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Neighborhood Guide: Great Uptown, Houston

By: Hannah Le
July 12, 2019

Living in Great Uptown, Houston

If you are thinking about moving to Houston, be sure to keep the Great Uptown neighborhood (also known as the Galleria area or Uptown) in mind. Just a few miles west of downtown, Uptown Houston is known for its collection of attractive skyscrapers, nightlife, and shopping experiences. These all contribute to making the neighborhood stand out for sophistication and style. If you are considering a move to Great Uptown, here’s what you need to know. 

Dedicated to Work-Life Balance

Great Uptown serves as an ideal location that blends both residential and professional lifestyles. It’s one of Houston’s major business districts with over 2,000 fast-growing companies in the area. You’ll find residents of Great Uptown to be mostly young professionals.

With its high-rise architecture and modern landscaping, Great Uptown Houston is designed for trendy singles and young couples building their careers and social life.

Beyond tall office buildings and classy apartment complexes, the Uptown skyline is also a hub of the city’s best and largest hotels. These combine to serve over 20 million visitors each year.

A Shopper’s Paradise

Uptown Houston is known as a major shopping area with over 700 retailers, so there is always somewhere to window shop. It serves as the fashion hotspot in Houston, selling a range of high fashion retail and trendy brands.

Uptown is also often called the Galleria area, named after the Galleria Mall. The Galleria is Texas’ largest shopping mall and has over 375 stores. The massive mall is a popular destination for designer boutiques, department stores, popular chains, and even a year-round ice rink.

The Highland Village and Uptown Park are two other popular shopping areas in Uptown Houston. Uptown Park is particularly attractive for being an open-air mall hosting chic fashion shops and serving delicious food at French, Thai, and Japanese restaurants.

Major Entertainment and Outdoor Activities

Besides shopping, there is always something to do in Great Uptown Houston. Its restaurants are upscale and classy, while it's coffee shops are trendy and intimate. These Houston restaurants and cafes are the perfect locations to visit with friends and business associates to chat and develop stronger connections.

For Houston nightlife, explore a range of diverse bars and clubs all within a 2-mile radius. Many high-end restaurants turn into bars at night, serving fine wines and unique cocktails to a lively crowd. Whether you’re looking for a lounge vibe or a busy sports bar, the Galleria area has enough variety to always keep you entertained.

Uptown Houston also has clean, contemporary park areas and welcoming outdoor venues with lush fountains and even a water wall, one of Houston’s major architectural landmarks. If you are looking for more, there are other major Houston parks right outside of Uptown complete with bike trails and fields for free play and league sports.

Things to Keep in Mind

Traffic: Uptown Houston is a busy part of town, making it one of the worst areas in the city for traffic. The most congested areas can be the highway exits headed towards the Galleria or the nearby blocks leading up to the mall’s entrances.

Parking: There are more free parking spots in Uptown than Downtown Houston, but there are still some shopping complexes that require paid parking in parking garages. You can pay by the hour or by the day, giving you affordable options for parking.

Public Transportation: Public transportation will be difficult to find in Great Uptown Houston, but the shops and destinations in the neighborhood are all close. Grabbing an Uber or Lyft to get you throughout the neighborhood will be cheap. Although Houston doesn’t seem like a very walkable city, there are plenty of open sidewalks that will take you where you need if you feel like getting your steps in.

Things to Do in Great Uptown, Houston

New to the neighborhood and looking for some things to do? Here are the first things to check out in Uptown Houston.

Shop 'Til You Drop

As we mentioned above, Uptown is a mecca for shopping. When you hit Uptown, you will find an endless line of high-end boutique and couture retailers, including Chanel, Neiman Marcus, Celine, and Armani.

Follow the streets of Great Uptown Park. An upscale shopping mall can be found here that features just about everything. Shop around for high-quality cigars, fine furniture and kids clothing all in the same area. Near Post Oak, you can find all your favorite retailers, like Nordstrom Rack, and DSW.

