Imagine going on a vacation to a city that is simply a rollercoaster of fun; that’s right, because there are just endless things to do in Houston.
Houston is a city named after former General Sam Houston, who, in 1836, won the Battle of San Jacinto, which gained Texas its independence from Mexico.
Houston is known to be the fourth most populated city in North America and home to approximately two and a half million residents.
It is a magnet for tourism, closely linked with the Space Center Houston, the coastal visitor center at NASA’s astronaut training and flight control complex, and many other exciting attractions as well.
Whether you’re traveling for business, looking for an exciting day trip or a weekend getaway, or just embarking on a family-friendly adventure, there’s something in Houston for everyone.
It boasts of nationally recognized dining, shopping, entertainment, and nightlife.
They have world-class attractions and events. Best of all, you’ll find several budget-friendly or free things. Certainly, there are lots of things to do in Houston that you may want to schedule an extra day or two for your trip!
Go through this list of the best things to do in Houston, as it will help you and your family to plan a fun-filled, exciting time.
Fun Things to Do in Houston
1. Spend Some Time at Discovery Green
This recently renovated 11.78-acre public city park is hailed by locals as a much-needed urban oasis.
It is very community-based and offers free yoga classes, stories for toddlers, as well as movie nights, and regular concerts.
It also has a playground, free Wi-Fi, outdoor reading rooms, and an area where you can borrow games and balls when the family feels like getting active.
Alternatively, just enjoy a picnic while lounging on the sloping greens, relaxing and watching everyone else. Great family day out.
2. Watch a Game at Minute Maid Park
Minute Maid Park is the home of Houston’s Major League Baseball team, the Astros, and is now famous for seeing the major league team play outdoors on natural grass.
This exciting renovation has been approved by their 3 million fans, who now come to take advantage of the 242-foot-tall retractable roof—another first, bringing outdoor baseball to Houston for the first time in more than 35 years.
Minute Maid Park is an excellent attraction for the whole family because you will have a lot of fun come rain or shine.
And for moms and dads, there’s a Happy Hour Beer store in Left Field with a great beer selection.
There are also plenty of food options and excellent BBQ availability.
3. Shop at the Galleria
The Galleria is modeled after Milan’s stunning Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.
It is home to over 400 high-end shops, great restaurants, grocery stores such as The Cheesecake Factory, Chili’s, and White Oaks Kitchen, a large ice rink, a state-of-the-art children’s play area, and seven beauties. Salons and much more.
It is no surprise that the Galleria is the largest mall in Texas. Ranging from Valentino and Gucci to Prada and La Perla, there’s something for every family member.
Things to Do in Houston at Night
1. Grab a Bottle at Saint Arnold Brewing Company
It is almost certain that a visit to Saint Arnold Brewing Company is guaranteed to provide an exciting and enjoyable timeout as it is Houston’s oldest craft brewery.
The brewery does everything from brewing and filtering the beer to barreling and bottling – then it’s up to visitors to drink it.
The company brews several different seasonal and some available year-round beers and can be found in grocery stores, liquor stores, bars, and restaurants throughout Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.
Their professional and polite staff will take care of you during the tour and the next lunch and refreshments (one of the breweries, of course).
2. Watch a Game at Toyota Center
Named after Japanese automaker Toyota (which paid $100 million for the naming rights), the center’s arena is home to the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association. It is also the former home of the Houston Eros of the American Hockey League.
The arena has spacious seating along with clean facilities.
It is quite a popular area for both visitors and locals as there are also many delicious restaurants and hotels nearby, so why not take the family to a game or concert and finish off a perfect evening with a delicious meal?
3. Check Out Topgolf
Topgolf is a totally new kind of golf experience that offers fun for all ages and skill levels.
This innovative way of playing golf, where players hit micro-chipped golf balls at targets on an outdoor course, is indeed a new way of having fun and has become so popular that it now welcomes more than 8 million visitors worldwide each year.
After a fun game that uses state-of-the-art electronic scoring, the family can relax and enjoy some of Topgolf’s delicious food and beverages.
Things to Do in Houston For Couples
1. Don’t Miss a Thing at Buffalo Bayou Park
With an excellent selection of several trails for walking and biking, Buffalo Bayou Park is a beautiful place to take the family for some healthy exercise.
The meandering park consists of 124 acres of spacious greenery with stunning views of the Houston skyline.
In addition, there is also a nature playground, artwork, and live art performances to enjoy, along with a dog park if you have four-legged friends in the family. It is an ideal place for a family that likes outdoor activities.
2. Check Out the 1940 Air Terminal Museum
This is a must-see for all the aviation addicts in the family.
Housed in the original art deco Houston Municipal Airport, the museum is a remarkable display of everything airline-related, including Houston’s aviation history.
The museum takes up the entire ground floor (with a reconstruction of the upper floors, including an observation deck and tower cabin).
It houses airline treasures such as Braniff and Eastern Airlines ticket counters and many other beautiful pieces of architecture and aviation from the era.
3. Shop at Pinto Ranch Fine Western Wear
For a beautiful memory of your visit to Houston, why not stop by Pinto Ranch?
