Behind the skyscrapers: Houston's artistic side
Houston is known for its sprawling residential areas, motorways crisscrossing the landscape and huge shopping malls. But behind the enormous Midtown business district, the Texas city is also home to several urban oases of culture, art and gastronomy. In Montrose, ditch the car and lace up your walking shoes. In this industrial area, in the midst of a total renewal, homes are painted in bold colours while avant-garde art galleries sit alongside trendy coffee shops and funky boutiques. A creative wind blows through these treelined streets, encouraging visitors to take their time discovering artistic
surprises. Before you start exploring, recharge your batteries at UB Preserv. The restaurant tells the story of the city and its diverse background through varied flavours. With plates of Mediterranean
veggies, grilled meats, shrimp rice with vinegar and marinated octopus, there are many palate-pleasing options.
1609 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77006
Seeking out street art
In recent years, Houston has made a name for itself in street art. All around the East End, every square centimetre of wall space is covered in colourful art. At the corner of Preston and Travis streets in downtown Houston, you can admire a multicoloured and psychedelic mural called Houston Is Inspired. Painted by street art pioneer Gonzo247, it symbolises the city's artistic turn. On San Jacinto Street, French artist Sebastien Boileau, AKA Mr. D, created a block-long stylised interpretation of Michelangelo's Creation of Adam. If you like his work, you should also check out his portrait of Marilyn Monroe at the Montrose Proper gallery. While there, take a peek at the nearby Flatland Gallery, an art gallery and event space known for its art installations and contemporary art performances.
The Houston Urban Experience festival pays homage to urban creativity. From downtown to East Downtown and the East End, you can watch passionate street artists from Texas and around the world in action. For one week, follow their progress as they create graffiti, stencils and monumental paintings with their trusty paintbrushes and airbrushes. Get the locations for all the artistic creations on the festival website. You can even use your smartphone to put them into Google Maps to create your own entertaining treasure hunt.
1505 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77006
1709 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77098
Houston Urban Experience
18 to 24 November 2019
Sawyer Yards: where the local artists go
Now it is time to continue your art-filled journey and head to First Ward, a historic district north-west of downtown. As you explore this revitalised industrial landscape, you will come upon Rail to the Sea, a poetic mural by Indian-born local artist Janavi Folmsbee. Across from a rail yard is Sawyer Yards, the centre of Houston's creative community. Eight blocks of industrial warehouses were transformed into artist studios, restaurants and exhibition spaces. Every second Saturday of the month, this fascinating venue goes wild as local artists open the doors to their workshops to the public. Wander around the exceedingly charming outdoor market with its stands of handcrafted products, art and international food which reflects the cosmopolitan and creative essence of a city that has broken free of the clichés of the Texas oil fields.
2101 Winter Street
Houston, TX 77007