Just outside of the largest medical center in the world is a cultural oasis in one of the most walkable locations in all of Houston. The 1.5-mile radius surrounding Mecom Fountain (the iconic trio of floral-shaped fountains where Montrose Boulevard meets Main Street) is absolutely dripping with art, history, science, nature, and delicious food, to boot. Though Houston’s Museum District is officially comprised of 19 museums, it’s also bordered by parks, restaurants, theaters, a prestigious university, and even a zoo — all accessible by METROrail.
With as much as the Museum District has to offer in a city as large and sprawling as Houston, the geographical area itself is surprisingly small, yet dense. Downtown Houston is less than 4 miles away, expanding accommodation options beyond the typical borders. Just one block from Preston METROrail stop is Hotel Icon, situated in the former 1911 Union National Bank building. This 12-story gem of neoclassical architecture is dog-friendly and offers the only triplex suites in the city. For even closer digs in the very heart of the Museum District, check out the swanky Hotel ZaZa. With suites that literally overlook the museums, Hotel ZaZa also offers the city’s largest accommodations at close to 3,000 square feet in size. The day spa and signature bistro don’t hurt, either.
One of the best breakfast spots in the city is The Breakfast Klub on Travis St. Lines tend to wrap around the block, but don’t let that deter you — the expertly trained staff keeps things moving quickly. The catfish and grits are second only to the knockout chicken and waffles. A favorite of the LGBTQ crowd, Barnaby’s Cafe has a dog-friendly location on Binz St. in the Museum District serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For southern comfort food with a Bayou City twist, head to Lucille’s, where the menu reflects the chef-owner’s great grandmother’s recipes. Try the fried green tomatoes and infamous chili biscuits, once served to Martin Luther King Jr. by Lucille herself. Once a popular food truck, Green Seed Vegan’s brick and mortar location nestled on Almeda Rd. defies all health-food stereotypes with delicious dishes like their raw rockin’ tacos with cashew cream and crispy cauliflower nuggets. With quite possibly the best ramen in Houston, Japanese eatery Nippon also serves delectable, fresh sushi with a variety of tempura dishes and udon.
One of the largest collections of fine art in the country, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston houses more than 65,000 works spanning more than 6,000 years. From ancient antiquities to modern, cutting-edge design, MFAH also screens films, holds lectures, and hosts happy hours on Thursdays. Boasting an IMAX theater, planetarium, dinosaur bones, a glass pyramid full of live butterflies, and the only mummy in Texas, Houston’s Museum of Natural Science hosts a monthly cocktail party in the summer called Mixers and Elixirs featuring a mouth-watering rotation of Houston’s best food trucks. For sober daytime fun, tour the greens and gardens of Hermann Park, which leads directly to Houston Zoo.