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Free admission

Dubbed the “Heart of Houston,” Montrose is a major cultural hub in Houston. One of the most walkable neighborhoods in the city, you’ll be able to see how it has transformed from a quirky arts community to a more upscale, although still creative, neighborhood through the mix of 1920s bungalows and renovated mansions that line the streets. The diverse Montrose is also home to a rich LBGT culture, although less so than in the past.

There are many reasons to spend time wandering around Montrose, from creative spaces to sacred places to myriad trendy restaurants and bars. Start you day by perusing the art collections at the Museum of Fine Arts, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and the Menil Collection. Next, head to the nearby Rothko Chapel, a non-denominational chapel meant for peaceful collaborations, cultural exchange and meditation. The interior of the chapel is touted as a major work of art in itself, its walls covered in paintings by artist Mark Rothko.

While it is difficult to narrow down the best places to eat and drink in Montrose, there are a few standouts. Hugo’s Regional Mexican Cuisine (1600 Westheimer Rd) offers innovative, upscale Mexican dishes served in an ambient candlelit setting. During happy hour, you’ll get $5 cocktails and affordable bar bites. Another great venue is Vinoteca Poscol (1609 Westheimer Road), an Italian wine bar with Italian vinos, charcuterie, finger sandwiches and Tuscan-inspired tapas. Additionally, the high-end Mark’s American Cuisine (1658 Westheimer Road) is the type of restaurant you go for an unforgettable dining experience, with plating that can be considered art and flavors not experienced during your average meal.

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Houston, Texas

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