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The Ultimate Guide to the Museum District 

The Ultimate Guide to the Museum District

Everyone can find something to do at the Houston Museum District, whether you’re interested in World War II history, contemporary art masterpieces, or spotting lions and elephants at the Houston Zoo.  

Lucky for you, there’s no need to browse through guidebooks in a bookstore or browse the web for hours to find out where to start! We’ve put together a guide on the must-see places to stay, things to do, and where to eat in the Houston Museum District. 

What is the Museum District? 

The Museum District is an area in downtown Houston stretching to the edge of Midtown consisting of 19 museums, cultural centers, art galleries, the Houston Zoo, and an abundance of parks. 

Where to stay in the Museum District? 

With all of the attractions there are to see in the Museum District, you may want to extend your stay. Instead of staying in some shabby little hotel, we’ve researched the finest comfortable places to stay within the Museum District. 

The Westin Houston Medical Center

The Westin Houston Medical Center

The Westin Houston Medical Center provides corporate housing and hotel rooms to medical professionals and locals. 

With various available suites, dry cleaning, laundry, a pool, and an on-site restaurant, guests can have a simple, quiet stay while spending all day out in town. 

Hotel ZaZa

Hotel ZaZa

Take a break from staring at your apartment walls with a stay at Hotel ZaZa. Hotel Zaza is located in the heart of the Museum District, bringing a larger-than-life experience to all of its guests.  

Hotel Zaza boasts to be exquisite in all of its suites, guest rooms, and pool villas. They convert basic hotel rooms into luxury for you and your furry pet friends.  

All of their suites and rooms come equipped with a kitchenette, lush Egyptian bathrobes, a fully stocked fridge, a minibar, etc.

Houston Marriott Medical Center

Houston Marriott Medical Center

The Houston Marriott Medical Center hotel is conveniently located near the MetroRail red line that takes you throughout the Museum District in Downtown Houston. 

Or, you can take Houston Marriott Medical Center’s free shuttle to attractions within the Museum District, but the limit is 2 miles. 

Their hotel contains simple amenities such as an indoor pool, a 24-hour gym, and private conference rooms available to rent out. 

Moreover, all of their guest rooms and hotel suites come with everything you need to feel comfortable if extending your stay in the Museum District. 

Hotel Ylem

Hotel Ylem

Hotel Ylem is a quaint boutique hotel in the center of the Museum District. Their interior designs put a modern twist on comfort.

Enjoy a cheap happy hour every night at their on-site bar, and have free breakfast in the morning thanks to their in-house catering. 

All of their guests also have access to laundry services, a fitness center, and a library. 

What are the top attractions in the Museum District? 

The district’s top museums include the Museum of Fine Arts, Children’s Museum of Houston, Hermann Park, The Houston Zoo, and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. 

The Museum of Fine Arts 

The Museum of Fine Arts

The Museum of Fine Arts is a staple within the Museum District. The educational and diverse value of the artworks displayed here is among the highest in the USA, making it the perfect place for art lovers to swoon. 

The art at the Museum of Fine Arts varies from modern times to dating back to Picasso—yes, they do have a few Picassos on display. Artwork from Oceania, Asia, Africa, and early America makes the Museum of Fine Arts exhibits priceless. 

Additionally, you can stroll through the outdoor sculpture garden, browse the gift shop, see live musical orchestras, and watch films. 

Don’t forget to take the underground light tunnel to the museum’s other half across the street, where you can surround yourself with Spanish art artifacts and beautiful delicate Italian glass carvings. 

Children’s Museum of Houston  

Children's Museum of Houston

For families looking for ways to distract their children, the Children’s Museum of Houston provides interactive, hands-on exhibits for your kids to have fun learning. 

Many of their exhibits are also bilingual, so children learning more than one language can test their language skills. 

Physical obstacle courses, science experiences, games, and cultural experiences are a few activities your kids can do. 

The Children’s Museum of Houston also has a mini town for kids, Kidtropolis. Yes, Kidopolis is complete with a supermarket, a city hall, and skyscrapers.  

Toddlers and infants are not left out either. They have their own exploration area on the second level where they can crawl, run and jump around. 

Hermann Park 

Hermann Park

Herman Park is in the heart of the Museum District. This park attracts bikers, families, dog walkers, joggers, and anyone searching for a space to relax away from the bustling city.

With abundant trees, a golf course, a pond complete with recreational water activities, an outdoor theater, a zoo, a garden center, and a butterfly house, there’s no shortage of places to explore. 

For families with children, your children can take a ride on the train that goes throughout the park. Also, pending on what time of year you come, you can catch free concerts in the park.

Miller Outdoor Theatre 

Miller Outdoor Theatre

To become a true Houstonian, many people swear by the free shows at the Miller Outdoor Theatre, which becomes striking once the sun goes down because of its illuminated lights. 

The theatre itself is located in Hermann Park. There are a variety of different programs for all to enjoy. 

Such as classic children’s productions, ballet performances, concerts from widely recognized artists, and their annual Shakespeare Festival. 

Don’t be afraid to bring chairs and blankets to keep you cozy. Yes, you can even bring some street tacos with you from the nearby taco trucks in case you get hungry throughout the evening. 

While some seating is available for free, most shows at the Miller Outdoor theater do require tickets. A majority of the tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so come early in the morning to get your tickets. 

