While driving tours provide a rewarding overview of the city’s modernistic architecture, these buildings offer visitors an inside look at Houston Deco.
Houston City Hall and Visitors Center
901 Bagby Street
City Hall is an outstanding example of Depression-era modernistic design. Visit the restored lobby with its inlaid floors, original murals and reliefs.
The Visitors Center in the former Water Department offices provides tourist information, brochures and event calendars as well as Houston souvenirs. The City Hall Visitors Center is a project of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Visitors Center is located in City Hall at the corner of Bagby and Walker in downtown Houston; the entrance to the Visitors Center is on Walker Avenue. For hours/days of operation and parking information, please see the City Hall Visitors Center Web site.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Building
(former Gulf Building)
712 Main Street
One of the finest Art Deco buildings in the Southwest, the 36-story Gothic-inspired skyscraper features a massive limestone banking hall and imaginative frescoes of Texas history in the Main Street lobby.
The JPMorgan Chase Building is eight blocks from the City Hall Visitors Center. The Main Street lobby and banking hall are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and are closed weekends and bank holidays. Visitors are not allowed above the ground floor.
Mellie Esperson Building
815 Walker Avenue
The lobby of this refined example of Art Deco commercial design features terrazzo floors and inlaid elevator doors.
The Esperson Building is five blocks from the City Hall Visitors Center. The Walker Avenue lobby is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and is closed weekends and holidays. Visitors are not allowed above the ground floor.
Lawndale Art Center
(former Barker Bros. Studio)
4912 Main Street
Four galleries feature changing exhibits of contemporary artworks in a locally significant Art Deco building.
Lawndale Art Center is four miles from the City Hall Visitors Center. For information about exhibits, events and hours/days of operation, please visit the Lawndale Art Center Web site.
University of Houston
4800 Calhoun Road
Tour the Art Deco heart of the expansive campus along with the university’s extensive collection of outdoor art.
The University of Houston is five miles from the City Hall Visitors Center. Tour information is available at the UH Welcome Center, Entrance 1, Calhoun Road at University Drive. For hours/days of operation and parking information, please visit the UH Welcome Center Web site.
River Oaks Theatre
in River Oaks Shopping Center
2009 West Gray Avenue
Houston’s last operating Art Deco movie theater presents a variety of independent, foreign and Hollywood films. The shopping center was one of the nation’s first auto-oriented retail developments.
River Oaks Theatre and River Oaks Shopping Center are four miles from the City Hall Visitors Center. For the current film schedule, ticket prices and show times, please visit the River Oaks Theatre Web site.
1940 Air Terminal Museum
(former Houston Municipal Airport Terminal)
8325 Travelair Street
Housed in the Streamline Moderne terminal of the original Houston Municipal Airport, the 1940 Air Terminal Museum features exhibits on regional aviation history and offers a front row view of activities at busy Hobby Airport.
The 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Hobby Airport is 12 miles from the City Hall Visitors Center. For admission fees and hours/days of operation, please visit the 1940 Air Terminal Museum Web site.
San Jacinto Monument and Museum
3523 Independence Parkway (Battleground Road), La Porte
Crowned by a 220-ton Lone Star of stone, steel and concrete, the 570-foot San Jacinto Monument is a National Civil Engineering Landmark and an outstanding example of Art Deco design. The monument commemorates the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto where Texas won its independence from Mexico.
San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site is 25 miles from the Houston City Hall Visitors Center. For admission fees and hours/days of operation, please visit the San Jacinto Monument and Museum Web site.
Baytown Historical Museum
(former Goose Creek Federal Building and Post Office)
220 West Defee Avenue, Baytown
The museum building is typical of Depression-era federal projects constructed in small towns across the country. Exhibits feature artifacts related to the history and development of Baytown, Goose Creek and Pelly.
Baytown Historical Museum is 27 miles from the Houston City Hall Visitors Center. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free.