Houston, there’s no problem here!
From the iconic Houston space research center to the highly rated Children’s Museum of Houston, Texas’ most populous city holds its own in more ways than one. If you are on a visit to the city, be assured that you would always have much more on your plate than you can handle.
Don’t believe us? Check out this list of the best things to do in Houston, Texas!
CityPASS allows you to save money on multiple top attractions which are carefully hand-picked so that you’re not missing out on the city’s best sights (like the Space Center Houston and the Downtown Aquarium). The pass gives you entrance to five attractions and allows you to skip ticket lines. Purchase CityPASS to save 47% on admission pp - so you not only save time but money too.
Things to do with kids in Houston
Home to multiple sea lions, giraffes, elephants, rhinos and other exotic animals, the Houston Zoo is the perfect hangout place for your kids. Other offerings such as a summer camp, a children’s zoo and an aquarium holding over 2,000 individual fresh and saltwater fish make this place a favorite among the local population too.
What’s more – the authorities also have a provision to host parties and events inside the zoo premises. With a maximum capacity of over 2,500 guests, the Houston zoo is the perfect setting for an unforgettable celebration.
Buy your tickets online to avoid the troublesome queues. Opening hours: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Last entry is at 6 p.m. The Houston Zoo is open seven days a week, 364 days a year. Closed on Christmas Day. It is closed early on Christmas eve, and closed during the day on Thanksgiving Day.
Houston CityPASS: 5 Top Attractions at up to 47% Off
If you are bringing the kids around, why not grab the Houston cityPASS, where you save 47% on a ticket which gives you access to 5 attractions:
Space Center Houston
Houston Museum of Natural Science
Houston Zoo OR Museum of Fine Arts
Children’s Museum of Houston OR Kemah Boardwalk All-day Ride Pass.
Price: From 62 USD
The Escape Game is a place where you and your team come together to find clues and overcome challenges to complete a mission within 60 minutes. Want to escape? You’ve got to put in the best teamwork, gather your wits and make sure your communication is at its peak. It might be tough for some but it’s also a memory that will keep you talking for years to come. With over 28,000 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor, you’ve got to try this adventure to believe it.
This paragraph is sponsored by The Escape Game.
The Escape Game Houston
Address: 794 Sorella Court, Suite 127, Houston, TX 77024
Website: The Escape Game Houston
Opening hours: 8am - 11.30pm (daily)
Price: from 33.99 USD
Ranked among the best children’s museums in the country, the Children’s Museum of Houston is a top destination among the children and adults alike. After all, a little fun never hurts anyone! With exhibits such as classroom curriculum and home school day on offer, you can be sure that your kid leaves the place a bit wiser and much smarter. The museum remains closed on Mondays. With a host of events taking place almost every alternate week, you would be better served if you call them up and plan your visit accordingly.
Children’s Museum of Houston
Address: 1500 Binz St, Houston, TX 77004, USA
Opening Hours: Monday: Closed Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am to 6 pm Sunday: 12 pm to 6 pm Thursday: 10 am to 8 pm
Admission: $12 USD per person (all ages), to enter the Museum, your group must include a child
Website: Children’s Museum of Houston
Children's Museum of Houston Admission
Duration: 1 to 10 hours
Want to show your kids how does it feel to literally reach out to the stars? Here’s your chance! One of the biggest tourist attractions in the city, the Space Center Houston is where everyone heads to get their dose of adventure. This place gives a chance to the kids to come closer to their dreams. Show them how NASA is changing the world, how it feels to fly a plane and much more right here!
Space Center Houston
Address: 1601 NASA Parkway, Houston, TX, USA 77058
Admission: From $29.95 USD (Adult)
Opening Hours: 10 am to 6 pm (Hours are subjected to change depending on season, refer to their website for the full list of opening hours).
Website: Space Center Houston
Don’t miss on anything with this 6-hour tour. Take a tram ride to the International Space Station Assembly Building while being accompanied by a live guide that will field all your queries
Don’t hesitate! Grab your tickets now.
Houston: City Tour and NASA Space Center Admission Ticket
Duration: 6 hour
5. See the world from the top of San Jacinto Monument and Museum
If you are a history lover, this is the place you would want to visit. Though not a place which remains brimming with people, the San Jacinto monument is nothing less than iconic. A $4 elevator ride takes you to the top of the monument from where the downtown, west, east and north parts of the Houston ship canal are visible. The museum on the inside of the monument makes the visitors’ experience even better and worth every penny spent. Don’t forget to see the battleship Texas right across the street!
