HOUSTON IS HOME TO DOZENS OF VENUES that make up the city’s bustling arts community. Located in the heart of Downtown, Houston’s Theater District stretches for 17 city blocks, and it's the nation’s 2nd largest theater hub after New York City.
The city's main collection of performing arts venues are situated around Preston, Bagby, Milam and Walker streets, near the towering buildings of Downtown's business district and city hall. The Houston Theater District has survived a lot, including damage from Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 and flooding from Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Recently, the venues have also had to weather COVID-19 cancelations and shutdowns.
No matter the circumstance, these institutions have maintained a commitment to providing Houston with the best of the world’s creativity, including the top touring Broadway shows.
Whether you’re in the mood for a concert, a play, or ballet, here’s a guide to the Theater District's five historic venues:
Hailed as the oldest theater company in Texas, the Alley Theatre is one of the venues that has given Houston its distinct flair. The company was founded in 1961 by its first artistic director Nina Vance and received a Tony Award for Regional Theatre in 1996. The Alley’s two theaters (Hubbard and Neuhaus) can host nearly 1,000 patrons and its robust program features 16 new plays a year along with 500 performances each season.
The Alley Theatre is located at 615 Texas Avenue Houston, TX 77002. For more information on the 2021-22 season, visit here.
Bayou Music Center
Although it’s been renamed 3 times since 1997, the Bayou Music Center has welcomed a host of comedians and well-known musicians. It’s the central venue in the 130,000 square foot Bayou Place complex and is self-proclaimed as “one of the coolest spots to see live music downtown.” Live Nation is its main resident and hosts a variety of shows a year.
The Bayou Music Center is located at 520 Texas Ave, Houston, TX 77002. For more information on shows and tickets, visit here.
The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
Home to Theatre Under the Stars, Ars Lyrica Houston, Texas Medical Center Orchestra, and a wealth of Broadway productions, the Hobby Center is the Theatre District’s hotspot. Located on the edge of the District near Bagby and Walker, visitors can enjoy amazing city views. The venue was donated by the family of former Texas lieutenant governor William P. Hobby Jr. (yes, like the airport) and was built to replace the Houston Music Hall and Coliseum of the late 1930s.
The Hobby Center is located at 800 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002. For more information on shows and tickets, visit here.
Built and named in honor of Democratic politician and entrepreneur Jesse H. Jones (1874-1956), Jones Hall lives on an entire downtown block. The venue was founded in 1966, hosts up to 3,000 patrons, and won an honors award from the American Institute Architects a year after it opened. The Houston Symphony and the Society for the Performing Arts are the venue’s primary residents.
Jones Hall is located at 615 Louisiana St; Houston, TX 77002. For more information on the Houston Symphony’s season, visit here.
Wortham Theater Center
Home to the renowned Houston Ballet and the Houston Grand Opera, the Wortham opened its doors in 1987. Its two main theaters, Brown and Cullen can hold 2,405 and 1,100 performance lovers respectively. The theater is privately funded and was designed by Galveston-born architect Eugene Aubry, a University of Houston alum who also designed the Menil Collection’s famous Rothko Chapel. In addition to ballet and opera, the Wortham also hosts programming for the Society for the Performing Arts, Da Camera of Houston and Mercury Chamber Orchestra.
The Wortham Theatre Center is located at 501 Texas Ave, Houston, TX 77002. For more information on shows and tickets, visit here.