17 Best Things To Do In Downtown Houston, Texas - Updated 2023

things to do in houston downtown
| 6 min read

Finding things to do in Downtown Houston ranges from doing something with your kids to something to do while your kids are away. It’s a nice disparity when you’re exploring a city for the first time based on recommendations you’ve read in articles like the one you are about to read. It might help in dispelling misconceptions about certain tourist destinations and create new perceptions on how the locals do their business in a way that keeps non-Texans coming back. The heart of the Lone Star State made it a point to offer something for everyone, even enthusiasts of public art. Because sometimes you don’t need to pay any entrance fee to witness eye-catching, selfie-worthy works of art. Houston also features plenty of accommodations, ranging from the best hotels to Airbnb vacation rentals for your stay. Check out this list of the best things to do in downtown Houston, Texas.

1. Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Houston Grand Opera

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Houston Grand Opera is widely recognized for its creative and groundbreaking opera productions, as well as its commitment to promoting new works. HGO strives to enrich the community by offering a diverse array of performances, engaging community events, and educational programs.

Make the most of your HGO experience by exploring the amenities at the Wortham Theater Center, such as Opera Insights lectures and various dining options. Don’t miss the chance to explore nearby attractions like Market Square Park and Minute Maid Park, adding even more enjoyment to your visit to Houston.

Houston Grand Opera

Address: 510 Preston Street Houston, TX 77002

Website: Houston Grand Opera

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2. Live entertainment and sports thrills at Toyota Center

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Since its opening in 2003, Toyota Center has solidified its reputation as a premier destination for unforgettable live entertainment. As the beloved home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, this iconic arena has also witnessed awe-inspiring performances by renowned touring bands.

Engage in interactive games and autograph sessions at the Memorial Hermann Sky Court, or delve into the rich history of the Houston Rockets at the Legend Lockers, featuring captivating memorabilia from legendary players. The culinary offerings are equally enticing, with the Lexus Lounge, Golden Nugget, and Corona Beach House offering delectable options to satisfy every palate. But the experience doesn’t end with what happens inside the venue. Toyota Center presents also an array of fan events such as the lively Bud Light Liftoff Party and the spirited Red Rowdy Romp, led by the passionate Red Rowdies super fan group.

Toyota Center

Address: 1510 Polk Street Houston, TX 77002

Website: Toyota Center

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3. Admire the seven Downtown Houston Pandr Murals

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

A fun thing to do in downtown Houston is to admire the seven Pandr murals commissioned by Brookfield properties. These appealing murals run from San Jacinto to Caroline, close to The Shops at Houston Center. They were created to represent the locals’ pride for their city and to inspire the younger generation. Both the painting and letter designs were done by hand over two weeks. Plus, the dripping paint on the “Dream Big” mural is intentional and makes a lovely background for photos.

Downtown Houston Pandr Murals

Address: 1301 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77010, United States

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4. Visit the historic Allen's Landing Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Wondering what to do in downtown Houston? Check out Allen’s Landing Park, perched at White Oak Bayous and Buffalo’s conflux, which is a historic spot where John K. Allen and August C first asserted Houston’s ownership in 1836. The 1.8-acre (0.7-hectare) space was the city’s first port with flourishing commercial activities. Nowadays, the location is modestly designed and is mostly used for kayaking, jogging, biking, walking, and fishing. However, don’t forget to look out for a signpost with texts written by Allen.

Allen's Landing Park

Address: 1005 Commerce St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Website: Allen's Landing Park

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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5. Unwind in the historic Sam Houston Park

Sam Houston Park Entrance -- Houston
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user i_am_jim used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This historic 19-acre (7.7-hectare) area was well-preserved amidst urban freeways and towering buildings to commemorate Houston’s founding individuals. Aside from the 19th-century structures to admire, including a church, a cottage, and a bridge over a small pond, this Victorian-inspired spot also boasts some recreational activities. The serene ground, graced by oak trees and green spaces, is used for popular festivals, including the Houston Vegandale and Margarita Festival, which you may be lucky to experience. You can also explore the little museum run by The Heritage Society.

Sam Houston Park

Address: 1000 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Website: Sam Houston Park

Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)

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6. Marvel at the sculptures in David Adickes Studio

Giant Beatles -- David Adickes Studio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jim Evans used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Visit David Adickes workshop, a modernist sculptor renowned for his sizable creations, including the 67-foot (20-meter)-tall A Tribute to Courage figure in Huntsville. While in Houston, you can check out his workshop - David Adickes Studio - where you’ll find some of his most spectacular crafts. However, since it is packed from Summer Street to its new location at Nance Street, the sculptures are surrounded by a chain-link fence. You can peek through the wall and enjoy the breathtaking sights of the massive heads.

