MD Anderson Caregiver’s Favorite Things to Do in Houston

Author: Carrick Terhune

Last year, I accompanied my mom during her fight with cancer. Her treatment was projected to take seven weeks and would be given every night in the evening at the wonderful MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center. We live in Indiana, so you can imagine how alarming the news was for our family.

My mother and I are very adventurous people by nature, so we decided to turn her seven-week stay in Houston into a makeshift vacation if you will. When my mom was not following up with her physicians or undergoing treatment, we would set out to new destinations hidden around the city—occasionally sneaking away for the weekend to nearby towns (Austin and Galveston…just to name a few).

We very quickly fell in love with the city and saw it less as a foreign land, and more as a home away from home. This still holds true to this day!

Here are just a few of our favorite restaurants and shops that you and your family, maybe friends or even guests may fall in love with just as much as we did during our journey this past year:


Barnaby’s Café 414 W Gray St Houston, TX 77019

Empty stomachs be warned! Portion sizes are quite literally bigger than your head. And the desserts…oh the desserts.

Fan favorite: Hawaiian Pork Chops and BIG Carrot Cake

Hugo’s  (home of award-winning chef Hugo Ortega) | 1600 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77006

Yearning for something more adventuresome than pizza or Whataburger? Look no further! This upscale restaurant will have you and your family leaving feeling like you ventured to Mexico for a weekend getaway.

Recommendation: Selecting a few of their “Entremeses” and sharing them amongst your group. Pair your main dish with house-made lemonade or a fresh Margarita!

Sweet Paris Creperie and Café  | 2420 Rice Blvd Houston, TX 77005

Not only are the crepes fantastic, but also the interior is totally Instagram-worthy! Upon entering, you feel as if you have been whisked away to a street café in Paris–a sure win for breakfast or an afternoon treat.

Recommend: Truffled Caprese Crepe for something a little savory or the Nutella Crepe to fulfill your inner sweet tooth (because everything is better with Nutella!)

Carter & Cooley Company Delicatessen   |  375 West 19th St. Houston, TX 77008

The perfect go-to for all things lunch. This quaint shop located in “The Heights” has everything from Pasta Salad to the classic BLT.

Recommend: B.L.T and Muffuletta


El Gato Coffeehouse (Houston’s first cat café) | 508 Pecore St Houston, TX 77009

WARNING: May induce unintended adoption!

Highly recommended! The owners of this coffeehouse have partnered with “Friends for Life” to bring you one of the most unique coffee shop experiences. Yes, you get coffee. And, yes, you get to pet and play with furry friends at the SAME TIME!

Weights and Measures | 2808 Caroline St. Houston, TX 77004

Forget Starbucks coffee. Treat yourself to a freshly made latte and what I believe to be some of the best pastries around town!

Note: The bakery is located adjacent to the main restaurant.

Recommend: Café Latte paired with a warm Almond Croissant


The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston | 1001 Bissonnet St. Houston, TX 77005

 Take a break from treatment and visit some of the most unique contemporary art installations, which may have you scratching your chin, dropping your jaw or even both at the same time.

The Heights | Northwest of Downtown Houston

This district is home to some pretty spectacular vintage shops. And, if you’re like my mom, you might just find yourself in vintage clothing heaven! West 19th street is home to Harold’s, antique and vintage galore and a theater, which hosts local bands.

Waugh Street Bridge—BATS! | Corner of Waugh Drive and Allen Parkway

 If you have young children this might just take the cake for the coolest experience, ever! Well, and for adults, too! The Waugh Street Bridge is home to thousands (and I mean thousands) of bats. If you arrive right before sunset, you can sit and watch as these critters take flight for their nightly adventures.

River Oaks Theatre  | 2009 W Gray St Houston, TX 77019

In need of a quiet, relaxing night? The River Oaks Theatre, built in 1939 and a landmark in it of itself, is the perfect place to take your honey for a movie. This theatre is home to three screens, which play foreign and independent films.

There is definitely no shortage of ways in which one can occupy their stay in Houston. What may begin as a harrowing and nerve-wracking experience can certainly be turned into some of your fondest memories if you are willing to make the most of your time in the “Space City.”

My mom and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Houston, and I hope you do, too!