Ghostly Guide to Houston’s Top 10 Haunted Hangouts
Hunting for supernatural sightings and eerie events this October? Grab a flashlight, your camera, and a few friends to start your eerie exploring around the city. Houston’s historic downtown districts have the haunts and hangouts you’re hunting for!
- Downtown Houston’s historic Market Square District at Allen’s Landing is the site of the original Port of Houston. This is where the downtown Houston business district got its start. Allen’s Landing dates back to 1836, and is one of the oldest areas of Houston; this district is the ideal setting for apparition sightings. Travel Tip: For the best spooky experience, park your car near the Square and walk through the district—you never know when a spirit may be posing for a photo!
- While walking around the surrounding blocks of the Market Square district, don’t miss the Brewery Tap located inside the historic Magnolia Brewery Patrons report seeing the ghosts of one of the city’s earliest settlers, Timothy Donnellan, originally buried beneath the building in a 165-year old crypt. Next door, inside the same historic building, you can find the Magnolia Ballroom. Ghosts have been reportedly seen dancing up near the ceiling. Travel Tip: The historic Magnolia Brewery Building is currently under renovation, but the red brick burial vault still stands under the Franklin Street Bridge, next to the building.
- Spaghetti Warehouse is said to be one of the most haunted buildings in downtown. They claim it is haunted by the ghost of a young pharmacist who fell to his death down the building’s elevator shaft. He and his wife have been seen walking the floors of the second level of the building. Travel Tip: Even though the building is under renovation, most of the past hauntings have been witnessed on the second floor–look up when walking past the building after dark.
- La Carafe is one of the oldest commercial properties still in use in Houston, dating back to 1866. The ghost of a former bartender is also said to still be hard at work, and will occasionally break a glass behind the bar. Travel Tip: Don’t worry about running up a bar tab on your credit card. La Carafe only takes cash.
- Patrons at Treebeards say that they have experienced cool spots in the restaurant and have seen apparitions of a curious spirit who will sometimes pose for a photo – get your camera ready! Travel Tip: One of Houston’s most photographed murals, Houston Is Inspired, is painted on the right side of the building. Be inspired and snap a selfie while there.
- At the Rice Lofts, formerly the 1881 Rice Hotel, ghosts have been seen dancing on the roof of the lofts. Residents also report hearing the sounds of doors rattling at all hours of the night. The 1913 Crystal Ballroom, located inside the historic Rice Hotel building, has reports of ghostly dancers swaying to the sounds of unheard music. Travel Tip: Located street-level in the Rice Lofts building, the Sambuca restaurant can put you in touch with the spirits, even if they’re only the ones on their bar menu.
Many of the buildings in the historic Market Square District took on significant amounts of water when Houston’s Buffalo Bayou level rose due to the recent flooding. Building owners say it will take more than water to keep their ghosts away, and renovations to the historic haunts are currently underway. They have no doubt that the spirits who have remained there for over 200 years are still here and are awaiting their remodel; for now, they’ll haunt the higher floors of the buildings.
- In downtown’s Esperson Buildings, Mellie Esperson is said to haunt the halls of the structure that bears her name, causing elevators to malfunction and open on their own. Mellie had the first of the two buildings built in memory of her tycoon husband Niels Esperson, whose dream of building a majestic office building wasn’t fulfilled during his lifetime. Once the tallest buildings in Texas, the ornate Italian Renaissance-style Esperson Buildings now stand in the shadows of sleek, modern skyscrapers. Travel Tip: Make sure you get a chance to view the building at night. The cupola on top is lit up like a castle in the sky.
- For those looking for something much creepier, drive across the bayou into Houston’s historic First Ward community, the original site of the Jefferson Davis Hospital, where paranormal activity abounds. Even from the sidewalk outside the now-residential Elder Street Artist Lofts, it’s said to feel as if the eyes of 100 souls are watching, and whispers of ghosts can be heard outside by those who’ve never dared to step foot in the building.
The former 1920s-era charity hospital has since been converted to artists’ lofts and was built on the site of a 1894 city cemetery, a burial ground for thousands of Confederate Army soldiers and thousands of more patients of the hospital who fell victim to epidemics. With over 100 reported apparition sightings, this home to ghosts of soldiers, doctors, nurses and patients earned the infamous reputation for being one of the most haunted hospitals in America.
Current residents living at the designated historical landmark say they’re certain they have heard ghosts of former patients of the hospital’s psychiatric ward screaming as far out as the street — in the past, even police dogs have refused to enter the once city-owned building! Travel Trivia: The hospital was featured in the 1990 film Robocop, as the manufacturing plant for the fictional drug Nuke.
- No list of eerie places is complete without at least one cemetery, and Houston’s list is no exception. Check out Founders Memorial Cemetery, in the shadows of downtown’s skyscrapers. Dedicated as a memorial park in 1836, the headstones behind the park fences profile the lives and deaths of some of the city’s most prominent early citizens, including Houston founder John Kirby Allen, buried in 1838. Civil War veterans and veterans of the Texas Revolution are among those buried in the downtown area cemetery, and it is said that full-bodied ghosts have been seen walking amongst the headstones. Travel Trivia: The cemetery is home to more Texas Centennial Monuments than in any other cemetery in Texas except the State Cemetery in Austin.
- Not all of Houston’s ghosts are scary. Many linger in the buildings where they spent most of their lives, happily passing their time in the afterlife just as they once did. One of the more peacefully serene ghosts is said to live inside the downtown Houston Library, in the 1926 Julia Ideson Building. It is said that the ghost of the library’s former caretaker roams the halls, with his faithful German Shepherd, Petey, still following him on his nightly rounds. If you listen carefully, you just might hear the clicking of Petey’s toenails walking the tile floor! Travel Tip: For the best chance of encountering their ghosts, stand at the balustrade in the middle of the room on the third floor.
Whether your spooky preferences are for friendly spirits or you enjoy a good scare, Houston has something for everyone! Create your own itinerary for exploring these historical locations and truly experience a different side to Houston.
To access more information about local restaurants, unique attractions, and special offers in Houston, visit our Destination Guide, or explore Hilton properties in Houston below.
Know Before You Go
- Houston is known for its haunted sites. Allen’s Landing is especially popular since it dates to 1836 and is the birthplace of Houston’s business district.
- One of Houston’s most remarkable features is the Downtown Tunnels, where you can find a long path of restaurants and places to shop.
- The Houston Museum of Natural Science is an excellent place for entertainment. Don’t skip a stop at the Butterfly Center!