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Things to do RIGHT NOW


DESTINATIONDOWNTOWN

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With a fusion of culture, lifestyles and commerce, life around here is anything but typical. Look up and discover soaring skyscrapers designed by icons like Philip Johnson and I.M. Pei. Turn a corner and bump into Houston’s historic past or uncover a piece of contemporary public art. Enjoy major league sports, world-class theater, innovative chefs, funky hotspots, movies in the park, sidwalk cafés, outdoor festivals, pontoon boat tours and more.

Welcome to Downtown Houston! Tours

Attractions & Sights

1. Buffalo Bayou Boat Tours 713.752.0314 2. Heritage Society Historic Homes Tour 713.655.1912 3. Minute Maid Park Tour 713.259.8687 4. Saint Arnold Brewing Company Tour 713.686.9494 5. Toyota Center Backstage Tour 713.758.7715

12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Sports

17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.

6. Minute Maid Park 7. Toyota Center 8. BBVA Compass Stadium

Avenida Houston Buffalo Bayou Discovery Green Downtown Aquarium George H.W. Bush & James A. Baker, III Monuments George R. Brown Convention Center Historic District Bayou Place Main Street Square Saint Arnold Brewing Company Southern Pacific Steam Engine 982 Union Station at Minute Maid Park

Eat & Drink

Institutions

Theater

Education 37. Incarnate Word Academy 38. South Texas College of Law Houston 39. University of Houston– Downtown Medical 40. St. Joseph Medical Center Religious 41. Antioch Baptist Church 42. Annunciation Catholic Church 43. Christ Church Cathedral 44. First United Methodist Church 45. Holy Cross Church 46. Islamic Dawah Center 47. Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral 48. Houston First Baptist Church Spiritual 49. Bishop John E. Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer

67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74.

Parks

City, County & Federal

50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56.

Allen’s Landing Discovery Green Halliburton Plaza Hermann Square Market Square Park Root Memorial Square Sabine Promenade & Buffalo Bayou Park Sam Houston Park Sesquicentennial Park Sisters of Charity Park Tranquillity Park

Alley Theatre Hobby Center Jones Hall Jones Plaza The Landing Theatre Company Prohibition Supper Club Rec Room Wortham Center

Film 75. AMC Dine-In Houston (formerly Sundance Cinemas)

Music Venues 76. House of Blues 77. Revention Music Center

78. 79. 80. 81.

City Hall City Hall Annex Bob Casey Federal Courthouse Harris County Court Campus

Where to Stay

Everything you need. Right in your neighborhood. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

Recreation 9.

Buffalo Bayou

Ballpark District Bayou Place/Theater District Avenida Houston Downtown Aquarium Historic District GreenStreet The Shops at Houston Center Warehouse District

57. 58. 59. 60.

82. The Sam Houston Hotel 83. Club Quarters 84. Courtyard by Marriott/Marriott Residence Inn/SpringHill Suites 85. The Whitehall 86. DoubleTree 87. Four Seasons 88. Embassy Suites 89. Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites 90. Hilton Americas 91. Holiday Inn 92. Holiday Inn Express 93. Hotel Icon 94. Hyatt Regency Downtown 95. JW Marriott 96. Westin Houston Downtown 97. Lancaster Hotel 98. Magnolia Hotel 99. Athens Hotel Suites 100. Aloft Hotel 101. Marriott Marquis 102. Le Meridien

(hiking & jogging Taking caretrail) of you and your family is what we do best. For primary care, 10. Root Memorial Square Conveniences (basketball court) a 24-hour ER, physical therapy, advanced imagingGroceries and lab&services, you can 11. Discovery Green bocce ball & Hermann Convenient Care Center (exercise 61. CVS/Pharmacy visit theclass, Memorial that’s closest to you. putting green) 62. Phoenicia Specialty Foods Store Grocery It’s convenience without compromise – all from one of Houston’s most 64. Wolfe’s Cleaners Museums & Libraries trusted health systems. 32. Houston Central Library

Shopping 33. Julia Ideson Library A great way to get form point A to 713.222.CARE • memorialhermann.org/ccc 34. Heritage Society Museum point B or just explore downtown! You can purchase daily, weekly or annual memberships. For more info, visit houston.bcycle.com

1431 Studemont Street Houston, TX 77007

35. Houston Police Museum 36. Museum District (via METRORail)

GREENLINK

CIRCULATOR FREE DOWNTOWN I-10 at Studemont Green Route

Orange Route

Mon–Fri, 6:30 am–6:30 pm Thu–Fri, 6:30 pm–midnight Sat 9 am–midnight, Sun 9 am–6 pm

* Please note that routes and hours will change on Jan 21

65. GreenStreet 66. The Shops at Houston Center

Realtors

METRORail Lines North/Main Southeast East End

ALWAYS BE AWARE OF PEDESTRIANS, DRIVERS, BICYCLISTS AND TRAINS WHEN NEAR TRACKS!

103. Heritage Texas Properties

Visitor Information 104. Explore Houston: GRBCC


inside.

WINTER 2017–18 VOL. 10, NO. 2

MANAGING EDITOR/CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Angie Bertinot, Downtown District

COPY EDITOR

Barbara Linkin Mendel, Mendel Creative Solutions

DESIGN

CORE Design Studio

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS A.J. Mistretta Sarah Rufca Nielsen Stefanie Pascasio Ryann Roussel

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PUBLISHERS’ NOTE

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MUST-HAVES

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BACKSTAGE

ADVERTISING INFORMATION

Angie Bertinot 713.650.3022 angie@downtowndistrict.org

10 HE SCORES

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? Drop us a line at dtmagazine@downtowndistrict.org

Downtown magazine is published quarterly and is free of charge. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Downtown District, 909 Fannin, Suite 1650, Houston, Texas 77010. Published by:

With support from:

2017 made it abundantly clear. Downtown is the heart and the soul of our city. And whether it’s hosting football’s biggest party, baseball’s world championship and parade or our own citizens in need, Downtown can answer the call.

Get your holiday gift giving on with our guide to everything awesome.

Tilman Fertitta had always yearned to own his city’s basketball team. So it’s no surprise that when the opportunity presented itself this year, the business dynamo made his play. Now he’s got the team he always wanted, and his magic touch can only help them as they position themselves for a run at another championship.

Wondering if you can still catch your winter favorites in the Houston Theater District? Of course you can! Theatre Under The Stars, Alley Theatre, Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet, along with the smaller arts organizations are all up and running. And ready to show you their best. Plus, meet TUTS’ new artistic director, Dan Knechtges.

BY A.J. MISTRETTA

BY RYANN ROUSSEL

15 FORWARD THINKING For 15 months, Downtown stakeholders have been listening to the public, learning from experts, and even dreaming a bit about the direction of our city. Their work has culminated in the next big thing – Plan Downtown. More than a simple planning document, Plan Downtown is using the same spirit of innovation and imagination that helped build our city to reshape the future of Downtown. BY SARAH RUFCA NIELSEN

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DESTINATION DOWNTOWN MAP

Winter is a great time to explore Downtown. The streets are decked out in their holiday best, and you can find something awesome to do pretty much any day of the week. Check out theater listings, concerts, tours, festivals, special events and more.

Check out our comprehensive listing of everything delicious in Downtown, including Craft Beer Cellar, which recently opened in the Historic District—much to the excitement of beer enthusiasts.


PUBLISHERS’ NOTE

What a ride! When the balloons dropped on 2017 a year ago, we couldn’t have imagined the roller coaster ride we were in for. From football’s biggest game to a baseball team with so much heart it just wouldn’t quit, we celebrated the best of the best. And we dealt with the worst of the worst. Make no mistake. Harvey knocked us down hard. But Houstonians know how to rise from adversity. More importantly, we are always ready to hold out our hands and help each other up. Downtown is the seat of Houston’s government, and it was where thousands took refuge in the days after THIS YEAR WE the storm. It’s also where Houston shined CELEBRATED THE BEST brightest. We turned the George R. Brown OF THE BEST AND Convention Center into a safe haven for DEALT WITH THE those in need. Thousands of volunteers WORST OF THE WORST answered the call for help. And our Theater District institutions, while putting their own houses back in order, still jumped at the chance to bring light and hope to neighbors. Read more about their amazing recovery starting on page 5. As we settle into the new year, we’re looking far into the future. We have an exciting vision for Houston, and it starts with a strong strategy for Downtown. We’ve experienced an amazing period of growth and momentum, rooted in the Houston Downtown Development Framework from 2004. Now it’s time to move our vision forward with Plan Downtown. Sarah Rufca Nielsen lays it all out starting on page 15. If you haven’t had a chance to check out all the newest spots to eat, now is the time. Plate, our rundown of restaurants, starts on page 39 and as always, you’ll find our extensive calendar of events and activities in datebook on page 28. Of course, be sure to visit us online at downtownhouston.org, where we always keep you up to date on the latest when it comes to our city’s center. And let us know what you think about downtown. We’re more than happy to take your comments and suggestions.

Bob Eury

Angie Bertinot

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DOWNTOWN DISTRICT

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING DOWNTOWN DISTRICT

ON THE COVER This nighttime photo of Main Street Square’s bustle and activity captures the essence of Plan Downtown’s vision for tomorrow. photo by Katya Horner

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HOLIDAY POP-UP

THE GIFT-GIVING SEASON IS HERE, SO NOW IS THE TIME TO START CHECKING OFF THE PEEPS ON YOUR “GOOD” LIST. To make it super easy, we’ve rounded up all of the best holiday pop-up shops and markets going down around Downtown. In addition to locally made jewelry and crafts, vintage finds, artfully curated fashions, home items and other things we didn’t know we needed, these hip retail outposts sparkle with drinks, food, workshops, music and family fun to keep shoppers’ spirits bright.

LAUNCH

701 Avenida de las Americas Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. launchhtx.com

Seasoned fashion influencer Sydney Dao created LAUNCH, which “launched” pre-Super Bowl earlier this year. This exclusive boutique showcases Houston’s growing and thriving fashion and design community. The shop rotates through different local designers and artisans each month, allowing a variety of pros the opportunity to showcase their products in the trendy space. At any given time, merchandise includes a mix of jewelry, men’s and women’s fashion and accessories, plus all the smelly good stuff like handmade candles, soaps and lotions.

PHOENICIA SPECIALTY FOODS A foodie paradise, Phoenicia is also a great place to buy amazing housewares gifts, not to mention wine and gourmet treats. Check out everything from unique ceramics from Spain, Poland and Bulgaria to modern and innovative designs from up-and-coming innovators. Let your creative culinary juices flow when you are in the presence of unique tools such as Italian Pezzelle Irons, wooden semolina maamoul cookie molds, Le Creuset tangines or paella pans. 1001 Austin Monday–Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday–Sunday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. yumstop.com

214 Travis Monday–Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. thetippingpointstore.com

MAKE(HER) BOUTIQUE 1201 Fannin, Suite 137 In a shark-tank inspired competition, four Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. female founders pitched their retail concepts greenstreetdowntown.com and in a surprise twist, all the presenters received offers to transfer their start-up enterprises into brick-and-mortar space at GreenStreet, with three of them teaming up to open Make(her).

THE TIPPING POINT

Not just a super-cool, limited-edition sneaker store, The Tipping Point is a lifestyle destination. Footwear, books, art, apparel, music and accessories are all curated by the owners for a hand-picked audience.

The collaborative boutique features beautiful jewelry by Brenda Grands, healing skincare products from Camellia Alise and trendy Texas-centric apparel by State Line Designs.

Although, they do have items for gals, it’s the perfect place to get the perfect gift for the men in your life.

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HOLIDAY ARTS MARKETS POPSHOP HOUSTON HOLIDAY FESTIVAL Dec 1–3 A weekend of artfully curated artisan goods from over 120 artists. Experience the biggest art market in Houston and enjoy modern handmade craft shopping, art exhibitions, art activities, beauty bar demos, live music and more. $8–$48.

HEARTMADE HOLIDAY ART MARKET Dec 9 Explore the work of over 50 local artists, crafters and creatives with work ranging from jewelry and apparel to home goods and art along Main Street Square. The fun-filled event will host a little something for everyone including live music, strolling Christmas carolers, photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus, food truck fare and more! Free.

Main Street Studio at GreenStreet, 1201 Main Friday, 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. popshopamerica.com DESIGN CRAFT Dec 2 DesignCraft at Market Square Park is AIGA Houston’s 8th Annual Holiday Market featuring the work of local artists, crafters, creatives and more. Find the perfect gifts and enjoy demonstrations by local artisans, live music and local food trucks. Free. Market Square Park, 301 Milam Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. designcrafthtx.com

WINTER FLEA BY NIGHT presented by Green Mountain Energy

Dec 2, 9 & 16 This popular flea market expands to a weekly event for the winter! The destination market features an array of artful kitsch, vintage items, recycled and repurposed objects and collectibles with live music, food trucks and more! Free. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney Saturdays, 6 to 10 p.m. discoverygreen.com

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Main Street Square, Main & McKinney Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. heartmadehouston.com HTX BOSS BABES HOLIDAY MARKET Dec 9 Celebrate the talents of 70+ womenowned businesses by spending a fun evening of shopping, good eats, music, photo booths and champagne at GreenStreet’s Main Street Studio. Free. Main Street Studio at GreenStreet, 1201 Main Saturday, 3 to 9 p.m. greenstreetdowntown.com


2017-18

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

backstage.

THE SECRET GARDEN

photo by Melissa Taylor

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B AC K S TAG E

BY RYANN ROUSSEL

Lifting

the City’s Spirits

Theater District groups use art to bring much needed relief to Houston while facing their own challenges to recovery

It’s no secret that Hurricane Harvey pummeled Houston’s Theater District: 270 million gallons of water in the parking garages, theaters wrecked, administrative offices out of commission, and all around catastrophic damage. Though both the district and the city are dealing with recovery efforts that will take several years and billions of dollars, there was never a question that the performing arts companies would continue with their seasons. In addition to finding creative ways to deliver the world-class performances their patrons have come to expect, the Theater District used its artistic gifts to help the city express its resilience. AT T H E A L L E Y Alley Theatre experienced some of the worst damage in the Theater District to both its home theater and administrative offices. Mary Sutton, director of education and community engagement at the Alley, describes being in a holding pattern after the storm, not knowing when they could get back into their offices and having no way to communicate to the many schools across Houston where their educators provide teaching residencies. “We were eager to do something, so we started thinking creatively about how we could reach out to the people that needed it most, and this idea of Alley Recess was born,” explains Jenny Lamb, curriculum and teaching manager in the Alley’s Education and Community Engagement Department. Every afternoon for a week and a half after Harvey, Alley Teaching Artists spent time engaging with children temporarily living at the NRG Convention Center. Activities ranged from theater and music games, dress up and fashion shows, to storytelling and juggling lessons. Because the housing situation of those in the center was in flux, Lamb says it’s hard to estimate the number that participated each day. “A soft estimate would be a hundred,” she says. In a time when their worlds had been turned upside down, Alley Recess wanted to give these kids a space to just be kids again. At its most basic function, it was something for them to look forward to every day, restoring a sense of normalcy in very un-normal circumstances.

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Lamb recalls seeing children forgo the popular computer station for a few hours, eager for Alley Recess. “One young girl ran in one day and said, ‘I’m glad you’re still here! I didn’t want to miss one single day of this!’ I think the Alley Recess gave them hope that things will get better, it tapped into their inner sense of resilience,” she says. As part of their continuing efforts to help students process the devastation of Harvey, Alley teaching artists will address the storm in their popular Oskar Series at almost 85 schools this spring. Typically, the Alley education staff tour this series to about 59,000 students in the Houston area. Each of the plays, which are written by Alley staff, feature a young man named Oskar and explore themes of character education. The newest Oskar play will relate to overcoming the damage from the floods. “It’s sort of a celebration, because we don’t want kids to relive the trauma, but to reflect on all the tools they used to move through the discombobulation of Harvey,” explains Sutton. She hopes the Oskar Series will speak to both their inner resilience and problem-solving skills. Sutton knows that every class will have a mixture of students who experienced flooding first-hand and those who watched the events unfold on the news. She and her team hope to tap into the strength of the children and celebrate their having come out on the other side of a massive disturbance.


B AC K S TAG E THERE IN A TIME OF NEED Houston Symphony found itself facing several challenges in the days following Hurricane Harvey. Because of Theater District flooding they couldn’t get to their offices, communication between staff was limited, and performances needed to be canceled and rescheduled. While leadership worked to navigate a path forward from the unprecedented disaster, Symphony musicians quickly assembled to bring some reprieve to flood victims using their exceptional musical talents. Over the course of nine days, about 25 musicians gave 20 performances at the Red Cross, George R. Brown Convention Center, Salvation Army, and other shelters across the city. “It’s not something the administration asked them to do,” explains Amanda Dinitz, interim executive director and CEO of Houston Symphony. “I thought their actions were very reflective of the resilience that we saw from members from the entire Houston community.” It’s estimated that up to 42,000 people had to find emergency shelter during the flooding. Many of the artists playing in the shelters were affected by the storm themselves, but they wanted to contribute their music toward helping their fellow Houstonians. “It’s one of the benefits to having 88 of the world’s finest musicians live in Houston as a part of the community,” she says. Beyond these efforts, the Symphony believed that as an organization they could play a role in lifting Houston’s spirits. In the wake of the storm there were numerous conference calls about the desire to begin the season as soon as possible. “We are a nonprofit, we are a cultural arts provider, and we have talented musicians ready to get on stage for a community that needs music and peace and joy now more than ever,” says Dinitz. With Jones Hall temporarily out of commission, the Symphony worked with Rice University to move some of their performances to the Shepherd School of Music. Recognizing the needs of the community, the Symphony decided to make the concerts free. “It was really important to us to do everything we could, not only to provide concerts but also to make them available for anyone who wanted to attend,” explains Dinitz.

Many season regulars showed up to support the performers in the new space along with several new faces. For the Symphony, it was critical to provide some beauty in a time of great sadness and stress. “It reminded us all how important the role of the arts is and that it has a role to play in healing the soul or spirit of a community,” reflects Dinitz. “Art is there for a city not only at its highest points, but in its time of need.” CONNECTING THE COMMUNITY In the days after the storm Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) employees, like many Houstonians, swapped stories of people they knew who had been flooded or displaced. One such story was that of Kori Spaulding, a former student at TUTS Humphreys School of Musical Theatre. Kori’s account of her flooded neighborhood in Nottingham Forrest was seen by TUTS staff on Facebook and circulated throughout the organization. After reaching out to this particular family, TUTS become engaged in a larger conversation about that community.

“We realized the sheer number of people helping each other in that neighborhood and that there was something we were able to offer them,” says Hillary Hart, executive director at TUTS. Touched by both Spaulding’s story and larger tales they were hearing about the neighborhood, TUTS found a way to offer the residents a small break from their troubles. What started as a Facebook post evolved into a free performance for over 200 flood victims and first-responders. The audience, a crosssection of Nottingham Forrest residents and the Greater Houston community, was invited to view a free dress rehearsal of The Secret Garden. The musical turned out to be a timely, though coincidental production for the company. “There is something about the story of The Secret Garden that is so healing and hopeful and actually speaks to the Houston community,” says Hart. She believes that TUTS, and the arts in general, are in a position to offer something special to Houstonians right now. “There’s a sense of community you experience in live theater that doesn’t exist anywhere else and makes our art form unique.”

“It reminded us all how important the role of the arts is and that it has a role to play in healing the soul or spirit of a community. Art is there for a city not only at its highest points, but in its time of need.” —Amanda Dinitz, Houston Symphony

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B AC K S TAG E

photo by Melissa Taylor

“It doesn’t matter if you’re in one community or another, we all come together to help each other.” —Hillary Hart, TUTS

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For many in the audience, it was the first chance they’d had to get out of their neighborhood and away from the continuous headache of Harvey in over a month. For some, it was the only time they’d ever been to see live musical theater. One of the most emotional moments of the night came before the show started when 14-year-old Kori Spaulding gave a curtain speech about her story. Later, Hart says she found out that Kori’s speech had moved The Secret Garden cast to tears. The Hobby Center, where TUTS is housed, suffered the least damage of any venue in the Theater District. During and since the storm they have worked to help with whatever resources they have to give. Hart sounds off a list of initiatives the organization has offered: “We had teaching artists at the shelters working with the displaced children, and adults, and we’ve been working with Hobby Center to accommodate the production schedules of our colleagues in the Theater District,” she says. They even extended the summer camp for a week so parents who needed them would have a place to bring their children. The list goes on.