The store is home to a fantastic array of Western goodies that embody the area’s tradition and romanticism.
Pinto Ranch has premium goods such as men’s and women’s buckles, belts, and jewelry.
Also, not forgetting the most extensive collection of fine Western gear such as beautiful shirts, authentic Stetson hats, realFilson leather coats, and handmade cowboy boots, you’ll be able to wear your memories when you’re back home.
Things to Do in Houston For Kids
1. Take Them to the Children’s Museum
The Houston Children’s Museum is one of 190 children’s museums in the United States, founded by a group of parents who wanted to raise early childhood development within the community. It was founded in 1980.
The Museum has some absorbing hands-on interactive exhibits on science and technology, history and culture, and more.
In particular, the Museum is an area where the kids will have fun – and learn at the same time – how to apply for jobs, get paychecks, and use their ATM cards.
There is also a popular outdoor area with toy boats and water pipes to enjoy. This will be a jackpot for every child.
2. Visit the Downtown Aquarium
This gorgeous six-acre dining and entertainment complex was made even more amazing by the combined redevelopment of two Houston landmarks, the Central Waterworks Building and Fire Station No 1.
Now with plenty of space to house its 500,000-gallon aquatic wonderland with 200 species of exotic global inhabitants, it’s a great attraction for the whole family, and especially for kids, as they can enjoy the aquarium’s fun rides, from the Frog Hopper to the Shark Voyage and Aquatic carousel.
There are plenty of treats for adults, as the venue includes shops, an upscale bar, a full-service restaurant, a fully equipped ballroom, and geographic and water exhibits.
3. Take a Trip to Fast Track Amusements
The Fast Track Amusements entertainment center is the perfect answer for those who want to let off steam, show off their skills, and enjoy all-around fun.
It consists of arcade games, mini-golf, laser tag, and Formula 1-style go-karts; this place offers indoor and outdoor entertainment for everyone.
With friendly and helpful staff, super clean facilities, and board, video, and pinball games along with the super fun Godzilla Wars JR, Wacky Gator Super Speedway, and Awesome Rat for kids, to name a few, Fast Track Amusements is the place for kids.
Indoor Activities to Do in Houston For Adults
1. Learn About Science at the Museum of Natural Science
There is an amazing collection of mineral specimens at the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS for short); it also houses models of space stations and 60 large skeletons – including four Tyrannosaurus Rex and three large Quetzalcoatlus – a planetarium, and much more to keep the family busy.
The great popularity of the museum is also due to its generous number of special and visiting exhibits.
It was founded in 1909 and is now one of the most popular in North America.
Children will love the grasshopper clock located at the museum’s striking entrance, whose feet tick to the ticking seconds.
2. Check Out Space Center Houston
One of the city’s top attractions, the Space Center is home to more than 400 artifacts, along with many permanent and traveling exhibits, as well as other displays related to America’s amazing space programs.
The whole family will be enchanted when they see the museum’s collection of films and interactive consoles.
It is known worldwide as the International Space Station Mission Control and is home to NASA Mission Control and astronaut training. As an added treat, guests are then taken behind the scenes to see the NASA Johnson Space Center, where history was made.
3. Check Out the Health Museum
For any budding scientists in the family or just those who enjoy things of a scientific nature, this is the place for you.
The Health Museum welcomes over 180,000 visitors annually (so far, over 2.5 million), partly from over 22,000 schoolchildren on field trips.
Part of this tie is the museum’s excellent interactive health and science educational experiences, including a walk through the human body, real organ dissections, and an array of ever-changing new and exciting exhibits.
For a small extra fee, your children can enjoy a visit to the Cell Lab, where they can perform simple and fun experiments.
Romantic Things to Do in Houston
1. Appreciate Art at the Museum of Fine Arts
The MFAH benefits not only the never-ending visitors who come to enjoy the museum’s amazing collection of more than 6,000 years of history and approximately 64,000 works from six continents but also the 1.25 million who visit the museum’s workshops, programs, and information centers each year.
This world-class museum is very proud to be home to treasures such as Gleizes’ La Femme, Memling’s portrait, Monet’s water lilies, and an impressive array of sculptures and paintings from the Roman period.
If you want to make sure you don’t miss a thing, there are 45-minute guided tours for the whole family.
There is also a great cafe with above-average food.
2. Spend Time at Cockrell Butterfly Center
It has a massive variety of species and serves as an educational moment for children and anyone interested in bugs, providing fun and education for the whole family.
The center is home to live butterflies with spectacular specimens of some of the world’s strangest arthropods and fun interactive quizzes and games.
And here are some helpful hints; as you walk through the area, peek under the leaves and take time to read about the life cycle – found at the entrance to the center – where you can see pupae in different stages.
And wear bright colors. More than likely, butterflies will land on you.
3. Have Fun at Hines Waterwall Park
This is an excellent place for the family to relax in a great environment.
The Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park features a 64-foot-long semicircular fountain that recirculates 11,000 gallons of water per minute, which cascades down the interior and exterior walls of the structure.
