Category Archives: Shop

Great Shopping to be Had at Houston Area Museum Gift Stores

Unique gifts of all shapes, sizes and prices – and for all ages and interests — can be found in Houston’s museum shops.  Books, posters, notecards, postcards, jewelry, chic clothing and accessories, quirky versions of household items and office supplies, toys, puzzles, stuffed animals, t-shirts, coffee mugs, refrigerator magnets and bumper stickers.

In the Houston Museum District

The Menil Collection, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston offer beautiful books and unique gifts about art, artists and art history. The Houston Zoo has paintings by elephants and orangutans.  The Houston Museum of Natural Science has magnificent mineral rocks and fossils.    Find witty gifts like a Carl Jung action doll at the Jung Center, beautiful Bohemian crystal and antique Czech garnet jewelry at Czech Center Museum Houston and tornado tubes, Galileo thermometers and science experiment kits at The Weather Museum.  

Beautiful one-of-a-kind fine craft objects, some made by artists in residence, fill the gift shop at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.  Historical accounts of tragedy, courage and achievement can be found at the Holocaust Museum Houston and Buffalo Soldiers National MuseumThe Health Museum and the Children’s Museum of Houston have games, toys and books for children that are fun and educational.  For more information about shopping in the Houston Museum District, visit houstonmuseumdistrict.org, and click on Shopping and Dining.

 Greater Houston Area Museums

Other museums throughout the Houston area are also great places to shop.  Air and aerospace are in our blood, especially since the first word said from the moon was “Houston,” so it is not surprising that the 1940 Air Terminal Museum and Space Center Houston are great places to shop for books, clothes and models related to air and space.  Space foods, official mission patches, Fisher space pins, space blankets, flight suits, helmets and jackets are among the special gifts available.  “Quirky” is another byword for Houston, and a few quirky Houston icons are the Beer Can House, the Art Car Museum, the Orange Show and the National Museum of Funeral History.  Hats, t-shirts (including one at the Funeral Museum that carries their catchy slogan – Every day above ground is a good one!) and jewelry and purses made of recycled pull tabs and bottle caps are quirky reminders of a visit to Houston.  Books and mementoes of fascinating histories can be found at the Houston Fire Museum, Museum of Printing History and the Heritage Society and the National Museum of Funeral History.

 Giving the gift of museum visits may be the best gift of all.  Check out CityPass at five participating museums and at the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau gift store in City Hall.  In fact, City Hall is a great place to find information about many museums and cultural attractions and gifts that say “HOUSTON.”  Two of my favorites are the book about the real Houston, “Houston. It’s Worth It,” and honest to goodness longhorn horns.

 AAM attendees – make time to shop while you are in Houston! Then, while you are in town, let us know what your favorite find was.

 Local friends – what’s the most unique thing you’ve ever found in a Houston museum gift shop? Where’s your favorite museum gift shop and why?  We want to hear from you! Tell us in the comment section below.

 Enjoy, y’all.

–Susan Young, Executive Director,
Houston Museum District Association

Midtown’s Big Block Gets Bigger

 One might not think of Houston as the fashion capital of the South. That title usually gets associated with Dallas, our sister city to the north. However, in true Houston style, our fair city has its own version of funky and unique shops that help keep Houstonians both following and starting trends. Not far from the large retailers found at Houston’s Galleria area lie a few pockets of independent boutiques, accessory stores and specialty shops. Midtown, Montrose and Downtown all offer smaller options for popping in and out during a lunch break or after work. (and after a conference!)

 Smack dab in the middle of Houston’s Midtown neighborhood along the city’s METRORail one can find many of the city’s treasured music venues, restaurants and shops. A sure fire hit you won’t want to miss – what locals affectionately call the “Big Block,” located between West Alabama, Main Street and Travis.

 Well known as the home of popular dining hot spots like The Breakfast Klub, T’afia, Tacos-A-Go-Go and Julia’s, as well as live music fave The Continental Club, the “Big Block” continues to expand.  Since Harry Shattock, former travel editor for the Houston Chronicle, penned a very informative article about Midtown in Executive Travel back in October 2009, the “Big Block” has added three new boutiques, and tattoo/barber shop and coffee shop. (I encourage you to check out the article for more details on Houston’s midtown neighborhood.)

 AAM attendees, while in Houston, make some time for shopping!  From downtown, hop on the southbound METRORail “Red Line” until you reach the HCC /Ensemble Station, disembark, cross the street and you have arrived. 

 While there, check out the funky girly Chick & Chica for a selection of mix and match tops and bottoms, accessories and home goods. My Flaming Heart and Shop-o-Rama continues with the neighborhood’s kitchy vibe with unique offering vintage clothing, custom made and vintage jewelry, house wares, vinyl, bric, brac, and other oddities. Don’t forget to pop into the newly relocated (albeit by 20 feet) Sig’s Lagoon, who specializes in local, new and used vinyl, poster art and music books.

It’s a very exciting time to be shopping Houston!  Stay tuned for more Houston SHOPPING news in blog posts to come!

–Monica Danna, CoLab
AAM 2011 Hospitality Subcommittee member &
SHOP section editor