Architecture Walks

Next tour: Downtown's Evolving Skyline, July 9

Please note that our tours will begin at 6 p.m. in June, July, August and September.

When the Binz Building opened in 1895, Houstonians flocked there to see what the world looked like from the top floor — six stories above the street. And although the city's skyline has changed a great deal since then, Houston's fascination with the skyscraper hasn't.

Pennzoil Place (1976, Johnson/Burgee Architects) / photo by Jim Parsons

Pennzoil Place (1976, Johnson/Burgee Architects) / photo by Jim Parsons

This tour explores the changes in downtown Houston's skyline during the past century through buildings like 806 Main, called "Carter's Folly" when it was completed in 1910 (allegedly because some locals thought a 16-story building couldn't stand on its own), and Philip Johnson's groundbreaking Pennzoil Place, which set the stage for the postmodern skyline of the 1980s. These buildings are a fascinating record of the city's growth, and we'll discuss the engineering, architectural and cultural changes that shaped them.

Please note this is an exterior architecture tour only. The tour will not go inside any buildings. There are no public restrooms along the tour route.


Tickets will go on sale at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 9, on the northwest corner of Main Street and Texas Avenue. 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 6 p.m. Advance reservations are not required for this tour.


Street parking is free downtown Sundays; paid parking is also available in lots and garages near the tour starting point. The tour's starting point is a short walk from the Preston Station on MetroRail's Red Line. Tour participants who walk, bike or use public transportation will receive a $2 discount off the tour price.


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.

The Architecture Walks Program is supported in part by the Susan Vaughan Foundation and by grants from the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.