Houston has a rich history that is all its own. A city known for contributions to industry and space exploration, there is one street in Houston with a unique culture and creativity that is a must-visit. This hidden gem within the inner loop attracts visitors and residents looking for something different on a street that truly represents the diverse city living that Houston is known for.
A neighborhood in the heart of Houston
Located in the midtown neighborhood of Montrose, Dunlavy Street is a central part of the neighborhood known for its art scene, eateries, and exciting nightlife. Recognized for its eccentricity, the neighborhood proudly received the informal title as the “strangest neighborhood east of the Pecos (river).”
The neighborhood is quite easy to access. It is in west-central Houston and borders major roadways and an interstate.
The historic homes in the neighborhood, including bungalows and mansions built at the turn of the century (the 1900s of course), are easily spotted from the road, giving the area known for its modern attractions and progressive culture a special charm that is only possible with architecture from yesteryear.
When you arrive, you immediately notice you are in a special place. From the neon signs to the tree-covered bungalows, the diversity is endless. The neighborhood is even home to some quaint B&B’s, meaning visitors can live the eccentricity.
Dunlavy Street: Things to do
There is never a lack of things to do or see for residence or visitors of Dunlavy Street. For those looking to enjoy the well-known art scene, the street includes several independent galleries and shops.
Founded by Leila and Carlos Peraza in 2010, Space Montrose proudly features hundreds of entrepreneurs (the vast majority from Texas) in a store that brings handcrafted goods from around the country right to the heart of Houston.
Everything from greeting cards to clothing, to botanicals and gift sets, the shop has it all. Many items can be shopped for online, but to genuinely appreciate the craftsmanship, you need to stop in and look for yourself.
The Archway Gallery was established in 1979 by a group of artists seeking control of the art selling process. The gallery is owned by the artists themselves, all combining their individual creativity and collective business acumen to create a thriving art gallery. The vision of the artists was to provide a place where both local and national artists could showcase their pieces to the local community and educate the interested public.
After relocating several times over the years, the Archway Gallery has grown over to the 4000 square foot building it occupies on Dunlavy Street. The gallery continues to be an outlet for Houston’s creative minds as it provides residents and visitors the opportunity to view local art in an approachable manner.
Exhibitions are changed every month, so every visit offers something new. For more information visit https://www.archwaygallery.com/
A neighborhood would not be inviting if it did not include a space for our four-legged family members. The Ervan Chew dog park, located on the south of the entries and entertainment, was the first neighborhood park in Houston to allow dogs to run off-leash in a designated “dog zone.”
The zone is nearly 9,000 square feet and is conveniently located next to the picnic area and is intended to allow dogs to exercise freely, keeping them and the public safe.
The park is not just for dog lovers. It is a great place to enjoy a day outdoors, taking relishing in Houston’s year round mild climate.
A must stop for coffee and a quick bite
If you are starting your day on Dunlavy, get things going right by stopping by one of the most popular coffee shops in Houston. As the city’s first specialty coffee shop when it opened in 1992, Brasil’s atmosphere, great food, and coffee perfectly capture the vibe of the neighborhood.
The restaurant is proud of its reputation of encouraging the connection and interaction of different groups, and the design of the café shows. In line with the rest of the neighborhood, the restaurant has a variety of artwork on display and music playing in the background. Enjoying a meal at Brasil is an experience of its own.
The building's large windows with brick walls have small tables that create a casual but intimate dining experience. For those wishing to enjoy Houston’s weather outdoors, the covered patio surrounded by greenery is always an option.
If Brasil is not what you are looking for, Dunlavy Street is not short on quant coffee shops that are sure to satiate your craving for caffeine.
Dunlavy does have something for everyone. After a day of viewing one of a kind art, shopping in the boutique’s or thrift shops, you would be missing out if you did not visit one of the many restaurants and bars on Dunlavy Street to grab some great food and/or socialize over a craft beer or cocktail.
One establishment with a history that fits in perfectly with the rest of the area is the La Grange Cantina. The restaurant’s building, constructed in the 1930s, was formerly a horse hospital before becoming a popular neighborhood bar named EJ’s in the 1970s until its closing in 2014. The new owners kept many of the original features of the property while giving it some personal touches.
The casual patio bar specializes in craft drinks and Mexican food with a coastal inspiration. As Houston sits on the Gulf of Mexico, the offerings are not only regionally appropriate but authentic.
Patrons enjoy the variety. From lighter fare such as ceviche and grilled gulf coast shrimp to heavier options such as fried tilapia, sizzling fajitas, or hearty enchiladas.
La Grange fresh squeezes its juices daily, which contributes to the quality of the cocktails. Give the popular Bourbon Juice Box a try or have a taste of the Jalapeno-infused tequilas or margaritas.
So, if you are looking for a place to spend a day and capture the diverse lifestyle of the country’s fourth-largest city, Dunlavy is a great street to consider. Visitors are never disappointed and while just a few of the great establishments are mentioned, the options are endless and new businesses in the community are popping up all the time, meaning no visit will be the same.
Whether you are new to the area, just visiting, or a long-time resident, take a cruise down Dunlavy Street…you’ll be glad you did.