Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Reliant Stadium, 8334 Fannin Street, Houston, Texas: Tel. 832.667.1000
The biggest event of the year in Houston is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Riders compete in traditional rodeo events, while national and international superstar musical entertainers perform nightly for sell-out crowds. The Houston Rodeo is home to the World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest. more on Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo>>

Downtown Aquarium

410 Bagby Street, Houston, TX 77002; Tel. 713.223.FISH
Sea creatures of every shape and size are on view at the Downtown Aquarium. The Sunken Temple exhibit reveals the wonders of ancient Mayan culture and the underwater world, while a journey on the Shark Voyage gives you an intimate view of the ocean's most infamous predators. A great place for family fun, the aquarium also features outdoor attractions such as the 100-foot Diving Bell Ferris Wheel and the Dancing Fountains. Drink and dine at the Aquarium Restaurant or the Dive Lounge. And while there, make sure to check out the new white tigers exhibit.

Houston Zoo

1513 N. MacGregor, Houston, Texas 77030; Tel. 713.533.6500
Just minutes away from downtown, the Houston Zoo is tucked inside Hermann Park, home to a wealth of family friendly destinations. The zoo covers an expanse of 55 acres and is home to thousands of animals that represent more than 500 species, from winged creatures that fly free in the Tropical Bird House, to the slithering reptiles that constitute one of the nation's largest collections of venomous snakes. A zoo favorite is Blanco, an American Alligator whose white coloring makes him an extremely rare breed (there are only 14 others known to exist). If you need a chance to cool off from the humidity, take a spin on the newly added Wildlife Carousel, a covered ride that features a distinctive variety of animal-shaped figures, including native Texan icons like the armadillo. In keeping with their nationally recognized commitment to wildlife preservation, the Houston Zoo uses part of the nominal fee collected at this attraction to fund ongoing conservation projects.

Lynchburg Ferry

1001 South Lynchburg Road, Baytown, TX 77520; Tel. 281.424.3521
This historic ferry service played a vital role in Texas' fight for independence in 1836. Today, the Lynchburg Ferry provides transport for the Baytown area at no charge. Although short, (approximately 7-10 minutes depending on current and weather conditions) the ride is enjoyable and the scenery is beautiful, making the 10-mile drive from the city to the ferry dock well worth it. Once you've crossed the San Jacinto River, head over to the Baytown Nature Center or Houston Raceway Park, and spend the afternoon away from the bustle of the city. The ferry runs 7 days a week, but it's best to call ahead for the schedule.

Market Square Historic District

This 27-block area, the center of Houston's commercial activity for the city's first century, covers nearly half of the original town site of Houston. For such a small area a surprising diversity of architecture is found, representing nearly every commercial style from 1850 to 1945 - early vernacular, Victorian, Beaux-Arts, and Art Deco. This is where the Allen Brothers founded Houston, where Houston learned to build the skyscraper, and where today's energy giants began to take form.
Most of downtown's current residential development is occurring in the district, with banks and theaters becoming nightclubs and restaurants, office buildings becoming lofts and hotels. It makes the area a very lively place – something of an ‘urban core' that Houston has lacked ever since the development of the master-planned community.

It was at the wharves of Allen's Landing that Houston began in 1836. Within a year the city had begun sprawling southward from the wharves, across the open prairie. Wood-frame commercial structures, not looking much different than houses, were built along Main Street and around Market Square. Eventually these were replaced with more solid brick buildings, some of which still stand toady. By the early 20th century, the first skyscrapers were built, culminating in 1929 with the 430-foot Gulf Building.

Memorial Park

6501 Memorial, Houston, TX 77098
This popular spot is a must for locals who enjoy the outdoors. Spread over more than 1400 acres, Memorial Park offers a variety of activities and excursions including six miles of recreational trails along the bayou (perfect for biking or jogging) and the behemoth Memorial Park Golf Course. It's no secret that this is also a great place to see and be seen — particularly on the trails, where many can be found strutting, stretching and showing off their stuff. For those less interested in the spectacle, the park also offers tennis courts equipped for night play, a driving range and plenty of grassy plots to picnic or relax. The park has one restaurant that offers good food at affordable prices, as well as a juice shop stocked with power bars and nutritional drinks.

