The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Performing and Visual Arts Venues

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Photo by Peter Aaron / Esto
The grand lobby of the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects feature walls of windows that overlook the Houston skyline.
Houston's performing and visual arts venues are among the most beautiful in the world. While theaters and museums have different purposes, both types of buildings usually have grand entrances, large airy lobbies and sweeping open spaces. When well-designed, as the 10 venues that made our Rest of the Best list certainly are, the buildings are as beautiful as the art they house.

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The Houston Ballet Center for Dance designed by Gensler has an eyecatching skywalk.
10. Houston Ballet Center for Dance
601 Preston
The newest venue on our list is the Houston Ballet Center for Dance. The six-story building cost more than $46 million (which was some $6 million under budget) and houses a small theater, nine double-height dance studios, rehearsal space and offices for the Houston Ballet. The dance studios in the black granite building are visible from the hallways that snake above them. Downtown commuters often catch glimpses of the dancers and students through the wall-to-wall windows that line the center's north side. We love the building's silver skywalk that connects the center with the Wortham Theater Center that sits just across the street from it. The center would rank higher on our list if it weren't for the fact that only a small section of the center is used for actual performances.

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Photo by J.W. Sherman
Miller Outdoor Theatre, designed by Eugene Werlin and Associates, is the site of more than 100 concerts, plays, operas, ballets, film screenings and arts festivals every year.
9. Miller Outdoor Theatre
6000 Hermann Park Dr.

Miller Outdoor Theatre is the only venue on our list that comes with its own grass covered hill. An amphitheater designed by William Ward Watkin was built on the site in 1922. The hill was added in 1948 with dirt collected from the excavation of nearby Fannin Street. The current facility, designed by Eugene Werlin and Associates, was built in 1968 and refurbished in 1996. The venue is admittedly a bit worn and faded, but the crowds that flock to it every year don't seem to mind.

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Photo by Ed Schipul
Holocaust Museum Houston was designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates.
8. Holocaust Museum Houston
5401 Caroline

Opened in 1996, Holocaust Museum Houston has two goals. One, to chronicle the atrocities Jews and others suffered under the Nazi regime during WWII. And two, to remind visitors that unchecked hatred, prejudice and violence can again lead to a similar situation. Designed by Ralph Appelbaum, the museum is topped by a dark gray cylinder shape, echoing the chimneys of the crematorias used to burn the bodies of Holocaust victims. Six steel columns, recalling the six million Jews that were killed during the Holocaust, flank the front of the museum while steel trestles, reminiscent of the railroad tracks on which millions were transported to concentration camps, are nearby. The museum includes a theater, galleries, library and other multi-use spaces.

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7. Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston
4800 Calhoun

The steel-and-glass museum, located on the campus of the University of Houston, houses several contemporary art exhibits a year including a recent 20-year Tony Feher retrospective . Renovations to the building were completed just last year and although only a small amount of square footage was added, the venue seemed completely transformed. Now able to accommodate a variety of functions, the museum's reconfigured space includes a media gallery and artist studio.

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