Things to do in Houston

About Houston

Visitors to Houston should not miss Space Center Houston for its immersive space exhibits, the serene beauty of the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, and the lively entertainment at the Kemah Boardwalk. Each offers a distinctive experience of the city's diverse character.
Families will enjoy the interactive displays at the Children's Museum Houston, wildlife encounters at the Houston Zoo, and educational fun at the Health Museum. These venues promise delightful experiences for both children and adults.
Houston's outdoor activities include biking along Buffalo Bayou, taking a leisurely walk through Discovery Green, and enjoying the offerings at Hermann Park. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of green spaces and parklands to explore.
Indoor fun in Houston can be found at the Museum of Fine Arts, enjoying shopping and ice skating at The Galleria, or exploring the dynamic exhibits at Space Center Houston, offering engaging options regardless of the weather.
Among the best tours are the Houston Historic District walking tour, a culinary tour through the city's diverse food enclaves, and a self-guided audio tour encapsulating landmarks and hidden gems, perfect for custom exploration.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science, Museum of Fine Arts, and Children's Museum rank as some of the most popular institutions, each providing unique collections and interactive experiences.
Ideal for rainy days are indoor tours of the many museums in the Houston Museum District or exploring the city's underground tunnel system, offering sheltered yet enriching experiences.
Short tours fitting within an hour include the Art Car Museum, a quick self-guided audio tour of Houston's historic downtown, or a visit to the Houston Police Museum, each offering distinct insights into the city's fabric.

Best Things to Do In Houston

Unearth the vibrant culture and attractions of Houston with our comprehensive self-guided audio tours tailored for every traveler.

Houston: Discovery Green

What is it?
A lively urban park located in downtown Houston offering a range of recreational activities.
Why you should go?
Discovery Green is a revitalizing urban oasis amidst the city's bustle. This 12-acre park welcomes visitors with open lawns, tranquil ponds, and playgrounds. Events throughout the year include concerts, outdoor movies, and fitness classes, reflecting the dynamic Houston activities available. For those questioning what to do in Houston, add this green space to your itinerary to enjoy a vibrant community atmosphere, public art displays, and the park's proximity to other prominent attractions, including the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Houston: Market Square Park

What is it?
A historic downtown park that blends green space with cultural events, dining, and public art.
Why you should go?
Market Square Park is a gem in Houston’s Historic District, surrounded by vibrant bars and eateries. This petite urban park serves as a key spot for social gatherings, with an outdoor entertainment schedule that includes movie nights and live performances. Dog runs and art installations are among the fun things to do in Houston right in this park. It’s a perfect preamble or finale to a night in the town, representing the heart and soul of the city's social life.

Houston: Kemah Boardwalk

What is it?
An amusement park located on Galveston Bay featuring waterfront dining and thrilling rides.
Why you should go?
For those seeking the thrills of an amusement park with scenic waterfront views, Kemah Boardwalk is a must-see. This bustling boardwalk combines entertainment with a variety of things to see in Houston, such as amusement rides, shops, and festivals. Couples, families, and thrill-seekers alike will find this destination fulfilling when looking for what to do in Houston. The close proximity to the bay also allows for more serene moments, making it a versatile attraction.

Houston: The Health Museum

What is it?
An interactive health and science educational institution located in the Museum District of Houston.
Why you should go?
Those intrigued by the human body and science will discover that The Health Museum offers an engaging educational experience. Exhibits such as a walk-through brain, real organ dissections, and 4D shows make it among the best things to do in Houston for curious minds. Besides, seasonal camps and programs offer in-depth insights into health professions and developments. It's an ideal place to ignite passion for science and health in the hearts of visitors of all ages.

Houston: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

What is it?
A historic house museum specializing in decorative arts and lush formal gardens.
Why you should go?
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens provides a peek into Houston’s affluent past with its house-turned-museum, offering a remarkable collection of American decorative arts. The gardens themselves are an expression of tranquility and beauty, perfect for those seeking things to do in Houston away from the high-energy urban core. With guided tours and seasonal festivals, it's a reflective retreat into the refined living and artistic endeavors of early Americans.

