Best known for its culinary scene, Houston CITYCENTRE has evolved into one of the best walkable districts in the city to eat, drink, shop, and play.


Until the late 2000s, the area that had once been the Town & Country Mall just west of downtown at the intersection of two of Houston’s busiest freeways (Beltway 8 and the Katy Freeway) was little more than a parking lot that tempted passing bumper-to-bumper drivers with its open pavement. The geographic center of Houston was already beginning to move toward this intersection because of the nearby Energy Corridor to the west, and local developers Midway saw an opportunity to transform their city for the better – a mixed-use area that finally allowed Houstonians and visitors to live, work, shop, and eat all in one highly walkable place.

CITYCENTRE was born in 2009, a high-end 37-acre district whose restaurants, stores, and office buildings were constructed so they fed into a central green. It helped give the district a neighborhood feel – albeit one that attracted both regular Houstonites and jet-setting moguls. The first tenants included Valencia Group’s Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE, top-notch eateries, like RA Sushi and Straits, and a massive 140,000-square-foot fitness club. The number of businesses has continued to grow in the eight years since, so much so that restaurateurs successful in other parts of Houston waste little time in gobbling up a vacant space should one become available.

“I have friends who originally said, ‘I’d never go over there,’ when CITYCENTRE was built,” Stuart Rosenberg of local PR firm Studio Communications says. “Now, it’s their favorite place for dinner, a staycation, or just spending an afternoon.”

Here are some of the notable businesses and attractions that make this expanding district of 21 boutiques, 25 restaurants, five office buildings, and three residential buildings a must on any Houston itinerary.

Eat

Sal y Pimienta

Houston’s best source for authentic Uruguayan food, this casual South American concept’s grilled steak and sweetbreads added new dimension to a city teeming with Latin-influenced eateries when it opened in 2014.

Sweet Paris Crêperie

Clean, bright, and airy – the adjectives apply to both the crêpes and the tranquil decor. Good luck only having one.

Fellini Gelato & Caffe

In addition to its namesake gelato (try the pistachio) and coffee made from Italian Lavazza beans, this urban-chic café serves some of Houston’s best paninis and Italian pastries.

Straits

This Singaporian restaurant – lauded for its large entrées, curries, and lychee martinis – was one of the first CITYCENTRE tenants. Nearly a decade later, its hip interior and cozy outdoor patio still make it a nightlife hot spot.

Shop

Elaine Turner

Giving back to the community drives this do-it-all designer, a renowned Texas native who chose CITYCENTRE for her flagship handbag, clothing, shoe, and accessory boutique.

Kendra Scott

Sold in more than 800 stores internationally, this Texas-based designer’s signature stone earrings and huge line of colorful jewelry are a big hit with A-listers and fashion-forward Houstonites alike.

Muir Art Gallery

Simon Bull, Jimmy Houston, and Julio Garcia are among the cutting-edge artists showcased at Muir, one of the oldest tenants at CITYCENTRE.

Play

Terry Hershey Park

This slice of wilderness a few blocks from Houston CITYCENTRE couldn’t be more different than the city that envelopes it. Flatwater kayaking, running and cycling trails, abundant wildlife – it’s easy to see why this forest-lined park is Houston’s go-to outdoors spot.

Bowl and Barrel

Mix a German craft beer garden, refined bar food, and a plush lounge, and you get this upscale bowling alley that couldn’t look or feel any different from the cheaply lit lanes of your childhood.

Athena Gun Club

The Ralph Lauren of gun clubs, Athena’s designer-like showroom (which includes a cigar lounge) and range frequently receives praise as one of the best in the state.

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Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE

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