Every day is free day at The Menil Collection, one of the reasons why it's so beloved in Houston. The other reasons? The serene Renzo Piano design, challenging exhibitions, oodles of artist and curator talks and subsidiary spaces like the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum and the Dan Flavin art installation. And a favorite among the stars – the Cy Twombly Gallery.
Every Thursday, admission to the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is 100 percent gratis. Of particular note are the MFAH's collections of Asian art (Korea, India, China, Japan and Indonesia each have their own domain); The Beck Collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masters; and contemporary Texas artists.
Also free all the time, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is known for keeping its edge with a mix of fresh young artists and regular events like parties, interactive exhibits and art reading groups.
There's something about dinosaurs that's always fascinating, so though most attractions at the Houston Museum of Natural Science have a separate admission fee, the free access to the permanent collection on Tuesdays after 2 p.m. always has something that's fun to see. RAWR!
After work on Thursdays, skip McDonald's and the park and head to the Children's Museum of Houston where entrance after 5 p.m. is complimentary, as are the interactive storytelling sessions and educational activities.
Every Thursday from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m., Holocaust Museum Houston is free to visitors. Permanent exhibitions and two art galleries are enhanced with special exhibitions scheduled throughout the year to further the museum's mission of educating students and the general public about the dangers of prejudice and hatred.
Don't forget the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston! It's always free, and wonderfully curated. Better yet, drop in at one of the brown bag gallery tours or contemporary salons.