The past few months have brought devastating losses and challenges to our city, but they have also proven just how strong Houston really is. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in one community or another, we all come together to help each other,” says Hart.

The Theater District is just one piece of the story in Houston’s long and arduous road to recovery. There is much work ahead and many are still adjusting to their ‘new ‘normal’. But this city and the Theater District are proving their grit, resiliency and creativity. Houston Grand Opera, whose home at Wortham Center will be under construction until spring of next year, has opened an innovative and intimate new space at the George R. Brown appropriately named Resilience Theater. Alley Theatre, Jones Hall and the Hobby Center are all now operational and moving full speed ahead. And each of the seven resident Theater District companies are performing for a city that needs the arts now more than ever. As they say in the theater biz, the show must go on!


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT: PROFILE

B AC K S TAG E

Who is Dan Knechtges? In August, Theatre Under The Stars welcomed the Tony-nominated director and choreographer as its new artistic director.

BY RYANN ROUSSEL

You came to TUTS last year as a guest director of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Did you have any idea then that you’d be back so soon as the artistic director? I was asked by Sheldon Epps, the artistic advisor before I got here, to direct How to Succeed, but I had no idea I was going to be back so soon. Sheldon had given me inklings he was not going to stay on for the next season. Someone from the board approached me about how great a place Houston is to live, should I ever want to move here. I mentioned then that I would definitely be interested. Lo and behold I went through the process and here I am! What was it about TUTS that made you want to uproot your life on Broadway and take this job in Houston, Texas? I had been doing a lot of work in New York but as of late, I’d been working a lot internationally and regionally. All of that travel is tiring and I was starting to look for a place to call home—not only find a personal home, but an artistic home as well. I haven’t had as much time to explore Houston yet as I’m looking forward to. At TUTS we are in the process of planning for our 50th season next year and deciding how to turn the theater into a cultural touchstone for the community. And that is exhausting! But I knew that moving to a place with a food scene this good would be easy to call home. What are you most excited to do at the organization, and what do you view as your biggest hurdles? The world and the nation we are living in right now is so polarized and art is functioning in that way too. People want to see the same shows right now that have been in the musical theater canon for a long time. They are great shows, but some people in our community are dying for new work. That is where both our struggle and excitement are going to come from. Our mission is to be at the forefront of musical theater, and you can’t do that by performing the same shows over and over. Great musical theater entertains and is current—Hamilton does this best. It’s modern, but harkens to old storytelling. New work could create something that adds to the musical canon, not just in Houston but also in the country.

You were slated to start your job right after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. Can you talk about what it was like to move to a new city and start a new job in a time of crisis? That was insane. It was it was incredible trying to figure out how we would do business in the wake of a natural disaster. Entertainment isn’t seen as necessary like food or water. I think it absolutely is—it feeds your soul and mind. It’s so hard to deal with disaster recovery every day without relief, and I think that’s what we provide. I got to meet a lot of the arts leaders across the country through ongoing relief efforts. It’s always best to make friends in the trenches rather than in peacetime. It bonds you together in a way that otherwise it wouldn’t. You’ve said you’d like to focus on producing more new works in Houston. What does that look like? I think there is a way we could successfully employ artists in the Houston community. It would have to be something in conjunction with other arts organizations to give the artists meaningful employment, therefore keeping them in the Houston area. I’m talking about being able to cast our shows with partially local casts on a level that is as high as what you would see with any of the Broadway tours. We’re also looking at starting a New Works Festival that would commission Texas writers to write musicals. We would then take that musical and develop it, workshop it, give it a home and export it throughout the country. I think it’s going to take a long time, but a commitment to trying to figure out the mechanics of how that can work would be paramount to my tenure here. What’s your all-time favorite Broadway play and why? My favorite is Dreamgirls because of the emotion and the energy. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry. It’s just a visceral rollercoaster of emotion. Also Stephen Sondheim’s Follies for me is the same thing. It’s so intellectually stimulating. You laugh, you cry, and you’re thrilled. What’s an interesting fact about you? I have about $30,000 worth of Marvel comics. Growing up I had a real fascination with comic books. They are at my parents. As a kid I collected them: Avengers, X-Men, and Fantastic Four. That was my thing as a kid and they were sort of like my friends. I read them incessantly!

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IN HIS COURT They begin arriving early, nearly an hour before the event is scheduled to start, on what turns out to be the first crisp day of October. Reporters with notebooks in hand grab seats in the large, fluorescent-lit pressroom on the third floor of Toyota Center. More than a dozen camera people jockey for position on risers and test their mics. This is the Houston sports story of the season and every industry journalist wants a piece. There are invited guests too—astronaut Scott Kelly, local news legend Dave Ward—senior officials with the Houston Rockets organization and Landry’s Inc. They mingle and glad-hand in what soon becomes a standing room-only space. As the appointed time for the press conference nears, the crowd quiets and an anxious energy replaces the chatter. Cameras and iPhones are trained on the doorway, eager to capture the first image of a man in triumph. Tilman Fertitta, dressed in a sharp dark suit and red tie, enters with a beaming smile to rousing applause. He and Rockets CEO Tad Brown take seats in front of a backdrop dotted with the logos of the Rockets, Toyota Center and Landry’s as the cheers continue. The deal is done. The NBA has approved the business mogul’s purchase of the Rockets. He has won a prize he had coveted since adolescence, one he refused to let slip through his fingers a second time. Fertitta got his way eventually. He nearly always does.

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“Very few people in life get to have every dream come true,” the new owner tells the crowd. “And I can tell you, Tilman Fertitta so far has been one of the fortunate ones. I’m getting to have a big dream come true.” Over the last four decades the 60-year-old entertainment and hospitality magnate has led a Houston-based company that’s helped shape those industries not only here but across the country—from casinos and hotels to restaurants and attractions. His popularity and recognition have soared in recent years thanks to his CNBC reality show Billion Dollar Buyer. With his affable Texas accent and natural ability to engage on and off camera, Fertitta is arguably one of the greatest showmen of his generation. And he’s nowhere near done.

The Deal By all accounts, Fertitta’s purchase of the Houston Rockets is historic. The $2.2 billion price tag represents the most anyone has ever paid for a North American professional sports franchise. For a shrewd, often cutthroat businessman used to getting the best price for the assets he acquires, the Rockets deal was viewed by some observers as atypical.

Fertitta had made a play for the Rockets before. In 1993 he bid $81 million for the team and lost out to Les Alexander. When Alexander announced this past July he was interested in selling the team after 24 years, it didn’t take long for Fertitta to make his interest plain. Looking at each deal in terms of the bottom line and an eagerness to play hardball has propelled Fertitta and his company to new heights through the years. He’s adept at identifying foundering businesses, often in the restaurant arena, buying them cheap and turning them into cash machines using the Landry’s method. Today, Fertitta Entertainment Inc., which operates Landry’s Inc. and the Golden Nugget Casinos, is a $3.4 billion enterprise with restaurant, hospitality, gaming and entertainment operations across 34 states. But the Rockets were far from a pure business decision. This one was personal. “I started listening to the San Diego Rockets when I was in junior high school, when they said they were moving to Houston, Texas, with Elvin Hayes,” Fertitta says. “That’s when I became a Rockets fan. I’ve been on the ride from the beginning.” A number of entities expressed interest in the Rockets after Alexander’s surprise announcement. But, according to Tad Brown, the former owner wanted someone who would keep the team in Houston, shared his own pride in the local community and would be a good steward of the franchise. Brown says Alexander saw all those things in Fertitta. “It was the Friday [before Hurricane] Harvey was hitting, we were closing the offices and Leslie told me to engage in closing discussions with Tilman,” Brown says. Via FaceTime, Brown conveyed the news to Fertitta who was on his boat in Marina del Ray shooting Billion Dollar Buyer. The typically stoic Fertitta put his head down and began to cry. “And you could see, immediately, that it was the right call,” Brown says. Looking down at his four children seated in the front row at the press conference, Fertitta says the Rockets are a “generational asset. We’re not big sellers of assets, we’re more acquirers. I would be extremely disappointed, and I think they would too, if any of y’all who are still covering this team in 50 years aren’t covering it with the Fertitta family.” As part of the deal, the company also acquired the Toyota Center where the Rockets play. That means Fertitta controls one of the largest venues in the city, which beyond basketball plays host to dozens of concerts and other special events throughout the year. That’s music to the ears of a guy who owns several restaurant concepts that can be adapted to a concession format. Asked if such additions were in the works, Fertitta answers with an unequivocal “yes,” later joking that it was unlikely he would be allowed to add one of his casinos to the building.


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Tilman Fertitta grew up on Galveston Island and was working in the family restaurant and trying to run things by age 12. He developed an early affinity for business and launched his first company, a woman’s clothing store, on a $6,000 line of credit in 1979. A few years and deals later he was an investor in a small restaurant company called Landry’s Seafood when he reached an agreement to buy out his partners in 1986. In the ensuing years he built a number of Landry’s across Texas and Louisiana and took the company public in 1993. Overnight, Fertitta was worth $100 million. He was just 36. In a 2016 interview with the magazine 3w, Fertitta extolled the virtues of risk taking. In business, “you cannot be scared. If you want to be an entrepreneur and make big money you cannot be scared.” While tech and other industries have helped some individuals strike it rich by being at the right place at the right time, to do it like him, “by bricks and sticks … you can’t have any fear.” Landry’s grew dramatically as a public company, from nine restaurants to 200 in 17 years. In 2010, after several unsuccessful attempts, Fertitta was finally able to take Landry’s private again in a deal valued at $1.4 billion. The man with a very particular management style was once again in complete control of his company, no longer beholden to

Wall Street and investors. He’d gotten what he needed out of trading publicly, now it was time to take more risks. In the years that followed, Landry’s would add a series of new brands to the portfolio, from family-friendly concepts like Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. to high-end boutique chains like Morton’s The Steakhouse. With each acquisition, the company grew and the asset’s performance improved. Few could argue Fertitta had the hospitality industry’s golden touch. Fertitta “looks for the diamond in the rough,” says Professor John Bowen of the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management. “He sees opportunities in iconic brands that have slowed down a bit but have a good name, and he’s able to turn them around.” The hospitality mogul has also proven adept at amassing businesses that create synergy and feed off one another, Bowen says. Take for instance his 2005 purchase of the original Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. Not only did the once-foundering Golden Nugget reverse course under Fertitta following a multiyear, $200 million+ renovation and expansion, it now hosts a series of Landry’s restaurant concepts. Since then, Fertitta has built a new Golden Nugget in Lake Charles and transformed existing properties in Biloxi and New Jersey into Golden Nugget casinos, all with his signature restaurant brands.


downtown influence Perhaps no other individual has as much invested in Downtown Houston today as Fertitta. His company owns a slew of restaurants in the district—from premium steakhouse Vic & Anthony’s to the new Grotto that opened earlier this year at the George R. Brown Convention Center, along with the Westin Hotel, the Downtown Aquarium complex and now the Toyota Center as well as its marquee inhabitant. To be sure, Fertitta saw opportunity in Downtown long before most. In 2000, he won the right to redevelop a former firehouse and water works building near City Hall into what he promised would be a top-tier attraction. At the time, Downtown was far from being a leisure destination in the city—its concentration of skyscrapers hosting a workforce that fled after 5 p.m. on weekdays. But Fertitta believed such an attraction could serve as a catalyst. In 2003, Landry’s opened the six-acre Downtown Aquarium complex that included an aquarium, restaurant, banquet facility and amusement rides. When the national CityPASS tourism ticketing program launched in Houston in 2008, the Downtown Aquarium was selected as one of the seven featured attractions and remains so today, cementing its place as one of the city’s top “things to do.” The attraction’s success would prompt future similar developments in Denver, Nashville and Landry’s own Kemah Boardwalk south of Houston. “When the Downtown revitalization started, I feel like I was a big part of it with projects like the Westin, Vic & Anthony’s and the Downtown Aquarium,” Fertitta says. “It’s been great to participate and see how far [Downtown] has come, but maybe we can do a little tweaking along the way.”

Fertitta is likely referring to a proposal first announced in late 2015 to expand the Aquarium outside of its current boundaries. The company has been working with the Association of Aquariums and Zoos on a plan to develop a multimillion-dollar outdoor habitat for its white tigers complete with a waterfall, pool and rock features. With AZA approval now in hand, Landry’s general counsel Steven Scheinthal says construction on the project can proceed and should be completed next year. Scheinthal says the new habitat will provide an “enriching environment” for the endangered cats and an immersive and interactive experience for guests. The habitat expansion follows years of battles and lawsuits between Landry’s and animal rights groups over the current indoor habitat for the white tigers—an issue the company surely hopes to put to rest while also giving customers a new reason to visit the attraction. Bowen from UH agrees Fertitta was an early evangelist for Downtown. And while it’s taken more than a few years to realize the vision, the professor said the addition of new residential towers and hotels has made the city core far more vibrant and active. And perhaps that’s just one more reason why Fertitta’s purchase of the Rockets made sense. Sports, says Bowen, give both locals and tourists “a reason to go Downtown. And what do they do when they come there? They eat dinner at Vic & Anthony’s, they stay at the Westin. It all fits together as part of tourism and entertainment.” The Fertitta touch certainly doesn’t end at the edge of Downtown. The Landry’s owner has helped transform the entire region as a tourist draw, Bowen says. Fertitta turned the once sleepy fishing village of Kemah into a destination with amusement rides and other attractions. And, adds Bowen, he helped bring tourism back to Galveston after Hurricane Ike with the opening of the Pleasure Pier. Fertitta could not be more bullish on Houston’s rise as a leisure destination. One need only look to his latest development project as evidence. Rising above Uptown is the 38-story tower dubbed The Post Oak. Slated for completion early next year, the 10-acre, mixeduse property will feature a 250-room luxury hotel, 20 residential units, two large restaurants, five retail stores, a two-story Rolls-Royce showroom and more luxury amenities. That project is certain to be the newest crown jewel in Landry’s luxury holdings. Back Downtown, Fertitta points to the addition of the Marriott Marquis as a second convention center hotel and other developments on the east end around the George R. Brown Convention Center as examples of a district that’s a growing leisure draw. “The city and Downtown have come a long way for sure and I think we’ve got a lot more ahead of us,” he says.

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“THE ULTIMATE” But of all that Fertitta has built and acquired, for him nothing compares to his latest deal. “I don’t want to take away anything from the great things that I’ve been able to build for the Houston area … but this is the ultimate. You’re in a club of 30,” he says, referring to the fraternity of NBA owners he now joins. “Anybody can go build a boardwalk, anybody can go build an aquarium, anybody can build tall buildings, but not everybody gets to own an NBA franchise.” It’s an incredulous notion, the idea that “anyone” could do the projects Fertitta has thus far. And yet it crystallizes the entrepreneur’s perspective that his accomplishments are the result of hard work and business savvy, nothing more. Fertitta describes a rather surreal scene when he sat down with his wife Paige and their four kids before inking the Rockets deal. “I said we’re going to pay $2 billion for the Houston Rockets, is there anything else y’all would rather buy with $2 billion? Think about this big world we live in.” Fertitta says it wasn’t even close. “This was a family decision and they will be as involved in the decision-making process as I am.” Stable sports franchises can help fortify a city, Fertitta says, promoting civic pride and giving residents something to cheer for. “We’re

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Houstonians, we’re blessed to be able to serve the city in a very good way,” he says. “My kids understand how important the Rockets are to the community. It’s very emotional.” Fertitta believes he’s buying a ball club at its height. Players like James Harden and Chris Paul make the Rockets a strong contender for the playoffs once again this year, he notes. And when it comes to his management style as an owner, he says he hopes to build consensus with Brown and his staff, just like in his existing businesses. “I know what I know and I know what I don’t know,” he says. “Either I’m going to convince you or you’re going to convince me, but we’re all going to walk out of the room agreeing … If I get three or four people going against me, and I can’t convince them, I know one thing: I’m wrong.”

But while Fertitta is willing to let Rockets management take the lead, he’s quick to point out he’s ready to make tough decisions when necessary. He didn’t get this far ducking the hard ones. “The name of the game is to get to the playoffs,” he says. “We’re going to do whatever it takes to win. I promise you that.” Because at the end of the day, it’s all about entertaining the masses and making them want to come back. “I’m in the hospitality business,” he offers as a reminder. “There’s a saying I preach every day: there are no spare customers.” And Fertitta sees us all as just that: customers and guests. Whether we’re dining at his restaurants, gambling at his casinos or enjoying the hardcourt action with the Rockets.


The Downtown of the Future is (almost) Here

BY SA RA H RU FCA N I E L S E N

The recent rise of Downtown Houston is a tale of two Super Bowls. What could make a more memorable bookend for an amazing period of growth and change than the most-watched sporting event in the country? The 2004 game not only introduced the world to the phrase “wardrobe malfunction,” it also arrived at the perfect time to herald the arrival of Houston’s fledgling METRORail, an impressive new convention hotel in the Hilton Americas and a glut of fly-by-night clubs along Main Street catering to Super Bowl partiers and not much else. Thirteen years later, when the Patriots again emerged victorious at NRG Stadium, visitors and locals alike could hardly fail to notice that Downtown had experienced a complete resurgence.

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Barren parking lots gave way to the family friendly splendor of Discovery Green—not to mention the vibrant redesign of Market Square Park. The combination of the Bayou Greenways project and the launch of the Houston BCycle system made it easier and more pleasant than ever before to arrive in and explore Downtown on two wheels. The METRORail has continued to expand and has been supplemented by other new and improved forms of public transit, from the Greenlink bus circulator that connects Downtown’s various destinations to a re-imagining of the city’s bus system that has drastically increased frequency (and as a result, ridership) on the most popular routes. And spending a night out in Downtown is no longer the exclusive provenance of office denizens avoiding traffic or a Super-Bowl-only gimmick. Instead, new restaurants and bars have sprung up across the neighborhood, from the James Beard-awarded Oxheart (now Theodore Rex) in the Warehouse District to the slew of popular watering holes that have clustered around Main Street and Historic Market Square, to the buzzy new Avenida Houston campus, anchored by Hugo Ortega’s highly regarded Xochi. The debut of the Marriott Marquis and

its instantly iconic Texas-shaped lazy river was merely the largest of myriad new hotel options that have sprung up around the district, cementing its status as Houston’s premier destination for visitors. It’s easy to imagine that these changes are the natural result of trends or demographics, as millennials lead the way back to the urban core in cities across the country. But in reality, they came about as the result of thoughtful planning by civic leaders who recognized that a strong and vibrant Downtown Houston was essential to the success of the greater Houston region. In 2004, Central Houston compiled the Houston Downtown Development Framework—part blueprint, part wish list of how to make Houston better in the two decades to come. It wasn’t the first such document—large-scale planning of Downtown began in earnest in 1994—but it was the most ambitious overview before this year. In November 2017, the Downtown District and Central Houston in partnership with 10 other civic, government and management organizations, released Plan Downtown: Converging Culture, Lifestyle & Commerce. Planning began in earnest in the summer of 2016 and spanned 15 months of public input and

“We’re in an amazing period right now. There’s momentum coming in because of all the growth that has occurred. This has been accelerating for the last 30 years.” expert analysis, with the goal of creating a vision of Houston in 2036, when the city celebrates its bicentennial. Just as the Allen siblings in 1836 had a vision of their outpost on the banks of Buffalo Bayou one day becoming a world-class city, Plan Downtown imagines a district transformed by new technologies, resilient in the face of extreme weather and thriving by design. “We’re in an amazing period right now. There’s momentum coming in because of all the growth that has occurred. This has been accelerating for the last 30 years,” says Bob Eury, president of Central Houston and executive director of the Downtown District. “It’s a tipping point in our economy. We’re at this level, but we have to start thinking about what does it take to get to the next level.”

