The historic Heights area, one of Houston’s most interesting and charming neighborhoods, is in the midst of a retail and restaurant development boom. Just look at the success of the buzzy Heights Mercantile, an innovative combination of new construction and renovated buildings that opened last year along the White Oak Hike and Bike Trail. After browsing at retailers such as Lululemon, Rye 51, and Will Leather Goods, shoppers can grab a bite at Local Foods or the always-packed Postino Wine Cafe. More is on the way, including the Heights Waterworks, another mixed-use development. But at the center of it all is funky 19th Street, which remains an independent, local-minded strip of shops, punctuated by the vintage Heights Theater, which reopened in 2016. Spend a day here, and you can snap up antique treasures, on-trend clothing, hard-to-find vinyl records, and Texas-made gifts for the man who has everything.
This rustic men’s store looks like a hunting lodge decked out with outdoor (and alcohol-themed) accessories, from Chippewa boots and Richardson hats to bath soaks in whiskey bottles and bourbon-infused toothpicks. Among its 250 born-in-the-USA products are leather goods and candles from owner Travis Weaver’s Manready label. 321 W. 19th.
The floral William Morris wallpaper and mismatched chandeliers lend a Victorian vibe, but Vanessa Wodehouse (who also owns nearby Big Blue Whale Toys) stocks no-frills garments from modern designers like SBJ Austin and Shosh NYC, along with on-trend accessories. 250 W. 19th, Suite B.
This smartly arranged market feels like a manageable version of the Round Top Antiques Fair, with about fifty dealers selling their wares. Cousins Cynthia Anhalt and Debbie Greenbaum operate AG in the same space where their grandfather opened a dry-goods store eighty years ago. 313 W. 19th.
Perfect for a mid-shopping pick-me-up, this bustling cafe, owned by Matt Toomey, also serves tacos and sandwiches. Try the Johnny Cash, a drip coffee with a double shot of espresso. 242 W. 19th.
Nothing says independent spirit like an outstanding local record shop crammed with rare, used, and new albums. The Houston institution, opened by local DJ and musician Chuck Roast 33 years ago, relocated to the Heights in 2012. 239 W. 19th.