Monarch Bistro's dining room at Hotel ZaZa

Looking to leave it all behind for the weekend? Why not decamp to a place that won’t cost an arm and a leg, that doesn’t need months of advance booking, and requires not a single plane ride—hell, you don’t even need a car to get around in the Museum District. That’s what we call relaxing.

Friday 

6 p.m. Check into the Hotel Zaza. (Book the Arts & Smarts Package, which features a $50 credit at the Monarch Bistro, free valet parking, and two tickets to any MFAH exhibition.)

6:30 p.m. Dinner on the Monarch’s lush patio.

8:30 p.m. Grab a seat on the lawn at Miller Outdoor Theater for a free concert by the Houston Symphony. (There are five of them planned this summer.)

10 p.m. Nightcaps back at the hotel.

Saturday

9 a.m. Room service!

10 a.m. For her: Zaspa facial, massage, and mani-pedi. For him: tee time at the scenic 18-hole Hermann Park Golf Course. 

Noon Lunch from a local food truck and a picnic at the Cullen Sculpture Garden.

1 p.m. Museum crawl: the Museum of Fine Arts, the Contemporary Arts Museum, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Asia Society, the Health Museum, and more, as all are within easy walking distance of each other.

4:30 p.m. Catch the light rail to the Ensemble/HCC station and walk five short blocks to DiverseWorks. 

6:30 p.m. Head back to Main St. and revive yourself with coffees at Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails.

7 p.m. Pick up some locally made jewelry, art, and music at Sig’s Lagoon and My Flaming Heart.

8 p.m. Enjoy an al fresco dinner with drinks on the patio at Wooster's Garden.

9:30 p.m. Live music at the Continental Club and Shoeshine Charley’s Big Top Lounge

11:30 p.m. Browse the oddities and eccentricities inside The Place Upstairs, which is only open late at night.

Midnight Still up? Grab late night Tex-Mex at Tacos a Go-Go and catch the train back to the hotel.

Sunday

10 a.m. Restorative mimosas and Bloody Marys by the pool at Zaza.

Noon Sunday blues brunch at Danton’s.

2 p.m. Walk it off at the Houston Zoo and Hermann Park; take a trip on the tiny train and relive your childhood. 

5 p.m. Head home, replenished and refueled by your weekend “away.”