An oil heiress and philanthropist named Ima Hogg, sometimes called the First Lady of Texas, gave the Museum of Fine Arts Houston quite a gift in 1966—her elegant, 28-room River Oaks mansion filled with one of the country's finest collections of American antiques, including furniture, paintings, silver, ceramics, and other decorative objects, some dating back to the Colonial era. The residence sits on 14 lush acres with formal, manicured gardens surrounded by native woodlands and trails; be sure to take time for a leisurely stroll through the peaceful grounds, especially if you're visiting during the spring.

Two guided tours are offered: an hour-long "Highlights" tour and a more intensive "Study" tour that lasts 90 minutes; tours begin every 15 minutes, and reservations are recommended. There's also a self-guided tour which does not require reservations.