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Houston, Texas: Arts and Soul

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Houston, Texas, is the nation’s fourth largest city with a cultural concentration to match its sizable population. In fact, it’s home not to just a resident symphony but also opera, theater and ballet companies, not to mention a whole host of museums. In fact, one could easily spend days perusing the museum collections on show in the city’s Museum District without so much as stepping foot in a concert hall, or Herman Park (and Houston Zoo) for that matter. Really, the dilemma is where to focus your attentions.

Happily, despite this city’s great physical size, a lion’s share of the top cultural sights are located in the relatively manageable Museum District, where you can chose from only 18 museums. A good place to start is at the northern end of the district. Plan a full day to allow time to take in the scope of the privately acquired Menhil Collection, the interdenominational Rothko Chapel (with works by the artist of the same name on show) and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum. Also in the vicinity is the Houston Center for Photography, if you can make it before closing.

Keep art your focus on day two with a leisurely foray through the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where one of the nation’s largest collections could easily occupy the sensible sort for the better part of a day. With time to spare, catch changing exhibitions at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston or even the Lawndale Art Center.

Thus thoroughly sated for art, fine or otherwise, turn your attentions to the other big museums in the area. Learn about climate, cyclones and record your own weather forecast at The Weather Museum, contemplate your cranium at The Health Museum and let your young ones run wild at The Children’s Museum as part of an all-in Houston experience. More sobering, but equally worthwhile is the Holocaust Museum Houston, and from here’s it’s but a brisk walk to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. In the unlikely even that you’re still forging energetically along, wind up your lengthy tour of Houston’s Museum District with a day at the Houston Zoo, sure to put it all in perspective (it’s a jungle out there).

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