Houston has a lot to offer when it comes to dining, fashion, and home decor. Small local businesses, giant brand names, and everything in between have found a welcome home here in H-town, all ensuring that your shopping itch can be scratched. Whether you’re looking for a handmade artisan piece or something a little more mainstream, Houston retail has you covered all year round.
But where can you go to find all of your favorite shops (and discover some new ones) in one place? Luckily for those of us who are all too familiar with the exercise of retail therapy, this city has several go-to shopping centers condensed into walkable fronts. Oh, and they’re definitely not just for shopping. Many have a diverse and populous food scene, in addition to movie theaters, escape rooms, and other unique activities for the whole family to get in on.
Now without further ado, here are eight of our top shopping areas in Houston for you to peruse as gift-giving season quickly approaches. (But we won’t blame you if you only end up buying a pair of shoes for yourself.)
Looking for vintage finds, a bite to eat, and maybe even some handmade items? Montrose is bursting with boutiques, small businesses, and resale shops ready for your retail therapy binge. Start at a cute little gift shop like Space Montrose, or maybe even drop by Leopard Lounge to satisfy your recycled clothing needs. If you get hungry on your shopping trip, take a seat at Empire Cafe or Brasil and fill your appetite with Montrose's best bites. If you’re feeling more casual, try a food truck, like BunSlut, and eat those fries on the road.
Perhaps you know Rice Village as one of Houston’s more classic shopping centers, but in the last few years, some new businesses, shops, and restaurants have opened their doors, giving the Village a revitalized, hip feel to compliment the familiar streets. Sixty Vines is one such establishment, where you can sip wine before heading on over to Crossroads to thrift a new (or rather, old) sweater for this cool weather. Rice Village isn’t just known for food and clothing stores: the Village has some eclectic venues as well, like The Chocolate Bar, known for its unique (and edible) items, or British Isles, which is our go-to spot for anything tea (or Royal Family) related.
Looking for an area of Houston a little more rich in character and history to satisfy your shopping urges? The Historic Heights features popular antique spots, ice cream parlors, and even a vintage toy store. Shopping here is sure to help you find one-of-a-kind items that you wouldn’t be able to get ahold of anywhere else—whether made by hand or passed down over generations. Historic 19th Street boasts small, local businesses specializing in anything from vintage clothing to classic art pieces. To add to the fun, 19th Street often features live music and other performances accompanied by drinks and bites to eat.
This shopping center and mini city (complete with apartments, office spaces, and tons of places to grab coffee or a meal) in the heart of the Energy Corridor offers shopping, family-friendly entertainment, food, fitness, and more. Spend some time in one of their many trendy shops, like Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie, or take a cooking class at Sur La Table, where you can also purchase new items for your kitchen. You can bring a date for dinner and a movie in one place, Studio Movie Grill, or just enjoy their company as you stroll down the cozy streets with an ice cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream or a warm, classic chocolate chip cookie from Tiff’s Treats. CityCentre is also located right next to Town and Country Village, which houses a Barnes & Noble (with cafe) among several jewelry and home decor stores. And if you happen to be in the area during theater season, you can catch a musical at Queensbury Theatre, located right in between the shopping centers.
An upscale shopping mall with options for every budget, The Galleria is Houston’s biggest home of luxury brands like Balenciaga and Dior (for starstruck window shopping, if nothing else), but also offers a large mix of lower-key forever favorites like Adidas and Victoria’s Secret, and plenty of restaurant options for whatever you’re in the mood for today—whether that’s Chipotle or Nobu Houston. There are over 2.4 million square feet to roam in style with friends (because anything can be a catwalk if you want it to be), and you can even throw on a pair of ice skates and glide around the in-mall rink, or just attend their annual Christmas tree lighting event in November. And if you’re looking for something a little different during your next shopping outing, you can also solve a mystery at The Escape Game, or browse Off the Wall’s atelier gallery to start (or continue building) your fine art collection.
The Galleria may be your go-to for last minute shopping, but hang around close by and visit Uptown Shopping Center for any needs that the Galleria may not have met! Designed with European sensibilities in mind, this cluster of stores features artsy boutiques and salons lining the street for you to window shop at. The view of the shopping district itself makes Uptown Park Shopping Center worth the visit. Award-winning fashion stores sit snugly near aesthetically pleasing cafes, making Uptown Park a shopper’s paradise.
River Oaks is one of Houston’s oldest districts, home of historic landmarks like the River Oaks Theater, and its shopping center is one of the oldest in the United States (with some of it originally built in the 1930s). When you visit, you’ll soon realize that “oldie but goodie” has never rung truer. Enjoy the unique arrangement of small shops like Vikari French Boutique and Eklektic Jewelry Studio—which offers custom-made rings, earrings, necklaces, and more—and international cuisine spots like Izakaya WA and the soon-to-be opened Zanti Cucina Italiana, which already holds a location in the Woodlands.
If you don’t live close to Downtown or the Galleria, don’t fret: Houston Premium Outlets is another great option for high-end and name-brand outlet stores, and it’s all located in Cypress. From Forever 21 to Karl Lagerfeld Paris, Starbucks to Swarovski, browse clothing, perfume, jewelry, and cosmetics in a variety of styles and price ranges. There are also food and beverage options, like Infuzion Bubble Tea Bar and Texas-themed Longhorn Steakhouse. It’s not just a place to have fun shopping, it’s also a great community venue, offering kid-friendly seasonal events and holiday sidewalk sales for shopping and socializing.