Houston is easy to overlook; it doesn’t have the flashiness of Dallas or the indie subculture of Austin. But Texas’ most populous city, and surprisingly the country’s , has a quiet modesty which makes it a fantastic place to visit. If you can overlook the city’s odd zoning (or lack thereof), Houston is an easy and rewarding weekend getaway.
Growing Arts Scene
The city is working to establish itself as a cultural hub, and a spat of new museums and high-profile exhibits are drawing locals and art-hungry travelers. Looking to discover the next Picasso? Check out Lawndale Art Center where you can meet artists working in their studios.
Prefer to seek inspiration in your art, and maybe even a little peaceful meditation? Spend an hour contemplating the Rothko Chapel, one of the world’s best collection of Rothko paintings. Needless to say, there’s plenty of art
to fill your days. And the cherry on top of the fine-arts sundae? Many of the museums and galleries are free.
Highlights of an art-soaked trip to Houston
This unassuming art-deco building combines a beautiful façade with a huge graffiti art mural, a fitting representation of the the diverse art found inside. The center hosts contemporary local artists and artist studios. Closed Sundays. Free.
The newest addition to the Houston arts scene (opened April 2012) is worth a visit for the architecture alone, which was designed by architect Yoshio Taniguchi (the mind behind MoMA’s 2004 expansion). Closed Mondays. Free.
and : The Menil is a stunning collection along with thoughtfully-curated rotating exhibits of contemporary arts. The nearby Rothko Chapel was custom built by the Menil family to host 14 large Rothko paintings, and also acts as a non-denominational chapel. Menil Collection is open Wednesday-Sunday and the Rothko Chapel is open daily. Both are free.
This sleek, all-steel building houses intimate, rotating exhibits of emerging artists. Open Wednesday-Sunday. Free.
: Houston’s most expansive collection is home to pieces from the Stone Age alongside contemporary film art and a huge calendar of events. Worth a trip alone to see James Turrell’s “The Light Inside,” a trippy, optical illusion of a light tunnel. Closed Mondays. Admission: $10.
: Did you like that light tunnel at the MFA? Then check out this cool installation at RIce University by the same artist, James Turrell, which opened in June. The piece, called “Twilight Epiphany,” encourages visitors to view the ever-changing sky as part of the art work. Reservations required. Free.
Where to Stay
is the go-to spot for Houston’s luxury travelers with an eye for style, and is within walking distance of many museums. With a black and gold color scheme and rooms names like “It Happened One Night” and “Fatal Charms,” the hotel brings out your inner rock star. Check out the pool and the hopping restaurant, “Monarch.” Rooms start at $239.
This trip was sponsored by the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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October 8, 2012
With 15 years experience working in travel and hospitality, Anna Stancioff has a serious case of wanderlust. Anna has visited more than 30 countries and has promoted some of the world's biggest names in travel, with a specialty in luxury hospitality. She is interested in design, architecture and the arts, as well as active and adventure travel. Anna is based in New York City, and will never say no to a game of pinball.