Explore the culture and coffee of Houston's Third Ward

Explore the culture and coffee of Houston’s Third Ward

Image courtesy Perkins + Will

By Sarah Davidson 9/20/22 11:51 PM

Located across State Highway 288 from Rice, Houston’s Third Ward neighborhood is an area brimming with rich history, great restaurants, and fun activities. Our recommendations below are great starting points for getting a better understanding of Third Ward’s thriving culture and history.

liberation garden

This park is not only the oldest park in Houston, but also in the entire state of Texas. It was purchased in 1872 by four former slaves for the purpose of celebrating Piontith. The purchase not only symbolized their freedom, but also the union of the community. In 1909, the first De-ro-loc No-tsu-oh (“Colorful Houston” versa) game was hosted, which featured a Wild West show and a local college football match. Until the 1950s, this park was the only public park and open pool for the Houston Black community. Today, this park is home to an aquatic center, tennis court, baseball field, playground, outdoor pavilion, fitness center, theater, and cultural center. Additionally, classes and gatherings are often hosted among outdoor park spaces.

Address: 3018 Emancipation Ave., Houston, TX 77004

Nook Café & Bar

Practically located on the University of Houston campus, this small café and bar is perfect for studying or relaxing off-campus. They serve coffee and cocktails in the same cafe, and they have a drink for any of your cravings. Outdoor seating is also available, with several board games perfect for a study break. There’s also plenty of seating inside, with nice window seats as well as large comfy sofas perfect for getting some work done while staying warm.

Address: 4701 Calhoun Street, Houston, TX 77004

French origin

This fast food chain serves Louisiana-style fried chicken throughout the greater Houston area, but the original location lives on in the Third Ward. Founded in 1969 to serve Creole comfort food inspired by New Orleans, this chain has expanded from a sandwich shop to 11 locations throughout Houston. Their website describes their food as rich in flavour, combining French, Spanish, Caribbean and African influences. The original restaurant is the closest to the campus with plenty of boys, dirty rice, sweet potato pancakes and more available for purchase.

Address: 4646 Scott St, Houston, TX 77004

Row Houses Project

Project Row House is an art installation located in the North Third Ward with the goal of transforming society by celebrating both African-American art and history. The project began in 1993 and has so far renovated 39 gun homes into art studios that are available to tour on weekends. Not only is the art kept in the studio, but it is also used to revitalize neighborhoods, educate local youth, programs by local activists, and more. Project Row homes are gathering points for the larger 3rd District community. Project Row Houses is open from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Address: 2521 Holman St., Houston, TX, 77004

Third Ward Bike Tours

A more unique way to explore the Third Ward neighborhood includes themed bike tours that take you around the area, explaining some of the Third Ward’s history along the way. The project started with the goal of community participation, and now has several themed cycling events including ‘Bike and Snack’ and night rides with lighted bikes. They accept motorcyclists of all levels and include stops at local hotspots. Taking you through Emancipation Park, Project Row Houses, and many other locations, these bike tours are an option for anyone in Rice – from Beer Bikers to casual cyclists – looking for a fun way to explore the Third Ward.

Address: 3409 Emancipation Ave., Houston, TX 77004

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