Washington Avenue, Houston

The once forgotten corridor emerges as an eclectic enclave.
Washington Avenue, Houston
Washington Avenue, Houston

1. What would a gentrifying neighborhood be without a coffee hangout? Catalina Coffee is the perfect place to witness Washington Avenue’s transition from funky to fab. Crunchy moms, Gen Xers staring down their laptops, sleepy T-shirted students, and the head of the hottest local modeling agency all sip here. 2201 Washington Ave., 713-861-8448

2. A-Front is home base for skater-boy couture: semi-psychedelic (or pseudo-graffitied?) boards, sneaks, caps, and T-shirts, plus a suitably ironic Ping-Pong table in the back. Forget trying to be cool enough to fit in—just buy your gear and don’t ask silly questions. 2205 Washington Ave., 832-673-0200

3. Who needs eBay? Mom’s attic lives at Mid Century Modern Furniture , which carries Saarinen and Eames chairs, Heywood-Wakefield dinette sets, Russel Wright tableware, and a host of no-name stuff (Italian, no less!) that’s even more irresistible. Owner is . . . the classic Heights-area quiet type. 2215 Washington Ave., 713-521-3030

4. With rolling hills and abundant oaks, Glenwood Cemetery is arguably Houston’s prettiest burial ground, and certainly its most hoity-toity. It’s the final resting place for many of the city’s VIPs, from Captain James A. Baker and Howard Hughes to George R. Brown and eighties society florist Leonard Tharp. 2525 Washington Ave., glenwoodcemetery.org

5. Washington has bars to spare—unadulterated dives, wine bars, quasi-slummy nightclubs on their way up. Pearl Bar , with its backyard patio, concrete floors, and decidedly casual interior, is the best low-key compromise. There’s a nice selection of designer cocktails, though a beer at a sidewalk table seems just about perfect. 4216 Washington Ave., 713-868-5337

6. A yoga studio is de rigueur for every changing neighborhood, and Joy Yoga Center , located upstairs in a new-made-to-look-old building, fills the bill. Classes are offered every day at nearly every time. And the studio was founded by a Rice grad, which means teaching is precise. 4500 Washington Ave., Suite 900; 713-868-9642

7. Ground zero for those who were on their way to becoming Masters of the Universe before the financial crisis, Max’s Wine Dive offers upscale home cooking—hence the unsurpassed Kobe burger. Go early; getting a table after seven o’clock requires the sharp elbows of an energy trader. 4720 Washington Ave., 713-880-8737

8. Catalan serves up Gulf Coast cooking crossed with Mediterranean cooking crossed with every other cool flavor on the planet: crispy tête de cochon over creole mustard cream, cockles with chorizo, slow-cooked Berkshire pork jowl atop local field pea gnocchi. C’mon, I dare ya! 5555 Washington Ave., Suite A; 713-426-4260

9. Yes, The Amish Craftsman sells reproductions of arts and crafts masterpieces, but what’s wrong with that? Where else can you buy a stunning Gustave Baumann print—framed—for $250? You’ll also find tables, chairs, lamps, Frank Lloyd Wright tea sets, plush yet lovely gliders for expectant mothers, and a breathtaking array of rugs. 5555 Washington Ave., Suite M; 713-862-3444

10. Only in Houston can you find a place that sells doves, rabbits, and roosters along with peppermint foot cream (for people), livestock tanks, organic pet food, antique crockery, and deer corn. Wabash Antiques & Feed Store represents the city at its ever-changing best. 5701 Washington Ave., 713-863-8322

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