About Midtown Houston
Midtown is a central neighborhood of Houston, located west-southwest of Downtown. Separated from Downtown by an elevated section of Interstate 45 (the Pierce Elevated), Midtown is characterized by a continuation of Downtown’s square grid street plan, anchored by Main Street and the METRORail Red Line. Midtown is bordered by Neartown (Montrose) to the west, the Museum District to the south, and Interstate 69 to the east. Midtown’s 325 blocks cover 1.24 square miles (3.2 km2) and contained an estimated population of nearly 8,600 in 2015.
Originally populated as a Victorian-style residential neighborhood in the 19th century, Midtown experienced an economic depression during the latter half of the 20th century, resulting in the departure of residents and businesses and the proliferation of vacant land. The formation of the Midtown Redevelopment Authority in the early 1990s and a renewed interest in Houston’s urban core resulted in the gentrification of the district throughout the 2000s, fueled by an influx of young residents and the development of a vibrant nightlife. Like many other gentrified areas of Houston, Midtown’s street signs are themed, specific to the area’s logo, and there are many parks, sculptures, and businesses that include “Midtown” in their name, as a form of economic unity and to further attract more visitors and residents. Midtown has continued its rapid development through the 2010s, but the district continues to face issues of crime, inadequate infrastructure, chronic homelessness, and geographic disparities in public investment.
Living in Midtown Houston
Midtown Park is located at the intersection of Bagby and Gray. The Midtown Management District and several businesses provided funding for the park. Elizabeth Baldwin Park, operated by the City of Houston, is located at 1701 Elgin Street. The 4.88-acre (19,700 m2) Park is between Crawford Street and Chenevert Street. The City of Houston acquired Baldwin Park in 1905. The stone fountain is from 1912. The park received upgrades in 1930 and 1931 stemming from a bond. A 2003 Midtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone bond sale and Midtown Management District plans lead to further improvements. The park received a rededication on November 13, 2006. The park includes a Vietnamese Heritage Plaza which commemorates the Vietnamese settlement in Midtown. Peggy’s Point Plaza Park, operated by the city, is located at 4240 Main Street.
In 2008, David Crossley from the Houston Tomorrow group proposed that the City of Houston should build a park in the area bound by Main Street and Travis Street on the north end and Tuam Street and McGowen Street on the south end. Crossley called the proposal “McGowen Green.” John Nova Lomax, a journalist, published an article about the proposed park in the Houston Press.
In 2012 the Midtown Redevelopment Authority and Camden Development Inc. announced that a new park would be established in Midtown in a 3.5-acre (1.4 ha) empty lot, for about $7 million.
The Ensemble Theatre, an African-American theater company, has its studio in Midtown. The theater, founded by George Hawkins in 1976, is the largest African-American theater company in the United States.
Syd Kearney of the Houston Chronicle stated that the opening of the Farrago World Cuisine Restaurant in 2000 “was one of the signs that once sleepy Midtown was coming to life.” This restaurant closed in July 2013.
A gay nightclub, Rich’s Houston, is in Midtown.
Midtown Houston Zip:
Things to do in Midtown Houston
After opening in the fall of 2015, the Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston (MATCH) has brought together a variety of performing and visual arts groups under one roof. The $25-million arts complex is nearly 60,000 square feet and continues to fill seats with amazing performances. Along Main St. is The Ensemble Theatre, founded in 1976 and is the largest African American professional theatre company in the U.S. that produces in-house and owns its own facility. The theater includes an array of critically-acclaimed dramas, comedies, and musicals, showcasing the talent of over 250 professional artists.
If you’re up for a new style, head down to Big Kat’s (for men) or Kat’s Meow (ladies) for a fresh look to take on the town. A few steps away along Main St., check out an array of vintage and antique goods or relax in the brand new Midtown Park. The park offers a playground, a dog park and several places to rest and enjoy the day. To make your day complete, snap a photo of yourself with the famous ‘Midtown’ sign or one of many other Midtown murals.