Things to do in Montrose, with kids!

Montrose is my part of town. I live in a tiny little house that is overflowing with kids so I can stay in this great neighborhood.  And I’m not the only one… 7 years ago (now 10 years ago) I had the only kids on the block… today the street is full of young families.

Look below for the best things to do in Montrose with kids, plus a map… Also check out part of One Square Mile Texas: Montrose PBS Series at the end of the post!

1. Menil Park – This tree climbing park has a lone red swing.  There is no other playground equipment, but it’s a big inviting lawn surrounded by old oak trees, a sculpture and the Menil Collection and Rothko Chapel next door.  Bring a picnic or just come to run and climb.

Menil Collection
2. Menil Collection – This art museum is always free to enter.  It’s not designed just for kids, but take your aspiring artists in with a clipboard and a pencil to sketch a few works of art.  Since there is no charge to visit, feel free to stay for 5 minutes or 5 hours. (Note that the main building will close for renovations the end of February 2018.)

Rothko Chapel
3. Rothko Chapel – Right near the Menil is a quiet place for reflection.  Sit on the benches by the reflecting pool or venture inside.  Kids need to be quiet, but are welcome to sit inside and add some calm to their day.  This venue is also free.

Houston Center for Photography
4. Houston Center for Photography – Just one block north of the Menil and Rothko Campus is the Houston Center for Photography.  This exhibit is free and changes frequently.  Stop in with the kids… and then go back on your own and they’ll teach you to use your fancy camera.

Univeristy of St. Thomas Labyrinth
5. University of St. Thomas – Just a couple blocks east of the Menil Collection is the University of St. Thomas.  Strollers can be seen frequently on this small campus.  Find the labyrinth by the church and let the kids wander through the maze!

Houston Public Library Flip Bags
6. Houston Public Library – Keep on walking towards Montrose Boulevard and you’ll find a quaint little shopping center with the Black Lab Pub and the Houston Public Library.  The outside of the library is super cute… and the inside needs a renovation.  Still it has a kid section on the first floor and the coolest little FLIP Kits to take home.  Get your library card and check out these age-specific bags with books and activities for the family.

Black Lab Chess Board
7.  Black Labrador  – Right next to the library is the Black Labrador Pub… and their giant outdoor chessboard.  The pub is kid friendly and you can grab a bite to eat while you play a game with your little chess fanatic.

Mandell Park Playing on Path
8. Mandell Park – Back past the Menil Collection and across Richmond Avenue is the newly renovated Mandell Park.  (Richmond is a busy street, so you might want to drive across.)  Wonder through the paths and organic gardens.  Bring a picnic or a few trucks to make your own fun.

9. Ervan Chew Park – Just one block from the Mandell Park is the playground and splashpad park!  This is where the kids go for fun.  The water is on all year and can be turned on by pushing a button.  The playground equipment is under the shade of huge oak trees and is fun for big and little kids.  Here you can also find a dog park, basketball hoop and baseball diamond.

Fire Station 16 Firefighter
10. Houston Fire Station 16 – Right back across Richmond is Fire Station 16.  Bring your homemade cookies, or stop by the HEB next door.  Usually if you bring by some goodies… and they have some free time… the fire fighters will let the kids sit in the truck and try on the hat!

Wilson Spark Park Pergola
11. Find more parks!  Just a long walk or short drive away is Cherryhurst Park, Wilson Spark Park and Fleming Park.

La Fendee Patio
12. Find more places to eat!  El Pueblito is right next to Mandell Park and has a patio full of cabanas, Oui Banh Mi has now opened, and Mia’s Table is a short drive away.


Explore Montrose with Kids – Our Scavenger Hunt

My kids and I love Downtown Houston.  We’ve been making up lists and heading out on urban scavenger hunts.  You can see the last couple of hunts HERE and HERE.   For Mother’s Day last weekend, my kids were sure that we needed to celebrate with another scavenger hunt.  Flattered that they like the outings with mom, I decided to explore another part of Houston.

This time we decided to explore Montrose.  Our list of items to find or do was:

  • Find a big grey building.
  • Find one red swing.
  • Take a picture of water.
  • Go to school.
  • Eat a picnic snack.
  • Read a book in a park.
  • Look at photographs.
  • Eat lunch at a restaurant.
  • Drink a lot of iced tea.

We printed out our lists, got our clipboards, pens, backpacks and were off. Our first stop was “lunch at a restaurant”. There are a lot of options in the area, but we decided to try something new and head to Firkin and Phoenix.  I was a little concerned about taking my kids to a pub, but since it was my Mother’s Day, I decided to try it out. To my surprise, the pub had high chairs and kids menus and was very welcoming. The English style pub was perfect for all of us.

After lunch, and “drinking lots of iced tea” (my favorite), we drove over to the Menil Campus. Here there is a lot of free parking and we were able to park and walk for the rest of our adventure.

Our first stop was the Menil Collection, housed in a “big grey building”. In fact, every house and building in the campus is the trademark grey color. We did not go inside, but we could have. The Menil is free to the public.

Instead, we went across the street to the Menil Park. Here we found one lone “red swing” hanging from a huge oak tree. We found a spot and “ate a picnic snack” and “read a book”. After climbing some trees, we went in search of some water.

Right next to the park is the Rothko Chapel.  In front of the Chapel is a reflecting pond were Joe “took a picture”.  We took a quick trip into the Chapel, which is also free, before making our final two stops.

Just beyond the Rothko Chapel is St. Thomas University.   The small campus is very well kept and has a lot of green space.  My kids ran through the grass in the center of the campus while I sat in the shade and checked off “go to school”.

The last item on our list was “look at photographs”.  Lucky for us, just one block north of the Menil is Houston Center for Photography.  We went into this free gallery, looked at the pictures and enjoyed the air conditioning.  We made a small donation and crossed the last item off our list.

At each stop, my kids were very serious about checking the list, finding the right words and checking the items off.  Our little tour through Montrose made for a perfect Sunday afternoon.