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Plan Downtown is defined by four pillars, phrased as action statements: Downtown is Houston’s greatest place to be; Downtown is the premier business and government location; Downtown is the standard for urban livability; and Downtown is the innovative leader in connectivity. Simply put, the goal is to optimize the experience of living, working, visiting and traveling Downtown. Though they are framed individually, the four pillars are “mutually interdependent,” says Eury. As an example, he cites one of the major goals of the 2004 plan: to increase the utilization of the George R. Brown Convention Center. To increase its competitiveness for conventions and events, consultants pointed to a need for additional hotel rooms and, in particular, more options for dining and recreation in the immediate area. But to sustain restaurants and other nightlife options, leaders knew that the key was more people living Downtown. The result was the Downtown Living Initiative, which through incentives has doubled the Downtown population since 2012. To achieve these goals, the document includes over 150 individual suggestions, ranging from big-picture ideas that would affect every corner of the district and beyond to small, localized upgrades designed to subtly improve urban quality of life.


 Discovery Green and the Convention Center  Super Bowl Live > Main Street Square < Minute Maid Park

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PIERCE STREET

A Ring of Green

FUTURE NHHIP HIGHWAY REALIGNMENT

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The latest unofficial symbol of Houston, created by the Houstorian James Glassman, is a simple line drawing depicting the outline and intersections of the major freeways that run through and around the center of the city—look and you’ll spot it on everything from t-shirts to the drum kit of The Suffers. But it will soon be out of date. The biggest change heading to Downtown in the next decade is actually not one of the city’s making. In 2019, the Texas Department of Transportation (or TxDOT) plans to break ground on the North Houston Highway Improvement Project. This massive, $7 billion project will re-route Interstate 45 away from the west side of Downtown and the outdated Pierce Elevated roadway. Instead the freeway will be combined with Interstates 10 and 69 to run along the north and east side of Downtown, in the process eliminating the traffic-plagued intersection where I-45, I-69 and Highway 288 intersect, currently one of the most congested exchanges in Texas.

Why? By 2036, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, nearly a million vehicles will traverse those freeways each day, yet only 13 percent of drivers are starting or ending their trip in Downtown Houston. By routing all traffic to one side of the central corridor, the project is expected to increase the flow of traffic that’s just passing through. “It’s set to increase the average speed by 24 miles per hour,” says Eury. “That’s huge. TxDOT said they’ve never seen anything like it before.” But while the benefit to commuters will be substantial when the decade-long highway project is complete, the benefit to Downtown and adjacent neighborhoods is incalculable. For the first time in 80 years, Downtown will not be hemmed in on all sides by massive edifices of concrete. “That’s a once-in-a-lifetime type of opportunity,” says Eury. Instead of freeways, Plan Downtown imagines a ring of green— the Green Loop—to transform the edges of Downtown. “When those freeways were built in the 1950s, they just bulldozed right through neighborhoods. So the intention here is to reconnect them as much as you can,” he says.


< H IGH WAY CA P

BAYOU STEPS >

 P IE RCE ST RE E T

Instead of freeways, Plan Downtown imagines the Green Loop to transform the edges of Downtown. WINTER 2017–18

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“On all sides of Downtown, but particularly along 59 on the east side, there’s a real physical and psychological barrier. So the North Houston Highway Improvement Project gives us these opportunities to challenge that.”

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E X IST IN G C ON DIT ION S

Plans call for the newly expanded 69/45 freeway to be buried below grade, with a highway cap spanning several blocks installed over it at the street level, forging a strong connection between Downtown and East Downtown. The cap could be furnished with additional park space—perhaps recreational fields, to complement rather than repeat the amenities of Discovery Green—or even a semi-permanent public market. When it’s complete, aside from seeing the freeway plunge underneath in the distance, people standing on the cap might not even know that the public amenities surrounding them are technically divided between two different neighborhoods. “On all sides of Downtown, but particularly along 59 on the east side, there’s a real physical and psychological barrier. So the North Houston Highway Improvement Project gives us these opportunities to challenge that,” says Lonnie Hoogeboom, director of planning, design and development for the Downtown District. Along Pierce Street on Downtown’s southern border, Plan Downtown envisions a grand boulevard as one might find in a European capital, fitted with extra-wide sidewalks, space for pedestrians to congregate and a two-way bike lane as well as an allée of shade-giving trees on both sides of a multi-lane roadway.

“At the Midtown meeting, I remember in particular a couple that said when the highway project happens, the Pierce Elevated has got to come down, because that’s the one thing that prevents us from walking or riding our bikes Downtown,” says Hoogeboom. Having heard impassioned public input both for and against the idea of transforming a section of the Pierce Elevated into a distinctive attraction, á la New York’s High Line, the plan remains studiously agnostic—open to the idea, assuming someone can develop a workable plan that fits within Plan Downtown’s larger goals. Public input was also essential to the potential redesign of the southwest corner of Downtown, where planners envision a promenade and bike path along Andrews and Heiner streets, the former of which will also highlight the Fourth Ward’s African-American history through monuments and public art. Each section of the Green Loop offers its own attractions and benefits, but the design is more than the sum of its parts. It’s an outdoor destination that’s unique among American cities, as well as a way to rebrand Houston, presenting a new, green, 21st-century vision of the city to visitors that’s even visible from the sky. It also adds value to Houston’s other trails and outdoor amenities by offering increased connectivity and access. For cyclists, the highway cap would be perfectly situated between the Columbia Tap trail and the Lamar Cycle Track, and its proximity to major parking infrastructure (both existing and planned) make it an ideal trailhead and launching point for people to explore the Bayou Greenways.

HIGHWAY CAP BENEFITS

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Recreational fields

2 Activate edges with new development

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Large-scale events

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500 year flood 100 year flood

1 2 3

ACTIVE EDGE

1 Provide access to the Bayou with minimal impact to the ecological systems. 2 Control erosion. 3 Absorb stormwater to reduce flooding. 4 Diverse, adaptive vegetation. 5 Engage the bayou architecturally. 6 Create waterfront gathering spaces and trail linkages. 7 Elevate building systems to protect from flooding.

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RE SIL IE N T E DGE

As it happens, Plan Downtown arrives at a moment when Houston as a city is more aware than ever before of the importance of natural spaces in improving drainage and keeping development separate from particularly floodprone areas. Hurricane Harvey hit when the plan was in its final stages, but nevertheless several of the concepts contained within it mesh well with a renewed focus on how to best protect the city’s infrastructure from flood damage. On the northeast corner of Downtown, the North Houston Highway Improvement Project opens up a large parcel of land that can be reclaimed for enhanced storm water detention. On the West, one of the signature features of Plan Downtown is a new signature park destination, the Bayou Steps, that embodies

Smart and Resilient Planning

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many of the smart planning principles introduced in the design of Buffalo Bayou Park. The simple yet compelling design consists of a series of graded open spaces between the western edge of Downtown and Buffalo Bayou, offering a visual connection to the architectural gems of the Theater District. On a more practical level, the plans call for both active and resilient edges, utilizing both plants and physical structures like concrete benches to minimize the impact of flooding and create a low-lying space that would help protect and insulate some of the adjacent structures from flood events. “Clearly as we go forward, we have to make that consideration of resiliency. The seat of our city and county government are in the flood plain, as is our performing arts district—some important geography. So there are several pieces in the plan with regard to guidelines—there’s this sense that you’ve got to build it better,” says Eury. “We need to be designing buildings in a way that when you have a big storm—because we know that we will have them—you just prepare for it, and you’re ready for it.”

BAYOU ST E P S


Responsive to Technology Emerging technologies won’t just reshape the way we interact with our city—they are driving changes in the business world, too.

The North Houston Highway Improvement Project and the Green Loop project represent major physical and visual changes to the fabric of central Houston, but rethinking Downtown also involves updates that will make their presence felt more than seen. The greatest challenge looking forward 20 years is imagining how technology will change how cities work, and what residents will expect of them. The popularity of ride-sharing services like Uber, the seemingly imminent arrival of autonomous vehicles and the increasing business flexibility created by smartphone connectivity in some ways offer more questions about the future than answers. Will self-driving cars mean more or less vehicles on the streets? Should Houston have less garages—or perhaps more garage-like structures where fleets of Ubers can go in between calls? How can these new options work in tandem with public transit? These are, according to Eury, the $64,000 questions. “We know it’s changing and we are just beginning to find out how it’s all going to work. The plan is to accept that it’s coming and, quite frankly, be nimble,” he says. That doesn’t mean city planners can’t make smart accommodations as Downtown continuously works toward attaining complete streets. As fewer people drive themselves to Downtown destinations, some street parking can be replaced with drop-off and pick-up zones that are protected from through traffic by bumpouts like the ones installed in certain sections of Midtown. Eury points out that the Greenlink buses are part of a program required by federal law to replace its vehicles every 12 years—with their expiration seven years away, that might be perfect timing for the next generation of buses to be autonomous vehicles.

“Instead of just being responsive to technology, how can we put ourselves where we are maybe doing pilot programs for certain technologies? How can we push ourselves in these areas?” says Angie Bertinot, director of marketing and communications for the Downtown District. “We can update the system of synchronized traffic lights with new technology to be more responsive to conditions on the ground, based on whether there’s a special event, or during certain times or days of the week. But what’s interesting is that it’s not just vehicles. On the streets, we could have smart lights—like when you go to the grocery store and the lights come on if a space is empty. Things like that can be implemented.” But emerging technologies won’t just reshape the way we interact with our city—they are driving changes in the business world, too. Although the energy industry will probably always be a cornerstone of Houston’s economy, Plan Downtown imagines a slew of initiatives and partnerships aimed at reinforcing Downtown’s role as the most important regional business destination and diversifying the industries with a major presence here. On the agenda: supporting the start-up community, establishing pipelines for talent from local schools into the business arena and engaging with specialized districts like the Texas Medical Center. Among the central ideas is the establishment of an “innovation district,” composed of flexible, collaborative work spaces designed to capitalize on the city’s existing 250 early-stage software and digital technology companies, connecting small businesses and entrepreneurs to each other as well as to venture capital, angel investors and other strategic resources.

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The key to increasing walkability is more people out and about in the neighborhood at all times of day.

Maximizing Quality of Life WHAT MAKES A GREAT STREET?

1

Outdoor seating

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Flowers, plants and trees

3

Generous pedestrian thoroughfare

4

Indoor and outdoor transparency

5

Pedestrian lighting

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Eyes on the street

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Unique storefronts

SIDEWALK

PARKING

2 LANES

TREE/AMENITY

CAFÉ SIDEWALK TREE/AMENITY BIKE

CAROLINE STREET (PROPOSED)

Strengthening Downtown’s appeal to the innovation economy isn’t just about office space though—it’s about maximizing quality of life. Walkability becomes of paramount importance. Smart lights, public art, shade structures and widened sidewalks can make a big difference in how safe and welcoming Downtown feels to pedestrians, but those types of improvements are just the tip of the iceberg. When it comes down to it, the district’s myriad attractions and destinations aren’t really all that far apart; they simply feel isolated because so many of Downtown’s city blocks are monopolized by big, uninteresting buildings— office towers with street-level lobbies and nonhuman-scale architecture, monolithic parking garages and other structures that are dead outside of office hours. “If you’re not careful when you build a parking garage, you end up with a very uninteresting streetscape, and it’s a long walk,” says Eury. “At the end of the day we still have a lot to do to improve the feel of being on the street.” One way to address this issue suggested in the plan is the

creation of Downtown Development Guidelines in conjunction with the city, developers and other local stakeholders, to encourage or require ground-level redevelopment that creates an interesting streetscape in addition to offering flood protection and resilience. Perhaps the future of Downtown development lies in following the example of residential buildings like One Park Place, with multiple restaurant concepts on its ground floor, or in commercial buildings like Hines’s new 609 Main at Texas skyscraper, which combines a soaring, architecturally impressive lobby with a dedicated corner space for a street-level shop, Prelude Coffee & Tea, and a soon-to-beannounced restaurant. But the key to increasing walkability is the same factor that was needed to boost dining and nightlife options: more people out and about in the neighborhood at all times of day. On this front, much progress has already been made. The Downtown Living Initiative doubled the district’s population from 3,800 to 7,500, and the number of Downtown hotel rooms has skyrocketed from 1,200 in four hotels in 2000 to 8,300 across 27 hotels as of 2018. By 2036, officials hope to raise the number of people living Downtown to 30,000, occupying 12,000 apartment units. “Looking at other central cities, there tends to be this inflection point—once you get to 20,000 or 30,000 in population you start to get a sense of bustle and activity,” says Hoogeboom.

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“Looking at other central cities, there tends to be this inflection point— once you get to 20,000 or 30,000 in population you start to get a sense of bustle and activity.”

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More people isn’t the only goal—planners hope Downtown can become more family friendly with the eventual addition of public elementary and middle schools (with the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts leading the way, opening its new Downtown campus in 2018), new child-care options and more resident-supporting retail and service businesses. Another suggestion is the development of student housing for those attending the University of Houston, Rice University, Texas Southern University and graduate programs in the Texas Medical Center, all of which are easily accessible from Downtown via the METRORail. Plan Downtown also identifies six emerging residential neighborhoods Downtown and notes that additional development should be encouraged to target these zones, creating pockets of dense livability and individual neighborhood character. Plan Downtown does not suggest coming up with nicknames for these micro-neighborhoods, but since EaDo has been so successful since the adoption of the abbreviated moniker, it seems like a good idea. Perhaps soon we’ll be referring to not only Market Square, but also SoDo (South Downtown), Little Warehouse (Warehouse District), Caroline (adjacent to Minute Maid Park) or Four Corners (around the center of Downtown where the original wards were divided).

An Authentic Downtown Experience The central issue—one that covers the cornerstones of making Downtown a better place to visit, live, work and travel—is how to make Downtown the kind of place where people can enjoy themselves without a specific itinerary or destination. “One of the things we talked a lot about in meetings is, ‘If I was staying at Le Meridien or Hotel Alessandra, and I have three hours before I leave for the airport what would I do in Downtown?’ And other than park space, or going to a restaurant, or getting a drink somewhere, we’re lacking a little bit,” says Bertinot. “How can you have that authentic experience? We want to be this place where you don’t have to have a plan.” Interestingly, Eury’s biggest complaint about the 150-plus ideas in Plan Downtown is that they aren’t ambitious enough—he thinks the Houston it imagines could become reality well before 2036. “There’s too much in here that’s too soon and not enough that’s far-reaching,” he says.

Maybe he’s right—in Space City, reaching for the stars is considered standard operating procedure. But if the Super Bowl returns in another dozen years or so, the Downtown that visitors find will almost certainly be more engaging, more vibrant and better connected to the city at large. Every 200-year-old should be so lucky.

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2017-18

WINTER

datebook.

Performing Arts 29 Market Square Park 33 Festivals + Special Events 34 Discovery Green 35 and more

EDITED BY STEFANIE PASCACIO

THE ICE AT DISCOVERY GREEN photo by Katya Horner

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datebook.

PERFORMING ARTS VERY MERRY POPS

Dec 1–3 The multi-talented Megan Hilty returns to Jones Hall for a special annual Very Merry Pops extravaganza. The program includes holiday classics, including special arrangements of songs from Megan’s new holiday album, A Merry Little Christmas. Enjoy favorites such as Jingle Bells, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Santa Baby and It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. 8 pm. Tickets $40–$155. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.

houstonsymphony.org

THE HOUSE WITHOUT A CHRISTMAS TREE

Dec 1–17 Addie Mills is smart and energetic, just like the mother she never knew. Addie has no idea why her father resents the holidays so intensely, refusing even to allow a Christmas tree in the house. But when she brings home a tree she won in a school contest, it paves the way for a miracle of sorts—her father’s broken soul is transformed. The world premiere opera by Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek is based on the original story by Gail Rock and the beloved 1972 television movie of the same name. 7 pm. Tickets start at $25. HGO Resilience Theater, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 713.228.6737. houstongrandopera.org

TALES OF A HARD NUT

Dec 1-23 Prohibition’s Moonlight Dolls are thrilled to present their holiday show Tales of a Hard Nut, a burlesque-inspired adaptation of the timeless classic The Nutcracker. Through veils of glistening snowflakes and song, the Snow Queen guides Clara through the Land of the Sweets, discovering the original and far naughtier Nutcracker Land that the world-weary Rat King originally intended. 7 pm. Tickets start at $30. Prohibition Theatre, 1008 Prairie, 281.940.4636.

prohibitiontheatre.com

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Dec 1–30 Houston’s seasonal favorite returns this year with a re-telling of Charles Dickens’ classic story, which follows Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey with the three ghostly spirits who visit him on Christmas Eve. Tickets $26–$60. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org

A GRINCH CHRISTMAS

Dec 2 It’s the holiday season in Dr. Seuss’ zany world of Whoville. Although the Grinch is in town, this Christmas will surely not be stolen! Join the Houston Symphony and local high school singers as they present the classic story of the grouchy, green creature. The festive fun also includes a holiday singalong and the hit Believe from the movie Polar Express. Tickets $25–$32. 10 am. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.

houstonsymphony.org

WYNONNA & THE BIG NOISE CHRISTMAS

WYNONNA & THE BIG NOISE CHRISTMAS

HANDEL’S MESSIAH

Dec 7 Wynonna Judd—along with her band, The Big

Dec 15–17 Celebrate Christmas with a true Houston

Noise—will bring Wynonna & The Big Noise Christmas to Jones Hall. The show will feature incomparable musical arrangements from The Big Noise, putting Wynonna’s voice front and center for what promises to be a truly memorable evening of music and holiday magic. 7:30 pm. $34–$104. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4772. spahouston.org

holiday tradition. Praised for the “perfect harmony, excellence, [and] virtuosity” (Est Républicain) he brings to his ensembles, conductor Paul Agnew leads the Houston Symphony Chorus, soloists and orchestra in Houston’s premiere performances of this Baroque masterpiece. From Comfort ye, my people to the final Amen chorus, Messiah will leave you singing Hallelujah for Handel! 8 pm. Tickets $29–$85. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org

HANSEL AND GRETEL

Dec 7–23 A dark take on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tale set in a stunning wooded installation by artist Mina Gaber. Audiences of all ages will be captivated by this stripped-down English version of Humperdinck’s folk-inspired opera in Rec Room’s Back Room. 8 pm. $15–$25. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291.

recroomarts.org

WEIRD SH*T PLAY FESTIVAL

Dec 8–9 Rec Room is hosting its second annual New Works Play Festival, a live, literary—and weird— roller coaster! 8 pm. $5. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomarts.org

SLEEPING BEAUTY AND HER WINTER KNIGHT

Dec 12–24 The familiar story of Sleeping Beauty gets mixed up with contemporary pop culture, creating an interactive holiday treat. Sleeping Beauty And Her Winter Knight is a modern twist on the classic fairy tale, set to a contemporary score featuring plenty of magic and pop hits by Aloe Blacc, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, John Legend, and others. Tickets vary. 7:30 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.558.2600. tuts.com

REC THE HALLS

Dec 15 A whacky, holiday extravaganza full of cider and Christmassy goodness. 8 pm. $10. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291.

recroomarts.org

TRACI AND TONY’S UNUSUAL NEW YEAR’S EVE

Dec 21–31 Writer and

talented performer, Traci Lavois Thiebaud along with composer Anthony Barilla have teamed up with a band of seasoned musicians to create a miniature rock opera based on Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 performance at the MTV New Year’s Eve Ball. Unusual New Year’s Eve is equal parts rock concert, theatrical UNUSUAL NEW YEAR’S EVE happening, and New Year’s Eve Party. Dancing shoes recommended. 9 pm and a special 11 pm performance on NYE. $15–$50 Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomarts.org

SHEN YUN

Dec 22–27 Through the universal language of music and dance, Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales, taking you on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture. Its stunning beauty and tremendous energy leave audiences uplifted and inspired. 7:30 pm. $87–$207. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana., 832.487.7050.

shenyunperformingarts.org VERY MERRY POPS

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photo by Robert Kusel

R. STRAUSS’S ELEKTRA

THE COLOR PURPLE

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS IN CONCERT

Dec 29–30 CineConcerts invites you to rediscover the magic of Harry Potter in the latest installment of the Harry Potter Film Concert Series. Projected in high-definition, your favorite moments from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets are accompanied by the Houston Symphony performing John Williams’ poignant scores. Join Harry, Ron and Hermione as they encounter harrowing pixies, giant snakes and polyjuice potions in this concert event. 7:30 pm. Tickets vary. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.

