Each week, our My Top 5 series highlights a Houstonian who is shaping the culture of the city and making an out-sized impact on its character. In turn, each shares their own favorite things to do in Houston when not hard at work. This week, we’re very pleased to feature Dr. Melanie Johnson, president and CEO for the John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Dr. Melanie Johnson
- River Oaks Shopping Center – Houston is a shopping mecca and I must admit it’s one of my favorite ways to unwind. My go-to spot is the River Oaks Shopping Center. Whether I’m window shopping, or on a mission, I do enjoy strolling the strip listening to the sidewalk classical music along the way. There’s always a thought-provoking movie playing at the classic River Oaks Movie Theatre. And a must-have after show treat are the delicate macaroons at Macarons by Patisse—the lavender and rose are my favorites. For foodies, check-out the occasional white tablecloth event at the quaint European-inspired Epicure Café, which includes a four-course meal with wine complete with flamenco dancers and salsa. If nothing else, be sure to sample their famous berry lemonade.
- McGovern Centennial Gardens – Winding down and finding time for a mindful moment is made easier with just a few steps across the street to the McGovern Centennial Gardens. The gardens are a respite and Sunday ritual for me and Marco Polo, our families’ beloved Shitzu-Chihuahua rescue. I try to make the time to meditate on the bench between the sculpture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. King’s mentor and inspiration Muhammed Gandhi. I’m always lifted up and inspired to make a difference.
- Miller Outdoor Theatre – Another family favorite of ours. We’ll grab a blanket and head for hippie hill where we can picnic with Marco Polo (we do love our fur baby) and all enjoy a great night of diverse cultural entertainment. All for free, too. This theater is indeed a feather in Houston’s cap.
- Cullen Sculpture Garden – The Cullen Sculpture Garden at nearby Museum of Fine Arts, Houston also offers moments of serenity. Auguste Rodin’s The Walking Man is my favorite.
- Cycling – My 22- and 17-year old sons and I love to take advantage of Houston B-Cycle cruising down through the Museum District, Medical Center, along Buffalo Bayou and home. Fresh cut hydrangeas are always welcome in my home and the flower shops are plentiful along Fannin Street.
About Dr. Melanie Johnson
Dr. Melanie Johnson is president and CEO for the John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science, also known as The Health Museum. She comes to The Health Museum as the first African-American woman to hold a senior position in the history of the Houston Museum District and, most recently, Dr. Johnson achieved national designation status for The Health Museum, as the only museum in the District that is a Smithsonian Affiliate. In her short tenure as CEO, Dr. Johnson has nearly doubled attendance and increased revenue by more than 30 percent. Prior to her arrival at The Health Museum, she served as the Director of Education for NASA’s Space Center Houston.