David Adickes Studio

Address: 2401 Nance St, Houston, TX 77020, United States

Website: David Adickes Studio

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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7. Attend a concert at Market Square Park

Market Square Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Brian Reading used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

One of the best things to do in downtown Houston is to unwind in this beautiful park, sitting in Houston’s Historic District. From the well-designed recreational spaces to Lauren’s Garden, a memorable day awaits you here. Concerts are regularly held on the grounds, and you can also enjoy movie nights. You can check more details on their official website. The venue also boasts the oldest bar in the city and many dining options, including Niko, serving Greek-American dishes. Along the site’s Preston Street are breathtaking artworks, including a mosaic fountain to admire, and you’ll find a lot of shaded spots for picnicking.

Market Square Park

Address: 301 Milam St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Website: Market Square Park

Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)

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8. Visit the Downtown Aquarium

2019 is lookin' up! ???✨Celebrate the New Year with family fun at Aquarium Houston! December 31st! (11am - 1:30pm) &...

Posted by Downtown Aquarium - Houston on Friday, 14 December 2018

Downtown Aquarium, Houston, is the place to go for a wholesome, family-friendly kind of fun. Kids who are fascinated with marine life don’t need to go far to discover a world inhabited by sharks and other deep-sea creatures without going out into the deep sea themselves when there is an aquarium tunnel for them to explore. Wildlife is not limited to the underwater creatures as there is the Maharaja Temple to view some white tigers that you may have heard originally as mythological creatures. From exploring the interesting aspects of biodiversity to trying the various, thrilling rides, Downtown Aquarium is the place to go to when you want an infotainment theme park. Biodiversity education and exciting fun rides in the same place? Downtown Aquarium Houston is the place to go.

Downtown Aquarium

Address: 410 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002, USA

Website: Downtown Aquarium

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9. Take a train ride on the Hermann Park Train

Posted by Don Moss Jr. on Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Also known as Hermann Park Railroad, this train-based theme park has entertained almost three generations of Texans either from Houston or those coming from adjacent cities. With three stops to choose from, all in one site, families out to spend their lunch picnic-style have more than one option. Those who will be driving their way to this theme park are advised to arrive earlier than 10 am to make sure there is ample parking space for you, especially on holidays. Once on site, kids and their parents will surely enjoy the train ride while ogling at the sights from their seats and waiting to hop off by the playground for more fun under the sun.

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10. Visit the Health Museum

Posted by The Health Museum on Monday, 12 March 2012

When was the last time your kids ever had any interest in science? Or their health? If most educational materials are presented like the items found at Houston’s Health Museum, you unlocked advanced levels of infotainment that even parents can enjoy. You are never too old to learn about your health, especially when there are certain parts of the body that you need to explore more and understand. Exposing your children to a 3D presentation of educational materials makes the learning process easier for them. It is as if the images they used to see only on their textbooks go big time and are analyzed upfront and from a viewpoint that kids can see best.

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11. Visit Bayou Place

The best location for your event is right in the heart of downtown Houston.

Posted by The Ballroom at Bayou Place on Saturday, 10 November 2018

Dubbed as Houston’s premier destination for food and entertainment, the Bayou Place has become “The Heart of Downtown’s Theater District”. Fans of Italian cuisine have frequented Little Napoli, a restaurant catering to its base of loyal patrons for their fix of pizza and pasta among other Italian favorites. Revention Music Center has just upgraded its VIP area for music enthusiasts and groupies out to watch musical acts like Queens of the Stone Age, Zedd and other bands. If you plan to stage a private event yourself, The Ballroom at the Bayou Place is a highly recommended spot to contact for any specifications that you may have. And how can you go wrong with Hard Rock Cafe with all that Rock and Roll Hall of Fame memorabilia in store for you to view and admire?

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12. Check out the Big Bubble (art installation)

Button for Big Bubble

Posted by Amerikai Mesék on Sunday, 23 September 2018

The Big Bubble is in reference to the bubbles that come out of the waters of the Buffalo Bayou every time someone (or anyone) presses that big red button below the bridge. Before you get the idea that you summoned some beast from underwater after pressing that button, this is actually the artist’s way of keeping the bayou oxygenated. The folks behind this art installation want to make sure that the waters don’t remain stagnant. In the process of creating a tool against any carbon footprint from Houston, the Big Bubble has become, in itself, an attraction by bubbling that part away from the bridge significantly enough to be featured in a series of viral videos on social media.

