28 Best things to do in Houston, Texas

Houston is Texas’s most populous city and the United States’ fourth largest city. It is known by different nicknames such as Magnolio City, Bayou City, H-Town, and Space City.

Houston is one of the most diverse places in Texas that has a rich cultural heritage with residents from all over the world.

Some of the best things to do in Houston include visiting the Space Center Houston, the Buffalo Bayou Park, the Houston Zoo, and Children’s Museum. You can try the delicious Tex-Mex cuisine, and shop everything at The Galleria – Texas’s largest mall. No matter what your interests, Houston has something for everyone.

28 Best things to do in Houston, Texas

1. Museum of Natural Science

The Houston Museum of Natural Science is one of the best things to do and see in the Museum District. It features several permanent exhibits that cover a range of topics including astronomy, space, energy, science, Native Americans, chemistry, seashells, gems and minerals, and Texas wildlife. 

The permanent collection features Morian Hall of Paleontology with replicas of prehistoric beasts and fossils, the Cockrell Butterfly Center with fluttering insects, a hall of gems and minerals, a Faberge exhibit, and a planetarium. Temporary shows have gained national attention, with past exhibits on Sherlock Holmes, Princess Diana, and Gladiators.

The museum is located in Hermann Park, and is open from 9 am to 5 pm from Monday to Sunday, with holiday hours that may differ. Admission for adults is $25, and discounted prices for children and college students.

The museum also operates two satellite facilities, including the George Observatory and the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land. Permanent exhibits are free on Thursday afternoons.

2. Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum is one of the best things to do and see in Houston for families and kids. It is a fun and interactive place for kids of all ages, located northeast of Hermann Park.

With exhibits like the Tot*Spot, Invention Convention, EcoStation, FlowWorks and Kidtropolis, there’s something for everyone. Plus, admission is free every Thursday evening from 5 to 8 p.m. and CityPASS holders get in for free.

From the train table and ball pit for toddlers to the spy game for problem-solvers, there’s something for everyone. So head to the Children’s Museum Houston for hours of fun and learning!

3. Space Center Houston

Space Center Houston is one of the top things to do in Houston as it is the official visitor center of NASA Johnson Space Center that offers an array of attractions and activities. 

There are hundreds of space artifacts such as flown spacecraft and moon rocks, offering an exciting look into the past and future of America’s human spaceflight program. 

Visitors can visit the new Mission Mars exhibit to  explore the red planet, visit the Independence Plaza to see the historic shuttle era, and take the NASA Tram Tour to see behind-the-scenes at NASA Johnson Space Center. 

The center also attracts over 200,000 teachers and students from around the world annually for its educational programs like Space Center University. Experience the wonders of space exploration at Space Center Houston.

To reach the Space Center Houston from Houston, you can drive a car which takes about 30 minutes, or  take bus no. 249 for around an hour. Admission fee for an adult is $29.95, or using Houston City PASS.

4. Discovery Green

Discovery Green is a 12-acre public park in downtown Houston providing visitors with a variety of activities, amenities and attractions. 

From the Kinder Lake, to the playground and amphitheater, to the restaurants, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Visitors can take advantage of the jogging trails, dog runs, model boat pond, picnic areas, reading rooms and more. 

Special events are held throughout the year, from concerts and theatrical performances to the Discovery Green Flea Market. 

The park has a commitment to sustainable practices, earning LEED certification for its green building practices, composting and recycling.

5. Downtown Aquarium

The Downtown Aquarium is a great place to visit for fun and entertainment! Situated on Bagby Street, the aquarium has lots of exciting attractions, including the Shark Voyage Train Ride which takes you through a shark tank so you can get up close and personal with the sharks. 

There’s also the Diving Bell Ferris Wheel, the Aquatic Carousel, the Frog hopper, the Aqua Wheel, and lots of fascinating exhibits, like the White Tigers of the Maharaja’s Temple, the Stingray Reef, the Sunken Temple, the Rainforest and the Texas Bayou. 

If you get hungry, you can relax and refuel at the Dive Lounge. Plus, the aquarium offers various scout programs and field trips to help kids learn more about the sea creatures and the environment.