Menil Collection

1515 Sul Ross, Houston, Texas 77006; Tel. 713.525.9400
Shortly after their arrival to the United States in 1941, Dominique and John de Menil began to amass what would soon become one of the nation's most important collections of art. Decades later, the de Menils began to forge plans to create a permanent home for the collection, though the project came to a halt after John's death in 1973. Commissioning Italian architect Renzo Piano to design a space for the holdings, Dominique forged ahead with plans and the Menil Collection opened its doors to the public in 1987. The more than 15,000 works, as a whole, embody a uniquely eclectic selection of artwork that exemplify the de Menils' dedication to and interest in modernism, as well as their refusal to conform to traditional norms throughout their assemblage of this fine arts collection. Four major areas are represented: Antiquity, Byzantine and Medieval, Tribal and 20th Century Arts. Most notable in the Menil Collection are the holdings in surrealist art –- the most comprehensive collection in the museum –- that includes works by Salvador Dali, Man Ray and Pablo Picasso, amongst others.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

1001 Bissonnet Street, Houston, TX 77005; Tel. 713.639.7300 or 713.639.7310
With a collection of more than 45,000 works housed in a family of buildings that boast 300,000 square feet of space, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is the fifth largest museum in the country. Holdings include works that span from ancient to modern times and represent a vast array of mediums. Collections in French Impressionism, Italian Renaissance, decorative arts, and post-1945 paintings and sculpture are amongst its most significant holdings, and the Reinzi and Bayou Bend Collections (each on display in homes just a short distance from the museum's main campus) offer distinctive examples of decorative arts from the American and British traditions, respectively. The Modern and Contemporary exhibit includes an extensive collection of Texas art and is also home to key works by Abstract Expressionist artists. Most notable, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is the second largest repository of works by Jackson Pollock.

National Museum of Funeral History

415 Barren Springs Drive, Houston, TX 77090; Tel. 281.876.3063
It goes without saying that this destination is one of a kind. Opened in 1992, the National Museum of Funeral History has dedicated itself to the history and heritage of the undertaker. Sure, it's a little creepy, but that only complements the experience of discovering the some of the secrets of this relatively esoteric industry. Where else could you find an exhibit dedicated to Dr. Thomas Holmes, Civil War embalmer or a collection of vehicles specially designed to deliver the departed to their final resting place? The Museum of Funeral History's collection of artifacts, instruments and the like includes items from all over the world, and installations like the 1900s Casket Factory provide a historical perspective of the funeral industry. Not to be missed at the Museum of Funeral History is the collection of “fantasy coffins” from Ghana that depict the personality, social status or occupation of the deceased. The assemblage includes caskets in the shape of a chicken, fish and automobile, amongst others.

Space Center Houston

1601 NASA Road 1, Houston, TX 77058; Tel. 281.244.2100
Space Center Houston is about as close as you can get to the moon without actually going there. Through a combination of live presentations, film and a large collection of artifacts, visitors to the Houston Space Center learn everything there is to know about the history of human space travel. Exhibits like the Living in Space simulate the challenges presented to astronauts when they attempt to perform everyday tasks like bathing in microgravity, while the tram tour takes visitors behind closed doors to catch a glimpse of the action at the nearby NASA Johnson Space Center. Also on view at the Houston space facility are large collections of artifacts and equipment including spacesuits, flight capsules and moon rocks. True space enthusiasts may enjoy Space Center Houston's Level 9 Tour where they are personally escorted on a exploration of NASA's control and training facilities such as the Space Environment Simulation Lab and the new Mission Control Center.

The Galleria

5085 Westheimer Rd., Suite 4850, Houston, TX 77056; Tel. 713.622.0663
The designers of this retail behemoth took to heart the notion that everything's bigger in Texas. One of the largest shopping malls in the nation, The Houston Galleria is more like a miniature city than a place to shop for just the right get-up for a night on the town. The mall houses an indoor skating rink, two hotels and 2.4 million square feet of shops, in addition to office buildings, theaters and restaurants. If you're on a retail mission, chances are you'll find it here. The 375 stores include high-end clothing and accessory stores like Lord & Taylor, Gucci and Armani, as well as more budget-friendly splurge spots like Abercrombie and Eddie Bauer. Also on hand are shops featuring electronics, home furnishings, books and music, toys and much more. If you're not up for a buying binge, The Galleria also houses a selection of sit-down restaurants, as well as cushy leather seating inside the mall on which visitors can perch and people-watch.

