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Things to Do

Explore Historic Market Square in Downtown Houston

by Adrienne Joseph    January 1, 2017

A favorite destination for downtowners and visitors alike, the Historic District makes you want to stay awhile.

This little gem, perched on the northern edge of downtown is where you’ll see quaint and historic buildings lining the streets, each one more delightful than the next. With a high concentration of residential buildings, the Historic District feels like a cozy neighborhood despite the skyscrapers just a few blocks away. 

The neighborhood is centered around Market Square Park. Known for its lively green space, dog run and year-round program of free events, the park is always a preferred spot to escape a hectic city schedule. Come hungry when visiting, there is a great, authentic Greek and American pick-up food stand Niko Niko’s on site. Still hungry? Over 30 walkable bars and restaurants also help make this neighborhood one of a kind. Here are some of our favorite spots in this charming neighborhood.

Batanga Tapas + Drinks This Latin-infused tapas bar boasts one of the most popular patios in Houston. Order a few plates to share and sip on a mojito while enjoying the outdoors. 908 Congress

Char Bar Family-owned and -operated joint where everybody knows your name. Regulars come for their specialty martinis and full tailor shop. 305 Travis.

Conservatory Houston’s underground beer garden and food hall. Grab a bite that from the vendor of your choosing like, a gyro from Myth Café, a piping bowl of ramen from Samurai Noodles, a plate of warm barbeque from El Burro & The Bull or a sweet or savory crepe from Melange Creperie. Wash it all down with one of the 60 beers or wines on tap. 1010 Prairie

Frank's Pizza Home of the late-night slice – open ‘til 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 417 Travis

Hearsay Gastro Lounge Hidden items and architectural details in the bricks serve as symbols to the past. Look for hearts, clocks and anatomy. Your waiter can tell tales while you enjoy rosemary Parmesan fries that will change your life. 218 Travis

Boomtown Coffee Main St. Café & Bar Settle into this charming café for breakfast or lunch, or just grab your coffee to go. You'll also find a bar complete with specialty coffee cocktails like the Irish Coffee, so there is a little something for everyone. 300 Main

La Calle Tacos & Tortas Enjoy authentic, made to order, Mexican street style tacos at this vibrant neighborhood spot. Bonus: they are open late (3am Thursday – Saturday).  909 Franklin

La Carafe Enchanting, historic jewel believed by many to be the oldest bar in Houston – long on charm, ambience and the aroma of incense. Insiders tip: La Carafe serves beer and wine and will only accept cash, but there is an ATM on site. This is truly a must visit spot. 813 Congress

The Moonshiners Southern Table + Bar Get a taste of true southern hospitality and comfort food here while sipping drinks from mason jars and scoping out the selection of moonshine. 1000 Prairie

Nightingale Room Known for its creative drinks and huge selection of vinyl. This is an intimate space with arguably one of the city’s best sound systems making it the perfect place to catch some live music. 308 Main

OKRA Charity Saloon A unique nonprofit bar concept that donates all of its profits each month to a local charitable organization. After ordering your cocktail at the bar, the bartender will hand you a ticket to place your vote – now that’s what we call drinking for a good cause. 924 Congress.

The Pastry War A Mezcaleria serving up agave spirits by James Beard nominee Bobby Huegel. 310 Main 

Prohibition Supper Club and Bar Filled with details from a roaring era, Prohibition guests will enjoy everything from live music and a variety of burlesque and entertainment performances. 1008 Prairie

Public Services Wine & Whiskey Bar By one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs of 2014 and owner of critically acclaimed Oxheart, Justin Yu, and his partners Karen Mann and Justin Vann bring this classy concept to the Historic District. Great spot for Happy Hour or some post dinner drinks. 202 Travis 

Treebeards Enjoy rotating specials of fresh, Southern-style food. Staples include the red beans and rice, gumbo, shrimp etouffee and their signature melt-in-your-mouth butter bars. 315 Travis

Warren's Inn Saloon-style atmosphere with swinging doors and a reputation for serving the stiffest drinks in town. 307 Travis

Neighborhood Bonus:
Allen’s Landing/Pontoon Boat Rides Visit the place where Houston began. Historic cruises down the Buffalo Bayou depart several times a week from this spot. 1001 Commerce.

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