Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas): This world-class collection of modern sculpture is in the downtown Dallas Arts District. Ray Nasher and his wife, Patsy, spent 4 decades assembling what has been called the finest private collection in the world (it includes superlative works by Miró, David Smith, Brancu?i, Moore, Giacometti, Picasso, Matisse, Calder, and many more). Designed by Renzo Piano, it has a gorgeous open-air sculpture garden with landscape design by Peter Walker.
Meadows Museum of Art (Dallas): In a building with plenty of room to show off the greatest collection of Spanish masters outside Spain, the Meadows was built by a Dallas oilman fascinated by Spanish art. The museum proudly displays a wealth of works by Velázquez, Goya, Ribera, Murillo, Zurbarán -- just about all the biggies from Spain's golden era as well as the 20th-century masters Picasso, Dalí, and Miró.
Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth): Probably the country's finest small museum, this masterwork by Louis Kahn is a joyous celebration of architecture and a splendid collection of art to boot. Kahn's graceful building, a wonder of technology and natural light, is now a chapter in architectural studies worldwide. The small permanent collection ranges from prehistoric Asian and pre-Columbian pieces to European old masters, Impressionists, and modern geniuses. The Kimbell also gets some of the world's most important traveling shows.
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Fort Worth): In a modernist building designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, the Modern -- actually the oldest art museum in Texas -- is the nation's second largest dedicated to contemporary and modern art. The permanent collection includes works by Picasso, Rothko, Warhol, Rauschenberg, and Pollock.
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art (Fort Worth): This museum has one of the finest collections of Western and American art in the country, including the most complete group of works by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell, two behemoths of Western art. It also possesses a great photography collection and important paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe and others.
Menil Collection (Houston): One of the great private collections of the world, it could very well have ended up in Paris or New York, but was graciously bestowed by the collectors on their adopted city. To experience the Menil is pure delight; very little comes between the viewer and the art, which includes works by many of the 20th-century masters, classical works from the ancients, and tribal art from around the world.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston): With the addition of the Audrey Jones Beck Building, this museum has doubled its exhibition space and has put its collection of Impressionist and baroque art in the best possible light. The museum has several satellite facilities and attracts major touring exhibitions.
The Center for the Arts & Sciences (Brazosport): The Center is one of those rare entities that does a lot of things exceptionally well, including a terrific natural history museum, a delightful small planetarium, an attractive art gallery, two theaters for a variety of performing arts events, and a nature trail.
San Antonio Museum of Art (San Antonio): Almost as impressive for its architecture as for its holdings, this museum combines several castlelike buildings of the 1904 Lone Star Brewery. The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art is the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the United States.
Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum (San Antonio): A beautiful collection beautifully located and beautifully displayed. This small museum is a delight to visit, especially for fans of modern art, who will devour its collection of works by the modern masters.
McDonald Observatory (northwest of Fort Davis): McDonald Observatory is considered one of the world's best astronomical research facilities. Twice a day visitors can glimpse sunspots, flares, and other solar activity. Nighttime "Star Parties" are held 3 evenings a week, during which visitors can view constellations and celestial objects through the observatory's high-powered telescopes.
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (Canyon): The largest history museum in Texas, this excellent museum is anything but a dusty collection of spurs and bits. Well thought out, engaging, and informative, it is largely hands-on -- you can sit in a Ford Mustang and listen to Buddy Holly tunes or try out a sidesaddle. There are also comprehensive exhibits on the region's history in terms of petroleum, art, transportation, Western heritage, and paleontology/geology.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.