Let’s face it, the holidays can be great, but they can also be stressful. For many LGBTQ people, family time is not always the most relaxing. Sometimes you need to just get away and with an election year on the horizon quiet places will be at a premium. Sure, you could always sit in your empty car in the Target parking lot, or you can choose one of these peaceful Htown places to collect your thoughts and calm your nerves before you head back to the fam.
The Menil Collection offers free entry and one of the best galleries of art exhibits in the world. Wander around the open space and let the quiet wash over you. Or perhaps just sit outside and admire the beautiful lawn. Most of the year you will find Houstonians enjoying their tropical climate on a blanket under a giant Live Oak tree. Breathe in. Breathe out.
If you’re tired of hanging with your family, why not learn more about them instead? The Houston Public Library system has one of the foremost collections on genealogical information in the world at the Clayton Library located in the museum district. Ancestry scholars from all over travel to this location specifically to learn more about their family tree. Enjoy the quiet study rooms and learn about long lost family secrets. When you return home you’ll have something new to talk about.
The great thing about this Vietnamese Buddhist Temple located in Chinatown is that Quan Am, the goddess of mercy is there to greet you when you enter. The serene atmosphere is a welcoming change to the hustle and bustle of the holidays. The only rules here are the dress code with an emphasis on modesty. Take a few coins to toss in the wishing well. Favorite holiday wishes are “Calgon, take me away” and “Please make it be over.”
Rice University is arguably one of the most beautiful campuses in America and it is right in the middle of Houston. It’s main library is the Fondren Library and it is a great place for one to visit, read a book and enjoy the quiet noise of students cramming for midterms. The library is open to visitors during specific hours and if sitting quietly is not your thing the running path around the university offers another alternative to clear your head. If you’re there during twilight or dusk hours you should head over to the Turrell Skyspace for an equally peaceful light experience.
Nothing is ever quite as peaceful as a Japanese Garden. Major cities all over have made the investment of developing these spaces designed to thrive in every season. So what if you’re in Houston and there are only two seasons, they are beautiful anyway. This garden, nestled in Hermann Park is a popular, but quiet place for silent reflection. The chilly November weather is not too unbearable and the crisp air is good for the lungs. Listen to the gentle dunking of the water pumps while you sit under one of the beautiful bonsai trees.
And if a quiet place to sit isn’t how you like to unwind after a day of family fun then maybe get a drink. There are plenty of bars in Houston. They may not be quiet, but they have vodka, and sometimes that is all you need.