Texas is a huge state, but many travelers are drawn to Houston, which is the most populated city. There are lots of things to do in Houston, especially if you love warm weather. In this large Texas city, there are plenty of learning experiences that will also be exciting for the whole family. Not to mention the many outdoor adventures that await too. So, here are twelve great attractions for anyone looking to plan a trip to Houston.
#1 – Space Center Houston
Space Center Houston is the official visitor center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center and it’s an attraction that you can’t miss! It has over 400 space artifacts to view, some permanent and others temporary. Attractions include a walk-through space shuttle replica, a 156-foot long rocket, and a behind the scenes tram tour of the space center. On select days, you might even be able to meet an astronaut. Most people find space fascinating, so this is one of the best places to find out as much about the universe as possible. It’s more than just a history lesson, it’s an interactive experience.
#2 – Houston Museum District
Houston is the perfect city for learning, but in a fun way, of course. There’s an area of the city called the “museum district”, which has almost all of Houston’s best museums within walking distance of each other. This includes the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Natural Science, the Children’s Museum of Houston, the Menil Collection, the Holocaust Museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum, and many more! Technically, these are all their own amazing attractions, but it’s a good idea to visit as many of them as you can. Some museums are even free of charge, including the Menil Collection, Rothko Chapel, and Contemporary Arts Museum. All these museums are certainly some of the best things to do in Houston.
#3 – Buffalo Bayou Park
The Buffalo Bayou Park is a green space within the city that runs for about 160 acres. It has beautiful slow-moving waters toward the center, and it’s also home to bike trails, a dog park, and sculptures. It’s an excellent way to spend the day outside. Some activities include biking, kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding, and boat tours. There are plenty of rentals within the park and most tours range from one to three hours, whether they’re history boat tours or biking tours. For animal lovers, there’s also a large colony of bats that can often be seen near one of the bridges.
#4 – Underground Tunnel Tour
Houston has an underground tunnel system that connects 95 city blocks. 7.5 miles of air conditioned tunnels make it easy to travel around the city even when the weather isn’t ideal. These tunnels were first built in the 1930s and later expanded in the 1950s and 1960s. They were made as a way for workers to travel without having to walk under the blazing sun. These tunnels are also home to many shops and businesses, including restaurants, clothing stores, and even banks. You can explore these tunnels on your own, but you can also take a guided tour to learn about the fascinating history of this underground world.
#5 – Houston Zoo
What city would be complete without a good zoo? The Houston Zoo takes up 55 acres and is home to over 6,000 animals, both exotic and indigenous. It has an education center and a zoo so that all ages can have a great time. It also has several interactive exhibits, such as feeding the giraffes, sea lion shows, and viewing marine life in an up-close aquarium. This zoo is located in Hermann Park, which is close to the Museum of Natural Science, the Miller Outdoor Theatre, and a Japanese Garden. So, the zoo and its surrounding attractions are ideal for a nice day outside.
#6 – Galveston
While not technically in Houston, Galveston might make the perfect day trip during your vacation. It’s about an hour away from Houston, and it’s home to beaches, an amusement park pier, and a historic downtown area. The beach in Galveston is known for being shallow and having gorgeous blue water. Plus, Pleasure Pier is the perfect stop for all ages, with a ferris wheel, roller coaster, and carnival games. Like Houston, Galveston also has some museums and parks to explore, meaning there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
#7 – Haunted Houston Ghost and Pub Walking Tours
Regular tours aren’t for everyone. That’s why Houston offers a spooky tour with drinks along the way. It’s a leisurely walking tour and pub crawl that includes eerie ghost stories during your adventure. A guide in costume will take you on a 2.5-hour walking tour while covering the scarier side of the city’s history. During your excursion, you’ll stop at four different bars, all of which have spooky tales behind them. The drinks are not included in the tour, but you’ll have plenty of time to order them and enjoy them if you wish.
#8 – Houston’s Street Art
Street art is a big part of many cities, and Houston is no different in that regard. There are many colorful walls that tourists often overlook, but they’re excellent art exhibits at no cost to you. Houston even has pieces painted by famous street artists, such as COPE2 and Gonzo247, who is from Houston. Many of these murals can be found on buildings off Leeland Street at Chartres Street and St. Emanuel Street. Although incredible murals can be scattered throughout the whole city. Many websites show where some of the art is located.
#9 – Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a big event in the city, usually lasting for about 19 days in February or March. And there’s more than meets the eye with this event. It has rides, carnival games, food, and plenty of entertainment to keep you busy all day. Plus, it’s an event that the whole family can enjoy. At night, they also have concerts, which you will need to buy tickets separately for. It’s similar to a state fair, and what fair would be complete without animals? There’s a livestock show that shows off many adorable farm animals, and of course, the rodeo event is the perfect opportunity to see cowboys in action.
#10 – Discovery Green
Like Buffalo Bayou Park, Discovery Green is another beautiful green space right in the city. It’s an 11.78-acre park that was recently renovated. It has a playground, Wi-Fi, and an open air reading room for spending a peaceful day outside. It has an active community, with space for families to borrow games, balls, and other sports equipment. The park also offers movie nights, concerts, yoga classes, and toddler story times, most of which are free events. It’s a relaxing place to stay in between attractions, so be sure to check out the events during your visit.
#11 – Downtown Aquarium
The Downtown Aquarium is so much more than just your average fish display. It has a 500,000-gallon space for over 200 species of exotic fish. It also has attractions for kids, including aquarium rides like an aquatic carousel and a frog hopper. There are also plenty of activities for adults to enjoy, including dining, bars, a ballroom, and shopping. It’s a great place to learn about aquatic animals and geography, but it’s also a popular destination for tourists of all ages and interests.
#12 – Speedy’s Fast Track Amusements
Finally, Fast Track Amusements is an excellent way to spend the day with the family. It has both indoor and outdoor entertainment, including go karts, lasertag, miniature golf, and arcade games. They often add new games to their game room to keep it consistently exciting for visitors. This is one of the best things to do in Houston for families because it has such a wide variety of attractions, so you’re sure to find something for everyone to enjoy.
Are you looking to plan a trip to Houston in the near future? If so, you’re in luck! Houston is packed with plenty of wonderful things to do in the city. Whether you’re traveling with one other person or a whole family, you’re sure to have a blast. Hopefully, this list made you even more excited about your upcoming trip.