A collective theme among residents of the Houston Heights is a drive for community preservation and involvement. Because of this timeless spirit, the area has been remarkably well-maintained and improved upon by community members over the decades. Numerous local organizations, both old and new, work to continue positive growth in the neighborhood, and this passion is evidenced by the amazing events and public spaces available in the area. As a result, it was not hard to find ten things that are must-dos in the Houston Heights.
10 Top Spots for Adventuring in The Heights
The Heights Boulevard Esplanade is the aesthetically pleasing strip of land dividing the north and south-bound lanes of Heights Boulevard. It was originally modeled after Commonwealth Avenue in Boston and included a 60-foot wide thoroughfare lined with native trees, Victorian homes, and two bridges crossing over White Oak Bayou. Today more than 300 live oaks line the street and a rose garden and jogging trail add great value to the area.
The First Saturday Arts Market takes place on the first Saturday of every month. Hours vary seasonally, so make sure to check the website for exact times when you’re ready to go—the event is currently operating on summer hours from 6-10pm. This outdoor event showcases artwork from numerous artists across a variety of mediums and also features live music and tasty food from local vendors. August’s Market will happen in conjunction with the annual White Linen Night.
Since 2006, Heights residents have been gathering annually on the first Saturday of August to promote local businesses and foster community engagement on what is called White Linen Night. The event is sort of like a giant block party where everyone dresses in their finest white clothing and gets together to enjoy live music, art, and delicious local restaurants.
14 Pews is an indie cinema located in an old church on Aurora. The venue was home to the Aurora picture show for a time until it eventually relocated. It was then purchased by Cressandra Thibodeaux who founded 14 Pews in 2010. The artist-run organization provides resources and helps foster local artists’ creativity. In 2012 its sister organization, the 14 Pews Film Academy, began making short documentaries featuring local contemporary artists.
Sand Dollar Thrift Store is a vintage thrift store selling quality used clothing, furniture, and housewares. They’ve been in business for over 30 years and regularly offer half-off sales on clothing items. It’s a great place to find unique vintage treasures including vintage cameras, collectible toys, and special antiques.
The Houston Heights Orchestra is a community orchestra based in the greater Heights area. Their most recent event “Stolen Soundtracks” featured classical music soundtracks associated with famous movies like The Lone Ranger and Amadeus.
A great way to get an overview of the Heights layout and history is by taking a Bayou City Bike Tour. Their special “Cruising the Heights” route takes riders on a several mile-ride through the neighborhood, but there are plenty of stops along the way so even an inexperienced biker will be fine. Tours are $50 per rider and are offered from 3-6 pm on weekends only (Friday through Sunday).
The Houston Heights City Hall and Fire Station was constructed in 1914 and once served as a combination city hall, jail, and fire station. The building was fully restored in 1997 and has since been further remodeled. Today it is actually rented out as a venue for events like wedding receptions, parties, and trade shows.
Marmion Park sits on what was once the site of the Cooley mansion—one of the first homes built in the Houston Heights. It was also one of the first homes in Houston to be powered by electricity. The house was demolished in 1965 and the lot remained vacant until 1979. It was then that the land was purchased by the Houston Heights Association and Marmion Park was developed on the spot of the old homestead. In 2000, a replica of the mansion was built across the street.
Donovan Park and The Heights Playground is a shining example of the sense of togetherness prevalent in The Heights community. The intricate wooden play structure in the park was hand built by committed community members in 1996 over the course of five days. The railroad-themed playground is a culmination of the handwork of thousands of volunteers coming together to plan, fundraise, and help build this awesome neighborhood legacy.
We hope you enjoy exploring the beautiful Houston Heights. Let us know what some of your favorite spots are in the comments!