San Jacinto Battle Museum
Address: 1 Monument Cir, La Porte, TX 77571, USA
Opening Hours: 9 am to 6 pm
Website: San Jacinto Museum
Things to do in Houston at night
6. Taste the best pies in the town at the House of Pies
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Have some late night cravings? House of Pies is the place to be! Situated at the Westheimer road, the house of pies is essentially divided into two parts, a pastry shop and an all-night diner. The crowd at this place can be extremely varied, from an off-duty cop to a delivery truck driver. They have a pie for all the taste buds! Some of their most famous offerings include class fruit favorites, multi layered Bayou Goo, sugar pastries and more! They also run a small day long menu. Visit this place for a courteous staff and some of the best pies in Texas!
7. Head towards Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar
Visitors swear by the piano shows at this place. Providing enough space for the guests to stand, dance and mingle, the Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar is ‘THE’ party place in the town. The artists humbly accept most of the song recommendations from the guests. So if a song is running in your mind, they would gladly bring it on the stage for you. P.S: Make a prior reservation to avoid disappointment!
Also See: 6 Best Piano bars in Houston, Texas
8. Love live music? McGonigel’s Mucky Duck offers the best of it
This place has been winning over the hearts of the locals and visitors alike since the 90s. Mucky Duck is one of the best known places in Houston for scrumptious food, high quality beer and great music. There is no bad seat in the house for a music performance. If you are in a mood for some authentic Irish music, ‘the Duck’ is the place to be.
9. Dance it out at the Whiskey River
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Whiskey River is just the ideal place to unwind yourself by dancing your heart out. They also have a bull ride on offer, so if you are in a mood to take on your friends, this is the ideal spot for you! A great crowd and an extremely helpful staff make Whiskey River one of the best party spots in the town.
P.S. Closed on Monday and Tuesday!
10. A rising star in Houston’ night life – Axelrad Beer garden
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
This ‘has it all’ place is fast becoming a rave among the locals in Houston. Equipped with a humongous outdoor area, a shop serving delicious pizza, live bands, hammock gardens, huge projection screen and more, the Axelrad beer garden justifies its high billing with ease. And did we mention – they also allow dogs! Now tell us this isn’t the place you want to go right now!
11. Head to Big Easy Social and Pleasure club for great company and awesome music
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
A lot of space, lively music and easy going interiors are some of the hallmarks of the Big Easy. With top bands performing every other day, this place is never short of visitors. If you are looking to catch up on the best live blues in Houston, this is where you should be. Name the best known Texas blues artists, and they have performed their gig here. Enough said!
Read More: Top things to do in Houston as a Teenager
Places to relish art and culture in Houston
First things first – It’s free! Boasting of an impressive assembly of sculptures, mixed media and video installations, the Contemporary arts museum is designed to spellbind its visitors. The exhibits are changed from time to time so a repeat visit to this place is always a good idea. Apart from the exhibits, the museum also hosts a variety of monthly events to keep the visitors engaged. This spacious and welcoming museum is a perfect stopover to spend some time on a lazy afternoon.
Houston Nine-Day CityPASS With Space Center, Downtown Aquarium
Duration: 30 days
The Mullet is locally known as the Mecca of Graffiti. Works of renowned mural artist, Daniel ‘Weah’ Anguilu can be easily located at this place. Open to public on most days, the Mullet is also home to an overspray art supply which sells a huge variety of paints and other art works. At any time of the day, you can see a number of street artists honing their skills. They may look menacing, but most of them are extremely warm and welcoming. Don’t be afraid to click a picture and savor the memory.
Houston: Mural Tour by Electric Cart
Duration: 1.5 hour
14. Enjoy the breathtaking architecture of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
One of the most remarkable places in Houston, this Hindu temple is known to offer an unforgettable experience to it visitors. An in-house cafeteria serves authentic Indian food and piping hot tea. The marble carvings, all handmade, are beautiful enough to be gazed at for hours. This place is open for cameras as well, so don’t forget to take your best shot with this exquisite temple forming the backdrop. A huge parking space and free entry makes it an even more attractive destination for the visitors. This gorgeous temple sees people from all faiths paying visits throughout the week.
15. The Art Car Museum – It’s quirky, it’s unique, it’s fun
This art car museum may throw in a few surprises if you are expecting a vintage car collection. Their exhibits include a Vapirilla car which is made using stainless steel panels! They change the exhibits every 3-4 months to keep the visitors coming back for more. One of the major attractions is the annual art car parade at the Allen Parkway which is attended by thousands. This free to enter museum also offers a couple of video setups with multiple screens. Also on display are the hand drawings and certain photos about how the car was actually planned and built. This can be a great place to bring your kids closer to cars.