houstonsymphony.org

A PIANO…GUITAR AND SAX

Dec 30 A Peaceful Enterprise presents A Piano... Guitar And Sax. Enjoy a pre-New Year’s Eve jazz show with Grammy nominated guitarist Doc Powell, pianist Marcus Johnson and saxophonist Dee Lucas. 7 pm. Tickets $60–$111. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org

THE NUTCRACKER

Dec 30–Jan 6 The holiday season reignites with Stanton Welch’s spectacular new production of The Nutcracker. Enjoy all the splendor of this timeless classic, with opulence brighter than ever. Journey with Clara, Drosselmeyer, Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Nutcracker Prince as they embark on a magical adventure through a growing Christmas tree, interactive snow scene, and whimsical Kingdom of Sweets. The music, costumes, and hundreds of delightful characters will bring out the child in everyone! $25–$135. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. houstonballet.org

NEW YEAR’S IN BERLIN

Dec 31 Ars Lyrica’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration—which includes an elegant dinner, musical program, and festive gala—is always our most popular event of the year. For New Year’s Eve 2017 visit the Berlin salon of Sara Itzig Levy, whose home was a meeting place for literary and musical giants, including Bach’s eldest sons and the young Felix Mendelssohn, Levy’s grandnephew. This Levy-inspired program includes several works from her legendary collection, including a W. F. Bach flute concerto and a C. P. E. Bach double concerto for fortepiano and harpsichord—a work closely connected with our legendary hostess, who played one of the solo parts at its 1788 première. Tickets start at $39. 9 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. arslyricahouston.org

THE NUTCRACKER

KIRILL GERSTEIN PLAYS BRAHMS

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS IN CONCERT

DISNEY FANTASIA

Jan 5–7 The Houston Symphony proudly presents selections from Disney Fantasia and Fantasia 2000, shown on the big screen, with live score. A crowning achievement in the history of animation, the film is an imaginative celebration of great orchestral music, with Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, Stravinsky’s The Firebird and, of course, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Join the Houston Symphony on a fantastical journey as we explore the magic of Disney. 8 pm. Tickets $50–$148. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.

houstonsymphony.org

THE COLOR PURPLE

Jan 9–14 Experience the exhilarating power of the Tony-winning American classic, The Color Purple. With a soul-raising score of jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues, the epic story follows a young woman’s journey to love and triumph in the American South. Tickets start at $35. 7:30 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525.

thehobbycenter.org

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Jan 11–13 Andrés leads a guided tour of Bartók’s masterful Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta. Famously featured in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, this innovative work combines modern sophistication with the visceral excitement of Hungarian folk music. Houston favorite Kirill Gerstein returns for a performance of Brahms’ powerful Piano Concerto No. 1, a deeply personal work often praised as a veiled symphony for its ambition and scope. 8 pm. $39–$120. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.

houstonsymphony.org

2CELLOS

Jan 16 The international sensation 2CELLOS brings a fresh, exciting show to Houston. Luka Sulic and Stjepan, the young Croatian cellists behind 2CELLOS, rose to fame in 2011 when their version of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal took the world by storm. The YouTube video became a massive viral sensation leading to a record deal with Sony Masterworks, sold-out world tours and appearances on major TV shows. 2CELLOS have no limits when it comes to performing live and are equally as impressive when playing Bach and Vivaldi as they are when rocking out AC/DC. 7:30 pm. $38–$78. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4772. spahouston.org


datebook.

R. STRAUSS’S ELEKTRA

Jan 19–Feb 2 A gripping drama from the ancient world. Vengeance and insanity take center stage in this intensely powerful single-act opera. Watch as the title character, Elektra, lusts for revenge for her father’s death just before she descends into utter madness. Don’t miss one of the most thrilling and chilling works in all of opera, featuring internationally renowned soprano Christine Goerke, who “owns the title role… [as] one of the most fearless and formidable dramatic sopranos of the day.” (New York Times). Patrick Summers conducts; the production by David McVicar is staged in Houston by Nick Sandys. Tickets start at $15. HGO Resilience Theater, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 713.228.6737. houstongrandopera.org

CHARLES IVES’S AMERICA: HYMNS, SONGS, SONATAS

Jan 23 Few composers have drawn as much literal inspiration from their childhood home as the American maverick, Charles Ives. Award-winning pianist Jeremy Denk has made a special project of championing the music of Ives. In this imaginative project, Denk, violinist Stefan Jackiw and members of Houston Chamber Choir explore inspiration and Ives’s unparalleled invention, interweaving the original hymns, patriotic songs and marches performed by a quartet of singers with the wildly imaginative sonatas of Ives that those songs inspired. 7:30 pm. Tickets $37.50–$67.50. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com

HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY Winter Calendar

FAMILY FUN MONDAYS

Toddler Story Time, 11:30 am Preschool Story Time, 1 pm

in celebration of the art of creative storytelling, join the Houston Public Library for a special program of imaginative short films, a sugary sweet ballet performance, and delightful activities that are true fun for all ages! Free. 2 pm. Julia Ideson Building.

TUESDAYS

Toddler Yoga, 10:30 am Toddler Play Time, 11:30 am

WEDNESDAYS

LEGO Mania, 3 pm

MOZART & TCHAIKOVSKY

All events free and open to the public. Central Library 500 McKinney

Julia Ideson Library 550 McKinney

832.393.1313 houstonlibrary.org

Jan 25–28 Israeli conductor Omer Meir Wellber makes his Houston Symphony debut with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, a compelling musical drama the composer regarded as his “best symphonic work.” Dutch violinist Simone Lamsma has received ecstatic praise for her interpretation of Britten’s gorgeous Violin Concerto, which treats listeners to “high-running emotions” and “spectral, blazing sound” (Cleveland.com). 8 pm. Tickets $23–$120. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org

CANDY CANE CINEMA CELEBRATION

Dec 3 In partnership with Aurora Picture Show and

THE GREAT SOCIETY

ROSSINI’S THE BARBER OF SEVILLE

Jan 26–Feb 10 Figaro, Figaro, Figaro! Opera’s famous barber is back in Rossini’s madcap comedy. Be enchanted as this scheming barber helps playboy Count Almaviva win the hand of the vivacious young Rosina, who is kept a virtual prisoner in the home of her crotchety guardian, Dr. Bartolo. Rossini’s score is punctuated with brilliant ensembles and some of opera’s most familiar arias, including Figaro’s ode to his own fame, while the stage is set for laugh-outloud comedy. Tickets start at $15. HGO Resilience Theater, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 713.228.6737.

houstongrandopera.org

THE GREAT SOCIETY

Jan 26–Feb 18 The tumultuous beginning of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency was dramatized by Robert Schenkkan in his Tony Award-winning play All the Way, seen in a spectacular Alley production last season. The LBJ journey continues in part two, The Great Society. From 1965 to 1968, LBJ struggles to fight a war on poverty even as his war in Vietnam spins out of control. Besieged by political opponents, Johnson marshals all his political wiles while the country descends into chaos over the war and backlash against civil rights. 8 pm. Tickets $35–$73. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org

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SCHOOL OF ROCK

Jan 30–Feb 4 Based on the hit film, the hilarious new musical, School of Rock, follows Dewey Finn, a wannabe rock star posing as a substitute teacher who turns a class of straight-A students into a guitarshredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. The high-octane smash features 14 new songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber, all the original songs from the movie and musical theater’s first-ever kids rock band playing their instruments live on stage. Tickets start at $35. 7:30 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525.

thehobbycenter.org

RAVEL’S DAPHNIS AND CHLOÉ

Feb 2–4 Acclaimed conductor Fabien Gabel returns

BYRNE AND KELLY

AN EVENING WITH BYRNE AND KELLY

Jan 27 Irish duo Neil Byrne and Ryan Kelly of Celtic Thunder are joined on stage with musicians Nicole Hudson on violin and Peter Sheridan on keyboard, guitar and mandolin. The live show features dynamic vocal harmonies, violin solos that will make your heart ache, a bold and booming keyboard and plenty of Irish storytelling weaved in and out. Byrne and Kelly perform original songs from their album Echoes, Irish classics they were raised on and a few recognizable anthems from Celtic Thunder. $47–$58. 7 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org

PIANO BATTLE

Jan 28 Direct from Germany, Piano Battle is a grueling musical duel that has captivated international audiences. The masterminds behind Piano Battle are pianists Paul Cibis and Andreas Kern. Both Cibis and Kern have performed around the world with their distinct, unique performance styles that will be showcased. The two artists will take turns to perform pieces by composers such as Chopin, Liszt and Debussy. 3 pm. Tickets $34–$64. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.227.4772. spahouston.org

SCHOOL OF ROCK

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with a program of French and American classics, including the breathtaking musical sunrise from Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloé. A rock star of the percussion world, Colin Currie performs John Corigliano’s Conjurer for Percussionist, Strings and Brass. In the words of the composer, this percussion concerto turns the soloist into “a kind of sorcerer.” 8 pm. Tickets $23–$120. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.

houstonsymphony.org

LOVER, BELOVED

Feb 9–Mar 11 Grammy Award-winning singer-

music perfect for the entire family! Adam Trent’s jawdropping illusions and unparalleled talents will have Houston audiences on the edge of their seats. 8 pm. Tickets $39–$94. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4772.

spahouston.org

ANDRÉS CONDUCTS DVOŘÁK’S 7

Feb 15–18 Experience Andrés and the orchestra’s gripping account of Dvořák’s dramatic Symphony No. 7. Plus, enjoy Dvořák’s spooky retelling of the Czech legend of the Noon Witch. 8 pm. Tickets $23–$120. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.

houstonsymphony.org

ESTHER & JONAH

Feb 16 Produced in collaboration with Bach Society Houston as part of the 2018 Houston Early Music Festival, this program comprises two concise music dramas from opposite ends of the 18th century: G. F. Handel’s Esther (1718) and Samuel Felsted’s Jonah (1775). With gorgeous arias and stirring choruses, Handel’s first English-language oratorio celebrates an Old Testament heroine’s victory over the forces of evil. Tickets start at $39. 7:30 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org

REC ROOM ARTS’ RESIDENCY FESTIVAL

songwriter, Suzanne Vega pays homage to renowned Southern writer Carson McCullers (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Member of the Wedding) in this new play with music about the outspoken, perceptive and wild dreamer who became one of the brightest literary lights of the 20th century. The songs, co-authored by Duncan Sheik (Tony Award for Spring Awakening), richly capture McCullers’ instinctively rebellious nature and forward-thinking philosophies on race, gender and love. Tickets vary. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org

Feb 16–Mar 31 Rec Room Arts’ six Resident Artists

THE ILLUSIONISTS PRESENT: ADAM TRENT

and celebrated Brazilian-born guitarists Sérgio and Odair Assad are global musical citizens, at home with an international program ranging from Bach to Brazil. The Assads, with their exceptional artistry and uncanny ensemble-playing, team up with Avital, passionate and “explosively charismatic” (New York Times) in live performance. Avi Avital is a driving force behind the reinvigoration of the mandolin repertory.

Feb 10 Adam Trent is an internationally recognized

magician who fuses magic, comedy and music to create a one-of-a-kind show. He began street performing at the age of 14 and then went to college in Los Angeles to study finance and entertainment marketing. The Illusionists Present: Adam Trent is an immersive entertainment extravaganza of magic, comedy and

present world premiere performances in a festival of interdisciplinary works of theatre, dance, music, opera, performance art, film and more! Each weekend, a new artist who works to bend and break the rules of conventional performance will present a premiere performance developed within the Artist Residency program. 8 pm. Tickets vary. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomarts.org

SÉRGIO AND ODAIR ASSAD AND AVI AVITAL

Feb 17 Israeli superstar mandolin player Avi Avital


datebook.

MARKET SQUARE PARK Winter Calendar Market Square Park is open daily from 6 am–11 pm. Blankets, lawn chairs, and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase at Niko Niko’s. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages are allowed. Metered on-street parking is available and free after 6 pm. marketsquarepark.com ANDRÉS OROZCO-ESTRADA

photo by Julie Soefer

The trio explore both classical repertoire reimagined for guitar and mandolin, and traditional choro music, a popular genre in Brazil known for its upbeat rhythms and bravura virtuosity. Tickets $42.50–$72.50. 7:30 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com

MEMPHIS

Feb 20–28 A loosely based musical rendition on Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips, one of the first white DJs to play black music in the 1950s. Tickets vary. 7:30 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525.

tuts.com

HILARY HAHN CELEBRATES BERNSTEIN

Feb 23–25 The Houston Symphony celebrates

Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday with one of the world’s greatest violinists, Hilary Hahn. Bernstein’s Serenade follows the musings of Plato’s Symposium, a colorful dialogue about the nature of love and “beauty absolute…and everlasting.” Andrés leads the orchestra in Shostakovich’s riveting Symphony No. 5, the composer’s powerful response to Soviet censorship. 8 pm. Tickets $29–$120. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org

Be sure to follow Historic Market Square on Facebook and Twitter for special event announcements, weather-related updates and other happenings in the neighborhood’s eclectic dining and bar scene.

DON’T MISS

RECREATION

DESIGNCRAFT HOLIDAY MARKET

BAYOU BIKERS

Dec 2 DesignCraft is AIGA Houston’s

Dec 3, Jan 7 & Feb 4 Bayou Bikers meet

8th Annual Holiday Market featuring the work of local artists, crafters, creatives and more. Find the perfect gifts and enjoy demonstrations by local artisans, music and local food trucks. Free. 10 am–5 pm.

at Market Square on the first Sunday of the month for 25- to 40-mile bike rides exploring the bayous of Houston. Rides are open to all. Mountain bikes or bikes with fat tires are necessary. This is an informal group whose purpose is to show Houstonians and visitors the beauty of Houston’s waterways. Free. First Sunday of the month, 8 am.

HOLIDAY MOVIE NIGHT: SCROOGED

Dec 13 Frank, a selfish, cynical TV executive haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve. (PG-13) 1988, 109 min. 7 pm.

CRITICAL MASS

Dec 29, Jan 26 & Feb 23 Critical Mass is an informal bike group that meets the last Friday of every month to ride around the city, raise awareness and advocate for a bicycle-friendly urban environment. All bikes are welcome. Free. 7:15 pm.

SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF

Feb 23–Mar 18 March 1971. Backstage at the Empire Room of New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Louis Armstrong, the greatest trumpet player in the world, sits in his dressing room trying to pull himself together to do one final show. Because as long as they clap, Louis will go out there and play. His mind wanders through the amazing journey of his life and his complex relationship with his manager Joe Glaser. In a tour-deforce performance, one actor journeys into the mind and heart of an American musical genius and the man behind the legend. 8 pm. Tickets $35–$79. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org

SCROOGED

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MAYOR’S HOLIDAY CELEBRATION photo by Richard Carson

HEARTMADE HOLIDAY ART MARKET

9TH ANNUAL GINGERBREAD BUILD-OFF

FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS MAYOR’S HOLIDAY CELEBRATION AND TREE LIGHTING PRESENTED BY RELIANT

Dec 1 Ring in the season with the 98th Annual Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting Presented by Reliant. This spectacular event is a holiday tradition of music, Santa, fireworks and family fun, leaving behind a towering holiday tree, glowing with lights, shimmering ornaments and a stunning star topper to light up the streets of Downtown Houston this holiday season! Free. 6 pm. City Hall, 901 Bagby. houstontx.gov

POPSHOP HOUSTON HOLIDAY FESTIVAL

Dec 1–3 A weekend of artfully curated artisan goods from over 120 artists. Experience the biggest art market in Houston and enjoy modern handmade craft shopping, art exhibitions, art activities, beauty bar demos, live music and more. $8–$48. Main Street Studio at GreenStreet, 1201 Main. popshopamerica.com

HOUSTON VS AUSTIN BBQ THROWDOWN

Dec 3 The Houston Barbecue Festival and Saint

Arnold Brewing Company announce their inaugural Hou-Atx BBQ Throwdown featuring top barbecue restaurants from both cities competing to determine who reigns supreme when it comes to Texas barbecue. Tickets $80. Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 2000 Lyons. 713.686.9494. saintarnold.com

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photo by Cesar Carillo Photography

MKT BAR’S 7TH ANNUAL FRIENDS & FAMILY HOLIDAY KARAOKE WITH KARBACH BREWING COMPANY

HEARTMADE HOLIDAY ART MARKET

Dec 9 Explore the work of over 50 local artists,

out at MKT Bar’s Annual Family and Friends Karaoke Party. Guest will enjoy Karbach seasonal brews paired along with Chef’s Yuletide food and beer pairings. Holiday attire encouraged. 9 pm. MKT Bar. 1001 Austin. 832.360.2222. mktbar.com

crafters and creatives with work ranging from jewelry and apparel to home goods and art along Main Street Square. The fun-filled event will host a little something for everyone including live music, strolling Christmas carolers, photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus, food truck fare and more! Free. 11 am–6 pm. Main Street Square. heartmadehouston.com

HTX BOSS BABES HOLIDAY MARKET

9TH ANNUAL GINGERBREAD BUILD-OFF

businesses by spending a fun evening of shopping, good eats, music, photo booths and champagne at GreenStreet’s Main Street Studio. Free. 3–9 pm. Main Street Studio at GreenStreet, 1201 Main.

Annual Gingerbread Build-Off at City Hall’s Hermann Square Saturday December 9, 2017. Competing teams will create their masterpieces using 100 percent edible materials. More than 4,500 spectators are expected to attend and cheer on the teams, play in the kids’ construction zone, and see Santa! All of that entertainment is free and open to the public! Free. 9 am–4:30 pm. Hermann Square, 900 Smith. 713.520.0155. aiahouston.org

Dec 8 Get in the holiday spirit and sing your heart

Dec 9 Celebrate the talents of 70+ women owned

greenstreetdowntown.com

Dec 9 Architecture Center Houston will host the 9th


datebook. RAINBOW ON ICE

DISCOVERY GREEN Winter

Calendar

CAN’T MISS ART INSTALLATIONS HELLO, TREES: A WALKING SERENADE

Through Feb 25 Created by the Montreal art

collective Daily Tous Les Jours specifically for Discovery Green’s live oak allée, Hello, Trees transforms vistors’ voice messages into light and music, inspired by the inaudible connections and processes that exist in nature. Open 6 am–11 pm daily.

SPECIAL EVENTS THE ICE POWERED BY GREEN MOUNTAIN ENERGY

Through Jan 21 Ice skating returns to Downtown Houston this holiday season! Lace up your skates and get ready for a memorable winter experience on the largest outdoor ice skating rink in the Southwest. Admission $14 in person or $17 online. For schedule of events, holiday hours and more information visit

discoverygreen.com/ice

WINTER FLEA BY NIGHT PRESENTED BY GREEN MOUNTAIN ENERGY

Dec 2, 9 & 16 This popular flea market

expands to a weekly event for the winter! The destination market features an array of artful kitsch, vintage items, recycled and repurposed objects and collectibles with live music, food trucks and more! 6–10 pm.

RAINBOW ON ICE

Dec 8 The annual city-wide LGBT celebration returns to The ICE! Celebrate the season with the ultimate dance party with electrifying entertainment. 7–10 pm.

WEEKLY SKATE EVENTS CHEAP SKATE NIGHTS

FAMILY & CHILDREN EVENTS YOUTH PERFORMANCE POETRY SESSIONS

Mondays Glide around The ICE for half the price

Dec 1, Jan 5 & Feb 2 Writing and slam poetry workshops

on select Monday nights! $8 including skate rental and tax. 5–10 pm.

for budding poets ages 13–19. Free. 6:30–8 pm.

TIME WARP TUESDAYS

Saturdays through Feb 6 Houston’s only free and open

skating through the decades and turning back time for a fun and music filled night on the ICE. Costumes encouraged! 7–9 pm.

Saturdays through Feb 28 Bring your sorted glass,

BREAK THE ICE DATE NIGHTS

paper, plastic and aluminum to a recycling station at Discovery Green.

Tuesdays Celebrate the best years of our lives while

YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP

writing workshop for kids. Free. 10:30–11:30 am.