Houston: The Houston Zoo

What is it?
An enchanting wildlife park featuring a vast array of exotic animals and naturalistic habitats.
Why you should go?
Nestled in the heart of Houston, the Houston Zoo is a sanctuary for over 6,000 animals from 900 species, providing an insightful peek into the world of wildlife. Interactive exhibits and engaging conservation talks make it one of the best things to do in Houston, especially for families. A stroll through the zoo not only guarantees a fun-filled day of learning and discovery but also supports the zoo's commitment to animal care and wildlife preservation, making every visit both gratifying and purposeful.

Houston: Buffalo Bayou Park

What is it?
A scenic urban retreat offering beautiful skyline views, lush green spaces, and winding waterways.
Why you should go?
Lacing the city with 160 acres of greenery, Buffalo Bayou Park is a favorite amongst locals and visitors seeking outdoor Houston activities. The location boasts hiking and biking trails, a dog park, and numerous art installations. Kayaking along the bayou presents a unique perspective of the city, emphasizing the park's role as a key place to visit in Houston. Whether it's a tranquil picnic, an active afternoon, or watching the stunning sunset reflections on the water, the park's natural charm is an essential Houston experience.

Houston: The Menil Collection

What is it?
A world-class museum with an eclectic mix of ancient and modern art, housed in a serene setting.
Why you should go?
Art enthusiasts pondering what to do in Houston will find The Menil Collection a treasure trove of cultural riches. With over 17,000 works ranging from the prehistoric to the contemporary, the museum captivates its audience. The layout encourages contemplation among the Cypress trees and art from civilizations past and present. Free admission and regularly rotating exhibitions guarantee a fresh experience with every visit, cementing its position as one of the best things to do in Houston for those who appreciate the transformative power of art.

Houston: The Galleria

What is it?
One of the largest shopping centers in the United States, blending high-end retail with fine dining and entertainment.
Why you should go?
For a shop-till-you-drop experience, The Galleria stands out as a premier destination. What to see in Houston for fashionistas and foodies alike, it draws millions with its 400 stores, ranging from designer boutiques to mainstream retailers. Not just a shopping venue, it offers an ice rink, various eateries, and even art galleries. This cosmopolitan epicenter exemplifies fun things to do in Houston, proposing a myriad of discoveries under one roof and catering to the tastes and whims of every visitor.

Houston: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

What is it?
One of the largest museums in the U.S., boasting an impressive collection of artworks from around the globe.
Why you should go?
Regarded as a cultural cornerstone, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), exhibits over 65,000 works of art, making it a pinnacle of Houston tours and drawing art lovers from everywhere. The museum's campus offers a diverse itinerary of things to see in Houston, including European paintings, films, educational programs, and cutting-edge exhibitions. A visit to MFAH is more than an outing; it's an immersive journey through the chronicles of human creativity.

TOP-5 Tours in Houston for First Time Visitors

  • Explore the Space City's iconic Space Center Houston, a journey through science and the stars, making it one of the most educational and thrilling things to do in Houston.
  • Stroll through the Houston Museum District, home to 19 museums, offering a slice of arts, culture, and history, and featured as one of the top places to visit in Houston.
  • Embrace the natural beauty of the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, a serene escape and a fun thing to do in Houston for nature lovers and families alike.
  • Experience the colorful street art that adorns the city's buildings on a dedicated graffiti tour, highlighting what to see in Houston through a local artist's eyes.
  • Delve into the bustling Downtown Aquarium adventure, encompassing both dining and aquatic exhibits, making it a perfect inclusion in Houston activities for all ages.

Fun things to do in Houston with kids

Family adventures abound in Houston, where attractions cater to the imaginative and energetic nature of children. At the top of the list, the Houston Zoo captivates young minds with its vast menagerie of global wildlife and interactive learning environments. Here, kids can come face-to-face with their favorite animals and participate in hands-on activities. Next, the Houston Museum of Natural Science opens a world of discovery, with exhibits ranging from dinosaur skeletons to a stunning planetarium, ensuring that the experience is as educational as it is entertaining. Completing the trio of must-visit family attractions is the Children's Museum Houston, where exhibits are designed to inspire wonder and creativity. The museum offers a multitude of innovative exhibits that engage kids in the joy of learning through play. Each of these destinations provides engaging, fun things to do in Houston with kids, ensuring that their energy and curiosity are met with equally stimulating experiences.