16. Love flying? Take a tour of the 1940 Air Terminal Museum
This is a place to relive Houston’s aviation history. The airliner collectible show at the museum is a great crowd puller. The museum is housed in a 1940s air terminal building which is preserved well enough to withstand the pressures of time. A $5 admission fee for the adults is worth every penny for the nostalgic experience this place offers. The tour guides are extremely knowledgeable and friendly, making your visit extremely memorable. With hundreds of unique exhibits on offer, this place can’t be missed.
A fun day out in Houston
17. Get the fun going with a visit to Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
One of the most exciting places to visit in Houston, the Livestock show and rodeo offers a host of activities under one roof. From bull riding and steer wrestling to cowboy activities and food tents, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is nothing short of a carnival. They also have ongoing musical concerts, so you won’t have any dearth of choices. A rodeo visitor guide should be helpful for you to find your way around. They also house a petting zoo, exciting games, adventure rides, bungee jump and many delicious food options. Don’t forget to watch their pigs and camel races!
Stunningly beautiful is the most appropriate phrase to define this place. Fun fact: The well known Hollywood actress Gene Tierney Lee was buried at this cemetery. This place is also home to a number of other historical graves. This is one of the most serene cemeteries you would ever visit. Ironically, this is one of the most peaceful places in the city (not in a spooky way!). Try to choose a cool day to visit this place since you may need to walk quite a bit if you plan to explore the cemetery.
19. See the giant President heads at the David Adickes Sculpturworx Studio
20 feet tall gigantic sculptures of heads of US presidents await you at the David Adickes Studio. This extraordinary place wasn’t internationally designed for visitors, but has turned into a major attraction in the city over the years. Some of the other masterpieces include the magnificent Beatles band sculptures and a huge yesteryears telephone sitting pretty on the roof.
UPDATE 14/04/16: The Presidents’s and Beatles statues have been relocated behind a fence on Nance Street. There should be a new location for them to be displayed again soon. The previous given location is no longer valid.
20. Catch an event at the Miller Outdoor Theatre
Free entertainment and a perfect outdoor setting, this is what the Miller Outdoor theatre offers you. This theatre is known to host some of the highest billing performances in the city. Apart from the special performances, this place also hosts a number of free shows. You are free to bring your own lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the lawn setting and make your experience worthwhile.
21. Roll on at the Dairy Ashford Roller Rink
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Put on the skates and shake your legs to the tunes of the DJ! A $10 charge for skating is light on the pocket and keeps the visitors coming in throughout the entire week. With a wide variety of food and drinks on offer, this is a perfect outing place in the city.
Interesting places to visit in Houston
22. Rothko Chapel
One of the warmest (not the temperature) places in the city; the Rothko Chapel has gradually emerged as the center of art in the city of Houston. The interiors of the building are filled with some of the most amazing pieces of modern art you would ever come across. This Octagonal shaped building is visited by people of all faith, art lovers, historians, along with a host of casual travelers. They also hold regular yoga and meditation sessions. So if you are planning a visit anytime soon, do check out the schedule from their website. A rejuvenating experience awaits you at Rothko!
23. Menil Collection
One of the most well renowned private art collections in the entire country, the Menil collection boasts of close to 17,000 sculptures, photographs, paintings and hard to find books. Most of the work on display belongs to the Dominique de Menil and John de Menil, the founders of the collection. Some of the major attractions on display include pop art collection from Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Rauschenberg. The museum is open from Wednesdays to Sunday between 11 am and 7 pm. There is no admission fee for the public (If that’s what you were waiting to hear all along!).
24. Mecom Fountain
One of the most well-known landmarks in Houston, the Mecom Fountain occupies the center of the roundabout where the Main Street and Montrose Boulevard meet. Amidst the heavy traffic and puzzled faces of the drivers on the main street, this fountain acts as the perfect calming influence in the area. The fountain stands as the major attraction of one of the most visited public parks in the country, the Hermann Park. Located beside the Texas Medical Center, this fountain is just the perfect place to bring someone whom you hold special.
25. Discovery Green
If you are in Houston and you got time to kill, head down to the Discovery Green. Located in Downtown Houston, the Discovery Green is a public urban park which houses a lake, multiple bandstands for various public performances, a well maintained children’s area, two dog runs and much more. Ever since its inception in the year 2008, the Discovery Green has been one of the favorite chilling-out spots for the locals in the city. Some of the special attractions for the kids include a splash pad and an ice skating rink. With live music, view of a beautiful lake and plenty of people around, the Discovery Green is not a place to be missed.
