Think Outside the District: 14 Cool Museums in Greater Houston

From selfie stations to boat tours, these museums have a lot to offer.

By Anna Rajagopal


Houston is known for many things, and our expansive art scene is top of the list. While public art, such as sculptures and murals, can be found in nearly every neighborhood, there are over 150 museums and institutions across the city. The Museum District alone has an association of 19 museums and cultural centers, each within walking distance of one another. From the Contemporary Arts Museum to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, you can easily spend an entire day getting lost in all the art.  

That said, the Museum District alone doesn't define the Houston arts and culture scene; it complements the vast amount of local galleries, studios, and museums sprawled across the city that represent a multitude of communities and genres of art. If you’re looking to spend a day surrounded by art, travel past the boundaries of the Museum District to one or all of these 14 museums:

Art Car Museum 


The Art Car Museum is a unique experience for all car—or art—lovers in Houston. By taking cars and turning them into art pieces, the private institution platforms local, national, and international artists. This allows the museum to give space to artists who aren’t always given mainstream attention by traditional museums. The Art Car Museum says its mission is to reveal the cultural, political, economic, and personal aspects of the art we consume.

Space Center Houston


One of Houston’s top attractions is our Space Center—and it is the official visitor center for NASA Johnson Space Center. The museum offers a wide-array of educational material surrounding man’s mission into space, including space artifacts, traveling exhibits, and a variety of events. Take a look at the museum’s extensive space suit collection, take a VIP tour, or see the seasonal galaxy lights this December. 

The Orange Show


The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art is an eclectic series of installations, events, venues, and performances celebrating art and artists across Houston. The Orange show aims to demonstrate the great diversity of visionary art throughout the Houston area. From Beer Can House to Smokesax, the Orange Show is responsible for some of Houston’s most eclectic permanent art installations. 

Lone Star Flight Museum


Lone Star Flight Museum is an aerospace museum dedicated to the history of flight. This museum features over twenty-four aircrafts for all those history buffs out there, and nearly all of the aircrafts on display are flyable—making Lone Star Flight’s collection a rare one. The museum also serves as a STEM learning center, teaching visitors about aeronautical science and piloting protocols. 

National Museum of Funeral History


This museum may not be a typical way to spend your Saturday afternoon, but it is certainly a unique one. The National Museum of Funeral History offers an educational experience for visitors to learn about caskets and coffins, historical hearses, funerals of notable figures, as well as the cultural heritage of funeral work. The museum has 17 permanent exhibits on display, showcasing funeral traditions from different geographic locations and time periods. With over 30,500 square feet of space for you to tour, this museum is cool enough to make you drop dead (pun intended).  

Blaffer Art Museum


The Blaffer Art Museum is a contemporary museum of art offering a variety of public exhibitions, events, and programs. The Blaffer seeks to enliven the public’s imagination when it comes to modern art by curating creative and innovative experiences with the work they do. This museum serves as the intermediary between the University of Houston’s Central campus and the City of Houston as a whole.  



Seismique is a technology-based museum that prioritizes immersive exhibits with AI, interactive art, gamification, and other audiovisual elements. Seismique also reserves twenty of their forty galleries for Houston-based artists so that the gallery can continue to support ongoing local art endeavors. Beyond their art, the museum also offers educational workshops for science and technology motivated students around Houston. With 40,000 square feet in total, this museum gives voice to 65 established and emerging artists. It’s a perfect choice for anyone who wants to explore a sensory-intense experience. 


Image: Courtesy TFTI

TFTI: Interactive Selfies

the GALLERIA | ADMISSION: $28 and up

Selfie time! TFTI ("Thanks For The Invite" or "That's For The Instagram") is an interactive selfie museum that lets you capture snapshots that you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else. Take a picture while engaging directly with the props/exhibits to create a variety of settings for the background of your photos. Whether you’re in search of the perfect holiday Instagram pic, a new, fun way to take photos with friends, or you just want to experience a museum where you can actually touch the art, TFTI is a special sensory experience for the Houston museum-goer. 

San Jacinto Museum of History


This museum tells the tale of Texas history, giving viewers a blast from the past with an extensive look at the Battle of San Jacinto—the final battle of the Texas Revolution. This museum experience wouldn’t be complete without its outdoor components: Visit the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic sight for a glimpse at the 567-foot tall San Jacinto Monument. 

Battleship Texas


Battleship Texas—or the USS Texas (BB-35)—is a museum ship. That’s right, this museum is on the water. Launched in 1912, this retired United States Navy New York-Class Battleship is available for you to explore. Battleship Texas has recently been lifted out of the depths for repairs, and for a limited time, tours are being offered so that you can see the normally-submerged ship on a dry dock tour. 

The Color Factory


The Color Factory is an interactive museum that allows visitors to engage with color in new and exciting ways. By showcasing vibrant and immersive rooms for the ultimate photo op, The Color Factory is a multisensory exhibit for audiences of all ages. The city of Houston itself serves as inspiration for the way that color is depicted throughout the exhibit. With 10 rooms for you to be mesmerized by, this museum is well worth the visit. 

SITE Gallery Houston


SITE Gallery Houston is a contemporary art gallery that prides itself on curating artwork that embodies the relationships artists have to “place, space and concept”. The gallery space sits in the former grain towers by The Silos at Sawyer Yards, and this historic location plays a key role in the gallery’s aesthetic. With rotating exhibitions on display now until January, SITE Gallery Houston seeks to focus on the nurturing of creativity within Houston.

Reeves Art + Design


Reeves Art + Design is Houston’s largest art gallery, with a wide-ranging collection of fine art on display for your viewing pleasure. Reeves also offers art consultations, hosts an art blog and regularly puts on art shows featuring local contemporary artists for the viewing of the general public. 

Insomnia Gallery


This independent art gallery hosts monthly art shows at Hardy and Nance Studios for visitors to view (and buy) art from local Houston artists. Referring to the events as “art parties” instead of art shows, these parties have a DJ, a food vendor, and complimentary drinks. The art featured at the art parties often goes up for sale, so that you can take your favorite piece of art home to display on your wall and admire.

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