RECYCLING SATURDAYS

Wednesdays Bring your date and skate to live music from Jawad under special snow effects! 7–9 pm

SCREEN ON THE GREEN PRESENTED BY BANK OF AMERICA

Thursdays Watch a great throwback movie from the hill or catch a peek from The ICE! See website for full movie list and details. 7 pm.

FUNFETTI FRIDAYS

Fridays Bring your friends and family for a perfect winter night on the ICE and skate along to your favorite jams by a live DJ. 7–9 pm.

SKATE WITH SANTA AND STORYBOOK STARS PRESENTED BY OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM

Saturdays Skate with Santa Claus before Christmas, and story book characters after the holiday! 5–6 pm.

HOUSTON SKATING STARS

Sundays Houston’s top figure skaters dazzle on The ICE. 6:30–6:45 pm.

The events listed are confirmed at the time of printing. For a full listing of Discovery Green’s fall events, please visit the calendar at discoverygreen.com Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase at the Lake House. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages permitted. Most events are free, unless noted otherwise. 1500 McKinney.

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BREAKFAST WITH SANTA

HOLIDAY BRUNCH AT PHOENICIA

CHRISTMAS WEEK AT SAINT ARNOLD

Dec 9, 10, 16, 17, 20–24 Families are invited

Dec 16 A festive family event where kids and adults

Dec 19–21 Head to Saint Arnold for photos, family

to the Downtown Aquarium for a ho-ho-holiday breakfast with Santa. The buffet-style breakfast will feature an assortment of food, fun with Sharkey and an active Santa Claus swimming around in the tank with all the different marine life, taking photos with the guests. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby.

alike can enjoy holiday activities and a tasty seasonal brunch menu. From a cookie decorating station to photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and classic holiday cartoons, there’s something for everyone! 11 am. Phoenicia Specialty Foods Downtown. 1001 Austin. 832.360.2222. phoeniciafoods.com

fun with jolly Saint Nick, and holiday movie screenings! Free admission. Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 2000 Lyons. 713.686.9494. saintarnold.com

downtownaquarium.com

DAY FOR NIGHT

Dec 15–17 A local festival defying standards with largescale digital art installations, immersive light and sound sculptures, and an intense music line-up happening at Post HTX in Downtown Houston. This year’s festival includes art installations by Matthew Schreiber, Conditional Studio + Processing Foundation and James Clar. Plus, musical performances by Solange, Cardi B, Phantogram, Pretty Lights and many more! Tickets vary. 3 pm. Post HTX, 401 Franklin. 713.598.5150. posthtx.com

VOLUNTEER WORKDAYS

Dec 16, Jan 20, Feb 17 Houstonians, ages 9 and up, are invited to join Buffalo Bayou Partnership for community-wide volunteer days at Buffalo Bayou Park the third Saturday of each month. Volunteers will help with a variety of tasks, including but not limited to: trash pickup, mulching, and weed removal. Free. 8:30–11:30 am. The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park. 105 Sabine. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org

SHARKEY’S NEW YEAR’S EVE

Dec 31 Celebrate the New Year with Sharkey and the rest of his underwater friends, complete with a buffet, balloon drop, contests and giveaways for the kids! Reservations required. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. downtownaquarium.com

’80S PROM NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY AT MKT BAR

Dec 31 Travel back to the days of metal bands and leg warmers at MKT Bar’s ’80s Prom NYE Party. Ring in the new year paying homage to the classic decade with a tubular prom king and queen voting, vintage arcade games, Polaroid cameras along with food and drink specials, and a worldly bubbly menu! Free admission or $25 per person minimum for table reservations. 8 pm–2 am. MKT BAR, 1001 Austin. 832.360.2222. mktbar.com

NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY AT HYATT REGENCY

Dec 31 Kick off 2018 at the Hyatt Regency’s 40th

annual New Year’s Eve Party. Houston’s longestrunning New Year’s Eve party boasts a 50,000-balloon drop from the hotel’s 33-story atrium, two live bands, a DJ and fabulous room packages. 713.654.1234.

nyehouston.hyatt.com

2018 CHEVRON HOUSTON MARATHON & ARAMCO HALF MARATHON Jan 14 With more than 250,000 participants,

volunteers, and spectators, the Chevron Houston Marathon Race Day is the largest single-day sporting event in Houston. Watch the excitement on Congress at San Jacinto, where the race begins, or stake out a place along the route to cheer on the participants.

chevronhoustonmarathon.com

DAY FOR NIGHT

ONE-POT SHOWDOWN

Jan 28 Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s annual anything goes cook-off will pit amateur chefs against each other in an effort to create the best beer infused dish. Tickets $40. 1 pm. Saint Arnold Brewing Co., 2000 Lyons. 713.686.9494. saintarnold.com

photo by Roger Ho

SUPER BEEF SUNDAY

Feb 4 A barbecue master from Central Texas along with a couple of young guns from Houston will prepare their finest smoked meats at Saint Arnold’s 5th Annual Super Beef Sunday. Tickets purchased for the event include barbecue from all three restaurants, beer, and a Super Beef Sunday glass. Guests also have the option to pre-order whole brisket and beef ribs at the time of ticket purchase. Tickets $50. 11 am. Saint Arnold Brewing Co., 2000 Lyons. 713.686.9494.

saintarnold.com

SAINT ARNOLD MARDI GRAS BALL

Feb 10 Laissez les bon temps rouler at Saint Arnold! The brewery will host their inaugural Mardi Gras Ball complete with a live band and plenty of Cajun delicacies. 7 pm. Saint Arnold Brewing Co., 2000 Lyons. 713.686.9494. saintarnold.com ONE-POT SHOWDOWN

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datebook.

SPEAKER SERIES INPRINT PAUL AUSTER READING

Feb 12 American writer and director, Paul Auster will read from his latest New York Times bestselling novel 4 3 2 1, as part of the 2017–2018 Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series, followed by an on-stage interview, book sale and signing. Tickets $5. 7:30 pm. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.521.2026.

inprinthouston.org

CONCERTS REVENTION MUSIC CENTER

Dec 2 Chevelle Dec 8   Silent Disco Feb 2   The Fab Four Feb 3   Dua Lipa Feb 10   Yuri y Pandora Feb 23   NF Perception Tour

Revention Music Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. Revention Music Center, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000. reventionmusiccenter.com

HOUSE OF BLUES

Dec 3 Digitour Dec 4   SonReal Dec 7   Waterparks Dec 10  Clutch Dec 15   Turnpike Troubadours Dec 23  Mike Ryan Dec 26  REK’s Fam-O-Lee Dec 29  Toadies Dec 30  Eli Young Band Jan 18   John Hiatt & the Goners Jan 20   Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Jan 27   Who’s Bad Jan 31   Machine Head Feb 2   Walk the Moon Feb 6   Jacob Sartorius Feb 17   Black Veil Brides & Asking Alexandria Feb 18   The White Buffalo Feb 23   Nothing More Feb 24  Beth Hart

REK’S FAM-O-LEE

TOYOTA CENTER

Dec 21 Trans-Siberian Orchestra Jan 26   Shakira Feb 10   Lana Del Rey Feb 3   Kid Rock Feb 16   Marc Anthony Toyota Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.4HOUTIX.

houstontoyotacenter.com

EXPOS Dec 2–3 & 30–31 High Caliber Gun & Knife Show Dec 5–7   SpaceCom Conference Dec 16–17   Cheer America Championship Dec 16–17   Premier Gun Show Jan 6–7   Annual Charity Cat Show Jan 24–28   Houston Safari Club’s 2018 Convention & Worldwide Conservation Expo Jan 27–28   High Caliber Gun & Knife Show Feb 7–9   2018 Nape Summit Feb 28   Quinceanera Magazine Expo

TOURS BUFFALO BAYOU WALKING TOUR

Dec 16, Jan 20, Feb 17 The tour will highlight how the landscape and ecology of 19th-century Texas created Houston, as well as the importance of prairies in rebuilding this astonishing and all but vanished ecosystem. Free. 10:30–11:30 am. The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org

CUPID CRUISES

Feb 14 Hop aboard Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s Spirit of the Bayou pontoon boat tour for a cozy cruise with your Valentine. Bubbly beverages and chocolate bites will be provided during a romantic evening boat ride with spectacular views of Downtown Houston. Reservations required. 5:30 pm and 7 pm. $40 per person. Allen’s Landing, 1005 Commerce. 713.752.0314.

DISCOVER HOUSTON TOURS

Ghost tours, tunnel walks and rail tours, architectural tours and more are available. Ticket prices vary.

discoverhoustontours.com

THE FAB FOUR

HOB’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. House of Blues, GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline. 888.402.5837.

hob.com/houston

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SPORTS

HERITAGE SOCIETY HISTORIC HOMES TOUR

Nestled among 19 acres in the heart of Downtown Houston, the Heritage Society boasts eight historic structures dating from 1823 to 1905. Each historic structure is authentically restored to reflect its original magnificence. Tickets $15 adults, $12 seniors, $6 children 6–8 and kids under 5 are free. Sam Houston Park, 1100 Bagby. Times vary. 713.655.1912.

CLUB AMÉRICA VS TOLUCA

Dec 30 Club America and Deportivo Toluca F.C. face off in the last game of the 2017 Tour Águila. Head to the Fan Fest prior to the game and get autographs from team legends, enjoy live music, food, plus more. Tickets vary. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas.

heritagesociety.org

bbvacompassstadium.com

MINUTE MAID PARK TOUR

HOUSTON ROCKETS

Get a behind-the-scenes look at Minute Maid Park including historic Union Station, broadcasting booth and press boxes, Astros’ and visitors’ dugouts, luxury suites and much more. Tickets $15 adults, $12 seniors and $10 for kids 3–12. Mon–Sat, 10 am and noon. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 713.259.8687. astros.com

SAINT ARNOLD BREWING COMPANY TOUR

Visit Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s Brewery and get a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process. Their knowledgeable staff will explain the history, ingredients, and equipment used to produce the freshest beer. Tours are available Monday–Friday at 1 pm and 3 pm, and on Saturdays at noon, 1 pm, and 2 pm. After the tour, guests are welcome to stay for a free tasting. Admission is free Mon–Fri and is $10 on Sat. No reservations required. All minors under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 2000 Lyons. saintarnold.com

SEGWAY TOURS OF HOUSTON

Like the rest of Texas, Downtown Houston is a pretty big place to walk around. There are a lot of things to see up close and from a distance. Experience the Bayou City, once the capitol city of a sovereign country, from a walking perspective within a few hours while you have effortless fun on a Segway. $80. Daily: 10 am, noon, 2 pm, 4 pm and 6 pm. Meet at Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 866.673.4929. segwaytoursofhouston.com

Dec 11 Rockets vs. New Orleans Pelicans Dec 13   Rockets vs. Charlotte Hornets Dec 15   Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs Dec 16   Rockets vs. Milwaukee Bucks Dec 18   Rockets vs. Utah Jazz Dec 20  Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Dec 22  Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers Dec 31   Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Jan 4   Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors Jan 10   Rockets vs. Portland Trailblazers Jan 18   Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Jan 20   Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors Jan 22   Rockets vs. Miami Heat Jan 28   Rockets vs. Phoenix Sun Jan 30   Rockets vs. Orlando Magic Feb 9   Rockets vs. Denver Nuggets Feb 11   Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks Feb 14   Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings Feb 23   Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

#1

DOWNTOWN’S RESIDENTIAL

REAL ESTATE GROUP

TERRY STANFIELD

ALEXA HINOJOSA

713.582.6871 214 Travis, Houston, Texas 77002 heritagetexas.com

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plate.

EDITED BY STEFANIE PASCACIO

�A THE GUIDE TO EATING DOWNTOWN

Craft Beer Cellar Over 50 taps and hundreds of local and international beers

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These listings are not reviews but are a guide to Downtown dining spots. “Recommended” restaurants are selected by downtown editors and are based on food quality, menu selection, service, ambiance and value. v RECOMMENDED NEW! JUST OPENED B Breakfast BR Brunch L Lunch D Dinner LN Late Night

Average Price of an Entrée $ $10 or less $$ $11–$19 $$$ $20–$29 $$$$ $30+

For a searchable database of downtown Houston restaurants by cuisine, location and price, visit downtownhouston.org and click on Guide.

1600 Bar + Grille American Located on the lobby-level of the Hilton Americas–Houston hotel, 1600 Bar + Grille brings farm-fresh ingredients to the menu for a justpicked flavor. Featuring locally-sourced seasonal fresh produce, plus Certified Angus Beef and Gulf seafood dishes prepared from scratch, you can guarantee farm-to-fork freshness. hilton.com. 1600 Lamar, 713.739.8000. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Andalucia Restaurant & Bar Tapas/Spanish Dim lighting, large wooden tables and heavy iron accents provide for a cozy, rustic atmosphere. The menu features large dishes, such as paella for up to 16 people, and tapas that range from the traditional such as gambas al ajillo (shrimp cooked in olive oil and garlic) and empanadas, to veal tongue and oxtail. andaluciatapas.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. L Mon–Fri, D Mon–Sat. $$ v Artista American Artista offers inspirational contemporary American cuisine and theatrical ambiance with high ceilings, glass walls and sweeping views of the Downtown skyline. artistahouston.com. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby, 713.278.4782. L Mon–Sat; D Tue–Sat (Open for L & D on Sun only if a theater performance is scheduled). $$$ v Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar Japanese/Sushi Voted “Best Sushi in Houston” by Citysearch.com, this new-age Japanese restaurant is anything but typical. The ambience is terrific, the sushi is innovative and fresh and the outside seating area provides great people watching. azumadowntown.com. 909 Texas, 713.223.0909. L & D Mon–Sat. $$

Ballpark Café American Enjoy the all-American cuisine

and a nostalgic atmosphere for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just across the street from Minute Maid Park, Ballpark Café is a great place to have a pre/post-game meal. westin.com/Houston-Downtown. The Westin Houston Downtown, 1520 Texas, 713.228.1520. B, L & D Daily. $ v Barnaby’s at Market Square American A local favorite, Barnaby’s serves up oversized sandwiches, salads and burgers, putting a Southwest spin on traditional deli dishes. Colorful murals adorn the walls of the restaurant along with large windows for a perfect view of the park. barnabyscafe.com. 801 Congress, 713.226.8787. B & L Mon–Sat; D Fri–Sat. $ v Batanga Tapas + Drinks Latin This tapas joint whips up delicious dishes inspired from Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Chile—anywhere that sangria is served. The spacious patio is as good as it gets when it comes to outdoor dining with its festive twinkle lights, great music and stellar views of the Historic District and Market Square Park. batangahouston.com. 908 Congress, 713.224.9500. L & D Daily; BR Sat & Sun. $$

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Benihana of Tokyo Japanese While some restaurants allow their guests to view the kitchen, this Japanese grill brings the kitchen to you. Benihana chefs set up shop right in front of your table. The meal is made from scratch, and you can witness the entire show. benihana.com. 1318 Louisiana, 713.659.8231. L & D Daily. $$$

v Biggio’s American Biggio’s is not your average sports bar. The two-story sports haven named after the Houston baseball legend, Craig Biggio, boasts a large drink selection, upscale bar food, and seats that come with views of flat screen TVs as far as the eye can see. 1777 Walker, 713.654.1777. L & D Daily. $$

Birraporetti’s Italian This Italian restaurant/

v Brasserie du Parc French Located in the luxury high rise, One Park Place, the interior design and the menu at this beautiful French restaurant were inspired by classic Parisian brasseries and offerings include classic dishes like risotto, steak frites and crêpes, along with delicacies such as escargots and chicken liver pâté. brasserieduparc.net. 1440 Lamar, 832.879.2802. L & D Daily. $$$

Brown Bag Deli Fast Casual Located in the Houston Club building, Brown Bag Deli serves up tasty, fresh sandwiches “just like you like it.” Known for its fluffy, soft bread you won’t be disappointed and neither will your wallet. thebrownbagdeli.net. 702 Main, 713.224.7000. L Mon–Fri. $

Irish bar is a Theater District staple. Their delicious pizzas continue to hit the spot, while items such as the chicken picatta and La Dolce Vita have become standouts. Enjoy a signature dessert to finish the meal. birrarestaurant.com. 500 Louisiana, 713.224.9494. L, D & LN Daily. $$

Bud’s BBQ Pitmaster Bud’s BBQ Pitmaster brings a

The Bistro American The Bistro is a full-service

Burger Theory American Located at street-level of

restaurant serving up breakfast and dinner in a casual atmosphere. Courtyard by Marriott, 916 Dallas, 832.366.1600. B & D Daily. $ v Bistro Lancaster New American Located in the historic Lancaster Hotel, this cozy getaway is a great place to dine before catching a show in the Theater District. You’ll find hearty soups, sizzling steaks and savory seafood. thelancaster.com. Lancaster Hotel, 701 Texas, 713.228.9502. B, L & D Daily. $$$$ v Blue by Massa Seafood This upscale and elegant restaurant offers up a fine selection of American and Seafood cuisine. Among the esteemed list of favorites, the Lobster Bisque is a standout. Superior service and a great dining atmosphere allow guests to enjoy a memorable dining experience. Blue also offers occasional live entertainment and dancing is highly encouraged! massas.com. 1160 Smith, 713.650.0837. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$

Blue Fish Sushi Japanese Not your typical Japanese restaurant. Don’t expect small, minimal décor. Be prepared for innovative sushi in a high-energy atmosphere at Bayou Place. thebluefishsushi.com. 550 Texas, 713.225.3474. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$

v Bombay Pizza Co. Indian Fusion Fusing the cuisines of India with pizza, innovative creations are served on a homemade, dense, thin and crispy crust. Try the saag paneer, which is topped with fresh spinach and four cheeses or the Gateway to India topped with cilantro, tandoori chicken, garlic and artichoke hearts. bombaypizzaco.com. 914 Main, 713.654.4444. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $

Bouray’s Burrito Bar Fast Food Bouray’s offers

made-to-order Mexican and Vietnamese food using ingredients that are prepared fresh daily. bourays.com. 609 Clay, 713.652.5999. L Mon–Fri. $ v Bovine & Barley American Bovine & Barley is a beautifully designed urban bar and eatery with a heavy focus on beef and beer. The space has an industrial feel which is complimented by warm wood accents and huge HTX letters that hang illuminated on an exposed brick wall. Highlights from the menu include brisket tacos, meatloaf muffins on top of jalapeno mash, 1836 beer can chicken and a variety of burgers. Not to metion over 42 beers and six hand-crafted cocktails on tap! bovineandbarley.com. 416 Main, 832.742.5683. L Sat–Sun; D, LN Daily. $$

southern-style smoked BBQ to the Avenida District with items like Brisket Sliders and Pulled Pork Tacos on the menu. Featuring an upscale atmosphere, you can get your BBQ fix any day of the week. budsbarbq.com. 1001 Avenida de Las Americas, 832.968.4366. L & D Daily. $$ Downtown’s Holiday Inn, Burger Theory specializes in gourmet burgers, casual American fare and boasts a beer-centric bar. They also serve a mean breakfast! 1616 Main St. B, L, D & LN. $

Buzz Barista Coffee House This full-service espresso bar offers much more than caffeinated beverages for a morning fix. People on the go can grab fresh-baked pastries, Naked juices, yogurt parfaits and fruit cups along with their brewed delights. 811 Main, 713.228.3033. B & L Mon–Fri. $

The Cafe American Located in the lobby of the Hilton Americas. An elaborate buffet is offered for breakfast, with a la carte selections from the menu available for lunch and dinner. Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar, 713.739.8000. B, L, D & LN Daily. $$ v Cafe Express Fast Casual Need to grab a quick lunch? Cafe Express is an informal yet sophisticated choice. You can always find a variety of delicious entrees, salads and sandwiches. cafe-express.com. 650 Main, 713.237.9222. B & L Mon–Sat. $

Caffé Bene Coffee House The first Houston location from the International chain, Caffé Bene, is housed at GreenStreet with a menu that includes a variety of coffees, Belgian waffles, sandwiches, Italian gelato and other sweet treats! This cozy coffee shop is the perfect place to sit back, relax and escape the bustling downtown streets. caffebeneusa.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin, 713.255.2363. B, L & D Daily. $

China Garden Chinese A popular Chinese restaurant, China Garden has been serving downtown for more than 30 years. Their egg rolls and lemon chicken have become favorites. 1602 Leeland, 713.652.0745. L Mon-Fri; D Daily. $

