

If Pinot is more your thing, you’re in luck, because this tiny ‘hood is stacked with wine bars.

Get cozy over wonderfully curated selections at the California-influenced Sonoma Wine Bar, or the Napa-style CRÚ Food & Wine Bar with relaxed digs at the Shops at Arrive River Oaks.

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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 .