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Thursday, November 30, 2023 — Houston, TX

Off campus spots to visit with your next METRO ride

Katherine Hui / Thresher

By Riya Misra     9/6/22 10:35pm

At any given time throughout the night, you’d be hard-pressed to find available seating at Agora. A Greek marketplace-themed cafe situated in Montrose, Agora is open until 2 a.m. Its coffee, eccentric interior decorations and late hours attract hosts of Rice students looking for an enjoyable spot to spend time outside of the campus hedges.

Agora is one of Houston’s many student-friendly attractions. The Thresher talked to Rice students and rounded up some of Houston’s best offerings, from restaurants to parks to shops, that encourage students to venture out into the greater Houston area.

Food & Coffee

For some of the best dining options that Houston has to offer, Evan Joachim, a Brown College sophomore, said they recommend POST Houston. POST Houston is an old post office that has been transformed into one of Houston’s cultural hubs, equipped with a marketplace, workspaces, a music hall and a sweeping rooftop view, according to POST’s website.

“One reason that I came to Houston was because of the diversity in food,” Joachim said. “POST is a great example of where you can try a bunch of different cuisines in one place.”

Joachim said they also enjoy visiting Phoenicia Specialty Foods, a Mediterranean marketplace, for a similarly diverse culinary experience.

“It has tons of different international food options that are more difficult to get here,” Joachim said. “And, both POST and Phoenicia Market are very easily METRO-able.”

Erin Harrison, a Baker College senior, said she appreciates Houston coffee shops as a way to simultaneously explore new areas, while also being productive.

“I like to be in new environments when I study, so sometimes I’ll go out and find a coffee shop that seems cool,” Harrison said. “Campesino Coffee House is a good one. Black Hole Coffee House is also a good one.”


Harrison, a self-professed outdoorsy person, said she also enjoys venturing into Houston’s parks.

“When I came to Rice, I knew I was going to be sacrificing a bit of immediate access to a forest right next to me,” Harrison said. “But I love the parks in Houston. It’s literally right across the street, but Hermann Park is great. I love Memorial Park too, my friends and I will go running there sometimes.”

Kai Cowin, a Hanszen College sophomore, said he likes to visit Hines Waterwall Park, a circular man-made waterfall in Uptown Houston.

“It’s a cool place to just chill out. You can meet your family there,” Cowin said.

Outside of the nature that Houston has to offer, Harrison also said she frequents Momentum, an indoor rock climbing gym, with the Rice Climbing Club.

“[Momentum is] cool because we get to interact with people in the Greater Houston community who are also climbers and get to engage in something that we all really enjoy,” Harrison said.


Riley Combes, a sophomore at Brown, said he has visited a number of bookstores across Houston that are perfect for any English majors, or simply students looking to pick up a new read.

“I’ve been to Kaboom Books, which is just outside of Montrose. [It is] a huge bookstore; they must have almost 100,000 books in there,” Combes said. “I’ve also been to Brazos Bookstores, which is in Montrose.

And, for a better bargain, Combes said he recommends Half Price Books, which offers older books at a cheaper price.

Outside of books, Houston also boasts an expansive thrift scene, according to Ryann Tudor, a Wiess College junior. Tudor says that Houston’s thrift shops can often encompass many different aesthetics and brands.

“I feel like the thrifting throughout Houston is very dependent on what area [you’re in],” Tudor said. “Montrose is where you’re going to find the curated, 30 dollar t-shirts. Other places probably have truer vintage stuff you’d find at your grandma’s house.”

Combes said he tries to seek out thrift stores that are more affordable than Montrose’s special vintage selections.

“Once we realized that maybe the Montrose area wasn’t the best for thrifting, we started to go even further, to different Goodwills and Family Thrifts,” Combes said.

Joachim said they seconded Combes’ sentiment about seeking out thrift stores further away.

“My favorite store is Family Thrift, because we found one that has a different price each day,” Joachim said. “It’s more of a cheap thrifting vibe ... and I think that’s wonderful.”

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