Houston is a sprawling Texas city, a town of oil and commerce and a town with strong traditions. It is also a town with quirks and odd twists of imagination that an outsider might not guess. Maybe it’s the heat or the humidity; Houston has plenty of interesting, quirky sights to behold. Here are five odd and awesome sights to see in Houston.
- The Orange Show. Smack-dab in the middle of Houston, near the Hilton Americas – Houston and the Houstonian Hotel, lies one of the greatest interactive folk art exhibits known to the art world. The Orange Show is neither orange nor a show — and it has nothing to do with those women in prison. Between 1956 and 1980, Houston resident Jeff McKissack transformed an empty lot on Munger Street into a maze of found-object art that serves as an homage to his favorite fruit, the orange. Nowadays, an arts foundation runs the Orange Show, and it uses the space to host concerts, poetry readings and art-related lectures.
- National Museum of Funeral History. After you’ve checked into your Houston hotel, explore the fascinating ceremony, technology, wardrobe and history of funerals at the National Museum of Funeral History. The museum features oddities like the coke-bottle casket, the crab coffin and a glass funerary box, all used to preserve a person’s earthly remains. Displays cover death-related rituals from other cultures, such as Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos.
- Rice Village. If you are looking for a fun and affordable place to spend an afternoon, Houston offers Rice Village. As the name implies, this shopping district abuts the Rice University campus and is chock-full of locally owned boutiques and restaurants. If you’re staying at the Residence Inn by Marriott Houston West University, you’re mere blocks away.
- Rice Gallery. The Rice Gallery is a rare art museum that features installations that are destroyed after the show ends. Not only will you see great art, but you can also gain a lesson in impermanence — much like the National Museum of Funeral History.
- Rothko Chapel. Part museum, part experience, the Rothko Chapel offers visitors a place to contemplate human rights and social justice. Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk, an homage to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., greets visitors and sets the solemn, contemplative tone. The Rothko Chapel is considered a sacred space, but is open to all faiths.
Whether you visit Houston on business or for a pleasurable exploration of a great American city, you can find plenty to keep yourself engaged and stimulated. Start with this list, but be sure to explore all that Houston has to offer, from food to sporting events to great people.