Pretty awesome to watch, I’d say. Surrounded by 186 oak trees, this remarkable park is a popular spot for locals to meet up with friends, enjoy a game of Frisbee, a picnic, a walk, or even a fabulous photo opportunity.
Free Things to Do in Houston
1. Catch a Show at Miller Outdoor Theatre
This exceptional theater offers both culturally and artistically diverse daily programs for children and many other free plays, concerts, dances, and performances for all ages during its free production season.
Located on 7.5 acres of land in Hermann Park, the theater runs from mid-March to mid-November and is a trendy venue, as you can imagine.
There is an option to either bring a chair, blanket, and food (alcohol is allowed as long as it is in a container), or you can purchase a seat out while you are there. Seats are covered in case of rain.
2. Check Out the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
The name of this Hindu temple is undoubtedly a puzzle of vowels and consonants, but it has nothing on the physical ensemble itself.
Thirty-three thousand pieces of hand-carved marble make up this fantastic architecture, and Turkish limestone adds to the elegance of the fort.
Its arches, columns, and domes look like a fairytale castle built from ivory from afar – its interior is host to more vibrant art forms such as Italian marbling or tapestries.
3. Explore Broadacres District
Some people prefer to wander around town and soak up the atmosphere; in Houston, the Broadacres District is the walking spot you’re looking for.
Brick paths and oak-shaded promenades line the northern and southern boulevards like a novel.
Bring your camera and reminisce about the 1920s mansions and renovated bungalows, with each home adding to the neighborhood’s nostalgic value.
Exploring the city doesn’t have to be frantic, so take your time and snap a few shots.
Cheap Things to Do in Houston
1. Have Fun at Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
Opened in 2002, the Hobby Center consists of 60-foot-high glass walls with stunning views of the city’s skyscrapers on the theater district’s edge.
There are some incredible shows and plays, and a visit to the center would be a lovely outing for the whole family as there are often child-friendly performances.
The center boasts plush seating that offers its visitors comfortable and decent legroom and popular snacks and sweets.
2. Check Out Texas Rock Gym
With over 14,000 square feet of climbing surface, five automatic belays, 42 top ropes, a lead arch, and a separate bouldering area, Texas Rock Gym is an amazing place for all family rock climbing and gym addicts regardless of age.
The gym emphasizes safety, and to minimize the inherent risks of rock climbing, all participants are required to take a Climbing 101 safety orientation and belay course at the gym, regardless of previous climbing experience.
In addition to the above, the gym also offers yoga, Tai-Chi, and Kung Fu options. The friendly staff will be happy to point you in the right direction.
3. Watch a Presentation at the Music Box Theater
This performing arts theater does a great job presenting original sketch comedy.
So if older teens and adults in the family are fans of live music with a bit of humor, this is definitely the place for them.
The shows are fun and fantastic, with talented performers who can add their memorable and unique touch.
The offer also includes refreshments in the form of soft drinks, wine, beer, and refreshments for everyone.
Cool Places to Visit in Houston
1. JPMorgan Chase Tower
To catch a glimpse of the high life – literally – a trip to the JPMorgan Chase Tower should be on the agenda for you and your family.
Formerly the Texas Commerce Tower, the 75-story skyscraper just over 1,000 feet tall, boasts the distinction of being the tallest building in Texas, the tallest five-sided building in the world, the 13th tallest building in the United States, and the 79th tallest building in the world.
Right on the premises, there is a quick (and free) ride to the observation deck, where you can enjoy the spectacular view behind you. The architecture of the tower is an art deco style, and it is really beautiful.
2. iFLY Indoor Skydiving
iFLY Indoor Skydiving has got to be one of the most incredible family attractions ever. Enjoy this fantastic skydiving experience that simulates natural conditions of free fall in a vertical wind tunnel.
The tunnel has players at the top that draw air through the flight chamber, which then pushes it back down the sides through the reverse air towers, turning the air into the bottom of the tunnel and back up towards the flight chamber through the inlet contractor, which then reduces the space in which air can travel.
This accelerates and compresses the air before it enters the flight chamber again, giving you a smooth column of air that allows you to fly.
The venue provides all the necessary equipment and instruction; if you’d rather watch than participate, there’s plenty of room for everyone.
3. Battlefield Houston
How about enjoying an entire day full of exciting laser tag?
Enter the combat zone of Battlefield Houston and enjoy some genuinely unique missions – from Domination, Hitman, Search and Destroy, and Sniper using high-quality laser weapons.
It makes you will feel like you have entered your own live video game.
Just so you know, Battlefield Houston is not your average laser tag; the players don’t wear vests, as is customary, but a headband.
The laser must hit the headband to disable the player for a few seconds. Best of all, regardless of a family member’s skill level, everyone is guaranteed a role in the missions assigned to them.
After an exciting time for all, stop by and enjoy some snacks and drinks in the arena.
There are plenty of other historical sites, restaurants, and natural attractions that we didn’t get to.
Your time here could be so much fun that you might start planning to move here.
Your time in this city can be some of the greatest moments of your entire life. Start planning your trip already as there are just lots of things to do in Houston.