Chipotle Mexican Known for its large portions,

this Mexican fast casual spot offers a variety of wholesome menu items. chipotle.com. 909 Texas, 713.225.6633. L & Early D Mon–Fri. $ v Christian’s Tailgate American Christian’s Tailgate has arguably one of the best burgers in town and now you can enjoy them Downtown! The notable Houston burger joint in Downtown’s Historic District boasts daily food specials, 30 beers on tap, 40+ TVs, a pool table, shuffle board, video games and an awesome outdoor patio! christianstailgate.com. 1012 Congress, 281.556.1010. L, D & LN. $


plate. v Conservatory Beer Garden & Food Hall Conservatory Underground Beer Garden & Food Hall is the first food hall in Houston to showcase a curated list of food vendors, including Moku Bar, Arte Pizzeria, Mars Bakery, Noble Rot Wine Bar, The Pho Spot, Gordi’s Arepas and El Burro and The Bull each of which serve elevated yet casual cuisine. The food hall also features pop-up food carts serving specialty items every week and a beer garden with 60 beers on tap serving an eclectic mix of local craft breweries, foreign imports, and wine. conservatoryhtx.com. 1010 Prairie, 713.398.7697. L, D & LN Daily. $$

Corner Bakery Fast Casual A bakery cafe, offering

fresh breads, salads, sandwiches, soups and sweets in a casual atmosphere. Located right on Main Street Square, you can’t beat the people watching or just relax and watch the rail line and Main Street Square’s jumping fountains. cornerbakery.com. 1000 Main, 713.651.0673. B & L Mon–Fri. $ v Crêperie du Parc French Situated on the sidewalk terrace at Brasserie du Parc, Crêperie du Parc offers a variety of crêpes at their walk-up window including savory options like Jambon (ham), Prosciutto, and others, along with sweet options like Banane Nutella, Grand Marnier and more. Grab one on-the-go and hop across the street to Discovery Green for a picnic in the park! brasserieduparc.net. 1440 Lamar, 832.879.2802. L & D Daily. $

Domino’s Pizza 975 McKinney, 713.227.3030. $ The District American The District offers classic

American cuisine in a modern setting. Perfect for lunch or dinner before a show! The menu includes a variety of options like burgers, salads, pasta and small plates. There’s definitely something for everyone! thedistricthtx.com. 610 Main St. L & D. $$

The Downtown Aquarium Seafood The menu

features a huge variety and offers something for everyone. While dining, guests are surrounded by a 150,000-gallon aquarium. Enjoy the sights and a great meal at this family-friendly spot. aquariumrestaurants.com. 410 Bagby, 713.223.3474. L & D Daily. $$

Eats Mesquite Grill Classic American Craving a

burger downtown? Popular for its juicy burgers and great-tasting fries, Eats makes for a great lunchtime stop. Guests can make their burgers exactly how they like them. 804 Milam, 713.223.3287. L Mon–Fri. $

Edgar’s Hermano Mexi-South Edgar’s Hermano is a

southern American restaurant with a Mexican-inspired twist located inside The Whitehall Hotel. It perfectly blends Houston’s native Tex-Mex cuisine with classic southern fare offering menu items like Texas corn cakes with pork chicharon and cotija cheese, mac and queso with chipotle-grilled Gulf shrimp, and award-winning southern fried stuffed chicken with masa grits and candied bacon jam. thewhitehallhouston.com. 1700 Smith, 713.739.8800. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Einstein’s Bagels Deli Known as a great place to grab freshly-baked bagels and coffee for breakfast, they also serve up delectable lunch choices that include paninis, melts and pizza bagels. Be an office hero and use the catering service to treat your work pals. einsteinbros.com. 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. B, L & LN Mon–Sun. $

El Big Bad Mexican Brought to you by the El Gran

Malo crew, this casual Tex-Mex restaurant brings hand-crafted tequila infusions, specialty margaritas and craft beers to the table. The gastrocantina-inspired menu is chock full of tasty tacos with fresh toppings like

pomegranate salsa, charred scallions, pumpkin seeds and more. elbigbad.com. 419 Travis, 713.229.8181. L, D & LN Mon–Fri; D & LN Sat & Sun, BR Sun. $$

Flying Saucer Pub Fare Offering more than 200 beers, almost half on draft, Flying Saucer is a beer drinker’s paradise. Excellent staff and tasty eats give the place an identity all its own. beerknurd.com. 705 Main, 713.228.7468. L, D & LN Daily. $

v Frank’s Pizza Pizza Home of the “late-night slice,” Frank’s Pizza has built a quality reputation for itself serving up delicious food in a great atmosphere. Not only can you grab a slice of pizza, Frank’s also serves up darn good hamburgers, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, Buffalo wings, lasagna and salads. frankspizza.com. 417 Travis, 713.225.5656. L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $ v Fusion Taco Latin/Japanese Taking the best from Asian and Latin cuisine, Fusion Taco comes up with creations like jerk chicken tacos, chicken tikka masala quesadillas and Asian pulled pork flautas. An extensive beer and wine selection rounds out the menu. fusiontaco.com. 801 Congress, 713.422.2882. L & D Mon–Sat. $ v Grotto Ristorante Italian This trendy Italian eatery is conveniently located on Downtown’s restaurant row— Avenida Houston! Enjoy spectacular views of nearby Minute Maid Park and Discovery Green as you experience a revolutionized take on Italian cuisine from small and sharable plates, to fresh salads and traditional dishes like Neapolitan thin crust pizzas and house made pastas. grottorestaurants.com. 1001 Avenida de las Americas, 713.658.0752. L & D Daily. $$$ v The Grove American Rustic This two-story, ultra-urban restaurant is found at Discovery Green. The menu features rustic American cuisine such as Gulf Coast seafood, steaks and signature rotisserie dishes. grovehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar, 713.337.7321. L & D Daily. $$$ v Guadalajara del Centro Mexican This familyowned restaurant consistently serves up tasty food in a new, very cool environment. It’s the perfect place to bring the family or a large group of coworkers or friends. Great happy hour specials. guadalajarahacienda.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, 713.650.0101. L & D Daily. $$

Hard Rock Café Classic American What do you get when you mix a music-themed diner with an allAmerican menu? Hard Rock is a great family-friendly spot serving up items such as burgers,nachos and chicken varieties. hardrock.com. Bayou Place, 570 Texas, 713.227.1392. L, D & LN Daily. $$ v Hearsay Gastro Lounge New American Located in a beautifully refurbished historic building, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up delicious sandwiches, salads and entrées. They feature an extensive wine list, numerous beers on draft and bottle and premium liquors with a focus on Scotch whisky. hearsayhouston.com. 218 Travis, 713.225.8079. L Daily; D Mon–Sat; LN Fri–Sat. $$ v Hearsay on the Green American Located inside the Embassay Suites in Downtown’s Convention District, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up the finest craft cocktails, New-American dishes and a chic dining experience. The drink menu features an extensive wine list, numerous bottle and draft beers and premium liquors. hearsayhouston.com. 1515 Dallas, 832.377.3362. L & D Daily; LN Fri–Sat; BR Sun. $$

Home Plate Bar & Grill Classic American

A great hangout spot before or after an Astros ballgame. Enjoy a full menu of all-American favorites. homeplategrill.com. 1800 Texas, 713.222.1993. L & D Daily (may close earlier during off–season so call first). $ v The Honeymoon Cafe+Bar American The Honeymoon brews local Boomtown Coffee, has perfectly hand-crafted cocktails and satisfies the appetite with light bites and delectably sweet treats! With all the natural lighting, the ambiance is like a dream! thehoneymoonhtx.com. 300 Main St. B, L & LN Daily. $

House of Blues Restaurant and Bar Southern Classic

House of Blues Restaurant and Bar serves Southerninspired classic dishes such as voodoo shrimp, St. Louis ribs and the Cajun classic, Creole jambalaya. Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits, you can’t miss the World Famous Gospel Brunch! hob.com. GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline, 888.402.5837. L & D Daily. $$ v Hubcap Grill American Classic Small but packs a punch. One of the best burger joints in town. 1111 Prairie, 713.223.5885. L Mon–Sat. $ v Irma’s Mexican Irma Galvan has been crowned Houston’s Tex-Mex goddess. This authentic spot is a longtime favorite among Houston politicos and downtown business people. Traditional, home-cooked Mexican cuisine is served for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. 22 North Chenevert, 713.222.0767. B & L Mon–Fri; D Thu–Sat. $$

Irma’s Southwest Grill Mexican Irma’s second

location is a hip spot to satisfy a Mexican food craving. Enjoy tasty foods and great drinks for lunch or dinner. Only a few short blocks from Minute Maid Park. irmassouthwest.com. 1314 Texas, 713.247.9651. B & L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. Open all day on Astros baseball game days M–F. Time varies for Saturday games. $$

The Isles Eatery & Rhum Bar Caribbean

The restaurant offers flavorful Caribbean dishes including Mofongo and Ensalada Calamari de Pulpo, along with an astonishing collection of 56 plus island rums used to create custom cocktails rooted in the regional rhythms of the islands. isleseateryandbar.com. 1515 Pease, 713.739.9039. L, D, LN Tue–Sun. $ v Jackson St. BBQ Barbecue This laid-back spot by renowned Houston chefs Bryan Caswell, Bill Floyd and Greg Gaitlin offers smoked brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage and classic southern fixins like potato salad, baked beans, collard greens and cole slaw! Conveniently located across from Minute Maid Park, stop by this Downtown favorite before or after Astros games! jacksonstbbqhouston.com. 209 Jackson St, 713.224.2400. L & D Sat–Sun.

Jason’s Deli Deli Order to please, Jason’s will make your sandwich or salad exactly how you like it. jasonsdeli.com. 901 McKinney, 713.650.1500. B & L Mon–Fri. $

Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches Deli All subs

are served on your choice of fresh-baked French bread or thick-sliced seven-grain bread or try the low-carb lettuce wrap: all the regular sandwich ingredients without the bread. jimmyjohns.com. 820 Main, 713.222.9995. L Mon–Sat. $ v La Fisheria Coastal Mexican Located in Downtown’s Historic District, La Fisheria serves authentic Mexican seafood such as sweet shrimp tamales, perfectly prepared fish tacos and a variety of crudos and ceviches. lafisheriahouston.com. 213 Milam, 713.802.1712. L & D Daily. $$

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The Lake House Fast Casual Offering family-friendly food, featuring burgers, Kobe beef hot dogs, salads, shakes, wine and beer. Located on Kinder Lake, there is a large patio where you can watch model boats race across the water or listen to some live music from the nearby stage. thelakehousehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. L & Early D Mon–Sun. $

La Calle Mexican Located in downtown’s Historic

Market Square, this cozy little restaurant serves authentic Mexican street tacos, tortas and tostadas. Your visit isn’t complete without an Agua Fresca and a side of rice and beans! lacalletacos.com. 909 Franklin, 832.735.8226. L, D & LN Daily. $ v La Palapa Fast Food A Courthouse District favorite, there’s always a line at this free-standing pink concession stand for breakfast tacos and hamburgers. 1110 Preston, 713.228.9620. B & L Mon–Fri. $ v Last Concert Cafe Mexican Tucked away in the Warehouse District, this Tex-Mex cafe was born in 1949 and still supplies tasty food and local music today. Spend some time on the leafy back patio and you’ll swear you’re in your neighbor’s backyard throwing back a cold one. lastconcert.com. 1403 Nance, 713.226.8563. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sun; LN Fri–Sat; Bar & live music Tue–Sat. $ v Line & Lariat Modern American An award-winning dining experience located in the historic lobby of Hotel Icon’s landmark bank building. The intimate dining room is extravagant, and the exquisite dishes from the Gulf Coast and South Texas emphasize fresh ingredients. A contemporary lounge with a modern setting for cocktails and an elegant after-work meeting place. hotelicon.com. Hotel Icon, 220 Main, 832.667.4470. B Daily; D Mon–Sat. $$$

Little Napoli Italian Theater and moviegoers can now

Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge American Bowlers

and patrons relax on sleek leather couches and enjoy floor-to-ceiling video screens that flash movie clips and music videos as DJs deliver danceable grooves. Delectable munchies are available lane-side and in the lounge. bowlluckystrike.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 3, 713.343.3300. L, D & LN Daily. $$ v Main Kitchen American Named Main Kitchen to reflect its location on Main Street and the hopes of becoming a staple in Houston’s culinary scene, the restaurant seats 120 and boasts an exhibition kitchen providing guests with an insight into the chefs’ creative process. jwmarriotthotelhouston.com/main-kitchen. 806 Main St, 713.400.1245. B, L, D Daily. $$ v Mango Tree Thai Bistro Thai A casual Thai joint that keeps booths packed with hungry downtowners looking for eclectic dishes to satisfy their spice cravings. And there’s a pretty tempting happy hour for drinks and nibbles under $5. mangotreethaibistro.com. 914 Main Street, #125, 713.659.1600. L & D Mon–Sat. $$ v Market Square Bar & Grill American This Chicagostyle neighborhood hangout is a local favorite. Boasting a handful of “fire-powered” burgers, Market Square offers plenty of reasons to stop by for a meal or drink. The backyard patio, friendly staff and full bar add flavor. marketsquarehouston.com. 311 Travis, 713.224.6133. L, D & LN Mon–Sat. $ v Massa’s South Coast Grill Seafood Like its sister restaurant, you can count on superior service and a great dining atmosphere. Conveniently located close to the convention center and Toyota Center, it’s a prime spot for lunch and dinner. massas.com. The Shops at Houston Center, 1331 Lamar, 713.655.9100. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$

enjoy these southern Italian dishes before the big show! The healthy options, such as whole wheat pizza crust and low-fat cheeses, are a nice touch. littlenapoli.net. 540 Texas, 713.225.3900. $$

McAlister’s Deli American This fast casual deli serves

v Local Foods American Local Foods is a culinary expression of all things local. The scratch gourmet sandwich shop showcases seasonal salads, fresh soups, farmers market sides, home-made snacks for the taking, and a raw bar with ceviche and oyster shooters. houstonlocalfoods.com. 420 Main, 713.227.0531. L & D Daily. $$

v McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood The extensive menu changes daily depending on each day’s fresh seafood deliveries. With more than 80 preparations on the menu each day, every guest is sure to find something to satisfy their palate. mccormickandschmicks.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin, 713.658.8100. L & D Daily. $$$

Lone Star Taco Tex-Mex Fast-casual Tex-Mex

713.651.9449. B & L Daily; D Mon–Fri. $

restaurant, specializing in great tacos! Lone Star Taco quickly serves artisanal quality, made-fresh tacos at an affordable price. txlonestartaco.com. 1001 Texas St, 713.223.8226. B, L & D Daily. $

Luby’s, etc. American Enjoy an incredible view of

downtown along with 10 food stations offering a wide variety of goodies: a build-your-own salad bar, madeto-order grill, pizza by-the-slice, delightful deli, global café and traditional Luby’s cafeteria line with all the classic dishes. lubysetc.com. 1301 Fannin, 13th Floor, 713.759.9954. B & L Mon–Fri. $ NEW! Lucienne Mediterranean Not only will the chic brass accents throughout this glamorous gem impress you, but the French-inspired dishes like Gravlax with rye toast, caper berries, dill and mustard sauce will tempt your taste buds into coming back for more. You’ll find this glamorous gem sitting on the second level of Hotel Alessandra. hotelalessandra-houston.com. Hotel Alessandra, 1070 Dallas, Second Floor. 713.242.8555. B, L & D Mon–Fri; BR Sat–Sun. $$

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fresh salads, sandwiches, soups, and giant stuffed potatoes. mcalistersdeli.com. 1001 Avenida de las Americas, 832.940.0660. L & D Daily. $

McDonald’s Fast Food 808 Dallas @ Milam, v Mia Bella Italian You’ll enjoy an eclectic variety of Italian cuisine blended with a Mediterranean feel. A longtime favorite, this intimate little bistro’s simple, yet appealing décor, makes it a downtown standout. bellarestaurants.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. L & D Daily; BR & LN Fri & Sat. $$ v Minuti Coffee Coffee House The coffee is created by a roast master in Italy, before making its way into the hands of talented baristas. This is the perfect place to bring the laptop and take advantage of Minuti’s free Wi-Fi. They also have beer and wine, which makes it a great pre/post theater spot. Be sure to sample some of the fresh-baked pastries and smoothies, too. minuticoffee.com. 909 Texas, 281.265.3344. B, L, D & LN Daily. $ v MKT BAR International Part of Phoenicia Specialty Foods, it’s the perfect place to stop when you need a chill moment. The bar offers coffee, pastries, wine, beer, gourmet pizza and other yummy nibbles for which Phoenicia is known. phoeniciafoods.com. 1001 Austin, 832.360.2222. B, L & D Daily. $

v The Moonshiners American The Moonshiners Southern Table + Bar offers up a rebellious respite in the bustling urban backdrop of Downtown Houston. The restaurant celebrates and elevates southern culinary traditions serving up moonshine and whiskey in mason jars alongside generous portions of southern comfort foods such as fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and pulled pork sandwiches. 1000 Prairie, 713.226.7717. L & D Mon–Fri; LN Fri & Sat. $$

Morningside Thai Thai Diners can expect the same

great quality and service at the Downtown location that they enjoy at the original Houston staple. Menu favorites include a variety of different curry dishes like the Panang Curry and the Roasted Duck Curry. morningsidethai.com. 917 Franklin. 713.228.8424. L & D. $ v Morton’s Steakhouse This award-winning steakhouse offers an outstanding menu. The downtown location features its new bar concept, Bar 12•21, which includes an impressive wine and martini menu along with its specially priced “bar bites.” mortons.com. 1001 McKinney, 713.659.3700. L Mon–Fri; D Daily. $$$$

Murphy’s Deli Deli Indulge in a variety of sandwiches and salads. Hot or cold, Murphy’s specializes in creating your sandwich any way it’s ordered. murphysdeli.com. 601 Jefferson, 713.652.4939. 1900 Main, 713.650.3354. 440 Louisiana, 713.247.9122. 700 Louisiana, 713.547.0660. 1415 Louisiana, 832.663.6113. 500 Dallas, 713.654.0033. B & L Mon–Fri all locations. $

v Niko Niko’s Greek & American Houston icon Dimitri Fetokakis opened his cafe in 2010 at Market Square Park. Favorites such as the gyro and kebob are on the menu along with new items such as the breakfast pita. Specialty coffee drinks, beer and wine also available. nikonikos.com. Market Square Park, 301 Milam. B, L & D Daily. $ v Osso & Kristalla Italian Osso & Kristalla serves up authentic Italian fare in a modern, yet relaxed atmosphere. The casual trattoria features housemade pastries, pastas, wood-fired pizzas and more Italian eats, along with wine, beer, cocktails and local Katz coffee. Enjoy views inside their open concept kitchen or on their breezy outdoor patio. ossoandkristalla.com. 1515 Texas, 713.221.6666. B Mon–Fri; L & D Daily. $$ NEW! Oxbow 7 Bayou Cuisine Upscale restaurant inside Le Meridien Hotel by award-winning Chef Bryan Caswell. From delectable shareables like the buck shot gumbo to Caswell’s signature crispy skin snapper, guests will experience a touch of elevated cuisine like never before. oxbow7.com. Le Meridien, 1121 Walker. B, L & D Daily. $$

The Oyster Bar Seafood Housed inside Prohibition

Supper Club, The Oyster Bar is a street-friendly, neighborhood-centric concept serving an extensive seafood menu including fried shrimp, fried oysters, Gulf Coast & East Coast oysters, pan roasted market fish, and roasted cauliflower & mushroom fettuccine. Get your seafood and burlesque fix all in the same place. prohibitionhouston.com. Prohibition, 1008 Prairie, 281.940.4636. D Daily. $$

Padthai Thai Restaurant Thai A traditional Thai

restaurant located at the ground level of the loft residence Hogg Palace. The warm and cozy atmosphere offers a great setting for a dinner escape and is a local favorite. padthaithairestaurant.com. 401 Louisiana, 713.225.4900. D Daily. $


plate. Craft Beer Cellar 907 Franklin houston.craftbeercellar.com 713.227.0199

Craft Beer Cellar (CBC) Houston has opened up shop in Downtown’s Historic District, creating a contemporary 5,200-square-foot beer retail store, bar and restaurant all inside the historic Bayou Lofts building (formerly known as the 1910 Southern Pacific Railroad building). With 50 plus taps on deck, including local favorites to multi-geographically sourced boozy choices, beer enthusiasts don’t have to leave Downtown to find a vast selection of craft beer, wines and ciders. If you can’t find what you’re looking for at the bar, not to worry. Just saunter over to the wall-lined coolers stocked with hundreds of international, U.S. and local beers. Customers can pop open a bottle or buy a six pack of your choosing; pour it in a customized CBC growler and hang out at the bar; or take it home. It was the bustling development in Downtown that caught owner Steve Labac’s attention when selecting the perfect location for his new adventure. “There was something poetic about coming back home and starting a business a block away from where the city was founded,” shared Labac, a native Houstonian and self-proclaimed beervangelist. “One of the advantages of opening a store in Downtown has been the foot traffic, which continues to increase.”