The Health Museum

1515 Hermann Drive, Houston, TX 77004
Providing the ultimate journey—inside you—it lets guests explore giant sculptures of human organs, including a brain, ribs and even teeth, at the Amazing Body Pavilion. That's just one of the exhibits and hands-on activities at the museum, which has many programs in Spanish and ranks as one of the most visited health museums in the country. New permanent exhibits include: Mindball—a new relaxation game for two where the player that maintains the most calm and relaxed state wins by pushing the Mindball toward their opponent; the Amazing Imaging Machine gives users a look inside the body at X-Rays, Gamma Rays or MRI; and the Adjustable Eye, a giant model of en eyeball that allows visitors to see how their eye lens operates and how the eye focuses. Free family Thursday hours are 2-5 p.m.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science

One Hermann Circle Drive, Houston, TX 77030; Tel. 713.639.4629
Giant dinosaurs, precious gems and ancient Egyptian artifacts are all on display at The Houston Museum of Natural Science, one of Houston's most popular attractions for locals and tourists alike. Exhibition halls dedicated to the natural sciences include video, interactive and traditional installations that inform and educate museum goers about the wild beasts of the African continent, the ancient traditions of Egypt and the diverse cultures of Native American tribes. The Strake Hall of Malacology gives a rare glance into the living of invertebrates and includes a sizeable collection of shells, as well as live creatures. Another highlight is Foucault's Pendulum –- first exhibited at the World's Fair in Paris –- that physically demonstrates the rotation of the Earth. Some of the finest gems stones in the world can be found in the Museum of Natural Science's Cullen Hall, where more than 750 precious specimens are housed.

The Orange Show Monument

2401 Munger Street, Houston, Texas 77023; Tel. 713.926.6368
Described as a “folk-art environment,” The Orange Show Monument's whimsical design is difficult to classify. But if carnival showboats made out of found objects like wooden wheels and tractor seats ever existed, this would be a meticulously crafted rendition. Judging from the outside, it comes as no surprise that while exploring this outdoor oddity visitors encounter things like a beardless Santa Claus figure, mannequins and handmade signs with fruit-friendly aphorisms such as, “Clown found happiness by drinking cold fresh orange juice every day.” It took more than twenty years for the late Jefferson Davis McKissack to construct this homage to the orange, his favorite fruit, and the end result is a unique, albeit bizarre architectural novelty that consists of a series of mazes, a wishing well and frog pond amongst other features, making it clear why The Orange Show Monument remains one of the most important examples of American folk art to date.

Even to the untrained eye, it's clear that Houston is a city that loves its museums. While this city evidences a true appreciation for keeping history within reach with destinations like the Houston Maritime Museum, the Museum of Natural Science and the Houston Holocaust Museum, it also shows off a love for contemporary additions to the world. The fascinating ArtCar Museum (a must for those with a love for the unconventional), the stunning Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, and the Contemporary Art Museum are just a few of the intriguing destinations that captivate both locals and travelers on a regular basis.

Houston Museums & Galleries

ArtCar Museum

140 Heights Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77007; Tel. 713.861.5526
If there's one thing that Houston artists and museum heads have mastered well, it's the ability to break from conventions. After all, where else in the world could a place dedicated to funeral history or delights of citrus fruit (the orange to be specific) exist? The ArtCar Museum is yet another fine example, and in keeping with the strangely sublime nature of other local art spots, the self-proclaimed “Garage Mahal” is a delightful experience unlike any other. Embellished with scrap metal and sweeping loops of wire, the museum building pays homage to the ingenuity and creative spirit that spawned this one-of-a-kind attraction along with the must-see parade event that takes place in the city each year. On display inside the ArtCar Museum is a collection of automobiles and other wheeled contraptions that have endured a creative process that can best be described as Extreme Makeover for Vehicles. The results are astonishingly clever and imaginative masterpieces that range from animal motifs to space age modeling.

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

1 Westcott Street; Houston, Texas 77007; Tel. 713.639.7750
As a satellite location of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, it's clear why the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens stands alone. The early 20th century mansion showcases extraordinary works both inside and out – a highlight of which is one of the most comprehensive, as well as distinctive collections of American decorative arts in the country. The estate was donated to the museum by Ima Hogg, an avid collector and philanthropist from the area, who used it as a private residence until the late 1950s. The collection of furniture and other examples of American decorative arts (dated between 1620 and 1870) are strewn throughout more than 25 meticulously rendered “period” rooms inside the mansion. The grounds of the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens are a beautiful compliment to the museum, offering tree-lined trails, grand sculptures and decorative plantings. It would be easy to make a satisfying and pleasurable afternoon of strolling around without ever stepping foot inside the mansion.