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13. Go to the Prohibition Supperclub & Bar

things to do in houston downtown | go to the prohibition supperclub & bar
Source: instagram

Houston’s premier club has an interesting premise: Bitches Who Brunch. With strong drinks come with strong language. Yes, even during brunch time, simply because you don’t have to wait for the night to get late to have some serious fun. With shows that highlight the world-famous Moonlight Dolls, entertainment that takes you back to the Prohibition Era (hence the club’s name) understandably demands some killer outfit. There are shows for all ages as well as Peter Pan staged at noontime. But if you’d rather keep it with the theme, The Jazz Age is one show that’s highly recommended. Tickets are best booked online to get the best seats available.

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14. Visit Alley Theatre

From kids’ favorites to stage plays that remind you of your own childhood, Houston’s Alley Theatre has hosted production after production of stories that have entertained audiences of all ages. There are instances where people go to the Alley Theatre for the weekly Shakespearean fix or finding out the latest in straight plays tackling serious drama like the Tony-winning play, The Humans, or Broadway hits like Constellations. Previous audience members were so entertained with the programs that they went to buy the four-play subscription package best availed online so all that is left for you to do is show up at the theater and be directed to your seat.

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15. Walk down Avenida Houston

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Avenida Houston is earning a resurgence in interest due to its recent public art installation “Soaring in the Clouds”. It more like solidifies this street’s reputation as the hobnob of public art in Houston and encourages more tourists to take their selfies with these art installations in the background. Strolling down Avenida Houston will direct you to some of the best dining spots in the city. The highlight of that stroll would be checking out events by the Discovery Green Park. With 12 acres to host any open area event possible, you will not run out of selfie opportunities in this part of Houston.

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16. Go on a Downtown and Eado brewery bike tour (from USD 95.0)

things to do in houston downtown | go on a downtown and eado brewery bike tour
Source: www.viator.com

Now before you confuse the word “Eado” with something from the Japanese old era, let this be clarified - Eado is actually short for East Downtown. And East Downtown Houston is starting to gain traction as the route to tread on bikes when having a taste test of what this part of Houston has to offer. If you’re the kind of person willing to taste beer at any time of the day, an Eado Brewery Bike Tour is highly recommended. It’s okay if you don’t have your own bike since bike rental companies are more than happy to rent out their wheels for the route. Most of them have a route that visits up to three breweries.

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Life Is Brewtiful: Houston Brewery Tour

17. Attempt an escape room challenge (from USD 37.0)

Thrill-seekers the world over have sought the latest source of entertainment today - escape rooms. Even Houston has them now. These areas have combined the elements of detective mystery game and trivial pursuit under the premise that not getting the answers right will result in not getting out of the room. Hence the name escape room. It’s like being under the orders of Jigsaw of the Saw film series without having to kill anyone or getting killed yourself. The excitement can (figuratively) kill you though. These rooms are best played with a group of four friends, depending on how many people a certain escape room allows.

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Prison Break Escape Room

Duration: 1 hour

1 review

Explore Downtown Houston

The lone star state is becoming known for public art installations and a vibrant clubbing scene with a prohibition theme to boot. A nice balance of art and culture that you immediately see just by walking in downtown Houston, can possibly be amplified the moment you bike down the road. East Downtown Houston has become a memorable destination in case you need a city strip to stroll a few minutes before sunset. Still, most of these destinations are best enjoyed under the sun and are capped off with a hearty dinner at some themed restaurant to end the day on a positive note.

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Frequently asked questions about best things to do in Downtown Houston, Texas

1. What are some things to do for couples visiting downtown Houston?

When visiting downtown Houston as a couple, there are plenty of exciting activities and attractions to enjoy. A few recommendations of things to do are immersing yourself in the vibrant world of Houston Grand Opera and attending a concert at Market Square Park.

2. What are the activities tourists can enjoy for free in downtown Houston?

Downtown Houston offers several free activities that tourists can enjoy without breaking the bank. Some recommended activities are admiring the seven Downtown Houston Pandr Murals and walking down Avenida Houston.

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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My name is Jing, a freelance writer online since late 2013. I enjoy writing about memorable experiences brought by traveling around. I find fulfillment in exploring areas that make a tourist...Read more

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