Houston Museum District Experiences
Since the conference is being held in the heart of the Texas Medical Center and in the Houston Museum District, there are many things to see and do in close proximity to the hotel. Houston is often considered more of a business obligation than a tourist destination, which is unfortunate, since many of the city’s museums and cultural attractions are first-rate. Those who visit Houston will discover several days’ worth of intriguing activities. To maximize your experiences during your visit, head to the Museum District where nearly a dozen attractions, ranging from the enormous Museum of Natural Science to the lovely Hermann Park, appeal to the entire spectrum of interests. Visitors can realistically make it to several destinations in a day through some of the self-guided tours on the GPSmyCity app.
In terms of cultural heft, Houston is Texas’s reigning heavyweight champ, and one of its best pockets is the Museum District, a leafy neighborhood wedged between the Rice University campus and the Texas Medical Center. Not only are there 18 museums within a 1.5-mile radius, but the magnificent 445-acre Hermann Park is in full bloom with the opening of the McGovern Centennial Gardens.
For a full listing of exhibits, performances, and events at each of the 18 museums, visit the official Museum District website. Here are a few of the Museums you may want to visit:
Asia Society Texas Center
1370 Southmore Boulevard, 713-496-9901
Crowd favorites: two to three rotating exhibitions on display each year; the sitting area overlooking the Water Garden Terrace that’s edged with (artful) artificial fog.
Houston Museum of Natural Science
555 Hermann Park Drive, 713-639-4629
Crowd favorites: the 1,500-winged beauties in the Cockrell Butterfly Center; Wyrex, the 10-foot T. Rex in the Morian Hall of Paleontology; the Geovator that takes on you on a simulated descent to the bottom of an oil well in the Wiess Energy Hall.
1533 Sul Ross, 713-525-9400
Crowd favorites: Cy Twombly’s Untitled (Say Goodbye, Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor), René Magritte’s L’empire des lumières (The Dominion of Light), the Witnesses to a Surrealist Vision Room. Don’t miss the Menil’s satellite buildings (the Cy Twombly Gallery and the Dan Flavin installation at Richmond Hall).
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1001 Bissonnet, 713-639-7300
Crowd favorites: James Turrell’s The Light Inside, Rembrandt’s Portrait of a Young Woman, the MFAH Films series, the Cullen Sculpture Garden. Don’t overlook: the Hirsch Library, where you can peruse the same books and periodicals on visual arts that the museum’s curators reference (always free).
Plus, where to go...
- ...for history: the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, the Czech Center Museum Houston, the Holocaust Museum Houston, the Houston Museum of African American Culture
- ...to entertain (and educate!) kids: the Children’s Museum of Houston, The Health Museum
- ...to do a little soul-searching: The Jung Center*, Rothko Chapel*
- ...for photography: the Houston Center for Photography*
- ...for the lovers of crafting: the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
- ...for site-specific installations: Rice University Art Gallery*, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston*, DiverseWorks*, Lawndale Art Center*
The Health Museum features a 27-½ foot intestine, a Texas-sized walk-through brain with memory games, and a colossal walk-in eyeball that demonstrates how your eye receives and perceives images. There is also a massive replica of a human heart that beats. A particular delight is the skeleton riding a bicycle. A relative newcomer to the Houston area, the museum, which draws almost 200,000 people a year, has quickly become one of the city’s favorite destinations, especially for class trips — more than 40,000 school children visit the museum every year.