Inspired by Canadian photographer Dominic Boudreault’s recent viral timelapse video of nighttime views taken in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, New York, and Chicago (above), Swamplot reader Rob Kimberly writes in with a question: What Houston highrises have observation decks that are still open to the public. And: If there are buildings where they used to be open, why did they close?
Video: Dominic Boudreaux
Open downtown regular business hours:
Wells Fargo Plaza
JP Morgan Chase Tower
Bank of America Center
No longer open since September 11th: Williams/Transco Tower in the Galleria area
Any pedestrian bridge on Memorial after dark.
The Press had a review of the bar on the 43rd floor of the Wedge Building last week.
You can also go to the cocktail bar on the roof of the Hilton Americas by the pool; not sure if it is still open though,
There is the Hyatt’s Spindletop for a drink and a rotation. The Petroleum Club at the Exxon Building but it is members only. Sponging views off any highrise dweller throughout the city. Top of the San Jacinto Monument. Sadly such observation decks at the old Tenneco Building or the Humble Building(now Exxon)closed long ago. My favorite is the Chase Tower (60th floor) to take visitors but only open M-F daytime hours but it does not have a 360 view.
Almost forgot, defunct Cody’s on Montrose used to be the perfect after-hours views of every angle the city had to offer. It wasn’t the highest but had drinks, jazz, and an incredible outdoor patio to complement the interior views in all directions.
Stating the Obvious, the Hilton sky lounge place is closed.
You can still enjoy the deck at Cody’s via the fire escape, which you can(or use to could) jump onto from top level of the parking garage.
Was best way to gain access without messing with the elevator/door personnel.
Fantastic video. They need a scene from the Houston Ship Channel. That’d be tremendously dynamic.
TheNiche, Flickr photographer OneEighteen (one of my very favorites) has some time lapse videos from the ship channel. He has night ones, but I think this day time one is the best one. It has a second part as well.
The 9/11 restriction of Transco/Williams is BS (as just about any 9/11 “restriction”). They just got tired of having the ‘riff-raff’ trump thru their bldg and have to keep security to monitor the observation deck. I shot quite a few video from their back in the late 80’s/early 90’s. I remember the folks working there were quite perturbed by all the tourists so 9/11 gave them the prefect “excuse” to shut it down.
The last time I tried to visit JP Morgan Chase 60th floor was back in 2003 when I took some friends from out of town up there. I was told by the guard that we could look but I couldn’t take photos as he pointed to my digial point n shoot. When I asked why he said…wait for it…..9/11. WTF?
Does anyone know if JP Morgan Chase still has these restictions against taking pictures?
Here are some photos I took back in 1989 from JP Morgan Chase (then Texas Commerce Tower):
Here are some photos I took from the Spindletop Resturant back in Feb 1990:
these are a couple good people movement spots.
1-the corner of westheimer and dunlavy from the agora 2nd floor
2-intersection of post oak and westheimer
3-main street Metro Rail fountains in downtown
4-fannin in the med center from atop one of the nearby public parking garages
Thanks for everyone’s comments. Up until recently, I never had reason to go into the high rises, but with new job I’m visiting them regularly, which got me wondering about public options. Now I have a good list to go on.
S.T.O – The Houston Press post was a great read.
Josh – nice pictures. They are good ones to show the state of the city, circa ’89.
..and OneEighteen’s timelapse images of the shipping channel are great. He’s also had some of his photos installed at the Manshester Terminal at the port…
I remember years ago, when Heritage Plaza was pretty much a shell, they had an observation deck on Level 6 overlooking the Bayou. Not sure if it is still there or not.
Outside the Menil – tourists, hipsters, millionaire collectors ….you got it all!