Shopping is a top activity in Houston. In addition to the malls, you can find some interesting neighborhoods of shops.

Galleria

Beyond the namesake mall, 'the Galleria' refers to the whole surrounding neighborhood, which has many more shopping and dining plazas.

Houston Heights

Funky vintage shops, eclectic homewares, antique outlets and artsy clothing boutiques concentrated along a short stretch of 19th St west of Yale St in the Heights (www.houstonheights.org). On the first Saturday of every month, 19th St takes on a carnival-like air with outdoor booths and entertainment.

The eclectic old neighborhood's bungalow homes add to the charm of shopping here, as does the odd cafe or two.

River Oaks & Upper Kirby

You'll find a good mix of local stores, cute little strip malls and larger shopping areas in the upscale west side of Houston. West Alabama, between Kirby Dr and Timmon St, is a good place to look for high-end art and antiques.

Rice Village

One of the few parts of town best explored on foot, Rice Village buzzes with a hip student energy thanks to neighboring Rice University. Though upscale chains are well represented in a mall-like plaza, many of the smart shopping options on outlying streets are one of a kind.

The area is bounded by Kirby and Morningside Drs and University and Rice Blvds.

Montrose & Midtown

Montrose has good shops but they're spread out: fashionistas searching for a bargain should start in the 1600 to 1800 block of Westheimer St, near Dunalavy Rd, where they'll find a mix of used- and new-clothing stores selling everything from vintage to punk to Tokyo mod.