East End Tours
Most people do not realize how many neighborhoods are part of the East End or the history of this area. Two former cities are part of the East End: Magnolia Park and Harrisburg. Houston annexed Magnolia Park in October 1926 and, two months later, Harrisburg in December 1926. The old Magnolia Park City Hall still stands. Harrisburg predated Houston by roughly 12 or 13 years, being established around 1823 or 1824. Harris County is named for the Harris family who settled here. Thus, this is the oldest part of what is now Houston. This was a historically white and black area with plantations that dated to the 1820s that transitioned and became a mostly Hispanic area by the 1920s, and with an enclave of Asians. Some of the oldest African American pockets of neighborhoods in Houston still exist here. Learn more about the history of this area on a tour. Other communities that make up the East End include:
- Forest Hill
- Houston Country Club Place
- Mason Park
- Pecan Park
- Second Ward
- Original Chinatown
- And more
The East End had elite areas and notable people at one time. John Harris, as in Harris County, Charles Milby, as in Milby High School, and John Deady, as in Deady Middle School lived in this area. It still has wonderful and diverse architecture with many Craftsmen homes, tall trees, several houses of worship, and expansive parks. Some of the oldest and prettiest cemeteries of Houston are in the East End. The former minor league Buffalo (Buff) Stadium was here from 1928 to 1961. It had a maximum seating capacity of 14,000. In recent years, the area has seen much renewal. The BBVA Compass Stadium opened on May 12, 2012. MetroRail Light train lines have been established and are scheduled to open by 2015. Several murals have popped up, a wide variety of high quality restaurants have opened, and a general resurgence has been seen. Did you know that the La Brisa Ice Cream (and paleteria (popsicle)) plant and the 8th Wonder Brewery are located in the East End? If you have not been to the East End recently, you might not recognize it.
Geographically, this covers an area from US 59/I-69 on the west side to the Houston Ship Channel at I-610 on the east side and from Buffalo Bayou on the north to I-45 and beyond on the south side. Some maps extend the northern boundary of the East End to Clinton Drive or even I-10. This area includes the Fifth Ward.
Let us know if you want us to include the University of Houston (UH), also. This is not in the East End, but close to it. Lots of people want to see this Tier 1 school and many of the recent changes and additions such as new buildings, performance halls, and museums, MetroRail tracks, the new football stadium from 2014, and artwork that adorns the campus. The inclusion of UH takes about 20 minutes and will result in a few other neighborhoods or one stop omitted.
The tours begin at the Houston Visitors Center in downtown. Please click here to be connected to the address and parking information.
All tours are scheduled by appointment; so call or write in advance.
We offer six tours of the East End, ranging from 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 hours.
- This 3-hour tour is largely a driving tour that takes you through all of the neighborhoods identified above. It has 0 or 1 stop
- This 4-hour tour takes you through all of the areas above as well as tours of historic and beautiful cemeteries, past the two main high schools of the area, Milby and Austin, and a stop at a Mexican panaderia (bakery). We stop to tour the beautiful Forest Park at Lawndale Cemetery. This cemetery is third largest cemetery and one of the prettiest in the state. It has wonderful art including 2 Tiffany stained-glass windows, a 20’ wide by 10’ high carving of The Last Supper, and a 4’ high carving of the face of Jesus that appears to move in all directions. Bring money for the dulces (sweets). This tour has 2 or 3 stops.
- This 5-hour tour includes all of the above and stopping for lunch at your choice of any number of great restaurants. Bring lunch money. This tour has 3 or 4 stops.
- This 6-hour tour includes all of the above plus a tour inside Frankel’s Costume Company, and/or a Buddhist or Taoist temple. This tour has 4 to 6 stops.
- This 7-hour tour includes all of the above plus a tour of a historic Christian chapel or church and Talento Bilingue de Houston (TBH). This tour has between 6 to 8 stops.
- This 8-hour tour includes all of the above plus a tour of the Orange Show and or an additional house of worship. Admission to the Orange Show is $5.00 for adults, $4.00 for seniors, and free for children 12 and younger. This tour has between 7 to 10 stops.
If one selects to have lunch at a sit-down, order off the menu restaurant, add an additional half hour for small groups of 6 to 19 people or an additional hour for large groups of 20 or more people. Waiting to be seated, having your order taken, waiting for the meal to be served, for the checks to be brought, and then paid with credit cards or change to be returned is time-consuming.
Large groups on buses take more time to get on and off the bus, use bathrooms, and ask more questions. This will reduce the number of places that we can go to on each tour, thus, the range of places to stop on tours D through F.
We can mix and match sites to customize the tour to your desire.
The tours generally start at 9:00 AM and end at 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, or 5:00 PM.
You will have a great time exploring an area of Houston in which you may not be familiar or rediscovering an up and coming vibrant part of Houston!