A Guide to Living in the Museum District
The Museum District is a popular neighborhood for summer tourists, school groups, and Sunday Funday enthusiasts but you’ll also find a grid of residential streets shaded by sweeping live oak branches. Those living in the Museum District—who include anyone from medical workers and students to downtown professionals and retirees—have front-row access to all of the neighborhood's perks, art, and cultural offerings.
Real estate here mostly includes townhouses and contemporary condos with a lot of amenities—some commanding upwards of $3 million. But there are a smattering of Georgian style standalone homes constructed in the early 20th century. According to Neighborhoods.com data, current homes for sale range from $55,000 to $3,255,000, with a median sale price of $225,000.
The Museum District is one of Houston's greenest neighborhoods thanks to Hermann Park, an urban greenspace spanning 445 acres. The park is home to scenic trails along the Brays Bayou, multiple tranquil gardens, a golf course, and the iconic Sam Houston monument overlooking a serene reflection pool. Residents can hike, bike, and jog, picnic, paddle boat on McGovern Lake, and ride a train that encircles the park.
Hermann Park also encompasses the Miller Outdoor Theater. Locals lie blankets on the lawn and watch movies, live performances, and concerts under the stars. Bring a picnic or purchase refreshments from the concession stand before a show. The Miller Outdoor Theater is a beloved community attraction and best of all, performances are always free.
The Houston Zoo, with over 2.5 million annual visitors, is the second most visited zoo in the United States. Animal lovers can stroll through the park’s 11 unique habitats from an African forest to the reptile and amphibian house, meeting upwards of 6,000 animals along the way. The zoo also hosts community programming like Halloween overnights, summer camps for kids, and Feast with the Beast—an annual celebration featuring concerts, animal encounters, and food from over 60 area restaurants.
The Museum District’s namesake comes from the area’s conglomeration of 19 museums, art galleries, and cultural venues. 10 museums (including the Contemporary Arts Museum and The Jung Center) are always free while the Houston Zoo is free the first Tuesday of the month from September to May in the afternoon; the Holocaust Museum is free on Sundays; and the Czech Center Museum is free on the last Monday of the month.
The remaining museums including the three most notable: The Children’s Museum, The Museum of Natural Science, and the Museum of Fine Arts are free on Thursdays. During free days and summers, the museums can get crowded with tourists so residents have the option of purchasing memberships and enjoying the exhibitions year-round.
Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research is a special collections branch of the Houston Public Library system with over 15,000 family histories, 100,000 research volumes, census, immigration, and military records, and a large number of international resources. The library also hosts a lecture series led by local historians and genealogists and offers family tree building workshops.
Three schools serving the neighborhood—Roberts Elementary School, Poe Elementary School (a magnet school with a fine arts focus), and Lanier Middle School (a gifted and talented school that’s technically in adjacent Montrose—have either 9 or 10 ratings on GreatSchools. Other schools include MacGregor Elementary School (a music and science magnet elementary school), Cullen Middle School, Lamar High School, and the private Montessori school Post Oak High.
The Museum District is highly walkable. Since the museums are grouped into four different pedestrian zones, it’s easy to walk from one to another. The neighborhood is also along the 13-mile red line of the Metrorail transit system that quickly and conveniently connects to Downtown and the Medical District. And Houston BCycle has bikeshare stations spread out around the area for bike commuters and leisure riders.
Restaurants, Bars, and Coffee Shops
After a busy morning touring museums, locals lunch at the colorful Barnaby’s Cafe or neighboring Dak and Bop for crispy Korean fried chicken. Residents like Lucille’s for refined Southern cuisine like signature chili biscuits, cornmeal crusted fried green tomatoes, or Sunday brunch with live music. Bodegas Taco Shop is the neighborhood happy hour hangout with a spacious patio for after-work margaritas and Tex-Mex. For dinner, Monarch, located in the luxurious Hotel ZaZa, is the Museum District’s premier fine dining destination. Dine at tables draped with white tablecloths or on the intimate terrace.