Architecture Walks

Next tour: Market Square, April 14

The 1904 City Hall and Market House was the last municipal government building to stand on Market Square. /  postcard from PH file

The 1904 City Hall and Market House was the last municipal government building to stand on Market Square. / postcard from PH file

Market Square, one of the public squares laid out in the Allen brothers’ original plan of Houston, was home to the city market and City Hall from 1841 to 1939. During that time, the square became the center of Houston’s early commercial district. Although the neighborhood declined in the mid-20th century, preservation projects have brought new uses to its historic buildings and new life to Market Square itself.

Our 90-minute, docent-guided walking tour explores the history of Houston’s first downtown, highlighting structures such as the 1861 Kennedy Bakery (now La Carafe), one of the city’s oldest surviving commercial buildings. The tour route also includes the 300 block of Main Street, a row of largely intact late 19th century commercial buildings, and the imposing façades of Houston’s early 20th century financial district. As we walk through the neighborhood, we’ll discuss the methods and value of preservation versus demolition and the importance of projects like Market Square Park, which was reimagined in 2010 as an inviting urban green space with links to its storied past.

Please note that this is an exterior architecture tour. The tour will not visit the interiors of any buildings. Public restrooms are not available on the tour route.


Tickets will go on sale at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Market Square Park, 301 Milam Street (registration will be located near the BCycle station in the northeast corner of the park). Admission is $10 for the general public ($7 for Preservation Houston members and students with valid ID). Those who walk, ride a bike or use public transit to get to the tour will receive a $2 discount. Children 11 years old and under are admitted free. Tickets may be charged to Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover. The last tour group will leave just after 2 p.m. Advance reservations are not required for this tour.


Street parking is free downtown on Sundays; please remember to observe posted parking regulations. Tour participants who walk, bike or use public transportation will receive a $2 discount off the tour price. The tour start point is a short walk from the Preston Station on MetroRail's Red Line.


If inclement weather threatens on the day of the tour, watch this page for up-to-the-minute updates of any tour changes. You can also follow Preservation Houston on Twitter to receive tour updates.

About Architecture Walks

Explore Houston's architecturally and historically significant neighborhoods, buildings and institutions with Preservation Houston's monthly docent-guided walking tours. The tours are generally offered on the second Sunday of the month from January to November; tickets go on sale at 1:30 p.m. (6 p.m. June through September). Tours are open to the public. The cost is $10 per person ($7 for Preservation Houston members and students), with a $2 discount if you walk, bike or ride public transportation to the tour. Reservations aren't required unless specifically noted.

We also offer quarterly walking tours of Glenwood Cemetery (reservations are required; see our schedule of upcoming tours) as well as private tours for groups of nearly any size.