6. The Health Museum

The Health Museum, located in Texas Medical Center, is an educational science center that offers a unique hands-on experience for visitors to learn about the human body. 

The Amazing Body Pavilion features an interactive tour where visitors can see the inner workings of the body, including an opportunity to cycle with a skeleton and observe the effort of the heart to pump blood, as well as sit on giant teeth. 

There’s also ‘You: The Exhibit’ where you can discover who you are, view your internal organs and see what you might look like in 30 years. Don’t forget to check out the McGovern 4D Theater where you can watch 3D films like ‘Planet You’. 

You’ll even go on a 3D microscopic adventure and explore the creepy crawly things that live on your skin. It’s an incredible, educational experience for all!

7. Speedy’s Fast Track

If you’re looking for a great spot to have some family fun, Speedy’s Fast Track in west Houston is the perfect place. From go-karts and mini golf to arcade games, they have something for everyone. 

You can race around the track in one of their go-karts, or take a spin in their Formula-1 style super karts (ages 16 and up). Inside the arcade, you can challenge your friends to a game of Wheel of Fortune, Pacman, air hockey and skeeball. 

Be sure to check out their website for discounts and coupons. They also host corporate, school, late night and birthday parties. 

So ditch the frills and head to Speedy’s Fast Track for some good ol’ fashioned fun.

8. Museum of Fine Arts

The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston has two buildings and a sculpture garden. One building was designed by Rafael Moneo and the other by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. 

There’s also a new building by Steven Holl Architects dedicated to modern and contemporary art and photography. 

The museum has over 64,000 works from 6 continents, including paintings from the Italian Renaissance and French Impressionists, sculptures, photography and more. The seasonal exhibits are a big draw, from Jasper Johns to Ragnar Kjartansson. 

It’s not too crowded mid-week, and the museum is easy to get around. They offer audio tours for some exhibits and have a well-curated gift shop. 

The café offers an Italian-inspired Texas menu and decent coffee and wine. If you’re tight on time, it’s still worth a stop to see the Impressionism collection and sculpture garden.

9. Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Visiting Houston during rodeo season is a must! The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the place to be for all rodeo fans. 

Taking place between Feb-March, it’s a rodeo extravaganza featuring daily shows with competitions like bull riding, bareback riding, steer wrestling, and more. 

Livestock shows also happen during this time, with events like livestock auctions, horse shows, and calf scrambles. There are also parades, trail rides, concerts, and amusement parks. 

Rodeo shows start at 6:45 pm on weekdays and 3:45 pm on weekends. The stadium is located 9 miles south of downtown Houston and public transport is available.

10. Minute Maid Park

Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas has been through a few name changes since its opening in 2000, but it’s still the home of the MLB’s Houston Astros. 

It has a retractable roof, natural grass field and an indoor bullpin – and air conditioning for those hot days! In 2005 it held the first World Series game in Texas, which was won by the Chicago White Sox. 

It’s also hosted soccer and WWE matches, plus concerts from some big name artists.

11. Cockrell Butterfly Center

The Cockrell Butterfly Center in Houston is definitely worth a visit – it’s a great way to experience thousands of colorful butterflies in their Mayan rainforest habitat. 

With a separate fee, you’ll get to see the butterflies up close, listen to the gentle flow of a waterfall, explore interesting plants and insects, and even get the chance to have one land on you if you wear bright colors. 

It’s an unforgettable experience, and perfect for the whole family.

12. The Galleria

The Galleria in Houston is a huge and impressive mall, inspired by the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, Italy. 

With over 300 stores and restaurants, two Westin Hotels with 900 rooms, three office towers and an Olympic-size ice skating rink, it’s no wonder it was so popular that Hines sold it in 1999! 

Anchor stores include Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s, all of which are pretty massive – the Neiman Marcus alone is 188,000 square feet!

13. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts

If you’re looking for a great night out, The Hobby Center is the place to be. Located downtown with views of Houston’s skyline, it’s home to two theaters, Sarofim Hall and Zilkha Hall. 