Try to plan your visit during a festival to be bowled over by the extravagant decorations!
26. Hermann Park
Hermann Park is the closest you can get to nature while being in Houston. Housing the Houston zoo, a golf course, Houston museum of Natural Science and the Miller Outdoor Theater, the Hermann Park remains a hot favorite destination for a day out in Houston among the locals and visitors alike. With free admission, the park is brimming with visitors from all age groups all day long. You can also try your hand (or legs!) at the pedal boats on offer inside the park. They run from Friday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. The Park is open all week long from 6 am to 11 pm. With multiple free parking spots available, you won’t find any excuse for skipping a visit to the Hermann Park!
With so much going on in the streets of Houston all day long, it is hard to imagine a world underground! The secretive (not so much!) underground tunnel system in Houston is often overlooked due to the multiple attractions the city offers above the ground level. This hard to find tunnel system connects many well-known offices, restaurants, banks and other significant institutes in the city. Additionally, you would also find a number of eateries, plazas and shops selling interesting stuff. Though it may take some time for you to find it, it would be worth the effort.
If you are afraid of getting lost, get on a tour and have a local guide bring you around!
Houston Underground Tunnel Guided History and Walking Tour
Duration: 2 hours
28. Smither Park
A one of a kind place, the Smither Park is fast emerging as the center of art related activities in Houston. Meant for leisure time activities, the park houses an amphitheater, a meditation area, multiple swings, interesting sculptures and other art works created with the help of recycled material. The place is also given for use as venue for weddings, birthdays and other events. You can see the artists at work and can also lend them a helping hand (no guarantees they would take it!).
29. Holocaust museum
Opened in the year 1996, the Holocaust museum in Houston is the fourth largest of its kind in the country. It was primarily set up to make the people aware regarding the injustice served out to the Jews during the Holocaust. The museum aims to share with people the lessons learned from the series of events during the deadly Holocaust. The museum offers multiple education programs for teachers, students and academicians and offers some tools to the teachers to pass on their learning and spread the outcomes learnt during these sessions. The museum also houses the Boniuk Library which boasts of over 5,000 volumes related to the Holocaust, the history of Jews, events related to the World War 2 and much more.
While the general admission costs 12 USD, admission for students carrying a school/college ID is free.
30. National Museum of Funeral History
If you think that a ‘funeral museum’ would be depressing at best, you can’t be any further than the fact. The National Museum of Funeral History in Houston is one of its kinds. This museum boasts of some of the best and most authentic collection of funeral service items in the entire country. Some of the most interesting stories about the funeral services of celebrities and presidents can be heard at this museum. While children below 5 have free entry, the general fee of admission is 10 USD. The tickets are also available online on their website.
31. Bellaire's Evelyn's Park
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Evelyn’s Park is quite new and boasts a cafe called the Ivy & James. It’s in a pleasant corner of the park where you can grab a coffee or a meal. This park is all about nature, and while small, there’s slides and the little ones can dig for ‘treasure.’
There’s a wall that commemorates the donors and children have fun deciphering some of the messages on the bright structure decorated with butterflies and beetles. Large lawns provide lots of space for the children to run around and play. The park also offers a selection of events through the year.
Address: 4400 Bellaire Boulevard Bellaire, Texas 77401
Website: Evelyn’s Park Conservancy
32. Visit the horses at the Houston Police Department
Did you know that you can pay a visit to the horses at the Houston Police Department? They are open from Monday to Friday from 12 pm to 2 pm. Bigger parties and groups can call and arrange times as well. Visitors may enter the barn, which is a state of the art facility.
Visitors may take treats for the horses as well. Carrots and apples are accepted, but only two per horse. Leftovers are kept for the horses to eat later. You need to sign a waiver indemnity and enter at your own risk.
Houston Police Department Mounted Unit
Address: 5005 Little York Rd. Houston,Tx. 77016-2547
Website: Houston Mounted Police
Unusual/exclusive activities to do in Houston
33. Dive into the tallest pool in Texas... if you dare!
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Dubbed the ‘Houston sky pool’, this pool seems as though it’s levitating above the bustling downtown Houston traffic. That’s to say that this pool sits 40 stories (500 feet) above the ground, which might be appealing to some but frightening for others! So,if you’re an adventurous person, you most definitely have to put this pool in their travel bucket list! However, access to the pool is pretty limited as you’ll either have to be a resident of Market Square Tower or have a friend who lives there to grant you access. So while it might be a more exclusive activity, if you ever do step into the pool, you’ll surely be amazed!
