Ultimate Montrose Bucket List Part IV: 100 Things To Experience In The Neighborhood
From arts and culture, food and beverage, annual events and more, here is a handpicked selection of experiences in Montrose that we believe define the neighborhood; a “bucket” list of sorts.
We’ve divided the list into four installments of 25, grouped into categories that hopefully make it easier for you to explore according to your interests. Here’s our final in the series, covering shopping, personal grooming and the miscellaneous things that didn’t fit into any particular category. Don’t forget to check out Part I, II and III of the list if you’ve missed them.
76-77. Explore the outdoors at Ervan Chew or Mandell Park. / Multiple Locations
Whether you have children of the human type or “fur babies” as some like to call them, Ervan Chew has amenities for you. The splash pad is perfect to keep your little ones entertained for the summer and the gated dog park area will tire out your furry friends. If you’re looking for a more laid-back experience, the new Mandell Park is a lush, green oasis in the middle of Montrose complete with a garden. It’s a perfect place to stop and take a break from the fast pace of city living.
78-80. Find hidden treasures at The Guild Shop, The Blue Bird Circle Resale Shop or any of the antique stores in the neighborhood. / Multiple Locations
For those that enjoy antiquing and thrift store shopping, the hunt is just about as fun as the haul. Montrose has a huge selection of consignment, resale, thrift, vintage and antique shops, so it was hard to single out just a handful. An institution since 1962, The Guild Shop is a must when looking for housewares, furniture, collectibles, antiques and even clothing. Proceeds from the shop benefit charities that serve the elderly, making your purchase even more meaningful. Yet another quality shopping destination with a charitable component is The Blue Bird Circle Resale Shop. The consignment store focuses more on furniture and clothing, sending 40% of proceeds to The Blue Bird Circle Clinic for Pediatric Neurology at Texas Children’s Hospital as well as various other charities. As for antiques — they’re all over the neighborhood. Westheimer is a great place to start with businesses like Old Blue House Antique Shop, Westheimer Antiques Flea Market and Kay O’Toole Antiques.
81-85. Dine, drink and relax al fresco on one (or several) of the best patios in Houston. / Multiple Locations
Bar Boheme: A Bohemian getaway for wine, cocktails, twinkly lights and cozy nooks. Also: Vietnamese fries and flatbread pizzas.
Doc’s Bar & Grill: The wraparound deck and icehouse-style venue is a comfortable place to gather with friends at one of their large community tables over some Texas-brewed beers. The menu of pub grub is better than most and service is table side at every seat in the house.
Backstreet Cafe: A Houston classic, this restaurant courtyard features a bubbling fountain, plenty of shade and a seasonal cocktail menu that matches the beautiful surroundings.
El Tiempo Cantina 1308 Annex: It’s three patios in one at the latest El Tiempo location on Westheimer — two upstairs and one downstairs. All of them perfect spots to enjoy their chips, salsa and a frozen margarita.
Empire Cafe: Cake, breakfast and a shady patio. What more could you ask for? This casual counter-service cafe is a great place to enjoy a cappuccino, a pizza or a giant slice of cake, all on their intimate patio that remains comfortably shielded from the outside world.
86-87. Book an energy tune-up with Urban Muse and stay for a haircut at Blue Mambo salon. / 4621 Montrose #240
Freshen up your mind, body and soul through a session with the Urban Muse, otherwise known as Jo Ann Anderson. Whether it’s inspiration, relaxation or connection you’re seeking, Anderson is sure to help you find it through mediumship, energy work, past life readings or other intuitive modalities. Since Anderson’s studio is located inside the Blue Mambo Hair Salon, go ahead and book an appointment with one of their talented stylists and leave with hair that looks as good on the outside as you feel on the inside.
