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A Tour of the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

A Tour of the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

For a world where art meets nature and where history blooms with flowers, you don’t have to venture far from Houston. At the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, the finest American decorative arts and natural landscapes coexist in perfect harmony.

Imagine a place where ornate period rooms hold the secrets of centuries past, where statues of muses watch over meticulously crafted gardens, and where the past and the present merge seamlessly. 

So, put on your walking shoes, bring your curiosity, and prepare to uncover the stories behind these gardens that have witnessed the passage of time. Let’s step back in time and discover the wonders of Bayou Bend together.

What is the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens?

What is the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

Image Source: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens MFAH Website

The Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens showcases a stunning array of American furnishings, silver, ceramics, and paintings over 14 acres of space distributed between a repurposed mansion and extensive gardens. 

Nestled within the historic River Oaks neighborhood and under the stewardship of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH), this place is a testament to American decorative arts, history, and philanthropy. 

What is the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens 2

Image Source: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens MFAH Website

The Bayou Bend estate was born from the imagination of Ima Hogg, a Houston civic leader and philanthropist. 

In 1927, Ima, along with her brothers William C. and Michael Hogg, aimed to construct a home that would reflect their passion for art and history and embrace the natural beauty of the area.

Designed by renowned architect John F. Staub, the mansion blends elements of eighteenth-century Georgian architecture with distinctive Southern and Spanish Creole influences.

During the home’s construction, Ima Hogg was resolute in her commitment to preserving the surrounding trees. Only one tree was sacrificed to make room for the house.

What is the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens 3

Image Source: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens MFAH Website

She named the estate “Bayou Bend” with a nod to the nearby waterway, much to her brother Will’s initial objections. Her response, “not everyone can have a bayou,” perfectly encapsulates her appreciation for the unique character of the property.

Ima Hogg’s love for art and history extended to the outdoors, where she crafted a series of gardens as outdoor living spaces. These gardens were carefully designed for both relaxation and entertainment. 

In 1957, recognizing the cultural and historical significance of Bayou Bend, Ima Hogg donated her home and collection to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, ensuring its preservation for generations to come. 

What is the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens 4

Image Source: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens MFAH Website

The estate opened its doors to the public in 1966, inviting visitors to step into a world where art and nature harmoniously coexist. The architectural and decorative treasures within Bayou Bend reflect the artistry and craftsmanship of America from 1620 to 1876. 

Today, the house at the Bayou Bend holds around 4,700 objects from from 1620 to 1870. Each of the 28 period rooms is decorated with authentic items from a certain time period ranging from colonial America to the American Civil War period. 

Address: 6003 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77007, United States

Phone Number: +1 713-639-7750



  • Monday – Closed 
  • Tuesday to Saturday – 10 am to 5 pm 
  • Sunday – 1 pm to 5 pm 

Things to Know 

To visit the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, you’ll need to buy onsite. If you want to make sure you time your visit to the events held there, you can call their hotline or check the calendar of events here

You can buy tickets for access to both the House itself and the Gardens or just the Gardens if you’re just in it for the nature exposure. 

Ticket RatesHouse and GardensGardens
Children Below 9 FreeFree
Kids Aged 10 to 18$6.25$6
Students and Seniors$11$6
Pro Tip:
If you have a Lone Star Card, upon presentation of the card and a valid ID, you can get free admission for up to 6 people!

Best Time to Go (Schedules, are they open on Holidays, etc.) 

The best time to go to the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens is on weekday mornings between October and November when the weather is least hot and humid in Houston. 

If you want to get in for free, try to time your schedule to the annual Family Day at Bayou Bend event where families get free admission. This event takes place on the third Sunday of every month. 

How to Get There 

By Car

The location of the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens is just along the intersection of Memorial Drive and Westcott Street. There is also ample parking on-site so you won’t have to worry about your car. 

By Public Transportation

You can take the 20 and 41 METRO Bus Lines that will take you to the stop at the cross between Memorial Drive and Birdsall Street which is just a 3 minute walk from the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. 

Things to Do at the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

Roam Around the Living Areas in the First Floor of the Mansion

Image Source: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens MFAH Website

You can start off your exploration at the Belter Parlor that features antique French wallpaper and Rococo Revival Period pieces like a full matching set of furniture and carpet. 

