5 Must Do Things near the Texas Medical Center

Courtesy of Texas Medical Center

In our Must Do Things Around Greater Houston series, we take a look at Houston’s vast array of communities, neighborhoods and destinations to bring you five fun, tasty, surprising and enticing reasons you should give each one a visit.

Just south of the Museum District, the Texas Medical Center is the largest medical complex in the world, hosting over 60 medical institutions and home to some of the brightest minds in medicine. The roughly two-square-mile district also rocks a prime location, with proximity to parks, restaurants, a college campus and more.

Here are our picks for 5 must-dos near the Texas Medical Center:

5 Must Do Things near the Texas Medical Center

  1. Stroll the grounds of Rice University – With 300 acres of beautiful, tree-lined campus to cover, Rice University is worth the visit, whether you’re catching a Rice Owls game or simply walking along the 2.92-mile Rice University Loop. Near the football stadium, James Turrell’s magnificent light and sound installation, Twilight Epiphany, is a must-see. The acoustically-engineered pyramidal structure is equipped with an LED light sequence that projects onto the roof and evokes the sun’s arc, with public performances available at sunrise and sunset Wednesday to Monday (arrive 10-15 minutes early to secure a seat). Click here for directions.
  2. Take down a giant slice at Two Guys Pizzeria – Those looking for a New York-style experience can find one at Two Guys Pizzeria. The neighborhood pizza joint dishes out slices larger than your head, in both classic cheese or with toppings from pepperoni and portobello to buffalo chicken and Hawaiian. Tack on cannoli or a slice of New York cheesecake for good measure. Click here for directions.
  3. Explore Hermann Park – Home to the picturesque Japanese and McGovern Centennial Gardens, the Miller Outdoor Theatre, and the Houston Zoo, this epic park is just a short jaunt from the Med Center. Speaking of the zoo, head there and you’ll find over 6,000 animals in natural habitat-style exhibits, including fan favorites like monkeys, elephants, and cheetahs. Young ones will love the petting zoo; and guests can also feed the giraffes at daily feedings, held at 11am and 2pm. Click here for directions.
  4. Discover the Houston Museum of Natural Science – There is plenty to uncover at this expansive Museum District gem, which sits at the edge of the Hermann Park roundabout. Catch a 3D show at the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre; fly through the universe at the Burke Baker Planetarium; marvel at spectacular live and preserved butterflies at the Cockrell Butterfly Center; and tour through a fascinating variety of exhibits covering the areas of astronomy, space science, Native American culture, paleontology, and more. Tickets are $25 for adults, $16 for ages 3 to 11 (free for ages 2 and under); or check out Free Thursdays from 5pm to 8pm. Click here for directions.
  5. Treat yourself to late-night doughnuts – Located on Old Spanish Trail, Glazed is a 24-hour doughnut café and a jewel of the Med Center. Head here for scratch-made doughnuts in flavors like Crème Brulee, Death by Chocolate, or Macon, a decadent house favorite melding savory bacon with a sweet maple glaze. Those looking for something more can dig into a Glazed Breakfast Sandwich, in which a split glazed doughnut acts as the bun for your bacon, egg, and cheese. Click here for directions.
James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” at Rice University | Photo courtesy of Rice University

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Brooke Viggiano is a food and lifestyle writer residing in Houston. When she's not contributing to publications like 365 Things to Do in Houston, Thrillist Houston and the Houston Press, she's on the hunt for the coolest happenings in the city. You can follow her musings on Twitter @BrookeViggiano .