You can catch Broadway plays, symphonies, and musicals here, plus Uniquely Houston, a local nonprofit performing arts program. 

You can avoid crowds by arriving early and ordering drinks before the show. It is open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun 11am-4pm.

14. Hines Waterwall Park

Water Wall Park in Houston is a great place to visit! Standing in the mist of the 64-foot semi-circular fountain, surrounded by 186 live oak trees, is an experience that can’t be forgotten. 

11,000 gallons of water flow through the fountain every minute, creating a calming, soothing atmosphere. You can take a leisurely stroll, snap some photos or even get engaged here. 

From picnics to proposals, the Water Wall offers something for everyone to enjoy!

15. Texas Rock Gym

If you’re into climbing, Texas Rock Gym should be your go-to spot! It’s got 42 rope stations and a bouldering area, and offers classes, clinics, team building activities and more. 

Plus, it’s been part of the Houston community for over 15 years – a great spot for regulars and newcomers alike.

16. Hermann Park

Hermann Park is a cool place to hangout in Houston, located near downtown and surrounded by the Texas Medical Center, Rice University, the Museum District and residential areas. 

There’s so much to do there, like playing golf, watching a show at the outdoor theater, visiting the zoo with over 700 species, or exploring the natural science museum. 

The park has received awards for its recent renovations, including the $9.1 million Heart of the Park project, which features a beautiful reflection pool and shaded walking paths. 

The Heart of the Park is a peaceful and picturesque area surrounded by old oak trees and framed by the Sam Houston Monument and Circle.

17. Toyota Center

The Toyota Center in Houston, Texas is more than just a home for the Houston Rockets basketball games and concerts. It is also a place for parties, meetings and events. 

There are many venue rental options available, such as the suites, Red and White Wine Bistro, arena floor, the Lexus Lounge and the entry pavilion. 

Visitors can also experience chef’s tables, arena tours, and special guest appearances from the Rockets Power dancers, Clutch the mascot and even a Houston Rockets player.

18. The Music Box Theater

The Music Box Theater has been providing a place for people to enjoy great music, cabaret concerts and sketch comedy since 2011. They have tailored their performing facility to provide a dependable and consistent venue for Houstonians to enjoy a drink and listen to live musi. 

The performances include songs from across the decades that people will recognize and enjoy. Everyone can find something they like at The Music Box.

19. JPMorgan Chase Tower

JPMorgan Chase Tower is a newly revitalized 75-story office tower in Houston, featuring 1.7 million square feet of space. It is located close to the Theater District and Market Square Park, and offers a modernized lobby with plenty of gathering and collaboration areas. 

The spacious floor plates and efficient employee densities give tenants the opportunity to customize their space according to their needs.

The observation deck of JP Morgan Chase Tower offers a large area to explore, with tall windows and sweeping views of the skyline and highways.

20. Miller Outdoor Theatre

Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre is a unique and free venue that offers high-quality performances, such as plays, ballets, concerts and films.

With the option of bringing a blanket and picnicking on the hill, or grabbing free tickets for assigned seating, it’s the perfect place for locals and visitors alike. Plus, parking is free and easy to access via the METRORail.

21. Buffalo Bayou Park

The Buffalo Bayou Park covers 163 acres, runs along 2.3 miles of Buffalo Bayou on both sides from Sabine Street to Shephard Drive, rejuvenating a previously degraded area to the west of Houston’s downtown. 

It was designed by SWA Group and has been outfitted with hike-and-bike trails, a skate park, a dog park, and four formal gardens designed by Reed Hilderbrand. 

It also has an art installation inspired by the lunar cycle, created by L’Observatoire International, as well as a memorial to police officers created by Jesus Bautista Moroles. 

Overall, the park has been successful in transforming the former industrial area into a beautiful, vibrant public space.

22. The Menil Collection

The Menil Collection is an impressive museum located in Houston which houses nearly 19,000 works of art stretching 30 acres. 

It includes masterpieces from antiquity, the Byzantine and medieval worlds, Oceania, Africa, the American Pacific Northwest, and the 20th century, with its Surrealist holdings being particularly renowned. 