The Chillman Suite’s green and gold color palette is reminiscent of the 19th Century with full-floor carpeting from the foyer to the parlor. 

Modeled after dining rooms first introduced after the American Revolution when only the wealthy could afford such rooms, the indulgence in the Dining Room is reflected in the gold leaf wallpaper in the room.

The Drawing Room features Georgian architecture with portraits painted by famous American artists like John Copley and Charles Peale and is the biggest room in the house. 

Roam Around the Living Areas in the First Floor of the Mansion 2

Image Source: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens MFAH Website

The Massachusetts Room’s blue walls mirror Portuguese chintz, a fabric popularized in the 18th Century. The room holds Boston and Salem furniture. 

The Murphy Room is a 17th Century inspired room which houses some of the oldest pieces in the collection from the Late Renaissance and Early Baroque eras. 

The iconic portrait of Ima Hogg can be found in the Philadelphia Halland along with Rococo-style furniture made in the city the central hall was named after. 

Once a library, the shelves inside the Pine Room were boarded up with 18th Century pine paneling and features a series of wooden pieces like ornate drawers and frames. 

Walk Through the Bedrooms on the Second Floor

Image Source: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens MFAH Website

The second floor features 4 bedrooms, each with a distinct style and charm. The Mclntire room features Neoclassical Massachusetts furniture and pays homage to the part women played in early America with sewing tools and worktables. 

The centerpiece of the Chippendale Bedroom is the massive bright red bedstead that would have required a team of skilled artisans to craft it in its original period of the 1700s. 

The Maple Room was decorated after 19th Century bedchambers with wood paneling and intricate stenciled borders. 

The Queen Anne Suite is as it was when Ima Hogg still lived there with Late Baroque furniture including the armchair that inspired the entire collection. 

Walk Through the Bedrooms on the Second Floor 2

Image Source: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens MFAH Website

The Music Room is a testament to Ima Hogg’s love for music, with its centerpiece being a Square Piano by Gibson and Davis. 

The house has a room modeled after homes in Independence, Texas, with pieces made by German immigrants who came in waves in the 1800s and ceramics that celebrate the Texas War of Independence. 

A Folk Art Room, a Federal Parlor Room for drinking tea, playing cards, dancing, and entertaining, as well as the Newport Room modeled after the region of its namesake with desks and bookcases made from mahogany complete the collection. 

Stroll in the Gardens

Image Source: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens MFAH Website

The beauty of Bayou Bend lies not only in its meticulously designed gardens but also in the native woodlands that envelop this oasis of art and culture. These woodlands, with thir native trees and shrubs, form a lush backdrop to the more formal gardens.

While the mansion itself is a treasure trove of American decorative arts, the gardens that adorn its surroundings are an equally integral part of this estate.

Clio, the muse of history, lends her name and inspiration to an ornamental garden at Bayou Bend, while  Euterpe, the muse of music, finds her situated beneath a loblolly pine and an American sycamore, which stood tall even before the house’s construction.

Miss Hogg’s artistic vision extended to creating an outdoor “room” with the Diana Garden, within the natural woodlands, defining it with evergreen yaupon hedges. 

Stroll in the Gardens 2

Image Source: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens MFAH Website

The Carla Garden tells a tale of resilience and transformation. It emerged from a clearing left by Hurricane Carla in 1961, inspired by an antique carousel seat. Here, nature’s destructive force paved the way for the creation of a beautiful garden retreat.

The East Garden exemplifies the seamless integration of house and garden at Bayou Bend. Extending gracefully from the east facade of the mansion, it blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor living, inviting guests to explore its beauty.

Nestled in a forested area of the estate, the Butterfly Garden is a delightful ode to nature’s vibrant palette. Originally planted with purple and yellow pansies, it was later adorned with boxwood borders and a stunning array of dwarf evergreen azaleas.

The White Garden, secluded and tranquil, is sandwiched between ravines and white-blooming plants. It’s a perfect spot for contemplation and meditation.

Check Out the Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center

Image Source: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens MFAH Website

The visitor center designed with contemporary notes spans over 18,000 square feet of space and hosts exhibits, meeting rooms, and public spaces. The center is also where you’re brought to watch orientation videos. 

The  building also plays host to the Kitty King Powell Library and Study Center which holds an archive of the pieces featured within the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens as well as other pieces from similar time periods. 

