Weird and Unique Houston
Why should you want a tour of Houston? What makes Houston stand out from all other cities? What will put a smile on your face and cause you to laugh? Of what will you want to take photos? This 5-hour tour goes through many parts of the city (the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Wards, Sawyer Heights, Houston Heights, the Rice Military District, the Galleria area, and beyond) and into many different ethnic areas (African American, Hispanic, White).
The tour is 5 hours. It normally begins at 9:00 AM and ends at 2:00 PM. However, we can be flexible with the scheduling. We try to schedule such tours between the rush hours. The tour can be shortened upon request; remember one has to delete sites with a shortened tour.
The tours begin at the Houston Visitors Center in downtown. Please click here to be connected to the address and parking information.
It includes stopping, getting out, and seeing:
- The Fifth War Jam (a blown open old wooden home that is now an outdoor performance hall in a park).
- The Listening Vessels. These two cement cylinders set about 200 feet apart will project your voice from one to the other when you talk directly into them. Bring a friend to carry-on a conversation.
- Monday through Friday, we go to a 60th floor observation deck in the 75-story tall JP Morgan Chase Tower.
- Virtuoso. This 4-story statue of a cello player with 3 accompanists is one of the most popular statues in downtown.
- The water bubble (when it works) in Buffalo Bayou in downtown. Is there an underwater sea creature there? No!
- The Donnellan Crypt. Four people were buried here between 1849 and 1867 underneath present-day downtown before they were removed in December 1901.
- A metal mariachi player.
- An art cow on a front lawn.
- An art cow on a rooftop.
- An Orange Crush and beer can statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe with what appears to be Elvis at her feet.
- “Our United Community” mural. It is painted on the side of a church wall. Children from MECA originally painted this in 1985. It is approximately 2 stories high and 30 feet long.
- David Adickes’s former Sculpturworx studio to see over thirty 2-story tall statues of the presidents of the United States and 4-story tall statues of The Beatles.
- Wednesday through Sunday, we go to the Art Car Museum when an exhibition is on display or to Mark Bradford’s art car studio on Monday and Tuesday and on days when the Art Car Museum is closed for setups.
- The Gargoyle and Frog House. With gargoyles at the top and massive frogs at the base, and car mufflers with arms and hands extended reaching for help, this home will catch your attention.
- The Beer Can House. John Milkovisch and his wife Mary (and probably some friends) lined their unique house in beer cans between 1968 and 1987. Over 50,000 beer cans cover the home, garage, planters, mailbox, gates, fences, and more.
- The 64-foot tall Gerald D. Hines Waterwall. Built in 1983, the Waterwall’s 11,000 gallons of recyclable water cascade down the interior and exterior semi-circular walls each minute. It is the most photographed area in Houston.
- Numerous topiaries shaped like a variety of animals.
- Over one dozen monsters and creatures made of iron with images of a giant tarantula, King Kong, Snoopy, a dinosaur, hippopotamus, stealth fighter, roadrunner, art cows on a palette, and far more.
- A two-story statue of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus on the front lawn of a residential house.
- A 4-foot marble face of Jesus that appears to move in all directions.
- A unique cemetery.
- The Orange Show Monument and Smither Park. Jeff D. McKissack singlehandedly built The Orange Show between 1956 and 1979. It honors oranges. It is an outdoor museum with a maze of halls made of cinder blocks and tractor seats and wheels. It is only open on Sunday and Saturday from 12:00 to 5:00 PM, but one can easily see it from the outside on any day. Smither Park is a work in progress with unique spaces and pathways. When finished, it will have a grotto, meditation garden, 400- foot memory wall, a serpentine tunnel, interactive tower, and a long-sweep of swings.
- Field of Vision Park. Bert Long’s collection of pedestals with eyeballs on them. A people without a vision have no future.
- Cleveland Turner’s (The Flower Man) house. Remember the television show “Sanford and Son?” Cleveland has been collecting odds and ends for decades. This house may remind you of it.
- Lunch at a former whorehouse, grocery store (closed on Sunday), gas station (closed on Sunday) or a burger shack that is located virtually under a freeway. What appeals to you?