Are you up for some adventure in Houston? This self-guided tour allows you to go on a scavenger hunt around the city for two hours. Simply click on a launch code and follow the clues to go around the city. This tour allows you to go at your own time and at your own pace! As you travel around the city, you will hear fun stories and insights about historical sites while uncovering delightful gems along the way. Any number of people can join as you’ll be guided on your own, via your mobile device. This is a fun and interactive way to discover Houston with your friends and family!
Self-Guided Houston Scavenger Hunt
Duration: 2 to 3 hours
If you like the idea of breezy rides, but you don’t want to drive, this Segway tour is perfect for you. Tour Houston on a Segway with your guide and get to see famous landmarks, historical places, and art displays. This tour takes place in the late evening after 6 p.m., so you get to enjoy cooler temperatures. The focus is on the theater district and the scenic downtown parks, so you’ll get a chance to glide past Sam Houston park and get incredible views of the Houston skyline, Market Square Park, Tranquility Park, Houston’s City Hall, and Herman Square. It’s perfect for small groups. Enjoy the sights of Houston on a Segway. The minimum age for this tour is 14 years old and pregnant women are not advised to join.
Houston City Lights Segway Tour
Duration: 2 hours
With Halloween just around the corner in October, this one-hour guided tour is a perfect opportunity to get your scares in downtown Houston. The tour starts at Hermann Park, the heart of the museum, hospital and university district. In the day, it is a bustling city town, but when the sun sets, the paranormal comes out to play. Edwards Burns and Doc Strangeway, two award-winning tour guides, will bring you around this beautiful city and behind the scenes to learn about the mysteries, interesting history, and spooky tales at each of the city’s attractions. You’ll spend an hour walking through the park, with your guides who will take you through archways and dark alleys and over wooden bridges to experience the other side of town. This family-friendly tour allows children to also join in the trip. This is a walking tour, so participants are encouraged to dress comfortably for walking.
Houston Ghost Tour
Duration: 60 minutes
When traveling to the bustling metropolis of Houston, consider staying in the neighborhoods of Greater Eastwood, Midtown, and Greenway-Upper Kirby to discover the best of this city.
Greater Eastwood is considered as one of the most historic areas in Houston. It boasts a ton of impressive architecture and is home to delicious modern and fusion food. Travelers will enjoy staying in suburban homes like townhouses or spacious bungalows ideal for families and groups. There are several parks for those who enjoy green spaces, as well as spacious sidewalks in every corner, making it a very walkable city.
Tourists or first-time travelers to Houston will have an easier time navigating the city from Midtown. It’s a district with a contemporary aesthetic, merging modern structures and Mid-Century architecture. Great for backpackers and solo travelers, this trendy neighborhood is also the heart of the city’s bustling nightlife scene, making it perfect for social butterflies.
Make your way to the charming neighborhood of Greenway-Upper Kirby. It’s a district perfect for travelers who appreciate greener spaces. This residential area is mainly filled with big townhouses and radiant penthouses, ideal for those traveling with families or large groups. One of the best family-friendly activities here is visiting Houston Museum of Science.
For a top-notch vacation in Houston, we recommend booking these amazing places to stay:
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You have no time to waste!
You don’t need to have deep pockets to make your stay in Houston memorable. Just take this bucket list along and tick off as many items as you can, and you would end up seeing the best of what Houston has to offer. Go out and explore the H-town now!
Frequently asked questions about best things to do in Houston, Texas
1. What are the top attractions to visit in Houston?
Houston is a popular tourist destination in the US and it is boasting of many attractions, few of the best include Space Center Houston, NASA, Houston Zoo, and Houston Museum of Natural Science.
2. What are the best outdoor activities from Houston?
There are plenty of outdoor activities in Houston and one of the best outdoor things to do here is wildlife watching at the Houston Zoo, where you’ll learn many things about different animals as you explore the zoo. Other best outdoor activities include experiencing the city’s nightlife, listen to free music at Miller Outdoor Theatre, and see the city on top of San Jacinto Monument and Museum.
3. What are the best day trips from Houston?
If you’re done exploring Houston and want to get to know everything Texas has to offer, then you should go on a day trip. A few of the most famous day trips from Houston include Dallas, Denton, Austin, Galveston Island, and more.
4. What are the most popular things to do in Houston with kids?
Houston is boasting of many kid-friendly activities, which include a trip to the Children’s Museum of Houston, meeting animals at the Houston Zoo, and skating at the Dairy Ashford Roller Rink.
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