Things to do in Houston with family

Embarking on a family outing in Houston offers a multitude of engaging activities that appeal to all ages. For an educational adventure, a visit to Space Center Houston presents an unparalleled opportunity to delve into the history and future of space exploration. Engaging exhibits, such as the astronaut gallery and the space shuttle replica, provide immersive experiences for the entire family. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is another treasure, where the wonders of science come to life through exhibits such as the dazzling gem hall and the prehistoric dinosaur hall. Meanwhile, for those seeking a more active experience, the Kemah Boardwalk along the bay enchants with its amusement rides, charming retail shops, and waterfront restaurants. This vibrant attraction combines the thrill of an amusement park with the scenic relaxation of seaside vistas. Each of these destinations is among the best things to do in Houston with family, ensuring lasting memories and joyful discovery for all family members.

Free things to do in Houston

Discovering Houston's offerings need not come with a hefty price tag, as the city boasts a variety of attractions that are free to the public. The Museum District is one prime example, where visitors have complimentary access to several art and cultural institutions on select days, including the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Nature lovers can relish the outdoors at Hermann Park, a picturesque setting for picnics, leisurely strolls, and pedal boat rides on McGovern Lake. It's a delightful escape from the urban pace and a favorite amongst locals for its tranquil Japanese Garden. Alternatively, the Market Square Park in downtown Houston offers entertainment from live bands to seasonal activities like outdoor movies—a thriving scene for families and friends to enjoy the city's spirit under the open sky. These top attractions are not only the best Houston excursions but also the perfect representation of the city's rich culture and community-centric ethos.

Cheap things to do in Houston

Thrifty travelers rejoice in Houston's array of affordable attractions, ensuring exploration and entertainment can be done on a budget. The city's street art scene, an expansive canvas of creativity, offers a visual feast in neighborhoods like The Heights and EaDo. Self-guided tours through these vibrant murals present a free and inspiring journey into Houston's artistic soul. Another cost-effective delight is the Miller Outdoor Theatre, nestled in the greens of Hermann Park, where free performances, including concerts, theatre, and dance, are showcased under the stars—a cultural experience that's light on the wallet. For those interested in history and maritime, the Battleship Texas State Historic Site provides a fascinating, low-cost tour. Here one can witness the last remaining World War I-era dreadnought. While there may be a small park entry fee, the experience it affords history aficionados is priceless. These popular spots encapsulate the diverse and cheap things to do in Houston, ensuring visitors can enjoy the city without stretching their finances.

Things to do in Houston for couples

Houston sets the stage for romance and quality time for couples with its mix of cultural and nature-infused experiences. For an intimate escape, the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center offers tranquil trails and secluded picnic spots amidst the city. Here, lovebirds can reconnect with each other and nature. Art-loving duos should not miss the Twilight Epiphany Skyspace, an architectural marvel by James Turrell at Rice University, where the interplay of light and space at sunrise or sunset creates a mesmerizing backdrop perfect for shared moments of wonder. To top off a magical day, the Rooftop Cinema Club provides an open-air movie experience with the skyline of Houston twinkling in the distance, offering a cozy setting with headsets for two to enjoy a film under the stars. These attractions present just a taste of the things to do in Houston for couples, promising memorable experiences filled with love and discovery.

Things to do in Houston at night

When the sun sets, Houston comes alive with a variety of nocturnal attractions that capture the city's dynamic essence. The Houston nightlife scene is anchored by the historic district, where Market Square Park often serves as a hub for evening festivities and outdoor dining, providing a vibrant contrast to the daytime's quiet charm. For a more theatrical night out, catch a show at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, where Broadway productions and world-class performances light up the stage, delivering an unforgettable cultural experience. Finally, no night-time exploration would be complete without witnessing the Houston skyline from the Buffalo Bayou Park, a stunning vantage point for the city's illuminated beauty. A stroll along the park's pathways, with the shimmering reflections on the water, provides a tranquil yet visually striking conclusion to any evening. These top nocturnal attractions offer some of the best things to do in Houston at night, ensuring every visitor finds the perfect after-dark adventure.