Founded by John and Dominique de Menil in 1986, the Menil Collection contains approximately 15,000 paintings, sculptures, photos and books, including works by Jackson Pollock, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol.  The museum, located near the University of St. Thomas, is open to the public and admission is free. 

Dubbed the Garage Mahal, the Art Car Museum is unlike anything you've ever imagined.  It's the only place you'll find the antennae and wing-cloaked Roachster or the Honda motorcycle that has been transformed into a shiny red rolling stiletto art car.

Downtown's new 12-acreDiscovery Green park has something going on all the time.  In the spring and fall, spend happy hour listening to local musicians perform in the amphitheater, pick up fresh produce at the Green Market on Sundays and, in the winter, enjoy ice skating on Kinder Lake. 

Miller Outdoor Theatre might be one of the best reasons to visit (and live in!) Houston.  Open from March through November, the venue hosts a range of performances including classical music, ballet, dance, film, Shakespeare and more.  The theater, set inside Hermann Park, also allows patrons to BYOB (no glass containers, please!), so pack a picnic and settle in for the show.

Visit T'afia any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening for free appetizers with the purchase of a cocktail. Dine on tasty dishes like chickpea fries and sliders while sipping blojitos and ratafias, T'afia's namesake cocktail.

Less than a year old, the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark is the creme de la creme of the grinding and boarding world.  The $2.2 million, state-of-the-art facility - thought to contain the largest cradle in the world - is located close to downtown, near Eleanor Tinsley Park.

Tucked on the west side of Memorial park is the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, a 155-acre nature sanctuary that educates visitors on how to protect native plants and animals in the city.  Walk the center's five miles of trails and visit the sanctuary's interactive exhibits free of charge. Dogs on leashes are welcome.

Designed by architect Philip Johnson more than 20 years ago, the Galleria-areaWater Wall offers a refreshing respite for visitors seeking a mid-afternoon break.  The 64-foot-tall fountain - built to look like a "horseshoe of running water" - sits among 1,118 oak trees at the base of the 64-story Williams Tower.

Set sail on a free, 90-minute tour of the Port of Houston.  While on board the 90-passenger boat, you'll learn about the history of the seaport and be able to watch ocean freighters and barges navigate the 50-mile channel.  The tour is free, but reservations are required.

Houston's Contemporary Arts Museum focuses on showing new work from national and international artists.  In addition to hosting exhibits, the CAMH also offers lectures, special programs and a stellar shop chock-full of unique books and gifts.

Dedicated to remembering victims of the Holocaust and honoring the survivors, the Holocaust Museum Houston works to educate future generations about the dangers of hate and prejudice.  Check out the education center and the permanent exhibit, Bearing Witness: A Community Remembers, which focuses on stories of Holocaust survivors living in the Houston area.

See the work of local and national artists who focus on using materials like fiber, metal, glass, clay and wood at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.  Located next door to Lawndale Art Center, the HCCC has innovative exhibits and unique gifts in the Asher Gallery.  Admission is always free.

Located in the Museum District, the Lawndale Art Center is a staple of Houston's art scene.  Four galleries are contained in the art deco structure, which serves as a backdrop for annually changing exhibits and events like Dia de los Muertos and The Big Show.

Situated inside downtown's Sam Houston Park, the Heritage Society Museum is the city's only interactive, outdoor museum. The site features structures dating back to the 1820s, including a 4th-ward cottage and a Greek revival house build for Rice University founder William Marsh Rice.  The museum itself is free, but guided tours are $6.

Set in Houston's Third Ward, Project Row Houses is a nonprofit art initiative aimed at creating a positive place for local artists to work.  Some of the shotgun-style houses are dedicated to art and photography, while others are devoted to the literary and performing arts.

Rothko Chapel is a serene place to meditate in the middle of Houston's Museum District.  Founded by John and Dominque de Menil (of Menil Collection fame), Rothko is a non-denominational chapel and exhibit space for modern art that draws thousands of visitors each year.

Tour the city with the help of a personal Houston Greeter.  The program, made up of local volunteers, provides two-to-four hour hosts that are able to show newcomers or visitors local attractions that might be of interest to them. The service is free, and METRORail provides free passes for visitors and greeters.

Seen as a symbol of friendship between the U.S. and Japan, the Japanese Gardens in Hermann Park provide a quiet place to sit, meditate and watch the Koi fish swimming in the pond.  Of course, it also makes a great backdrop for souvenir shots.  Main Street and Sunset Blvd.

By day, Caroline Collective offers a shared space for artists and writers to work free of charge.  CC provides free Wifi and hot coffee for visitors during the day and at night, the facility is used for ArtStorm events, craft nights and movie showings.