Fun Out of the Sun

5 Immersive Art Installations to Satisfy Your Summer Escapist Soul

From color explosions to a tropical, plant-filled oasis to the immersive works of a classic painter, take your summer vacay to the next level without ever stepping foot in an airport.

By Carolina Larracilla June 23, 2021

Houston is still raving about Seismique, the futuristic edition to the Museum District, as is the entire country—USA Today readers ranked it the third best immersive art experience. Plus, we’ve been talking nonstop about the return of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-worthy Candytopia, board game-tastic Houstonopoly, and the Dr. Seuss Experience straight out of our story-time daydreams.

These experiences are sure to whisk you off to Great Places, but let’s not forget about all the other art immersions around town this summer. If you’re anything like us, you could also use a break from real life. Here are five spots you won't want to miss. 

Color Factory Houston

This interactive museum is a dream come true for your Instagram, complete with a massive ball pit, an iridescent hallway, floating orbs, and other exhibits designed to give you a sensory overload. Take your family or friends, get showered in confetti, see the world through rose-colored glasses, and top it all off with anti-gravity ice cream. Color Factory promises that no two locations are the same and a color palette unique to Houston.

From $28. 3303 Kirby Dr. 347-378-4071


A different type of immersive art, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston gives visitors the remote to press pause on summer’s speed with its new exhibit from Bayou City artists Preston Gaines and Mich Stevenson. After 15 months of a global pandemic, many people are using the season to reemerge into the world. While looking to the future is important, NURTURE focuses on using harmonic resonance and the different mediums of sight to encourage reflection as a part of the healing process from the past year. So, sit on bespoke furniture in an enclave of rest and allow sound, lush tropical plants, and tapestries to bring you that clarity.

Thru Aug 8. Free. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 5216 Montrose Blvd. 713-284-8250

The FOMO Factory 

Another Insta-worthy Houston favorite, your only responsibility at FOMO Factory is to post, pose, and lay. On the third floor of the Galleria, you’ll be transported back to your childhood as you travel with all five senses through 17 different memories. You can be taken back to your first day of school, your school dance, pool parties, and more, turning this art installation into a playground that’s truly for all ages. Even though it’s summer, start planning the perfect back-to-school outfit for your limited-time trip down memory lane.

Thru Sept 15. From $18. 5085 Westheimer Rd, Ste 4710. 713-338-9833

Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit Houston

See Vincent Van Gogh in a way this classic artist has never been experienced before in Houston. Far from the static presentation in your elementary-school Intro to Art class, this experience literally brings you into his artwork. Each famous piece is given its own room, filling the space entirely, from the floor to the walls and ceiling. With social distancing markers on the floor, you can take a seat or stand to admire every larger-than-life brushstroke in every corner of the canvas.

Opens Aug 12. From $39.99. Location TBA. 

Time No Longer in the Cistern 

Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern’s latest installation uses film and sound to project feelings of empathy and loneliness onto visitors. A message befitting our year in isolation, artist Anri Sala’s film of a turntable floating aimlessly in space pays homage to saxophonist Ron McNair’s attempt to make music in space. Sala features “Quartet for the End of Time” as the turntable’s soundtrack, a choice that carries a deeper message as the piece was composed by French composer Olivier Messiaen in a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp during World War II.

Thru Dec 12. From $8. The Water Works in Buffalo Bayou Park, 105b Sabine St. 713-752-0314 ext. 301

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