Ultimate Montrose Bucket List, Part I: 100 Things To Experience In The Neighborhood
Montrose has a lot to offer, but have you experienced it all? From arts and culture to food and beverage, to interesting annual events and quirky shops, we have handpicked a selection of experiences that we believe define the neighborhood; a “bucket” list of sorts. We’ve divided the list into four segments, grouped by categories that hopefully make it easier to explore according to your interests.
Here’s our first in the series, covering arts, culture and music. Stay tuned for the next four weeks to see if your favorite Montrose institutions made the cut. And if we truly missed a favorite? Add it in the comments!
1-2. Spend a few moments of solitude in the Rothko Chapel. Don’t forget to stop by the reflection pool afterwards to take in the Broken Obelisk before or after your visit. / 3900 Yupon
One of the most peaceful and sacred places in Houston is located right here in Montrose. Whether you’re in need of some quiet moments during lunchtime, a space for deep soul searching or just a moment of zen, the Rothko Chapel should be on every Houstonian’s to-do list. The chapel, founded by the Menil family, welcomes members of every (or no) faiths to stop in for quiet reflection and take in the work of the late artist, Mark Rothko. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, with the exception of closures for special or private events.
Outside you’ll find one of the most famous sculptures from artist Barnett Newman, the Broken Obelisk. It was installed in 1970 and honors the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr.
3-4. Browse The Menil Collection after enjoying a peaceful picnic in Menil Park. / 1533 Sul Ross
Little introduction is needed for one of Houston’s finest and most carefully curated museums of modern art. Entry is free, and in addition to the permanent exhibits, there are plenty of rotating installations. In the future you’ll also be able to visit the Drawing Institute, a 30,000-square foot project that will be the first of its kind in the country.
5. See the newest exhibit inside the Byzantine Chapel. / 4011 Yupon
While the original Byzantine frescoes in the once-consecrated Greek Orthodox Chapel have returned to their original home in Cyprus, the building that housed it all now plays host to “The Infinity Machine.” The immersive installation by artist couple Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller is a rotating mobile of mirrors and glass with special illuminations tied together with a “sound collage.” The exhibit opened in January of this year and is the first of a series of year-long installations in the space.
6. Peruse the art at Archway Gallery. / 2305 Dunlavy
A 39-year old institution, this gallery began as a collective of artists and has since remained artist owned. There are now around 30 artists members with 4,000 square feet of space to display their handmade works, which vary tremendously by medium. Painting, sculpture, encaustics (which is beeswax hardened with resin), glass, jewelry, fiber and more can be found here — and all of it is purchasable.
7. See what’s new at the Art League Houston. / 1953 Montrose
There’s always something interesting happening at The Art League Houston. Their latest exhibit (which runs through mid-July) features the work of ALH students and includes jewelry, sculpture, drawing, mixed-media and more. Want to make some art yourself? Check out some of their summer classes.
8. Hone your skills at the Houston Center for Photography. / 1441 W. Alabama
A major component of the Houston Center for Photography is its Learning Center. Over 300 workshops are conducted for the general public and are broken down by various levels of expertise.
9. See a show at the High School for Performing and Visual Arts before it moves Downtown. / 4001 Stanford
The clock is ticking for one of Montrose’s most beloved institutions. The “Fame” high school, also known as the place where Beyonce used to sing gospel tunes in the cafeteria, is moving Downtown in a few years. Catch a student performance in the neighborhood while you can.
10. See a show at the Classical Theatre Company. / 4617 Montrose
Montrose has some of the highest quality theatre in the city. As their name implies, The Classical Theater Company produces classic works of drama (recent shows include Sherlock Holmes and The Cherry Orchard). Check their website for upcoming shows, and get tickets to enjoy the performance at their new space in Chelsea Market.