Children's Museum of Houston

1500 Binz, Houston, Texas 77004; Tel. 713.522.1138
The Children's Museum of Houston is a popular destination for area families. And with permanent exhibits both indoors and outdoors, there's unique opportunity for fun and engaging hands-on learning. At the museum's EcoStation biologists- and botanists-to-be can experience nature in a whole new way as they make tree rubbings, collect insects or literally dig into the dirt. Outdoor excitement also awaits along a rushing fountain where kids can launch boats and other toys. Indoors, a Mexican village exhibit puts a new spin on the standard shop-and-learn play space found in most children's museums, while the bubble factory and simple machine installations are more traditional but still provide enough activity to keep kids busy. The farming exhibit features live chicks and tech-savvy youngsters can cool out inside the Cyber Clubhouse and play computer games. If you're at the Children's Museum of Houston during the weekend, you might be able to catch a live, kid-friendly performance in the auditorium.

Contemporary Art Museum Houston

5216 Montrose Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77006; Tel. 713.284.8250
Enveloped in a stainless steel exterior, the design of the Contemporary Art Museum Houston exudes the ultra modern artistry to which its space is dedicated. Designed by famous architect Gunnar Birkerts, the building's silver, rippled panels glint beneath the Houston sunlight and beckon attention amidst the more traditional architecture found in this corner of the Museum District – a site to see in and of itself. For the museum lover – and of course the contemporary art museum lover in particular – the space is sure to please. Focusing on individual, as well as thematic exhibitions, the museum has an impressive record of presenting popular national and international artists in addition to introducing lesser-known artists who have gone on to claim wider recognition. Free from the limitations set forth by galleries dedicated to a particular medium, the Contemporary Art Museum Houston features works by photographers, sculptors, painters and much more.

DiverseWorks Art Space

1117 East Freeway, I-10 at North Main, Houston, Texas 77002; Tel. 713.223.8346 or 713.335.3443 (tickets)
There are plenty of great places (and spaces) to see contemporary art in Houston, but DiverseWorks is one of the most popular, and, as its name suggests, one of the most eclectic. As a center for visual, performing and literary art, the space is a perpetual host of contemporary exhibitions and events featuring both established and emerging artists from Houston and beyond. Roam the main gallery, a 3000 square-foot space where both group and solo visual exhibitions are housed, and preview the gallery subspace to catch a glimpse of works by local artists before they become single name phenomena. The performing arts line-up includes variety that encompasses spoken word, theatre, film, dance, and other special events that challenge and engage audiences with cutting-edge and contemporary expressionism. From the sublime to the subversive, DiverseWorks has a satisfying range.

Holocaust Museum Houston

Our Museum

Charged with educating students and the public about the dangers of prejudice and hatred in society, Holocaust Museum Houston opened its doors in March of 1996. Since that time, impassioned notes, poems, artwork and other gifts, from school children and adults alike, attest to the life-changing thoughts generated by just one visit to this unique facility.

Permanent Exhibition
The Permanent Exhibition at the Museum is called “ Bearing Witness: A Community Remembers ,” and it focuses on the stories of Holocaust survivors living in the Houston metropolitan area. A tour begins with a look at life before the Holocaust. Visitors then see the beginnings of Nazism and Adolf Hitler's rise to power. The displays progress through the disruption of normal life, to segregation, to imprisonment in concentration camps and finally to extermination. The roles of collaborators, by-standers, rescuers and liberators are portrayed through artifacts, film reels, photographs, and text panels. The main exhibit ends with the moving short films “Voices” and “Voices II,” which alternate daily in the 100-seat theater. "Voices" is shown Wednesday through Saturday, with "Voices II" on Sunday through Tuesday. These films are compilations of verbal testimony from area survivors.

World War II Holocaust Railcar
The Museum is proud to display a 1942 World War II railcar of the type used to carry millions of Jews to their deaths. The railcar was formally dedicated and opened to the public during 10th Anniversary ceremonies on Sunday, March 5, 2006.

Danish Rescue Boat
The Museum's Permanent Exhibition also includes a 1942 Danish rescue boat of the type used to save more than 7,200 Jews from almost certain execution at the hands of Nazi Germany.

Morgan Family Center
The Morgan Family Center comprises the administrative offices, two changing exhibits galleries, the HMH classrooms and the theater.

Two Galleries
The Museum also includes two changing galleries for art and photography exhibits. The Central Gallery is naturally located in the center of the Museum building and leads guests to the library. The Josef and Edith Mincberg Gallery is a larger hall for more extensive displays. The changing exhibits are designed to complement and further explore the issues presented in the Permanent Exhibition.

Education Center
Holocaust Museum Houston is also widely known as an education center and the facility includes two classroom areas and a research library. The Boniuk Library and Resource Center contains more than 4,000 titles relating to the Holocaust, World War II, religion and antisemitism. The video section contains more than 300 titles on related subjects and the tapes can be viewed in the Museum's video room or checked out. A full-time librarian manages the center, and a full-time registrar is responsible for maintaining the Museum's archives. Thousands of historic and original photographs, documents, letters, diaries and other artifacts from the 1930s and 1940s are cataloged in the archives. Researchers can examine these documents and artifacts by appointment.

