Architecture Walks

Next tour: 20th Century Main Street, October 13

We are repeating our June 2019 tour in response to requests from members who were unable to attend because of inclement weather.

Main Street, looking north from McKinney Avenue, 1960s /  PH file

Main Street, looking north from McKinney Avenue, 1960s / PH file

A walk along Main Street in downtown Houston is a walk through the city's business development and its changing architectural tastes. Our 90-minute, docent-guided tour traces Main Street's role as the center of activity for much of Houston's history, visiting early businesses and skyscrapers, retail stores, banks and the sites of its movie palaces.

Tour highlights include the 1929 Gulf Building, the city's Art Deco masterpiece; the former First City National Bank Building, a modernist landmark since its completion in 1961; and Alfred C. Finn's 1951 building for Sakowitz department store, which has evolved from an elegant retail store to a marble-clad parking garage. As we discuss the history and architecture of these and other Main Street structures, we'll also learn about the street's changing role in an ever-expanding city.

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, October 13, 2019, 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 2 p.m. Advance reservations are not required for this tour.


Free street parking is available downtown on Sundays; please remember to observe posted parking regulations. The tour starting point is a short walk from 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.