Insiders Guide

The 411 on the secrets of H-Town 

The LGBT community tends to love the arts and food and fundraising events that Houston has to offer. But often they also enjoy the road less traveled. That's the best way to see a city from the inside out instead of feeling you are outside looking in. So take a page out of the locals’ book and check out these far from ordinary ways to enjoy the Bayou City. Here a dozen things to do when you’re ready to hit H-Town local style.

Art Car Museum

It’s hard to imagine anything more imaginative on four wheels then what’s going down at the Art Car Museum. Often called the Garage Mahal, this museum elevates art from too often ignored to rightfully celebrated. Here you will find all manners of car creations, some of which are hard to fathom even when you see them with your own two eyes. 140 Heights Blvd., Houston

Beer Can House

In 1968, John Milkovisch began what is now known as the Beer Can House. Once an upholsterer for the Southern Pacific Railroad, Milkovisch inlaid thousands of marbles, rocks, and metal pieces into concrete and redwood to create magical landscaping features. When he was through, the house was next. He covered it in aluminum beer can siding. With over 50,000 cans adorning this phenom, this is one sight not to be missed. 222 Malone Street, Houston

The Big Bubble

There’s a big red button hidden in a shallow niche on the Preston Street Bridge. When you press it, well, it makes a big bubble. Part art installation, part environmental feature, when the button is pressed, the water bubbles and churns, keeping the bayou from staying stagnant. Of course, watching the reaction of passers by who don't know about the button (deciding whether or not it’s safe to press) is almost more fun than doing the actual pressing. 510 Preston St, Houston

David Adickes Studio

David Adickes’ work is literally larger than life, like the 67-foot replica he created of Sam Houston for Huntsville, Texas and the 43 gigantic busts of each American President he created for a museum in Lead, South Dakota. The cool part is that his workshop in Houston is open to the public. While not a formal “destination” per se, stopping by will afford you a peak at huge sculptures of the Beatles and former President Bush and maybe even Adickes himself at work on his latest creation. 2401 Nance St, Houston

Destination Mound Town (Hermann Park Train Tunnel)

Now this is cool. Houston artist Trenton Doyle Hancock has created a fantastical world of his own creation on walls of the Hermann Park Railroad train. It’s called Destination Mound Town and is filled with a group of mythical half-animal, half-plant characters. As you ride the train through the tunnel, you are treated to a day in the life of the Mounds from when the creatures first wake up to when they go to sleep at night. (Note: The work can only be viewed from the train.) 6100 Hermann Park Dr., Houston

Eclectic Menagerie Park

The Eclectic Menagerie Park is a collection of 26 massive sculptures created by Ron Lee. He manufactures the over-sized versions of animals and a few machines using the company’s leftover pipes and equipment as materials. The creations reside outside of the pipe company and include a daddy long legs spider, a kindly King Kong hanging from a crane, a rusty old armadillo, a tall soldier of wire, and a crow-man made of metal. (Note: These masterpieces are on private property. So no approaching the menagerie, please.) 2330 Holmes Road, Houston

Field of Vision

Sitting just around the corner from Project Row Houses at 2521 Holman St. (an artist collective this sculpture garden is a quarter-block long and was created by Houston-native Bert L. Long, Jr. The installation includes forty eyes atop forty pedestals, hence the name – Field of Vision. It’s a place for insight, if you will. A visit there will not disappoint. Bastrop & Elgin Streets, Houston

Glenwood Cemetery

There’s something intensely serene and wistful about a stroll through the cemetery. And if you believe in life beyond this one, Glenwood is a great place for star sightings of the afterworld kind with a number of illustrious guests, including politicians, wildly successful men of oil, and the famed aviator, engineer, and director Howard Hughes. 2525 Washington Ave.

James Turrell Skyspace

Seventy-third in the series, Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany is an experiential art installation. The structure offers a square opening to the sky which is framed by led lights creating a mix of the natural and the enhanced that changes depending on the time of day. Sometimes accompanied by music, the experience can be quite a show. (Note: Shows are free but reservations are required.) Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion

National Museum of Funeral History

If all things afterlife is your thing, then you will likely really dig the National Museum of Funeral History. The museum features a 1921 RockFalls hearse, fantasy coffins, Civil War embalming, 1900s casket factory, and funeral artifacts. The museum’s tagline is “every day above ground is a good one.” Hard words with which to argue. 415 Barren Springs Dr.

The Orange Show

You aren’t going to see this anywhere else. Made of found objects, including wagon wheels, mannequins, and tractor seats as well as brick, concrete, and steel, the 3,000-square-foot Orange Show Monument was built by a former Houston postman as an homage to his beloved orange. His work just may sway you to feel as lovingly toward the citrus fruit as creator Jefferson Davis McKissack. 2401 Munger St.

Waugh Bridge Bat Colony

Between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive, you can catch a show of the dark and winged kind on Montrose’s Waugh Bridge. The northeast bank of the bayou and the platform southeast of the bridge are the best spot to catch a view of this amazing sight. How many bats can you hope to see? Well, quarter-million Mexican free-tailed bats all live at the bridge and at sunset, they come out to play.   Waugh Dr. Bridge.

By Jenny Block