Community Guide: MUSEUM DISTRICT

Post by Yasmin Khan, writer and editor for HOULIVING.


COMMUNITY | CULTURE | LIFESTYLE

The nationally renowned Museum District is one of the pride-and-joys of Houston. Combining elegance and intellect without being stand-offish, the district comprises 19 different museums. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in culture and enlightenment, take in the sights, walk through the park, or engage with any of the different exhibits and events that might be taking place.

Fitting neatly into the nook of 59 and 288, the Museum District is flanked on its northern and southern edge by Midtown and the Medical Center, respectively, with 288 and Main Street making up its eastern and western borders. It’s a small part of town with a lot to offer. However, thanks to an abundance of green spaces, the area does not feel excessively dense.

Unusually walkable for a Houston neighborhood, the Museum District is fairly easy to get around in. Aside from the METRORail running through it, Hermann Park welcomes walkers and bikers, including those who are just cutting through the park to get to their next venue or site.

The Museum District is a reflection of some of the best things Houston has to offer. Featuring a wide array of food options, diverse and ever-changing museum and cultural center exhibits, and a sprawling park that has a golf course, gardens, trails, and cafés, this chic neighborhood can perfectly satisfy anyone’s curiosity or adventurous spirit.

REAL ESTATE | WHAT THE MARKET IS LIKE

The real estate market in the Museum District is as diverse as the area’s other offerings. There are canopy-lined streets with large estates on either side, as well as older bungalows, many of which have been renovated and updated in recent years. High- and midrise apartments and condos have become more popular in recent years, and there are newer townhomes popping up all over.

A great location for professionals and students working in the Medical Center, the Museum District is benefited by Houston’s public transit system. With the METRORail making several stops throughout the district, it’s particularly well-serviced.

Homes in the area range in price from about $120,000 to $15,000,000, with the average home selling for around $770,000. Average price per square foot sits at around $275.

HISTORY

Houston’s museums had more or less been situated near one another, but it wasn’t until recently that the district was officially recognized by the City of Houston.

In the late 1970s, efforts were made to beautify the area. In hopes of making this busy part of town more pedestrian-friendly, sidewalks were updated and maintained, green spaces were kempt, and roundabouts were built to manage motor traffic.

After the area was significantly improved from the disrepair it had once been in, the City of Houston designated the area as the Museum District of Houston in 1989.

Originally comprised of only 11 institutions, the Museum District now boasts 19 different museums, galleries, and centers, all within 1.5 miles of the Mecum Fountain in Hermann Park.

BUSINESSES (ROADMAP)

GREEN SEED VEGAN

In the northern corner of the Museum District, at the intersection of Almeda and Wheeler is Green Seed Vegan, one of the few vegan restaurants in Houston. Along with vegan alternatives to foods like burgers, cheesesteaks, and chicken nuggets, they also offer a great selection of juices and elixirs.

HOUSTON MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURE

This museum is just minutes away from Green Seed Vegan on Caroline Street. This museum’s mission is to explore the cultural significance of Africans and African Americans through art, literature, and history.

REGGAE HUT

Back over on Almeda, Reggae Hut serves Houston as one of the few Caribbean-inspired restaurants. Serving up classics, like jerk chicken, beef patties, fried plantains, and oxtail, you’re sure to satisfy your Jamaican craving here. Wash it all down with some peanut punch and you’re good to go.

DAK & BOP

Next stop? Follow Almeda all the way down to Binz and you’ll find Dak & Bop, a chill Asian fusion restaurant known for their kimchi fries, baos, and fried chicken. If you’re feeling adventurous, try their hottest sauce, the Hot & Spicy.

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF HOUSTON

Continuing down Binz, the Children’s Museum of Houston is one of the best in the nation. We all know how tricky it can be to actually combine fun and learning, but this place seems to have figured out the secret formula. In a highly interactive setting, kids are free to explore and experiment as they wish, with no “Do Not Touch” zones. Here, kids can learn about everything from environmentalism to ancient cultures to how to run a city.

LUCILLE’S

Around the corner from the Children’s Museum, you’ll find some of the best southern cooking around. Lucille’s offers all your favorite southern comfort foods, like fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and smothered duck. For a real treat, though, head in for Sunday Brunch and get yourself a chicken fried steak.

MF SUSHI

Back on Binz, MF Sushi is a strong contender for the top sushi restaurant in Houston. Rivaling some of the more popular joints in the city, MF Sushi offers creative and delicious rolls that will keep your palate wanting more.

MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS

As Binz turns into Bissonnet, the Museum of Fine Arts emerges from a courtyard. An architectural marvel itself, the museum features long-running collections of art from around the world, as well as featured exhibits that will have you going back regularly. Even if you don’t consider yourself an art snob, you’re bound to find something interesting to look at here.

HOTEL ZAZA

Just off the roundabout that surrounds the Mecum Fountain, Hotel Zaza is worth visiting, even if you live in the area. A great place for events, meetings, and lounging, the hotel has become a Houston icon. Keep an eye out for their shuttles — you can’t miss the Texas longhorns on them.

HOUSTON MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE

From the hotel, take Hermann Drive down to Caroline Street to reach your next destination — the Houston Museum of Natural Science. When people think of the Museum District, this is often the first museum they think of. With thought-provoking exhibits, a planetarium, and a butterfly center, you can easily lose a day here.

MILLER OUTDOOR THEATER

Following Hermann Park Drive around, Miller Outdoor Theater is Houston’s outdoor, free-admission theater. The shows are always top-notch and entertaining, often featuring local talent. Pack your picnic basket up with some fried chicken and a box of wine, and you’ve got date night in the bag.

HOUSTON ZOO

Walking distance from the theater is a 55-acre zoo that is home to over 900 species of animals. The Houston Zoo is the second-most visited zoo in the United States, after the San Diego Zoo, and it’s known for its African ecosystem and elephant habitat. The zoo actively participates in several conservation efforts, and fun fact — the University of Houston’s mascot, Shasta the Cougar, lives here.

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