In Houston, at any given moment, you can feel like you’re in a different part of the globe. World-class art? Check. Covetable style? Check. Enviable international cuisine scene? Double check. Diverse, cultured and, of course, laden with signature southern charm, Houston’s unique qualities make it a seriously special place, not to mention a haven for creatives and entrepreneurs. We’re packing our bags already, but before we hop on that plane, we asked some of our local fashion friends to give us some tips on where to go and what to do in the Bayou City.
WHERE TO EAT
In a place like Houston where there’s an amazing restaurant on literally every street corner, it’s hard to know where to go to tuck in. Luckily for us, we had the experts narrow it down.
“For Vietnamese, go to Huynh,” says Cecilia Marquez, creative director of inspired boutique Saint Cloud. “For Szechuan, go to Cooking Girl or Mala.” She also notes Cuchara for Mexican and Hugs & Donuts (below) for something sweet. “I could keep going….we really like to eat and drink here!”
Both Kate de Para, the designer behind minimalist label Evens, and Trang Nguyen, co-founder of Rice Village boutique Myth & Symbol, dig Oxheart (above). The menu is always fresh and the service is on point, Kate insists — probably why it’s such a popular spot. “Make sure to get a reservations at least a month in advance,” Trang advises.
Huynh Restaurant, 912 Saint Emanuel
Cooking Girl, 315 Fairview St
Mala Sichuan Bistro, 9348 Bellaire Blvd
Cuchara, 214 Fairview St
Hugs & Donuts, 1901 N Shepherd Dr #4
WHERE TO DRINK
“I always love to visit 13 celcius for wine and Public Services for sherry or a whiskey drink,” Kate says. Public Services (above), with its art deco furnishings in Houston’s historic 1884 Cotton Exchange building, is also Cecilia’s go-to, while Trang recommends Anvil, which boasts a 100-strong list of classic cocktails alongside eight house originals.
13 celcius, 3000 Caroline St
Public Services, 202 Travis St Suite 100
Anvil Bar & Refuge, 424 Westheimer Rd. Ste. B
WHAT TO SEE
It’s a general consensus — if you go to Houston, you gotta visit the James Turrell “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace (above). The two-level pyramid installation, sitting on top of a hill next door to the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, has an LED light sequence that projects up towards an opening in the ceiling at sunrise and sunset. The way that natural light and the projection play off each other is nothing short of spectacular.
Trang and Cecilia both also list the Menil Collection, an art museum comprised of four buildings (who of which are dedicated to individual artists) and Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern (below), one of Houston’s earliest underground water reservoirs, built in 1926 and filled with tall concrete columns that are reminiscent of the cisterns of ancient Rome. The cistern is set within the lush, 160-acre Buffalo Bayou Park.
The Menil Collection, 1533 Sul Ross St
Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, 05 Sabine St
A trip to Houston wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Canino Farmer’s Market (below), though. Kate recommends visiting this local treasure, which has been supplying the city with fresh fruits and vegetables since 1958.
Canino Farmer’s Market, 2520 Airline Dr
WHERE TO WATCH LIVE MUSIC
Texas has a longstanding musical history and Houston has been home to more than a few of the greats (Kenny Rogers, Lyle Lovett, and somebody called Beyoncé, to name a few). Checking out a show in the Bayou City is a must and there are plenty of places to do it. Trang says to hit the newly opened White Oak Music Hall (above), a massive venue that is made up of three, multi-level performance spaces and spans more than five acres.
White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N Main St
For Kate, Walter’s or the Raven Tower (originally built in the ’70s as a metal fabrication shop) are two of the best places to take in live music.
Walter’s, 1120 Naylor St
Raven Tower, 310 North St
WHAT TO WEAR
“Look, it’s hot as hell here and we’re all sweating together so we want as little fabric touching our bodies as possible,” Cecilia says. “That being said, Houston is a city where people want to look put together so we have perfected the art of being comfortable AND looking amazing at the same time. The keys are stunning accessories, great shoes, and breathable fabrics.”
“I’d describe Houston style as super eclectic — at least in the art scene,” Kate continues. “There will always be something a little bit punk about the way people blend upcycling with high end design around here which I love.”
Houston’s style can be hard to define because it’s such a big and diverse city, Trang says, but one thing is certain: “We are the anti-New York: lots of colors and patterns,” she states. “Houston can be hot and humid so we all have a year-round summer wardrobe.”
HOW TO HAVE A PERFECT DAY IN HOUSTON
With so many things to do and sights to see, how does one have a perfectly Houston day? Simple, Kate says: “It would go like coffee at Catalina, take a stroll around Sixth Ward, head to Menil Park and laze around with friends on a blanket, lunch at Brasil, walk to Tomo Magazines to browse some print media, maybe pop into Reeve’s Antiques to drool over some gorgeous MCM design or La Corazon for some cool Central American imported inspo, and hopefully have friends over for cocktails, a simple dinner and good conversation.”
Catalina Coffee Shop, 2201 Washington Ave
Menil Park (above), Branard St
Brasil Cafe, 2604 Dunlavy St
Tomo Mags, 1206 Hawthorne St
Reeve’s Antiques, 2415 Taft St
For Cecilia, her day revolves around her dogs and good grub. “Get up, grab a matcha latte from Morningstar Coffee & Donuts, take my dogs to Jonny Steele Dog Park (we call this place Disneyland for dogs — it’s amazing), take the dogs to meet friends for breakfast tacos at Guadalupana, hit up Tomo Mags for some hard-to-find publications, go to an afternoon yoga class and then head over to Boheme for a frozen mojito on their sprawling patio. For dinner, meet friends at Weights + Measures and then an after dinner drink (or two) at Public Services.”
Morningstar Coffee & Donuts, 4721 N Main St
Jonny Steele Dog Park (above), 2929 Allen Pkwy
La Guadalupana Bakery & Cafe, 2109 Dunlavy St
Weights + Measures, 2808 Caroline St
Trang’s perfect day packs in a lot of culture — something Houston is filled to the brim with.
“Checking out the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (they have a great [Yayoi] Kusama exhibit going on), then walking over to Hotel Zaza for a drink (and Volcano fries) and finally to the Miller Outdoor Theatre across the street for a show.”
Museum of Fine Arts Houston, 1001 Bissonnet St
Hotel ZaZa, 5701 Main St
Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Dr