88. Find something mystical at the Magick Cauldron. / 2424 Montrose
A store like no other, the Magick Cauldron isn’t as much “bubble, bubble toil and trouble” as it is just a shop to find supplies, items and relics related to pagan religions like Wicca. Herbs, gemstones, candles, tarot card decks, pendulums, jewelry, books and Renaissance costumes are all available for purchase, and the staff is ready to answer any questions if you’re a newbie to the store. It warrants a visit, even if it’s just to quell your curiosity.
89. Channel your inner secret agent and check out Spy Emporium. / 1550 Westheimer
Who hasn’t fantasized about being a spy at some time or other? Spy Emporium caters to the private eye in all of us with hidden cameras, GPS trackers, security cameras and more. In addition to all the gizmos and gadgets, Spy Emporium offers professional private investigation services along with an option on their website to “plan a spy party.”
90. Find the perfect gift for a friend (or yourself) at Space Montrose. / 1706 Westheimer
Space is full of the cool, quirky, handmade items you never knew you needed. Jewelry, posters, art, clothing, baby items, stuffed animals, greeting cards and even coasters are available for purchase — all of them created by independent artists from around Texas and the United States. As great as it is to find personal treasures here, it’s even better when shopping for a one-of-a-kind gift. They’ve definitely got something for everyone.
91. Help fund one of Houston’s best charities and grab some inexpensive designer duds at the Cottage Shop. / 811 Westheimer
The definition of a win/win situation, The Cottage Shop benefits The Women’s Home much more than monetarily. Sure, the proceeds from this popular resale shop help fund a large chunk of the charity’s programs designed to help women in crisis get back on their feet, but it also benefits the women themselves through hands-on job training. The shop’s recent focus on boutique items is sure to lure in bargain hunters looking for inexpensive designer accessories and clothing.
92-93. Take a selfie in front of the famous Biscuit paint wall. While you’re there, stop inside to browse the custom-made bedding and unique home decor. / 1435 Westheimer
Though it sounds good enough to eat, Biscuit is actually an “American bedding and lifestyle brand.” It’s also a fun store to visit when you’re in search of beautiful bedding, decor and other assorted items to make your house feel more like a home. Biscuit’s building also features a giant wall of technicolor paint on the exterior of that makes for the perfect — and uniquely Houston — backdrop for professional photoshoots or casual selfies. The best part? It costs nothing.
94-98. Schedule some “you” time at one of the many day spas in the neighborhood. / Multiple Locations
Montrose is a neighborhood with plenty of day spa options. There’s Alira, a salon and spa with plenty of facial packages, medical beauty procedures like microdermabrasion, massages and body treatments. Etheria also offers salon services in addition to full spa packages, which combine all kinds of goodies from hair styling to something called a “body cocoon.” Dolce Vita — not to be confused with the pizzeria of the same name — takes a holistic approach to pampering, using natural products like seaweed-based elixirs and essential oils. Sanctuary proclaims it was the “first day spa in Houston, Texas,” and has been helping folks feel their best since 1984 through skin, body, detox and hydrotherapy sessions. Cheeva Som Retreat brings in an element of exotic luxury using a variety of massage techniques including Thai, Swedish, Shiatsu, and also offers foot scrubs and herbal treatments.
99. Score some funky vintage wear on the Westheimer strip near Dunlavy. / 1600 Block of Westheimer
Spend a day shopping, and never leave the block. It’s possible; if you start at the intersection of Westheimer and Dunlavy, and work your way eastward. Stores like Fashion Recycler, Pavement, Buffalo Exchange and more have plenty of inventory to wade through. Patient and diligent shoppers will be rewarded with one-of-a-kind finds that won’t break the bank.
100. Get a close shave — and a sip of bourbon — at The Argyle League. / 703 W. Alabama
Who doesn’t love to be greeted at their local barber shop with an offer of bourbon? Offering quality cuts for guys — and women with short hair — Argyle League barbers are talented, friendly and also versed in the ways of the old fashioned straight razor shave. There’s no need to worry about that giant, sharp object near your jugular as this popular and relaxing treatment is well-practiced here, and the liquor helps take the initial edge off. There are also beard trims and package deals for shaves and hair cut combinations.