Labac’s focus is on variety and freshness. “We want to make sure that what people are buying from us is fresh and that they get the best representation of that brewery,” Labac says. The “beer geeks” also expect the best in customer service, and that includes knowledgeable and friendly staff. As the largest store in the Craft Beer Cellar franchise, CBC Houston is the only location with a full-service kitchen. Labac partnered with food truck extraordinaire, Wokker—a match made in heaven. The Texan-meets-Asian cuisine mixes the sweet blend of traditional Asian dishes with a touch of Southern Texas barbecue, creating the perfect mouthwatering combo. Now, downtowners can feast like a champion by perfectly pairing a pint of stout or IPA with Wokker’s pork belly fried rice, irresistible Wokker fries, or bonito Brussel sprouts. Outside of beer, guests can also take home a variety of CBC glassware, branded goodies or pints of edible (organic and vegan!) cookie dough by Jolly Roger Sweets—yes, please.

CRAFT BEER CELLAR TAPS INTO THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN

BY STEFANIE PASCACIO

Let’s not forget about Craft Beer Cellar’s intimate event space. The hidden space in the back has become a haven for vintage gamers and attained a favorable fan base for many Downtown dwellers. CBC hosts weekly Trivia Wednesday nights and Labac hopes to present movie nights and other fun events in the near future. Whether you’re picking up a six-pack to go or catching a game on the big screen, Craft Beer Cellar has everything you need to get you on the right path to the ultimate beer experience.

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v Pappadeaux This local favorite serves up some of the finest and freshest seafood with a Cajun twist! Start with the crispy fried alligator or a bowl of gumbo, try the Chilean Sea Bass or the pasta mardi gras, and top it all off with the praline bread pudding soufflé. pappadeaux.com. 1001 Avenida de las Americas, 713.654.5077. L Fri–Sun; D Daily. $$$

v Prohibition American Prohibition is the home of the Moonlight Dolls who dazzle audiences with their sexy yet fun burlesque performances. Beaming with glitz and glamour, this upscale supper club has an exquisite menu featuring fresh Gulf seafood and steaks cooked to perfection! prohibitionhouston.com. 1008 Prairie, 281.940.4636. D Thu–Sat; BR Sun. $$$

v Pappas BBQ Barbecue Voted one of Houston’s best year after year, this barbecue joint offers an excellent selection with Texas-sized portions. Traditional favorites such as brisket, ribs, sausage and ham are served with Pappas’ flare. Delivery and take-out are available. pappasbbq.com. 1217 Pierce, 713.659.1245. L & D Daily. 1100 Smith, 713.759.0018. L & D Mon–Fri. $

v Quattro Contemporary Italian Vivid colors, creative lighting and a unique design create a sophisticated and inviting ambience for guests. Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, Quattro is one of downtown’s best restaurants. Four Seasons Hotel, 1300 Lamar, 713.652.6250. B, L & D Daily. $$$

v Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Steakhouse Pappas Bros. Steakhouse puts immeasurable care into everything they do, all to provide their guests with a dining experience like no other. They buy the highest-quality ingredients, use a timeless recipe, and cook it flawlessly each and every time. pappasbros.com. 1200 McKinney, 713.658.1995. D Mon–Sat. v Pappasito’s Cantina Tex-Mex One of Houston’s most popular casual Tex-Mex restaurants, Pappasito’s specializes in sizzling fajitas, creamy queso and tortillas that almost melt in your mouth! The Downtown location offers six unique ceviches and crudos that can’t be found at any of the other restaurants. pappasitos.com. Hilton Americas-Houston, 1600 Lamar St, 713.353.4400. L & D Daily. $$

The Pearl Seafood The Pearl at the Sam Houston

Hotel is a coastal-inspired restaurant with a passion for seafood and steak. The menu satiates guests with savory appetizers and salads, entrees like classic shrimp and grits, scallops carbonara and short ribs, and a la carte selections such as premium cuts of steak alongside simply grilled fish and shrimp dishes. pearlrestauranthouston.com. 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Perbacco Italian An adorable little spot located at street level of one of Houston’s skyscrapers, Perbacco serves up Italian cuisine in a modern and fresh atmosphere. Catering to downtown workers and the theater crowd, you always get quick and friendly service and tasty food. 700 Milam, 713.224.2422. L Mon–Fri; D Thu–Sat. $

Phoenicia Specialty Foods International If you

are in search of yummy food on the go, Phoenicia Specialty Foods is the place for you! This urban gourmet market boasts an incredible salad bar, made-to-order shawarmas and pizzas, grab-n-go sushi, sandwiches and various meat and seafood entrees. This is a one-of-a kind downtown destination where you can appreciate down-to-earth gourmet food prices and a unique variety of flavors. phoeniciafoods.com. 1001 Austin, 832.360.2222. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Potente Italian A sophisticated Italian restaurant, Potente is a dining experience like no other focused on using local products and only the highest quality ingredients. Menu items include daily seafood selections, steaks, homemade pastas and the signature veal osso bucco. potentehouston.com. 1515 Texas, 713.237.1515. D Daily. $$$ NEW! Prelude Coffee & Tea Coffee House Get your coffee fix at this espresso bar located inside Hines’ 609 Main building and pair it with your favorite breakfast and lunch options from local favorite, Morningstar. instagram.com/preludecoffee. 609 Main, 832.382.3466. B & L Mon–Fri. $

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Quizno’s Fast Food

1119 Commerce, 713.228.9000. L & D Mon–Sun. $

Rachel’s Café American Rachel’s Cafe is an old fashioned hamburger joint inside the historic Londale Building. This quaint little café has an extensive menu with lots of simple classics like burgers, fries, sandwiches and salads—all made fresh! rachelscafehouston.com. 421 San Jacinto, 713.229.7067. L & D Mon–Sat. $

Roma’s Pizza Italian Located just across from the

Preston Station on the METRORail, Roma’s Pizza offers New York-style pizza by the slice or pie, as well as a variety of salads, lasagnas, ravioli, and chicken dishes. 223 Main, 713.222.1184. L & D Daily. $

Russo’s New York Pizzeria Italian Inspired by the

traditional Italian values of family, friends & food, this Houston original doesn’t disappoint when it comes to fresh, delicious, homemade Italian meals. And they serve more than just pizza—try one of their specialty calzones, sandwiches or pastas! nypizzeria.com. 604 Polk, 713.759.9800. L & D Daily. $

Salata American This next-generation salad bar allows

you to create your own, tossed-to-order salad or wrap complete with a variety of fresh greens, a large selection of veggies, fruits, nuts, cheeses and more. Top your order off with one of their signature dressings and your choice of chicken, seafood or tofu! salata.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin, 713.275.1088. L & D Daily. $ v Sambuca New American A hip, trendy and upscale restaurant right in the mix of Main Street. The menu includes a wide variety of favorites and combined with the live music, Sambuca is Houston’s ultimate supper club. sambucarestaurant.com. 909 Texas, 713.224.5299. L Mon–Fri; D & LN Daily. $$$

The Shops at Houston Center Food Court

Brooklyn Meatball Company, Bullritos, Chick-fil-A, Doozo’s Dumplings & Noodles, Freshii, Great American Cookie, Leaf & Grain, Luisa’s Pasta, Murphy’s Deli, Otto’s Barbecue & Hamburgers, Pho Huy Vietnamese Noodle House, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Pretzel Time, Quizno’s Subs, Salata, Simon’s Homestyle Café, Snap Kitchen, Starbuck’s Coffee, Subway, Thai Basil, The Mediterranean Grill, Treebeards, Wok & Roll. shopsathc.com. 1200 McKinney, 713.759.1442. Mon–Sat, hours vary. $

Shula’s Steakhouse Dark wood, sports memorabilia

and menus hand painted on official NFL game footballs makes Pro Hall-of-Famer Don Shula’s Steak House stand out from the rest. Become a member of the 48oz Club by finishing a 48-ounce Shula Cut. donshula.com. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4777. B, L & D Daily. $$$

Skyline Deli Deli With their freshly baked bread, Skyline makes a great deli sandwich. 717 Texas, 713.571.0509. B & L Mon–Fri. $

Sol Cafe Mejicano Mexican A family-owned cafe

offering traditional Tex-Mex breakfast and lunch dishes made from fresh ingredients. 1205 Travis, 713.651.0049. B & L Mon–Fri. $

Spaghetti Warehouse Italian Making its home in an

old warehouse, this Italian-American eatery offers up large portions for lunch and dinner. Traditional menu items such as spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna and pizza allow the Spaghetti Warehouse to cater to all ages and appetites. meatballs.com. 901 Commerce, 713.229.0009. L & D Daily. $$ v Spindletop American A favorite Houston seafood restaurant and fine dining experience ideal for birthday parties, family reunions, anniversaries and engagements. Perched on the 34th floor of Hyatt Regency Downtown, this glass-walled restaurant makes one revolution every 45 minutes, ensuring you’ll enjoy 360-degree views of the city and all of its famous landmarks. houstonregency.hyatt.com. Hyatt Regency, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. D Tue–Sat. $$$

Springbok South African Springbok features

a contemporary take on classic South African dishes such as local game, house-made sausages, burgers and curries. Enjoy an amazing selection of local and international beer and cocktails while watching rugby and other national and international sporting competitions. thespringbok.com. 711 Main, 818.201.6979. L, D & LN Daily. $$

Stack Burger American This Downtown burger joint is

far from ordinary. Serving more than just your everyday burgers, Stack Burger also offers coffee, breakfast, fusion sandwiches and a whole lotta Houston art. stack-burger.com. 703 St. Joseph Pkwy, 713.651.0227. B & L Daily. $

Sub Roc Fast Casual Located inside 1021 Main you’ll

find Sub Roc, a quaint little space offering a diverse menu of breakfast and deli lunch options like soups and salads. Whether you’re taking a coffee break or a grab and go sandwich in hand, Sub Roc strives to make every guest’s experience pleasant with a smiling face and a relaxing environment. sub-roc.com. 1021 Main, Suite 200. 713.337.3530. B & L. $

Subway Fast Food 405 Main, 713.227.4700. Daily. $ Table 7 Bistro American Table 7 Bistro is a

combination of an upscale, yet casual atmosphere. Weekday happy hour includes $4 well drinks and $2 domestic beers, and it’s happy hour all weekend with $2 mimosas all day on Saturdays and Sundays. district7grill.com. 720 Fannin @ The Club Quarters, 713.227.4800. B, L & D Daily. $

Tejas Grill & Sports Bar American Located

at The Shops at Houston Center, Tejas offers the perfect tailgate menu and full-service bar. tejasgrillandsportsbar.com. 1201 Lamar at The Shops at Houston Center, 713.739.8352. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$ NEW! Theodore Rex American Enjoy an intimate dining experience at James Beard Award–winning Chef Justin Yu’s modern American bistro, Theodore Rex. Expect fresh local produce in your dishes coupled with warm hospitality as you walk in. trexhouston.com. 1302 Nance St, 832.830.8592. D Mon–Thu. $$

v III Forks American Upscale, warm atmosphere and impeccable service sets the stage for this sophisticated steakhouse. New York strip and filet mignon, bone-in ribeye, porterhouse, young rack of lamb and veal chop are served with duchess potatoes, off-the-cob cream corn, and perfectly cooked vegetables. Seafood items include Chilean sea bass, Ahi tuna, salmon, halibut, scallops and lobster tails, which are flown in daily. iiiforks.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 1, 713.658.9457. L Tue–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$$$


sip. Toasters Café American Toasters is a quaint little

café in downtown’s Warehouse District which serves up classic favorites in a modern setting. Try their fresh baked pastries and French toast for breakfast, or enjoy a salad and a wide variety of sandwiches for lunch. toastershouston.com. 1004 N. San Jacinto, 713.261.1562. B & L Mon–Fri. $ v Treebeards Southern A downtown institution for more than 30 years, Treebeards offers tasty Cajun dishes that are sure to satisfy. Favorite menu items include the chicken and shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice and étouffée. For dessert, try the famous butter bar. treebeards.com. 315 Travis, 713.228.2622. Cloisters at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas, 713.229.8248. L Mon–Fri. $

Trofi Restaurant Continental Trofi’s menu is

described as Continental with a Mediterranean and Latin flair and the ambience is simple, yet sophisticated. Lunch buffets are available Monday through Friday. 400 Dallas, Doubletree Hotel, 713.759.0202. B, L & D Daily. $$

v Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse This world-class steak house is one of the most elegant dining locations in Houston. It boasts rich mahogany woodwork and one-of-a-kind hospitality. Located in the heart of the Ballpark District and across from Minute Maid Park, Vic & Anthony’s is the ideal spot for entertaining business clients, a special celebration or a pre/post-game dinner. vicandanthonys.com. 1510 Texas, 713.228.1111. L Mon–Fri; D Daily. $$$$

Walker St. Kitchen American Walker Street Kitchen

serves the freshest offerings from the Gulf Coast, fusing cultural and geographical influences into a culinary feast. 1777 Walker, 713.654.1777. B, L & D Daily. $$

Which Wich Deli A fast and easy build-your-own-

sandwich joint where doodling is encouraged and the possibilities are endless! Which ‘wich will you make? 811 Main, 713.227.0860. B & L Mon–Fri; L Sat. $

Wimpy’s Hamburgers Fast Food Wimpy’s serves up a pretty good burger but they also have many other down-home favorites. 632 Polk, 713.652.0123. B & L Mon–Fri. $

Wokker Asian Food truck favorite, Wokker, is

sip.

now housed inside CraftBeer Cellar. Combining spices and cultures that blend harmoniously, Wokker is known for creating unique dishes that incorporate the wok, proteins and Texas cooking techniques. wokkerhtx.com. 907 Franklin, 713.227.0199. L & D. $

concept offering customers the opportunity to build their own 10″ hand-tossed pizza which cooks in a gas-fired oven in less than five minutes! Their bar menu includes 25 taps of craft beer and a selection of boutique red and white wines. yourpie.com. 1625 Main (inside SkyHouse Houston), 832.767.2544. L & D. $

Zero’s Sandwich Shop Deli A great little spot for a

freshly made deli sandwich. zerossandwichshop.com. 809 Dallas, 713.650.3333. 1110 Lamar, 713.655.7722. 507 Dallas, 713.739.9955. B & L Mon–Fri. $ v Zydeco Louisiana Diner Cajun This cafeteria-style Cajun joint brings Louisiana dishes to the Hospital District of downtown Houston. Traditional Cajun items such as po-boys, jambalaya and gumbo make Zydeco a great lunch stop. A casual atmosphere adds to the enjoyment. 1119 Pease, 713.759.2001. L Mon–Sat; D Tue–Sat. $ v Xochi Mexican Named after Xochitl, the goddess of the flowers, Xochi specializes in the authentic cuisine of Oaxaca, the culinary capital of Mexico, and incorporates traditional Oaxacan herbs and ingredients throughout its menu. Highlights include the barbacoa de res de zaachila, lechon, and sopa de piedra, an ancient traditional fish and shrimp soup. ¡Buen provecho! xochihouston.com. 1777 Walker, 713.400.3330. L & D Daily. $$$

Looking for a spot to go after a long day or for a fun night out with friends? Check out some of our favorites!

160ft Beerworks | 1310 Nance

Located in Downtown’s eclectic Warehouse District, this excellent small-batch craft beer brewery offers a limited selection of hefeweizen, stout, blonde, and imperial IPA. 160ft Beerworks may only be a nanobrewery, but the hospitality shown by their local beer-loving staff will make you feel nothing but grand! Sat 10 am–10 pm, Sun noon–8 pm. 160ftbeerworks.com

Allen’s Place | 114 Main

Located on the ground floor of the historical Dorrance Building, Allen’s Place is the perfect spot to catch a drink with coworkers after work, hang out with friends, or simply watch the game. No matter where you sit to enjoy their Texas beers or custom crafted cocktails, you won’t help but to feel Houston pride amid the original brick and wood of this historical landmark. Tue–Wed 3pm–midnight; Thu–Sat 3 pm–2 am. allensplacehouston.com

Bardot | 1070 Dallas

Your Pie Italian Your Pie is a “down-the-line” pizza

Perched on the second floor of Hotel Alessandra above the atrium, Bardot offers luxurious ambiance and menu options poised to please. Unwind with a hand-crafted cocktail at the end of the day, or start your evening with a glass of wine and a light bite sure to delight your taste buds. Sun–Thu 3 pm–midnight; Fri–Sat 3 pm–2 am. hotelalessandra-houston.com/bar-bardot

Barringer Bar | 108 Main

Barringer is a classic bar and lounge located in historic Downtown Houston where patrons can enjoy a wide selection of beer, wine and libations. Antique furniture and photos fill the cozy space and live music, DJs and aerialists entertain throughout the weekend! Tue–Fri 5 pm–2 am; Sat 8 pm–2 am. barringerhouston.com

Bayou & Bottle | 1300 Lamar

Bayou & Bottle is a chic bourbon concept located in the lobby of Four Seasons Houston. The bar serves over 150 varieties of bourbons and whiskeys along with flavorful cuisine inspired by Houston’s melting pot of cultures. Unique features include the first-ever Topgolf® simulation golf experience, Angels’ Share private dining room, and personalized bourbon lockers. Mon–Wed 11 am–midnight; Thu–Sat 11 am–1 am; Sun noon–midnight. fourseasons.com

Boots ‘n Shoots | 506 Main

This Texas-themed bar conveniently located right off the METRORail, features a wide variety of whiskey. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out the super fun larger-than-life PLINKO board which decides your fate when the time comes to take a shot! Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am. bootsnshootshouston.com

The Boulevardier | 410 Main, Downstairs

This beautiful lounge provides an upscale yet comfortable respite to Main Street every Thursday through Saturday serving the finest craft cocktails. Thu–Sat 6 pm–2 am. thecommonerbar.com/#upstairs

Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge | 308 Main

A fun and quirky bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously (hence the name), but the cocktails are seriously good. Patrons enjoy the speakeasy vibe and the patio terrace for prime people watching. Mon–Sun 4 pm–2 am. twitter.com/badnewsbar

Casablanca Lounge | 312 Main

This Guatemalan-inspired bar offers drink specials every day of the week, plenty of flat screen TVs to keep up with the latest sporting events and features live DJ’s on the weekends. Tue–Sat 4pm–2 am, Sun 4 pm–midnight. casablancahouston.com

Char Bar | 305 Travis

Char Bar offers stiff drinks alongside custom suits. Drenched in nostalgia, Char Bar is proud of its history, as reflected in the old photos of family members who have worked in the space since the 1930s. Enjoy the second floor balcony or chat it up with Weldon Renfro, who has a permanent shoe shine booth at the entrance. Mon–Wed 10 am–midnight; Thu–Sat 10 am–2 am. twitter.com/TheCharBar

Chupacabra | 208 Travis

Inspired by the Latin American legend of the Chupacabra, this festive bar in Historic Market Square, features seasonal margaritas and a wide variety of Tequila and Whiskey. Daily 4 pm–2 am.

