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Houston Museum of Fine Arts

Architecturally stunning and filled with pieces by renowned artists of the world, this museum is a must-see for art lovers.

The Houston Museum of Fine Arts houses more than 62,000 works of art covering almost every continent, and time periods from antiquity to present day. There are pieces from masters such as John Singer Sargent and Henri Matisse, to modern Scandinavian artists. Located in multiple buildings in the downtown Museum District, this is the largest cultural institution in the southwest. 

Before heading inside, take time to admire the majestic architecture. There are several buildings on campus, including the original neoclassical style building finished in 1926. Renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed two glass-enclosed galleries, built in 1958 and 1974 respectively. 

Meander through the sculpture garden, designed by famed Japanese-American artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi. It houses sculptures by some of the world’s greats, including Matisse and Auguste Rodin. 

A tunnel links the original cluster of buildings to the modern Audrey Jones Beck building, finished in 2000. This is the main entrance and the best place to start browsing. You’ll find the museum’s collection of American paintings and sculpture as well as European masterpieces. Don’t miss Claude Monet’s incredible Water Lilies painting, a piece from the impressionist’s priceless series, many of which are housed in galleries in Paris.

Back through the tunnel in the original cluster of buildings are 20th- and 21st-century exhibits, as well as the Museum’s South American, Asian and African collections. There are many impressive gold relics, sculptures and intricate carvings; these are some of the largest collections of their kind in the world. Break your visit with lunch from one of a number of food trucks that stop in the parking lot daily, or a bite from the museum café.

While the museum’s own collection is huge, it attracts many international exhibitions, such as a Picasso series straight from New York’s Guggenheim Museum and Portraits of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado. Check the Houston Museum of Fine Arts website before a visit to find a list of current exhibits.

There are two off-site galleries: The Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens and the Rienzi House, both about five miles (eight kilometers) from the main campus. They house American and European decorative arts pieces and paintings from the museum’s main collection. 

The Houston Museum of Fine Arts is located in the downtown Museum District, and free parking is available. It’s open Tuesdays through Sunday, and entry is free every Thursday. 


Guide to Exploring around Houston Museum of Fine Arts


Top Houston Museum of Fine Arts Flight + Hotel Deals

Best Lodging Options Near Houston Museum of Fine Arts

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Hotel Zaza Houston Museum District $229
Hotel Zaza Houston Museum District

Hotel Zaza Houston Museum District

5701 Main Street, Houston, TX
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Houston Museum District, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Houston Contemporary Arts Museum and Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Houston Natural Science Museum and Rice University are also within 10 minutes. Museum District Station is only a 2-minute walk and Hermann Park/Rice U Station is 7 minutes.

    Hilton Houston Plaza / Medical Center $98
    Hilton Houston Plaza / Medical Center

    Hilton Houston Plaza / Medical Center

    6633 Travis St, Houston, TX
       
      3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Texas Medical Center, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Rice University and Houston Methodist Hospital. Houston Zoo and Houston Natural Science Museum are also within 2 mi (3 km). Dryden/TMC Station is only a 4-minute walk and Memorial Hermann Hospital/Houston Zoo Station is 12 minutes.

      DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Houston - Greenway Plaza $72
      DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Houston - Greenway Plaza

      DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Houston - Greenway Plaza

      6 Greenway Plaza East, Houston, TX
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Greenway Plaza-Upper Kirby, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Greenway Plaza and Lakewood Church. Rice University and Menil Collection are also within 3 mi (5 km).

        The Whitehall Houston $115
        The Whitehall Houston

        The Whitehall Houston

        1700 Smith St, Houston, TX
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Downtown Houston, this romantic hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Houston Public Library, Hobby Center for Performing Arts, and House of Blues Houston. Toyota Center and Downtown Aquarium are also within 1 mi (2 km). Downtown Transit Center Station is 7 minutes by foot and Bell Station is 8 minutes.

          Lyric at 5280 Caroline St
          Lyric at 5280 Caroline St

          Lyric at 5280 Caroline St

          5280 Caroline Street, Apt. 2006, Houston, TX
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Houston Museum District, this apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Holocaust Museum Houston, Houston Natural Science Museum, and Children's Museum of Houston. Rice University and Houston Museum of Fine Arts are also within 15 minutes. Museum District Station is 7 minutes by foot and Wheeler Station is 11 minutes.

            Convenient 1BR Suite w/ Gym Near Downtown
            Convenient 1BR Suite w/ Gym Near Downtown

            Convenient 1BR Suite w/ Gym Near Downtown

            5280 Caroline Street, Apt. 2010, Houston, TX
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Houston Museum District, this apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Holocaust Museum Houston, Houston Natural Science Museum, and Children's Museum of Houston. Rice University and Houston Museum of Fine Arts are also within 15 minutes. Museum District Station is 7 minutes by foot and Wheeler Station is 11 minutes.

              Sophisticated 1BR Suite w/ Gym Near Downtown
              Sophisticated 1BR Suite w/ Gym Near Downtown

              Sophisticated 1BR Suite w/ Gym Near Downtown

              5280 Caroline Street, Apt. 2011, Houston, TX
                 
                4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Houston Museum District, this luxury apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Holocaust Museum Houston, Houston Natural Science Museum, and Children's Museum of Houston. Rice University and Houston Museum of Fine Arts are also within 15 minutes. Museum District Station is 7 minutes by foot and Wheeler Station is 11 minutes.

                1BR Business Suite w/ Pool Near Downtown
                1BR Business Suite w/ Pool Near Downtown

                1BR Business Suite w/ Pool Near Downtown

                5280 Caroline Street, Apt. 2009, Houston, TX
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Houston Museum District, this apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Holocaust Museum Houston, Houston Natural Science Museum, and Children's Museum of Houston. Rice University and Houston Museum of Fine Arts are also within 15 minutes. Museum District Station is 7 minutes by foot and Wheeler Station is 11 minutes.