The stranger, the better. If you’re looking for more nontraditional sights of the city, Houston has some oddball areas that beckon your need for entertainment. Beyond the usual pastimes, one may find various attractions from ornately-decorated cars in museums to dimly-lit caves with a soothing ambiance. Open your mind to the strange — you’ll soon learn that anything is possible in Houston!

By Zoe Judilla


Art Car Museum

Photo courtesy of Art Car Museum

The Art Car Museum, opened in 1998, is dedicated to displaying subversive work that transforms vehicles from factory-made commodities to statements of personal expression. With an emphasis on modern art’s ability to comment on popular culture, the museum fuses fine, folk, and public art to create their ornate and often dramatic displays. Houston hosts the largest number of art cars of any city, with local to international contributions spanning across various designs. Check out what the museum has to offer for your fix on nontraditional fine art.


Eclectic Menagerie Park

Photo courtesy of Atlas Obscura

As you cruise down Highway 288, you’ll come across a plethora of giant sculptures scattered in front of the Texas Pipe and Supply Company. From King Kongs to colorful cows, the 26 installations created by artist Ron Lee were made using the company’s leftover equipment at his on-site workshop. The varied “scrap art” placed throughout the field is truly weird and wonderful, and although you can’t actually go on the property to see them up close, they’re quite the sight for a quick drive-by.


Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern

Photo courtesy of Visit Houston

The 87,500 sq. ft. cistern was one of Houston’s first underground reservoirs before it was decommissioned due to leaks in 2007. Instead of demolishing it, the developers of Buffalo Bayou Park decided it would be a unique space for visitors to foster peaceful isolation. While visitors can regularly tour the cistern, the park occasionally hosts special events or art installations within the space to make the most of its uniquely ominous nature.


The National Museum of Funeral History

Photo courtesy of Slate

Since 1992, the National Museum of Funeral History’s primary goal has been to “educate the public and preserve the heritage of death care.” With a wide range of artifacts including elaborate coffins, hearses, and even the actual memorial pamphlets of deceased presidents and other well-known figures of history, there’s much to discover about the evolution of death-handling over the years. 


Beer Can House

Photo courtesy of The L.A. Times

Comprised of over 50,000 beer cans and built upon for over 18 years, John Milkovisch’s project was created for both decorative and practical reasons to improve his and his wife’s home. Now, the glittering building is a staple of Houston oddities, with many stopping by to gaze at Milkovisch’s impressive feat.


Aurora Picture Show

Photo courtesy of Arts & Culture Texas

The non-profit media arts center showcases artist-made, non-commercial film and video, with a dedication to “expanding the cinematic experience and promoting the understanding and appreciation of moving image art.” Originally established in a former church building in 1998, the company relocated to its own art warehouse where visitors can watch screenings of unconventional films and discover the beauty of experimental cinema.


Smither Park

Photo courtesy of Paper City Magazine

The ever-growing creative space glimmers with elaborate mosaic work, featuring contributions from over 300 individuals. Celebrating sustainability and creativity, most of the art was created using recycled materials and done by both inexperienced and experienced artists in an effort to highlight Houston’s unique creative outlook. From sparkling walkways to tiger-ridden walls, the stunning space is one that will truly inspire you.

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