The Commoner | 410 Main, Downstairs

Simple, straightforward. Cocktails, beer and wine. Mon–Sun 4 pm–2 am; Sun noon–midnight. thecommonerbar.com

WINTER 2017–18

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Craft Beer Cellar | 907 Franklin

The Honeymoon Cafe + Bar | 300 Main

Lobby Bar | 1600 Lamar

Dean’s | 316 Main

Houston Watch Company | 913 Franklin

Lone Star Saloon | 1900 Travis

Located in the Historic Market Square neighborhood, Craft Beer Cellar is a bottle shop and bar with a full wall of local, national and international beer options. Stop by and have a drink at the bar or fill up a growler and take one to go! Mon–Sat 10 am–10 pm; Sun 11 am–7 pm. houston.craftbeercellar.com Under new ownership and with a new look and feel, Dean’s adds to the cool vibe found on the 300 block of Main. Great attention from the bartenders and the trendy crowd make it a unique place to socialize. Mon–Thu 8 pm–2 am; Fri–Sat 5 pm–2 am. deansdowntown.com

The Dirt Bar | 1209 Caroline

The non-venue rock ‘n’ roll lounge is a popular preand post-show destination spot that has become famous for its performer patronage. Drawing crowds and artists from every venue in the city has allowed The Dirt to host hundreds of memorable after-show events, including Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. Daily 6 pm–2 am. dirtbar.com

806 Lounge | 806 Main

A favorite of the locals, 806 Lounge located inside the JW Marriott Houston Downtown, ignites the senses with sophisticated creations. Their mixologists are experts in creating cocktails, lively in conversation, and can recommend a favorite dish to accompany your handcrafted drink. Daily 11 am–11 pm. jwmarriotthotelhouston.com/806-lounge

1820 Bar | 1820 Franklin

This cozy little bar is located just one block north of Minute Maid Park. It’s the perfect place for a pre-game drink or a strong night cap during the week. Eighteen Twenty Lounge shares a door with Joystix Classic Games which is open on the first and last Friday of every month where $15 gets you all night access to practice your Pac-Man skills. Daily 4 pm–2 am. 1820lounge.com

El Big Bad | 419 Travis

El Big Bad is a Gastro-Cantina that specializes in infused tequilas, fresh juice margaritas and cocktails, Mexican and Texan Craft Beer and scrumptious fare. Sun–Thu 11 am–midnight; Fri & Sat 11 am–2 am. elbigbad.com

The Historic District welcomes The Honeymoon—a new, adorable bistro with great cocktails, wine and coffee from local Boomtown Coffee. Mon–Thu 7 am–midnight; Fri 7 am–2 am; Sat 10 am–2 am; Sun 10 am–10 pm. thehoneymoonhtx.com Houston Watch Company is located in the lobby of the Bayou Lofts at 913 Franklin and gets its name from the former timepiece company that occupied the space over 100 years ago. From its name to its drinks, Houston Watch Company is the essence of old-school. We suggest trying one of their four different versions of an old fashioned or the strawberry shrub cocktail made with fresh fruit! Sun–Tue 4 pm–midnight; Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am. houstonwatchcompany.com

HTX Fan Tavern | 1800 Texas

HTX Fan Tavern is a sports-centric bar conveniently located across from Minute Maid Park. It’s the perfect place to pre-game before cheering on the home team or to celebrate after a big victory! htxfantavern.com

The Isles Eatery & Rhum Bar | 1515 Pease

Immerse yourself in this Caribbean hotspot and choose from an astonishing collection of 56 plus island rums used to create delightful cocktails rooted in the regional rhythms of the islands. Tue 4 pm–2 am; Wed & Thu 4–11 pm; Fri 3 pm–2 am; Sat & Sun Noon–2 am. isleseateryandbar.com

La Carafe | 813 Congress

The oldest building in Houston, this dark and cozy hideaway boasts a great jukebox, moody atmosphere and an extensive beer and wine selection. Sit on the outside patio or balcony and look up in awe at the amazing downtown skyline. Cash only. Mon–Fri noon–2 am; Sat & Sun 1 pm–2 am.

Last Concert Café | 403 Nance

You have to knock three times on the red door to gain entry to the unmarked house in the Warehouse District (well, not anymore). With a backyard stage and sandpit, hoola-hooping and tiki bar, Last Concert has live music most nights. Tue–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat 5 pm–2 am; Sun 3–9 pm. lastconcert.com

Lawless Spirits & Kitchen | 909 Texas

Offering more than 200 beers, with nearly half on draft, Flying Saucer is a great place to hang out and enjoy a cold one. Check out the website for information on beer tastings, trivia night and specials. Mon–Wed 11 am–1 am; Thu & Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat noon–2 am; Sun noon–midnight. beerknurd.com

Lawless Spirits & Kitchen is an establishment with flair. A place that gives rise to the iconic visions of Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Frank Sinatra or Steve McQueen leaning on the bar with a stiff, well-crafted Rye Manhattan. Lawless is detailed with glitzy style, featuring revolutionary cocktails accompanied by comfortable finger foods and satisfying bites. Daily 4–11 pm. lawlesspirits.com

Henke & Pillot | 809 Congress

Lilly & Bloom | 110 Main St.

Flying Saucer | 705 Main

Where past meets present, and drinks and dining blend in flawless harmony. Henke & Pillot is more than a dynamic Downtown cocktail lounge. Named after the Houston grocery store chain that occupied the space in the 800 block of Congress over 150 years ago, the simple yet sophisticated setting offers patrons inspired cocktails that are paired with mouthwatering dishes. Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am. henkehouston.com

Hoggbirds | 1121 Walker

A unique rooftop bar by award-winning Chef Bryan Caswell filled with a delectable menu, craft cocktails, specialty beers and a unique wine selection along with breathtaking 360-degree views of Downtown Houston. Sun–Thu 4 pm–10 pm; Fri–Sat 4 pm–11 pm. hoggbirds.com

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Located in the historically chic Raphael Building, this beautiful two-story lounge is known for its specialty cocktails and guest bartenders every Tuesday night. Prepare to be amazed! Daily 4 pm–2 am. lillyandbloom.com

Little Dipper | 304 Main

This spot is a cool, blue neighborhood bar with pinball machines, cheap bourbon and a bad-ass jukebox. Daily 4 pm–2 am. twitter.com/LittleDipperBar

LIVE Sports Bar & Grill | 407 Main

Located in Historic Market Square, Live Sports Bar & Grill makes you feel like you’re sitting at the game amongst all the action! Watch your favorite team on a number of TVs while you enjoy good eats and a drink from their ever-evolving selection of beer on tap. Daily 11 am–2 am. livesportsbarhouston.com

Lobby Bar inside Hilton Americas-Houston is ideal for relaxing conversations or a casual meeting. You can treat yourself to the finest in tequilas, your favorite martini or sip a glass of wine while enjoying a light bite. Mon–Fri 2 pm–2 am; Sat 11 am–2 am; Sun Noon–2 am. hilton.com The Lone Star Saloon is a true classic Texas dive bar that seems misplaced in its urban setting. The crowd, half aging townies and half world-weary road dogs, are always willing to share have-been-to-hell-and-back stories. Daily noon–2 am.

MKT BAR | 1001 Austin

Part of Phoenicia Specialty Foods, MKT BAR is a hip wine and beer bar offering light bites and an urban, yet relaxed setting to hang out with friends on the weekend or unwind with coworkers after a long day. The bar is a local favorite with DJs, bands and fun theme nights. Mon–Wed 7 am–9 pm; Thu 7 am–2 am; Fri & Sat 9 am–2 am; Sun 9 am–8 pm. mktbar.com

Molly’s Pub | 509 Main

This classic Irish pub offers a variety of Irish whiskeys and international beers. Tables and coves lead you to the back, where pool and darts can be found and a second-floor balcony provides excellent views of Main Street and Downtown. Daily 11 am–2 am. mollyspubs.com

Moving Sidewalk | 306 Main

This upscale bar has an intimate setting complete with antique chandeliers, dark lighting and candles. The cocktails at Moving Sidewalk are sure to please as they have hand-crafted ingredients such as rosehip infusion and a fig and marigold shrub. Perfect for a romantic night out or to catch up with friends over drinks! Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am. twitter.com/movingsidewalk

The Nightingale Room | 308 Main

The Nightingale Room—named for the famous songbird—also references Houston music legend Sippie Wallace, known as the Texas Nightingale during her prime in the 1920s. This entertainmentfocused bar is a casual, comfortable spot to listen to vinyl during the week and will turn up the energy on weekends with live music—dancing is encouraged! Expect a variety of music from all genres. The drink menu features a small selection of house drinks, shots, as well as beer, wine and champagne. Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am. nightingaleroom.com

Noble Rot Wine Bar | 1010 Prairie

Noble Rot is a laid back wine bar inside the Conservatory with a list of fantastic & easy drinking wines. The bar staffs a superstar team of stewards who are there to guide anyone that may not drink much wine to a glass that’s their perfect fit. Sun–Wed 11 am–midnight; Thu 11–1 am; Fri–Sat 11–3 am. conservatoryhtx.com

Notsuoh | 314 Main

The name is Houston spelled backwards. A bar full of random weirdness: Think grunge lounge and artsy. You’ll find people playing chess, and drinking beer, live music, lots of crazy, weird artwork and maybe walk in on a night of punk-rock karaoke. Live bands on weekends. Daily 8 pm–2 am. notsuoh.com

The Original OKRA Charity Saloon | 924 Congress

Houston’s first charity bar is a true collaboration from Houston’s finest, including owners from Anvil, Paulie’s, Grand Prize and more. Expect classic cocktails and brews in a gorgeous historic building. Every drink purchase earns you a vote that can go toward select charities to win the bar’s monthly earnings. Daily 3 pm–2 am. friedokra.org


sip. Part & Parcel | 1700 Smith

Part & Parcel is a trendy patio bar located at The Whitehall Hotel—it’s the perfect place to mingle, sip and relax under the Texas stars. Their menu includes classic cocktails, original libations, and small plates with big taste! Mon–Thu 4 pm–midnight; Fri–Sat 4 pm–2 am. thewhitehallhouston.com

isn’t just any cocktail bar, in fact, they’re the complete opposite. Here, patrons can find classic wines and a vast yet distinctive whiskey selection served straight, on the rocks, or with a small selection of mixers. Craft beer and cider help round out the carefully crafted drink menu. Mon–Sat 4 pm–2 am. publicservicesbar.com

Tongue Cut Sparrow | 310 Main (upstairs)

The Pastry War | 310 Main

Reserve 101 | 1201 Caroline

This tavern is long known for its top-notch jukebox full of American classics, strong mixed drinks and its diverse crowd of customers. Mon–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat noon–2 pm, Sun 2 pm–2 am.

A Mezcaleria from Bobby Heugel and Alba Huerta that serves up agave spirits along with classic Mexican cocktails and beers in a festive and intimate environment. This specialty tequila joint not only accepts pesos, but is on a brave mission to serve the best margaritas in town. Salud! Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am. thepastrywar.com

The Pearl | 1117 Prairie

The Pearl offers a large variety of innovative cocktails, unique craft beers, wines and spirits. Mon–Thu 6:30 am–11 pm; Fri 6:30 am–12 pm; Sat 7 am–12 pm; Sun 7 am–11 pm. pearlrestauranthouston.com

Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar | 1201 Fannin at GreenStreet Two dueling pianos and a sing-along, clap-along, drinkalong, have-one-helluva-good-time-along bar! Wed–Sat 7 pm–2 am, showtime @ 8 pm. petesduelingpianobar.com

Public Services Wine & Whiskey | 202 Travis

Nestled in the historic Cotton Exchange Building, lies Public Services Wine & Whiskey. Public Services

A whiskey and martini bar touting more than 220 specialty liquors that will make any cocktail aficionados mouth water. Stop by on Tuesday for complimentary tastings of special selections. Order up delicious bites from the new, chef-driven menu featuring tasty flatbreads, appetizers and sandwiches. Sun 5 pm–2 am; Mon–Sat 2 pm–2 am. reserve101.com

Shay McElroy’s Pub | 909 Texas at Rice Lofts

Named after a Japanese fable, this 25-seat formal cocktail bar provides an extremely elevated experience from the tidy menu made up of 16 classic cocktails and a few select beer and wine options, to the bartenders clad in black bowties. Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am.

Warren’s Inn | 307 Travis

The Wine Cellar | 540 Texas

Unwind and relax with more than 400 varieties of wine and imported beers. Wine tastings Mon–Thu, 2–7 pm. Daily 11 am–midnight. thewinecellarhouston.com

Dublin native and owner John McElroy created this space around a richly detailed, 19th-century bar he had shipped from Ireland. The crowd is an inviting collection of young professionals and not-so-young merrymakers. Mon–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat & Sun 1 pm–2 am. mcelroyspub.com

Sunny’s Bar | 901 Capitol @ Main

Laid-back place with a friendly atmosphere and great prices that keep the regulars coming back. Sunny will likely be behind the bar serving up the beer and cocktails and great conversation. Foosball, darts and shuffleboard are in the back of the house to keep you entertained. Mon–Sat 2 pm–2 am.

LIKE US AT FB.COM/VISITDOWNTOWNHOUSTON

Meaningful Change Not Spare Change

It’s okay to say no to panhandlers. THERE’S A BETTER WAY TO GIVE:

meaningfulchange.org

WINTER 2017–18

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DESTINATIONDOWNTOWN

d.

With a fusion of culture, lifestyles and commerce, life around here is anything but typical. Look up and discover soaring skyscrapers designed by icons like Philip Johnson and I.M. Pei. Turn a corner and bump into Houston’s historic past or uncover a piece of contemporary public art. Enjoy major league sports, world-class theater, innovative chefs, funky hotspots, movies in the park, sidwalk cafés, outdoor festivals, pontoon boat tours and more.

Welcome to Downtown Houston! Tours

Attractions & Sights

1. Buffalo Bayou Boat Tours 713.752.0314 2. Heritage Society Historic Homes Tour 713.655.1912 3. Minute Maid Park Tour 713.259.8687 4. Saint Arnold Brewing Company Tour 713.686.9494 5. Toyota Center Backstage Tour 713.758.7715

12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Sports

17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.

6. Minute Maid Park 7. Toyota Center 8. BBVA Compass Stadium

Recreation Buffalo Bayou (hiking & jogging trail) 10. Root Memorial Square (basketball court) 11. Discovery Green (exercise class, bocce ball & putting green)

9.

Avenida Houston Buffalo Bayou Discovery Green Downtown Aquarium George H.W. Bush & James A. Baker, III Monuments George R. Brown Convention Center Historic District Bayou Place Main Street Square Saint Arnold Brewing Company Southern Pacific Steam Engine 982 Union Station at Minute Maid Park

Eat & Drink 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

Ballpark District Bayou Place/Theater District Avenida Houston Downtown Aquarium Historic District GreenStreet The Shops at Houston Center Warehouse District

Museums & Libraries

A great way to get form point A to point B or just explore downtown! You can purchase daily, weekly or annual memberships. For more info, visit houston.bcycle.com

32. 33. 34. 35. 36.

Houston Central Library Julia Ideson Library Heritage Society Museum Houston Police Museum Museum District (via METRORail)

GREENLINK

FREE DOWNTOWN CIRCULATOR Green Route

Orange Route

Mon–Fri, 6:30 am–6:30 pm Thu–Fri, 6:30 pm–midnight Sat 9 am–midnight, Sun 9 am–6 pm

* Please note that routes and hours will change on Jan 21

Institutions

Theater

Education 37. Incarnate Word Academy 38. South Texas College of Law Houston 39. University of Houston– Downtown Medical 40. St. Joseph Medical Center Religious 41. Antioch Baptist Church 42. Annunciation Catholic Church 43. Christ Church Cathedral 44. First United Methodist Church 45. Holy Cross Church 46. Islamic Dawah Center 47. Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral 48. Houston First Baptist Church Spiritual 49. Bishop John E. Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer

67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74.

Parks

City, County & Federal

50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60.

Allen’s Landing Discovery Green Halliburton Plaza Hermann Square Market Square Park Root Memorial Square Sabine Promenade & Buffalo Bayou Park Sam Houston Park Sesquicentennial Park Sisters of Charity Park Tranquillity Park

Groceries & Conveniences 61. CVS/Pharmacy 62. Phoenicia Specialty Foods Grocery Store 64. Wolfe’s Cleaners

Shopping 65. GreenStreet 66. The Shops at Houston Center

Southeast East End

Film 75. AMC Dine-In Houston (formerly Sundance Cinemas)

Music Venues 76. House of Blues 77. Revention Music Center

78. 79. 80. 81.

City Hall City Hall Annex Bob Casey Federal Courthouse Harris County Court Campus

Where to Stay 82. The Sam Houston Hotel 83. Club Quarters 84. Courtyard by Marriott/Marriott Residence Inn/SpringHill Suites 85. The Whitehall 86. DoubleTree 87. Four Seasons 88. Embassy Suites 89. Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites 90. Hilton Americas 91. Holiday Inn 92. Holiday Inn Express 93. Hotel Icon 94. Hyatt Regency Downtown 95. JW Marriott 96. Westin Houston Downtown 97. Lancaster Hotel 98. Magnolia Hotel 99. Athens Hotel Suites 100. Aloft Hotel 101. Marriott Marquis 102. Le Meridien

Realtors

METRORail Lines North/Main

Alley Theatre Hobby Center Jones Hall Jones Plaza The Landing Theatre Company Prohibition Supper Club Rec Room Wortham Center

ALWAYS BE AWARE OF PEDESTRIANS, DRIVERS, BICYCLISTS AND TRAINS WHEN NEAR TRACKS!

103. Heritage Texas Properties

Visitor Information 104. Explore Houston: GRBCC


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21

N. Sa

Map Key

31

to n Jacin

DOWNTOWN INTERACTIVE PARKING MAP

71

d Gran

UH DOWNTOWN STATION

39

Bayou Trail Access

Baker

Historic District

13 50 1

24-Hour Accessible ATM

9 ← Commerce

73

39

Dog Parks

46

28 → Preston

PRESTON STATION

74

82

← Prairie

96

42

22

37

89

95

60

→ Texas

101

102

100

← Walker

→ McKinney

33

32

← Lamar

← to Allen Parkway

DISCOVERY GREEN

62

11

84

94

GREENSTREET 65 29

35 44

7

55 ← Bell

BELL STATION

en hv

92

t Ru

we Ho

→ Leeland

91 ← Pease

← Jackson

← St. Joseph Parkway

← La Branch

47

→ San Jacinto

Main

→ Travis

→ Jefferson ← Milam

→ Louisiana

← Smith

85 ← Fannin

aw Sh

s ew dr

10

99

5 TOYOTA CENTER

→ Clay

An

GEORGE R. BROWN CONVENTION CENTER

90

76

38

s

41

17 104

88

87

86

alla W. D

14 51

26

→ Dallas

→ from Allen Parkway Bagby

THE SHOPS AT HOUSTON CENTER 30 66

20

Avenida de las Americas

61

→ Austin

2

53

12

→ Crawford

34

MAIN STREET SQUARE STATION

← Caroline

57

78

Brazos

I-45

79

45

48

→ Chenevert

68

3

24

71 83

→ Rusk

56

→ Crawford

← La Branch

← Caroline

98

← Capitol

80

60

23 6 → San Jacinto

← Fannin

69

Main

70

→ Texas → Travis

75

→ Louisiana

77 19

← Smith

25 BAYOU PLACE

18

97

67

43

72 49

MINUTE MAID PARK

52

63

→ Austin

54

16

← Milam

27

BUFFA LO BA YOU

Bagby

15

← Congress

58

Houston B-cycle

Chartres

16

81

93 64

103

→ Jackson

→ Franklin

US 59

downtownhoustonparking.org

← Hamilton

Our new Google Map will help you find where you’re going, where to park and what’s nearby

Public Parking Garages

40

DOWNTOWN TRANSIT CENTER

59 → Pierce I-45

36

Public garages, surface lots and metered on-street parking are abundant in downtown. Reminder: on-street parking is free after 6 pm Monday–Saturday and all day Sunday.

8


F RE E and EASY

Night out with friends?

go FREE DOWNTOWN CIRCULATOR New routes and hours coming January 21! For everything you need to know about where to go, what to do and how to get there, visit downtownhouston.org

Greenlink is a partnership between the Downtown District and Houston First and operated by METRO

Downtown Magazine- Winter 2017  
Downtown Magazine- Winter 2017  

Whether it’s hosting baseball’s world championship and parade or our own citizens in need, Downtown is the heart and the soul of our city. I...