Top 14 Things Houston Is Famous For - Updated 2024

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Texas Houston, with over 2.2 million residents, there’s no place quite like it! Being the fourth largest city in the country, Houston features the best of southern charm, world-class culture, and international appeal. This diverse city is home to several thriving businesses, magnificent space exploration centers, amazing museums, musical centers, and of course, award-winning cuisines. The outdoor life in this unique city is also a major talking point as Houston is blessed with more than enough green spaces with parks, swimming pools, golf courses, sports centers, and recreational places. Also blessed with an all-year favorable temperature condition, ‘Space City’ as it is commonly referred to as a powerhouse metropolitan city in the country. So, if you’re considering a visit, book a stay at the best hotels and lofts for rent. In the meantime, scroll down for a list of the top things Houston is famous for.

1. Toyota Center

Toyota Center Game 7 2018 playoffs
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hhk1989 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’re a big fan of NBA’s Houston Rockets, chances are you’ve seen this place on your TV! Great for date nights, this is definitely where you should go, especially if you and your significant other are huge sport fans. Toyota Center is an indoor arena in downtown Houston and is home to the Rockets and, once, to the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League.

This Houston building officially opened to the public in 2003. Toyota paid a hefty sum of USD 100 million for the naming rights to the arena. One of the very first events to have transpired at Toyota Center was a Fleetwood Mac concert on October 6, 2003, followed by the Rockets’ first game against the Denver Nuggets a few weeks later.

Toyota Center

Address: 1510 Polk St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Website: Toyota Center

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2. Port of Houston

Houston Ship Channel Barbours Cut
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user U.S. Army Corps o... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

One of the iconic things in Houston, the Port of Houston boasts a rich history that has contributed significantly to the city’s fame and economic prosperity. Established in 1914, the port’s evolution can be traced back to the early 20th century when its strategic location on the Gulf of Mexico and its proximity to railroads and highways made it an ideal hub for maritime trade.

Over the years, the Port of Houston has continually expanded and modernized its facilities to accommodate larger vessels and increasing cargo volumes. Today, it ranks among the largest and busiest ports in the United States, handling a diverse range of goods including petroleum, chemicals, consumer goods, and agricultural products.

Houston’s reputation as an energy and industrial hub is closely tied to the port’s role in facilitating the export and import of vital commodities, contributing significantly to the city’s economic growth and global prominence.

Port of Houston Boat Tour

Website: Port of Houston Boat Tour

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3. Bayou City Art Festival

Bayou City Arts Festival
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ed Schipul used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Bayou City Art Festival is one of the things Houston is known for. It has a storied history that underscores Houston’s vibrant cultural scene. Established in 1971, this annual event has grown into one of the nation’s premier outdoor fine art festivals, attracting artists, enthusiasts, and visitors from far and wide. Houston’s reputation as a diverse and creative city is beautifully reflected in the festival’s eclectic showcase of visual arts, ranging from paintings and sculptures to jewelry and crafts.

Renowned for its high-quality selection and commitment to supporting artists, the festival has become a cornerstone of Houston’s arts and culture landscape. Through the Bayou City Art Festival, Houston has solidified its identity as a hub for artistic expression and appreciation, bringing together the community to celebrate creativity, innovation, and the enduring spirit of the arts.

Bayou City Art Festival

Address: 7026 Old Katy Rd Suite 281, Houston, TX 77024, United States

Website: Bayou City Art Festival

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4. Texas Medical Center

Texas Medical Center
Source: Photo by Flickr user Katie Haugland Bowen used under CC BY 2.0

One of the biggest complexes that makes up Houston’s cityscape is Texas Medical Center in the south-central area next to the Museum District. It is a medical neighborhood and district with countless clinical facilities for basic science, translational research, and patient care. All the institutions at the center are non-profit, and over 106,000 people are employed by the corporation. The Texas Medical Center was founded in 1945 and continues to expand, with the latest expansion announcement by Texas A&M in 2020. In recent times, the medical institution is Houston’s forefront in aiding COVID-19 victims.

Texas Medical Center

Address: Executive Offices, 6550 Bertner Ave, Houston, TX 77030, United States

Website: Texas Medical Center

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5. Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Bronc Riding Dismount
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ed Schipul used under CC BY-SA 2.0

What is Houston known for when it comes to good ol’ entertainment? As one of the most popular events in the country, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a standout event in the city. This annual event is held every winter and runs for one month. The event features several interesting and exciting attractions such as breathtaking carnival rides, a remarkable petting zoo, the mouth-watering World Barbeque Contest and of course, the rodeo/concert series – to name a few. It is a fascinating event that boasts of over 2 million participants yearly. The Livestock Show and Rodeo gives you a chance to experience the authentic southern spirit in this Texan city.

Livestock Show and Rodeo

Address: 3 NRG Park Houston, Texas

Website: Livestock Show and Rodeo

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 8am - 5pm; Fri: 8am - 4:30pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

Price: 20 USD onwards

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6. Theater and arts

Wortham Center
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user rkimpeljr used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Wondering about what makes Houston unique? Without a doubt, the city is proudly home to some of the most beautiful performing arts in the world. From classic drama theaters to musical operas, performing arts, cultural displays, etc., this culturally rich city is gradually being recognized as a citadel of the most beautiful arts and classics in the country. Houston’s Downtown Theater District boasts a wide variety and number of centers for contemporary, traditional, and modern performing arts. It also has independent theaters for children’s shows, recent productions, and other talent-producing stages. All these and more have made the city a hub of world-class theater and arts.

