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Allyson Huntsman/Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

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Museums, Neighborhood/Area Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend

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  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Food Scene
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Houston's expansive Museum District is by far the city's greatest cultural asset. This district features 19 museums, which include popular spots such as the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, The Menil Collection and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Located south of Downtown Houston, The Museum District stretches from the southern edge of Midtown and includes Hermann Park. The area garners about 7 million visitors per year thanks to its diverse array of offerings and the fact that admission to 11 of the 19 museums available is free, year-round. Top museums to see include:

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: this museum is among the top 10 biggest art museums in the USA. As such, expect to find big names including Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keeffe.

Houston Museum of Natural Science: this expansive museum features exhibits covering a variety of subject matter, from Texas wildlife to astronomy. It is here you’ll also find the popular Cockrell Butterfly Center and the Burke Baker Planetarium.

The Health Museum: a Smithsonian affiliate, The Health Museum teaches museum goers everything they need to know about the human body and mind. The museum is awash with interactive exhibits as well as an on-site lab, where the curious can partake in experiments.

The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum: the only museum in the country that primarily chronicles the history of African-Americans in the military. Here, you can learn all about the Buffalo Soldiers and the challenges that people of color had to overcome as active military members, who were tasked to fight America’s wars.

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston: Houston’s premiere modern art museum features a variety of whimsical and colorful artworks that you’ll be hard pressed to find in traditional art museums. The museum doesn’t have any permanent collections, but rather rotating exhibits throughout the year.

Recent visitors loved the Museum District and were amazed at not only how many quality institutions were in one place, but also that the area is very walkable. Some noted, however, that if you're driving, parking can be a challenge, so be sure to arrive to the neighborhood early. Tourists also recommend narrowing down which museums you want to visit ahead of time: Because there is so much to see, it could take days to explore everything the district has to offer.

The Museum District's hours and admission fees vary by each institution, but if you plan your visit wisely, you'll find that you won't have to pay anything to enter. The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, Children's Museum of Houston, The Health Museum, the Czech Center Museum Houston, the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Houston Museum of African American Culture all have free hours on Thursdays, usually starting in the afternoon or evening. Most museums have parking garages and street parking is available as well. For more information about free admission, as well as museum hours, visit the Houston Museum District's website.

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#1 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

No trip to Texas is complete without a visit to a rodeo. And in Houston, there's no better place to watch riders saddle up than the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. When competition season rolls around (typically between late February and early March), crowds descend on NRG Stadium to watch daily rodeo shows that feature a variety of competitions, such as bareback riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, barrel racing and more. Livestock shows, which also occur during rodeo competition season, feature traditional events such as livestock auctions, calf scrambles and horse shows. 

Travelers who were visiting Houston during rodeo season said the events are a blast. Those who said they've been to rodeos or livestock shows before say the Houston Rodeo is one of the best they've ever attended, and encouraged families to bring kids as they'll be fascinated by all of the animals. Even if you aren't particularly into rodeos, visitors say a trip here is still worth your time because the venue offers so many attractions, activities and events. Some of these include an amusement park, concerts (which in the past have included the likes of Kacey Musgraves and Cardi B), parades, barbecue contests, trail rides and more.

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Courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
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