11. Step out of your comfort zone and into the Contemporary Arts Museum. / 5216 Montrose
The Contemporary Art Museum is Houston’s number one spot for seeing art that runs the gamut from gorgeous, happy and bright to visceral and shocking. No matter what it makes you feel, it’s always worth the effort to stop by. Through August 2nd, catch Marilyn Minter’s Pretty/Dirty, which according to a statement on CAMH’s website, explores “our culture’s complex and contradictory emotions around the feminine body and beauty.”
12, 13. Date night: Dinner and pints at The Black Labrador followed by jazz upstairs at Cezanne.
From a British pub to an exclusive jazz club, a night out at the ivy-clad 4100 Montrose building saves you the hassle of finding parking twice. Let it be known that shows at Cezanne are from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. (with two sets between those hours) on Friday and Saturday evenings. It’s also first come, first served with a $10 cover charge, so plan accordingly.
14, 15, 16, 17. Run, don’t walk, to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. / 1001 Bissonnet
There are so many things to see and experience at the MFAH that it had to take up several of the spots on this list. Start out by viewing any number of their collections, which includes art from all over the world, then move on to one of their featured exhibitions. Through September 20, visitors can turn their silhouettes into Shadow Monsters through an exciting, interactive experience in the Law Building on the Mezzanine.
The museum also has regular film programming through MFAH Films, and an after-hours series called MFAH Mixed Media, featuring musical performances by renowned artists like DJ Sun, adult beverages and plenty of fun.
18. Admire the booty-shaking skills of world-famous Juan Carlos, The Rollerblade Dancer. / Corner of Allen Parkway and Montrose
He may have been introduced to a national audience last year through his stint on America’s Got Talent, but his heart (and his amazing dance moves) reside in Montrose. Catch him shaking his stuff at the corner of Montrose and Allen Parkway during rush hour, and don’t forget to honk and wave to show your appreciation.
19. Explore your inner self at the Jung Center. / 5200 Montrose
Marrying the psychological, artistic and spiritual pursuits in life, the Jung Center has been serving the souls, bodies and minds of Houstonians for over half a century. The Center offers a wide range of programming from psychology and life, expressive arts, and body/mind/spirit, to continuing education for mental health professionals and graduate education (advanced degrees).
20, 21. See a show (or two) at the River Oaks Theatre and come back for a midnight screening. / 2009 West Gray
Take in the majesty of this old school cinema house and catch some indie flicks while you’re there. The River Oaks Theatre specializes in screenings of hard-to-find arthouse and independently produced films, hosts occasional world premieres and stocks the snack bar with booze. On weekend nights, the theater hosts midnight showings of classics like Beetlejuice, Roger Rabbit and Sixteen Candles, but the real star of their late night film series are recurring interactive screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
22. Support independent singer/songwriters at the historic Anderson Fair. / 2007 Grant
You can’t argue that Anderson Fair has staying power. The modest, but welcoming venue has been around since 1969, offering a stage for some of the world’s greatest singer-songwriters over the years. It’s hosted such legendary acts as Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams and Townes Van Zandt. Be warned however, they do take off a large portion of the summer and do not accept credit cards. Always check the schedule to see what the cover charge is for various acts and you’ll be in the clear.
22, 24. Take in the beauty of the Chapel of St. Basil on the campus of St. Thomas University and walk the labyrinth outside. / 3800 Montrose
Gaze upon the architecture of Philip Johnson, who explained that this beautiful and modern chapel consists of three geometric elements. According to the St. Thomas website, the cube is for the “body of the church,” the sphere for the dome and a granite plane that connects by “intersecting both the dome and the cube,” while the location of the chapel itself symbolizes the “balance of faith and reason.” Just outside you’ll find a labyrinth, which is perfect for walking meditations and reflections.
25. Catch up on your reading at the Freed-Montrose Library. / 4100 Montrose
It’s a small library, but it has access to a British pub (The Black Labrador) right next door. It’s not only the proximity to pints of Guinness that make it special, but the fact that it was a church in its former incarnation, giving it more character and charm than most.