Admission is always free, and the museum hosts special exhibitions and programs for the public to enjoy.

23. Holocaust Museum Houston

Holocaust Museum Houston educates about the Holocaust, remembers 6 million Jews and other victims, and honors survivors. It teaches about the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy. 

The bilingual museum, fourth largest in the US, has four permanent galleries, two changing exhibitions, classrooms, library, café, theater, and outdoor amphitheater.

24. 1940 Air Terminal Museum

The 1940 Air Terminal Museum in Houston is the only institution dedicated to preserving the city’s civil aviation history. 

The Terminal, designed by Joseph Finger and built in 1940, is a rare example of classic art deco airport architecture and served as Houston’s primary commercial air terminal until 1954. 

The museum features exhibits on the Douglas DC-3, airlines, Howard Hughes, vintage weather and air traffic control equipment, and aviation toys to inspire young visitors.

25. Topgolf

TopGolf, a high-tech entertainment complex, opened in West Houston in 2012. It features 102 hitting bays, a restaurant, and bars on each of its three levels. The concept was created by two brothers who were bored with hitting shots on a driving range. 

The golf balls have computer chips that track the accuracy and distance of shots, with players earning points for hitting targets from 20 to 215 yards away. 

The closer to the bull’s-eye, the more points earned. The venue is open from 9 a.m. to Midnight from Sunday to Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Food and beverages can be ordered and delivered to the hitting bay.

26. iFLY Indoor Skydiving

iFly Indoor Skydiving in Houston is a unique adventure for thrill-seekers who want to experience skydiving without the risks. It is a highly safe indoor skydiving facility, built in 2015 and attracting over 10 million visitors worldwide. 

iFly perfectly simulates skydiving through a wind tunnel, providing a steady stream of air for a thrilling, detachment experience. Professional bodyflight coaches are also available for personal training. 

iFly Indoor Skydiving is also suitable for renting out for events such as birthday parties and corporate events. Contact the facility to reserve a spot early.

27. Battlefield Houston

28. Pinto Ranch Fine Western Wear

Pinto Ranch is a top destination for western wear. They offer a vast selection of handmade boots from renowned brands, designer western apparel and hats, unique jewelry, and belt buckles by skilled silversmiths. 

The Houston store features an in-store saddle shop for added convenience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Houston famous for?

Houston is known for its significance in the oil industry, being home to the headquarters of many major oil companies. It also boasts a diverse culture, with a thriving arts and culinary scene, as well as being the largest city in Texas and a hub for space exploration with NASA’s Johnson Space Center located there.

Is visiting Houston Worth It?

Absolutely! Houston boasts rich history, world-class museums, vibrant arts scene, and diverse culinary options. It’s a must-visit destination with something for everyone!

How many days are enough for Houston?

Typically, 3-4 days are sufficient for a short visit to Houston, allowing for exploration of popular attractions such as the Space Center, Museum District, and dining options. Additional time can be spent if traveling to nearby destinations.

Is there anything fun to do in Houston Texas?

Houston is full of exciting activities! From great restaurants to shopping, museums, art galleries and outdoor activities, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a family vacation, Houston has plenty of fun-filled activities & attractions.

What are the best things to do in Houston for adults?

Houston offers many activities for adults including exploring the vibrant nightlife, sampling food at award-winning restaurants, attending professional sports games, and visiting world-class museums.

What are the best things to do in Houston at night?

Houston is a great city to explore at night. You can watch a baseball game at Minute Maid Park, taste texan cuisine at the Houston Sauce Pit, party till the early hours at Club Tropicana, and get a late night history lesson at Houston Museum Of Natural Science.

What are the best things to do in Houston for free?

There are plenty of free things to do and see in Houston including catching a show at Miller Outdoor Theatre, checking the art at The Menil Collection, browsing the Contemporary Arts Museum, cycling along Buffalo Bayou, visiting Galveston Island.

See more: Where to Stay in Houston First Time

So there you have it, the best things to do in Houston, Texas for your next trip. If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment below.

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