Houston Museum of Natural Science

Houston Museum of Natural Science

This museum is a must-see because of its overwhelming supply of artifacts and exhibits. You can transport back in time to the land of the dinosaurs or travel to the pyramids in ancient Egypt. 

Guests can become paleontologists with an entire floor dedicated to paleontology. Exhibits featuring the life of early humans, well-lit dinosaur fossils, and scenes displaying various early predators and prey. 

In the Cabinet of Curiosities section, things such as shelves and drawers hang from the ceilings containing antiquities and oddities. It’s as if you’re getting a glimpse of a treasure hunter’s private collection.  

Moreover, children can also learn what it takes to work with gemstones and oil through hands-on touch screens. The amount of knowledge to gain from the Museum of Natural Science is vast. 

The prices are reasonable, but if you want to go for free, you can try visiting in the afternoon on Thursday. 

Houston Zoo 

Houston Zoo

The Houston zoo is perfect for both adults and children who are animal lovers. With over 5000 animals who are living in healthy conditions, there is much to see at the Houston zoo.

The Asian elephants, lions, tigers, and grizzly bears all have their own habitats that are similar to their natural homes. 

At the entrance of the Houston zoo, you can stop by the kiosk if you would like to watch feedings, participate in special activities and listen to discussions from the animal keepers. 

You can get close and personal with giraffes by participating in the giraffe feeding that only happens twice a day at 11 AM and 2 PM. Of course, you can get a few selfies with the giraffes.

Because the Houston heat is no joke, they do have indoor exhibits with AC if you need a break from the hot sun. Also, they have a water play area for children to enjoy. 

Where to eat in the Museum District? 

Wandering around the museum district is sure to work up an appetite. Thus, we selected some of the best places to eat in the Museum District.

MF Sushi

MF Sushi

This sushi restaurant takes home the trophy for fresh sushi in the Museum District. But the omakase tasting directly from the sushi bar leaves many coming back for more. 

What is omakase? Omakase means trusting the chef and allowing the chef to serve you the best. 

All of the courses at MF Sushi are tasty and aesthetically pleasing. Yes, all of the classic sushi favorites are served, such as uramaki, nigiri, uni, and tako.  

The Breakfast Klub 

The Breakfast Klub

Chicken & waffles is a popular brunch meal here at the breakfast club. Their savory, crispy fried chicken blends well with their homemade buttery, pillowy waffles. 

They also have catfish and grits if you’re looking to try something a little more exotic.

Barnaby’s Cafe 

Barnaby's Cafe

Here at Barnaby’s Café, blue cheese fondue-covered fries are a must-try if you’re into luxury eats. 

Yet, they are famous for their massive salads and juicy, topping-overloaded hamburgers. 

Fadi’s Eatery

Fadi's Eatery

This offshoot of a local Mediterranean chain turns its focus to using only healthy and fresh ingredients. 

From classic dishes like lamb kebabs paired with their Mediterranean spiced rice to modern Mediterranean dishes with a dish like butter-baked fish, there is bound to be something here to fill your appetite. 

Furthermore, they also have a build-your-own salad and choose your own kebab plates with a wide variety of different sides available. 



There’s nothing like classic Southern comfort food to satisfy the cravings. Lucille’s serves traditional Southern comfort food with a twist. 

Some of the meals that can be ordered at Lucille’s include mustard greens with roasted seafood, catfish and grits, and steaks smothered in seasoned shiitake gravy.  

Bodegas Taco Shop

Bodegas Taco Shop

Museum District contains a variety of cultural foods. Bodegas Taco Shop is one of the best in the Museum District for casual Mexican cuisine. 

Here at Bodegas Taco Shop, customers don’t need to wait in long lines for their tacos. Rather, they can build their own tacos or burrito bowls. 

Additionally, they also roast rotisserie chicken on-site, which can be ordered and paired with their savory, spicy house salsa and fresh corn/flour tortillas. Of course, don’t forget to try their specialty margaritas. 

Java Lava Brew

Java Lava Brew

Java Lava Brew is a fusion between Hawaiian and Vietnamese. The couple who own Java Lava Brew are Vietnamese and run a coffee farm in Hawaii. 

Because of this, their coffee is made from their own Kona-raised beans. They make specialty drinks like Hanoi egg coffee. 

Besides coffee, their food embodies the fusion of these two cultures too. Pineapple marinated Huli Huli chicken, pulled pork with white rice and a fried egg are samples of what customers can order at Java Lava Brew. 

By the way, they also serve wine and beer at their small bar. 

Ginger Kale

Ginger Kale

Ginger Kale is a healthy cafe in Hermann Park that’s a must-stop if you’re on the go in Hermann Park. 

Their fresh pressed juices, beet and goat cheese toast, and their breakfast tacos are common choices among visitors who need something for their picnics in Hermann Park or for a quick bite. 

The Toasted Coconut

The Toasted Coconut

The Toasted Coconut is a tropical-Asian-inspired joint that creates exotic rum drinks in bamboo shoots, and their cocktails are served up in toasted coconut shells, hence the name. 

They also serve up vegetarian dishes such as chickpea curry and fried eggplant to pair with your drinks. 

Grand Prize Bar

Grand Prize Bar

Grand Prize Bar is a two-story divey atmospheric bar right on the edge of the Museum District. Don’t be tricked by their cheap drinks at the bar because even though the price is cheap, the quality is not. 

The bartenders at Grand Prize Bar have mastered the art of cocktail mixing and are knowledgeable about the variety of drinks on the menu. 

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