Downtown at a Glance:
Not much more than a decade ago an invitation to venture downtown after dark would've no doubt been met with only one response: Why?
But behind a recent decade-long, $4 billion push from developers, which includes amenities like Discovery Green Park, Houston Pavilions, and sports stadiums Minute Maid Park and the Toyota Center, downtown is once again vying for elite status among Houston's fickle five million.
Downtown on the Map:
Downtown is enclosed by highway 59 on the east, 45 on the south and west, and I-10 on the north, smack in the center of the city.
Metro's bus and light rail system allow for easy access to nearly every spot you could want to get to downtown, and their multi-modal trip planner at www.ridemetro.org is aces. Taxis are available as well.
Downtown Real Estate:
The Commerce Towers Condominiums (914 Main) have a price tag that can reach over the $2 million mark and afford the expected luxuries.
The award-winning Four Seasons Condos (1111 Caroline) offer accommodations below the million dollar limit -including easy access to Houston Pavillions and DiscoveryGreenPark- but pack plenty of oomph! with separate floor plans that may be combined into one super unit because, well, sometimes you just need two condos.
If you'd rather lease, both the Keystone (1120 Texas) and Capitol Lofts (711 Main) occasionally have spaces available pricing between $1500 and $3000 a month.
The BUS (1800 Texas) has become one of the premier pre-Astros game meet-up spots while live-music venue Notsuoh (314 Main) continues to find quality bands nobody's heard of.
Lone Star Saloon (1900 Travis) offers up its watered down mixed drinks and engaging atmosphere while the efficient Dean's Credit Clothing (316 Main), a bar and clothing boutique, is around for those timesavers that like to get their drink and their shop on simultaneously.
The Jet Lounge (1515 Pease), Meridian (1503 Chartres), and Sammy's at 2016 Main all offer up qualty live music shows regularly.
La Carafe (813 Congress) has one of the best jukeboxes in the city and is said to be one of, if not the, oldest buildings in town. (FYI, they only accept cold, hard cash).
705 Main finds a slightly less regale drunk favorite: The Flying Saucer. It's clear to see why Houston Republicans have made this a favorite spot of theirs: The Saucer offers over 200 kinds of beer, 60 oz serving sizes, and munificent tax breaks for the wealthy.
Leon's Lounge (1006 McGowen) is another place with history (opened in 1947), but the somewhat derelict appearance helps add to the lore.
With their belly dancers and hukkahs, the 25-year-old Indian cuisine hangout Yatra Brasserie (706 Main) is never without a crowd. Sambuca (909 Texas), where daily live music (jazz, R&B, and contemporary) works as an audio supplement to Chef Mark Baumgartner's impressive assortment of Seafood and Mediterranean-style pastas, is popular among the professionals as well.
Birraporetti's (500 Louisiana), billed as "A great Italian restaurant… a heck of an Irish Bar," benefits from its proximity to the historic Alley Theater (615 Texas), Jones Hall (615 Louisiana), and the Wortham Theater and HobbyCenter (501 Texas).
The Shops in Houston Center, guinea pig-style tunnels that connect buildings to one another, and the massive Houston Pavilions, comprising 350,000 square feet of retail space for companies like House of Blues, Lucky Strike, Forever 21 and BCBG have almost single-handedly revived shopping downtown.
Downtown is replete with parks, including Sam Houston, TranquilityPark, Market Square, Allen's Landing, Sesquicentennial, Root Memorial, Sisters of Charity and Discovery Green.