As the fourth-largest city in the nation, Houston is home to excellent dining, arts, hotels, shopping and nightlife. Yet there is a side of Houston that remains under the radar, where the eccentric, odd and offbeat thrive in and around downtown Houston. Here are just a few of the many quirky Houston attractions worth visiting.
Art Car Museum
With the largest number of art cars of any city it is no surprise that Houston is the “Art Car Capital”. The Art Car Museum is a private organization committed to providing an exhibition forum for local, national and international contemporary artists. The museum highlights art cars, other fine arts and artists that are seldom acknowledged by other artistic institutions. In addition, the museum drove the art car movement and precipitated Houston’s annual Art Car Parade. 140 Heights Blvd.
Beer Can House
John Milkovisch hated to throw anything away and after years of drinking beer the garage and attic were full of empty beer cans. In 1968, he decided that the cans would make a great siding for his house, and a legend in folk art was born. An estimated 50,000 cans embellish the Beer Can House. Pull-tabs hang as drapes on the front porch; wreaths of beer cans hang from the roof edges and beer can art beautify the lawn. Today the house is a folk art gallery owned by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. 222 Malone St.
Flower Man’s House
To Houstonians, Cleveland Turner is the “The Flower Man”. Featured in several scholarly articles, a documentary and on the internet, The Flower Man’s home and garden are one of the nation’s best examples of folk art. His brightly colored house peaks out from a shroud of dense vegetation. After spending 17 years homeless and battling alcoholism, Cleveland Turner had an inspirational vision of color and beauty. This epiphany motivated him to turn a modest row house in to one of Houston’s exemplars of outsider art. 2305 Francis St.
Orange Show Monument
A monumental work of handmade architecture, The Orange Show is a center that preserves and endorses a folk art environment. The 3,000 square foot outdoor monument is constructed of concrete, brick, steel and found objects. The maze-like design includes an oasis, wishing well, pond, stage, museum, gift shop and several upper decks. The Orange Show is a living work of art with vibrant programs that help people appreciate artistic experiences. 2402 Munger St.
Texas Junk Company
Featured in Lucky, Elle and every other publication in the city, Texas Junk Company is a warehouse of a store that has the largest collection of used cowboy boots, Texas memorabilia and vintage ephemera. For over 20 years, Robert Novotney’s store has been a well-known feature in the Montrose neighborhood. Be sure to call before planning a visit, the spot is only open Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and only accepts cash or checks. 215 Welch St.