Don’t leave without dropping by the Hogg Family Legacy Room which holds memorabilia from and information on the Hogg family and their legacy. 

Go on a Guided Tour

Image Source: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens MFAH Website

The Bayou Bend Collection and Garden offers a variety of tours.

Their House Guided Tours have 2 varieties, an hour-long Highlights Tour that takes you to the main rooms on the two floors of the mansion. You’ll get to hear about the history of the place and th emain pieces of the collection. 

The Study Tour is 30 minutes longer with more rooms added to the itinerary and an in-depth discussion of American decorative art and a full look at the collection. 

Both tours are only available on Tuesdays to Thursdays and Fridays to Saturdays in the afternoon. The tours are also unavailable in August. 

There are self-guided tours if you prefer to explore at your pace. You only need to bring your phones and listen to the audio guides that you can ask for from the front desk. 

Drop by the Cottage Shop

Image Source: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens MFAH Website

If you want to take a piece of the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens with you, the Cottage Shop right next to the main house contains a treasure trove of unique products hand crafted by skilled artisans. 

Almost every item here from jewelry to furniture is one of a kind and made from high quality material. There are also books, stationery, and even gardening tools and accessories available. 

The products change every so often, so if you’re looking for more special gifts for loved ones or a keepsake for yourself, you’ll find an array of interesting gifts to buy here. 

Plus, all proceeds from the shop go directly to the maintenance and operations of the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. 

Pro Tip:
Stop by the shop before touring the grounds and grab a copy of the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens Catalogue which holds the extensive history of the place as well as a map of the artwork and gardens. 
Attend an Event at the Bayou Bend

Image Source: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens MFAH Website

The Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens hosts a calendar of events throughout the year that you can visit, but some of the mainstays and our personal favorites are the ones listed below. 

  • Detective Days let kids live out their investigator dreams by completing mystery-centered activity sheets on their own little guided tours. 
  • Family Day at the Bayou has glassblowing, cellophane glass art, games, and musical performances for the entire family. 
  • History Book Club allows art fanatics to discuss and share their insights and opinions just like 16th to 18th Century book clubs in Europe and America. 

Things to Remember

  • You are allowed to take personal pictures, but flashes, props, or tripods are not allowed. 
  • You aren’t allowed to climb or move statues, plants, or benches at the location. 
  • Baby strollers are allowed on the grounds. 
  • Wear clothes that will keep you cool as some rooms aren’t air-conditioned. Make sure you pair them with equally comfy walking shoes.
  • If you’re going to spend lots of time in the gardens, put on bug spray.
  • Try to get there 10 minutes before your slot to have time to store your things at the front desk.

Where to Eat Nearby 

Pollo Bravo

Image Source: Pollo Bravo Website

Address: 5801 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77007, United States

Phone Number: +17134920673


Price: $$

For a meal with a Latin American flair, you can head to the Pollo Bravo branch near the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. With 3 branches in the Houston area, this chain of restaurants is well known for their spitfire roasted chicken.

Their chicken is seasoned with Peruvian and Latin spices for an extra kick. The other items on the menu don’t lag far behind in flavor, especially their Stir Fry Beef that comes with a side of french fries drenched in the rich sauce. 

Don’t miss out on their Taquitos Dorados and their Flan Napolitano while you’re there. 

Brenner’s on the Bayou

Image Source: Brenner’s on the Bayou Website

Address: 1 Birdsall St, Houston, TX 77007, United States

Phone Number: +17138684444


Price: $$$

If a well-executed steak and potatoes sound like the perfect meal for you, then Brenner’s on the Bayou is a great place to try. This steakhouse has roots that date back all the way to 1936 and maintains rustic and elegant dishes to date. 

Our favorite thing on their menu, aside from their high quality steaks and seafood options, is their Crispy Duck Leg Confit. Adding the roasted bone marrow onto your orders is worth the extra $15! 

For dessert, finish with one of their souffles. The Godiva Chocolate version never disappoints!

Fajita Pete’s

Image Source: Fajita Pete’s Website

Address: 5710 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77007, United States

Phone Number: +18328316268


Price: $

Fajita Pete’s is a crowd favorite for both locals and tourists in the area for some Tex-Mex goodies. They serve up very homey dishes, packed with flavor. The best sellers are their fajitas that you can customize to your liking from the protein to the sauce. 