Lack Family Memorial Room
Two other areas of Holocaust Museum Houston allow for reflection and meditation. The Lack Family Memorial Room is a quiet place for contemplation. It contains the three-part work of art comprising the Wall of Remembrance, the Wall of Tears and the Wall of Hope. The Memorial Wall in the room is a place where local Holocaust survivors can commemorate their lost loved ones.

Eric Alexander Garden of Hope
Outside the Memorial Room is a quiet garden known as the Eric Alexander Garden of Hope. It is dedicated to the eternal spirit of children and is in memory of the 1.5 million children who lost their lives in the Holocaust.

Houston Museum District
Holocaust Museum Houston is a member of the Houston Museum District Association.

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

4848 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002; Tel. 713.529.4848
This not-for-profit studio features exhibitions of contemporary works created with such items as fiber, metal, glass clay and wood. A great place to take the kids, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft offers a wide selection of temporary installations, events, and projects – enough activity to keep the little ones busy all afternoon. But grown-up visitors will enjoy this space as well. Classes that instruct on the art of crafts such as blacksmithing and woodworking are frequently offered in addition to other educational opportunities. Spend just a few hours (located in the museum district, this could easily be a stop on a planned tour of the area) or all day if you have the time.

Houston Center for Photography

1441 West Alabama, Houston, Texas 77006; Tel. 713.529.4755
The Houston Center for Photography is an ever-evolving exhibition space featuring contemporary imagery. The exhibits keep pace with the continually changing medium and encompass styles that range from traditional portraiture to digitally manipulated abstractions. Works in the mediums of film and video are also on display. The center's three separate galleries include both individual and group shows throughout the year, as well as an annual juried exhibition. Talented artists, ranging from emerging to established, and native to national (and international) are all represented in bodies of work at the Houston Center for Photography that deal with issues ranging from cultural investigation to natural landscapes.

Houston Maritime Museum

2204 Dorrington, Houston, Texas 77030; Tel. 713.666.1910
The sea has long been a great source of intrigue and mystery to humans, and places like the Houston Maritime Museum pay historical tribute to this fascination. Housed in a small building that faintly resembles a structure you might find along a boardwalk, the museum features a sizeable amount of artifacts, replicas and other nautical specimens that date back more than five centuries. The museum began as a personal amassment of maritime artifacts by naval architect and museum curator James L. Manzolillo during his extensive travel throughout the world. The collection has since grown to include addition holdings that are comprised of more than 150 model ships and hundreds of naval artifacts. While there, cruise through the collection of ship models that feature impressive detail and are supplemented with an abbreviated lesson on their historical significance. Also not to be missed are the naval artifacts collected from around the world.

Museum of Printing History

1324 West Clay, Houston, Texas 77019; Tel. 713.522.4652
This small gem is sure to please anyone with a love for the written word. Located inside what is presumably one of the most unassuming exteriors of all the museums in the Houston area, the Museum of Printing History is a repository of antique documents, posters, books and related items. Peering at fragments of ancient texts written on papyrus and 15th century facsimiles is fascinating enough, but the most intriguing items in the collection by far are the array of printing equipment. Resident artists and other volunteers are often on hand to give demonstrations on how 19th and 20th century presses are operated, and more modern office equipment like typewriters and copy machines provided an almost startling document to how far the art of publishing has come in such little time. Aside from serving as a chronicle of publishing through the ages, many of the Museum of Printing History's collection of printed materials also tell the stories of the social and political conscience during the eras they were produced. The works of contemporary print artists are also on display.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science

One Hermann Circle Drive, Houston, TX 77030; Tel. 713.639.4629
Giant dinosaurs, precious gems and ancient Egyptian artifacts are all on display at The Houston Museum of Natural Science, one of the most popular attractions in the city for locals and tourists alike. Exhibition halls dedicated to the natural sciences include video, interactive and traditional installations that inform and educate museumgoers about the wild beasts of the African continent, the ancient traditions of Egypt and the diverse cultures of Native American tribes. The Strake Hall of Malacology gives a rare glance into the lives of invertebrates and includes a sizeable collection of shells, as well as living creatures. Another highlight is Foucault's Pendulum – first exhibited at the World's Fair in Paris – that physically demonstrates the rotation of the Earth. Some of the finest gems stones in the world can be found in Cullen Hall where more than 750 precious specimens are housed.


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