Houston’s Museum District contains an impressive 20 museums, galleries, cultural centers and community organizations, 11 of which are always free which is great for budget conscious travelers. From the unique Health Museum to the impressive collection of contemporary photography at the Houston Center for Photography, there’s something for everyone. There’s lots to explore in this area, but we, of course, have some favorites. Here are our recommendations for how to spend a day in the Museum District.
Get there: From the hostel walk 1 block north to Westheimer and take a right until you reach Main Street. Take the MetroRail Red Line to the Hermann Park/Museum District Station and exit.
Must see: Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, 3816 Caroline
The Buffalo Soldiers Museum is the only museum in the US primarily dedicated to preserving the legacy and honor of the African-American soldier. Buffalo Soldiers originally comprised of former slaves and freed men. The museum holds artifacts, exhibits, and historic memorabilia documenting the Buffalo Soldiers and their efforts from the Civil War to World War II.
Must eat: Dak & Bop, 1801 Binz, Suite 120
Houston is all about diversity and fusion, and this is incredibly evident at Dak & Bop, a Korean fried chicken joint. Juicy chicken twice fried in Korean spices? Don’t mind if we do! The rest of their menu is an awesome fusion of Korean, American and Mexican cuisine, including kimchi fries and chicken pot pie empanadas.
Must drink: Valhalla, 6100 S Main Street
Rice University is just steps away from the Museum District and offers one of Houston’s best kept secret bars. Valhalla is located on campus and is fully staffed, and mostly patronized by, Rice graduate students and alumni. The bar lacks any signage, which makes it a bit difficult to find. Take a look at the picture for some hints. However, once you’re in there you’ll meet some wonderful people and enjoy $1 12-ounce drafts. A perfect way to relax after spending your day exploring museums.
Must do: Hermann Park, 6001 Fannin Street
Hermann Park is Houston’s version of Central Park, just a bit less touristy. This 117 year old park sits on 445 acres and offers plenty of areas to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, while also offering attractions such as the Houston Zoo and the Japanese Gardens. Miller Outdoor Theatre sits atop a hill in the park and offers free performances from dramatic troupes and the Houston Symphony throughout the year. Be sure to check out the Centennial Gardens, recently opened to celebrate the 100 anniversary of the park’s founding.