Water to Wine

Ever tried making wine? Well, if your answer is no, you’ll find a place to try it out in Uptown. Water to Wine West Park allows you to make personalized drinks with the help of experienced winemakers who will guide you through the classic winemaking process.

From picking grapes, designing custom labels to bottling, you can create a unique wine for your family and friends. The vineyards do not ferment all the wines on-site but also cater to worldwide tastes. The list includes red wine, rose wine, and dessert or fruity wine. Swing by and craft some amazing gifts, or just grab yourself your own personalized bottle. 

Catch a Movie in the Clouds

Rooftop Cinema Club is one of the most interesting things to do in Houston. Ever want to watch a movie on top of a skyscraper, with a beautiful skyline in the background? It may sound like a dream, but you can make it happen in Great Uptown. Ticket prices are similar to traditional movie theaters, but the experience is unlike any other. Head to Rooftop Cinema Club for a romantic date night under the stars. They also have awesome food, cocktails, beer to pair with your viewing. Oh, and don’t worry about the surrounding city noise. They give you wireless headphones to hear the movie! 

Pinot’s Palette

This date and painting spot is near Galleria. Even though you do not need to be an artist to visit the place, you can demonstrate your artistic skills while enjoying your favorite wine. Local artists are there to help, so you do not need any experience to have fun with your artistry.

You can enjoy complimentary wine tasting but also host a party or take BYOB classes on your chosen dates. The relaxed and creative environment sets this artistic hub apart from other places.

The Tasting Room by @tasteandseelife via Instagram

Where to Eat and Drink in Great Uptown, Houston

Looking for some of the best bites in the neighborhood? We’ve got you covered. Here are some of our favorite restaurants in Great Uptown.

Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen

Kenny and Ziggy’s brings the charm and authenticity of a New York deli to Houston. Huge portion sizes and stacked sandwiches make this spot a favorite among locals. You can’t go wrong with the pastrami or the corned beef. Outside of the massive selection of sandwiches, breakfast is also served all day here. Benedicts, scrambles, and their challah french toast are all can’t-miss. 

Come for the authentic NY-style sandwiches, stay for the friendly service. This family-owned restaurant has been a part of the Houston community since 1999 and is a true local favorite. 

Pappas Bros Steakhouse

Looking to splurge for a special occasion? Pappas Bros is the spot. This is an upscale steakhouse specializing in premium cuts of steak. Of course, all of the filet mignons, ribeyes, and strip steaks are all divine and cooked to perfection. Pair a steak with crab mac and cheese and Texas-sized onion rings and you’ve got a near-perfect meal. Save room for the Gooey Pecan Pie and NY Cheesecake. Although this is definitely a pricey spot, it’s well worth it. 

The Tasting Room

It’s always refreshing to find a great place to meet up with co-workers or friends from time to time, and the Tasting Room certainly delivers for the neighborhood. It should be noted that the Tasting Room is quite wine-centric, and also offers some interesting dishes that differentiates it from most of the bars in Houston. The menu highlights are the oysters, truffle fries, and bacon-wrapped dates, which is certainly a level above typical bar food. As if that wasn’t enough, the Tasting Room also regularly hosts live music performances.


There are plenty of critically acclaimed restaurants in Houston, but one that you will always hear mentioned is Musraff’s. Musraff’s offers some upscale, eclectic dishes. You can feast on duck, foie gras, lamb, and more at this elegant restaurant that is perfect for a special date. Their cocktail menu is equally elegant, with modern twists on classic drinks. It’s definitely an upscale restaurant, so keep that in mind if you are on a budget. The restaurant also features a patio and fireplace as well, which is why it’s a definite recommend for date night. 

Ready to make Great Uptown your new home?

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Hannah M. Le: Le is a freelance marketer and entrepreneur who never gave up on her "save the world" mentality. Read More
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