If you’re visiting after a day of exploring the Bayou Collection and Gardens with friends or family, you should definitely go for the family bundles which let you get a taste of all the best items in the menu for a great deal! 

Black Walnut Cafe

Image Source: Black Walnut Cafe Website

Address: 5512 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77007, United States

Phone Number: +17138681800


Price: $$

For a relaxing breakfast, brunch, or lunch place, the Black Walnut Cafe offers a selection of handmade sandwiches, salads, and other brunch staples. All variations of their eggs benedicts are tasty, but the best would be the lobster benedict. 

They also serve great burgers and grain bowls which are perfect for more hearty and filling options for dinner. 

The great thing about this cafe is that they offer gluten-free alternatives to the majority of their dishes if you request them to do so. You can ask to have breads and tortillas to be switched out for fruits and vegetables instead. 

Duck N Bao

Image Source: Duck N Bao Website 

Address: 5535 Memorial Dr suite o, Houston, TX 77007, United States

Phone Number: +18328491783


Price: $$

If you’re looking for a more exotic meal after exploring the artwork at the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, heading over to Duck N Bao lets the cultural exploration. This Chinese restaurant offers Sichuan dishes made traditionally for the authentic taste. 

Their best seller is their peking duck which is a whole duck roasted and refried for the crispy skin and succulent meat. Their soup dumplings are also on top of the list of our favorites. 

Where to Stay Nearby

Hampton Inn & Suites Houston Heights I-10

Image Source: Hampton Inn & Suites Houston Website

Address: 5820 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77007, United States

Phone Number: +17138699211

Price: $$

Book Now

The Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton is a great stay while planning your visit to the Bayou Bends Collection and Gardens. The location is a short 15-minute drive from the art hub and is also conveniently located near the Galleria for a quick shopping trip. 

They offer free hot breakfast so you can fuel up at the inn before starting your day. After you enjoy the attractions in the area, you can find convenient and free parking at the inn’s basement. 

Howard Johnson by Wyndham Houston Downtown

Image Source: Howard Johnson by Wyndham Website

Address: 4602 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77007, United States

Phone Number: +17134875905

Price: $

Book Now

For an affordable stay without compromising comfort, the Howard Johnson in Downtown Houston should be one of your pool of choices. This 2-star hotel offers a newly renovated facility with modern amenities for a convenient stay. 

The hotel offers free high speed wifi and daily newspapers for their old-school guests. All rooms have all the basic appliances you might need. We also loved their bigger family or oversized suites so you can all stay in 1 room during your stay. 

Courtyard by Marriott Houston Heights

Image Source: Courtyard by Marriott Website

Address: 3220 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77007, United States

Phone Number: +12818885896

Price: $$$

Book Now

If you like treating yourself and you need top-notch service and luxurious accommodations when you travel, the Courtyard by Marriott in Houston Heights is guaranteed to satisfy your needs. 

This 4-star hotel has everything from fully decked out suites with great views and stylish interior design, to an outdoor pool where you can sit and soak in the view of the Houston skyline. 

The onsite restaurant and bar, The Bistro, also serves up great drinks and dishes while you’re there. 

Crowne Plaza Houston Med Ctr-Galleria Area, an IHG Hotel

Image Source: Crowne Plaza Houston Website

Address: 2712 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77098, United States

Phone Number: +17135238448

Price: $$$

Book Now

Nestled in between the downtown area and the Galleria, the Crowne Plaza Houston near the Medical Center is one of our go to hotels to stay in the area. This contemporary hotel is located in a prime location for shopping, entertainment, and dining. 

The hotel itself has great rooms that are all designed beautifully with complete appliances and comfortable bedding. The hotel itself offers entertainment and dining on site with an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and its own 2712 Bistro and Bar. 

The St. Regis Houston

Image Source: The St. Regis Houston Website

Address: 1919 Briar Oaks Ln, Houston, TX 77027, United States

Phone Number: +17138407600

Price: $$$

Book Now

The St. Regis Houston is a 5-star hotel that provides accommodations and services that live up to its rating. Staying in this hotel is a vacation in itself with an in house spa with a wide array of beauty treatments and relaxation massages. 

Their heated pool and cabanas create a tropical vibe where you can chill and chat with friends and family while sipping on cocktails from the Remington Bar. They also have a lounge dedicated to tea time with special Teddy Bear Teas for kids. 


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