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7. Low cost of living

Houston Texas
Source: Photo by Flickr user BikeTexas used under CC BY-SA 2.0

What is Houston famous for that its residents truly appreciate? Its low cost of living! This attribute is mainly due to the unique self-surviving nature of the city. According to a Forbes report, the salary power in Houston is higher than all other major cities in the country. In addition to that, Houston boasts of low housing costs and lower energy costs – due to the diverse sources of energy in the city.

Houston also has a booming agricultural sector which leads to a regular supply of fresh produce, usually at lower costs too. All these features combined give Houston a reputation of a city with low prices of living, which, of course, can also be advantageous for tourists as this means you’ll find a more affordable Airbnbs and other accommodation options.

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8. Kids' attractions

Houston Space Center Play areas
Source: Photo by Flickr user Heather Cowper used under CC BY 2.0

There are several things to do indoors and outdoors in Houston with your children. From going on boat sightseeing tours to visiting the fantastic children museums, having fun at the beautiful and expansive city parks to exploring the Bayou Bend Collection, Gardens, experiencing space travel at the Houston Space Center, visiting the different children’s theater, and having fun with the kids at the Houston Zoo.

These are just a few kids’ attractions in this remarkable city. You can also spend time with the kids at the Houston Arboretum, the 40-acre (16.18 hectares) water activity paradise – Splashtown, the exciting Green Park, and discover your child’s artistic side at the Mad Potter.

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9. Graffiti

houston....we are inspired
Source: Photo by Flickr user brando used under CC BY 2.0

What else is Houston known for? The answer: graffiti. This city is known for having walls of art and graffiti that showcase its diverse nature and vibrant culture. Houston even has a park that is dedicated just for graffiti. The Houston graffiti park is a must-stop for any visitor to this city. The park is filled with beautifully painted walls of different themes and colors. It is easy to get carried away here by the lavish display of art and creativity on the walls of the graffiti park. Other than the park, there are also other mesmerizing murals painted by different top artists in the world all-around Houston.

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10. Museums

MFA houston
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hequals2henry used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Museums in Houston are part of the city’s heritage. These museums range from the modern art museum to contemporary arts, museums of science to historically rich museums, cultural museums, photography museums and even museums for children. Most of the museums in this city feature remarkable attractions and are free to enter or at a meager price. The city of Houston even has a district dedicated just for museums and art centers. Surrounded by beautiful landscapes, these museums are a prominent feature of the town.

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11. Tex-Mex restaurants

Mmm... Tacos!
Source: Photo by Flickr user jeffreyw used under CC BY 2.0

If you are looking for the very best Tex-Mex in Texas, then Houston is where you should go. The fantastic city has almost 500 outstanding Tex-Mex restaurants in addition to several more taco trucks and stands. Your craving for some delicious breakfast tacos or some enchiladas can never go unsatisfied in the city of Houston. The love for Tex-Mex is so abundant here that it isn’t surprising to find some unusual Tex-Mex combination stands with other cuisines like Korean/Tex-Mex stands or Vietnamese/Tex-Mex restaurants.

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12. Discovery Green

Discovery green
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hequals2henry used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Another remarkable thing Houston is famous for is Discovery Green. It is a beautiful 12- acre (4.9 hectares) park in Downtown Houston. This park is packed with several attractive and engaging features for all the city’s locals and visitors alike. There is so much to explore and enjoy at Discovery Green. From taking peaceful walks under the shaded walkways to jogging through the trail around the park, soaking in the scenic views of the grassy slopes or just splashing in the Gateway fountain here. Sometimes, this famous thing in Houston even features stage plays or concerts by performing art groups or touring music superstars!

Discovery Green

Address: 1500 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77010, USA

Website: Discovery Green

Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)

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13. Space and science (from USD 98.0)

Guess where the rocket that sent the first-ever space station into orbit is. Yes, it’s in Houston. A short drive from Downtown Houston takes you to one of America’s most extensive space research facilities and museum, Space Center Houston. This science and space hub offers you a glimpse of the fantastic past and exciting future of America’s space exploration. It also holds a fascinating collection of space artifacts and items. Houston is also known for its high medical science stronghold as it is home to the largest medical center in the world, the Texan Medical Center.

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Houston City and NASA's Space Center Sightseeing Tour

Duration: 6 hours

588 reviews

14. Downtown Houston Tunnel System

houston underground tunnels
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ed Schipul used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Houston boasts of having a unique underground tunnel system in the country. The Downtown Houston Tunnel System is a network of underground, temperature-controlled pedestrian walkways that link a whopping 95 blocks of the city together. It is like a local city down there as it features several places to eat and relax as well as a couple of gift stores, shops, newsstands, etc. This underground tunnel walkway is used by thousands of Houstonians and visiting tourists each day. It is open to the public on weekdays, and it’s a fantastic route to get to downtown Houston without breaking a sweat.

Downtown Houston Tunnel System

Address: 909 Fannin St #1650, Houston, TX 77010, USA

Website: Downtown Houston Tunnel System

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sat - Sun)

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Experience Houston in its full Southern charm

This incredible space city is a place of life, culture, and science, offering both popular and non-touristy activities. There are so many fun things to do in Houston. With an endless list of things that the city is famous for, it is no surprise that it is a popular destination for tourists in the country.

Frequently asked questions about things Houston is famous for

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Colins is a quiet individual who always tries to find the meaning and beauty of things around his environment. This passion has led him to begin his journey in photography and hiking nature...Read more

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