Houston is classic Texas—ready to charm and full of life. This large metropolitan city is teeming with culture, just waiting to be explored. With subtropical temps throughout the year, any time is a good time to visit what is considered one of the most culturally diverse cities in the United States. Though this sprawling city of some 2.3 million people has a relatively compact downtown, each niche of the city brings its own magic.

From upscale restaurants to Space Center Houston, the breadth of activities found in Houston is sure to please any traveler. Kick up your heels at the rodeo or get high-browed at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts—whatever your style, you’ll find it in Houston. Whether you’re visiting with children, or are merely young at heart, this list of things to do in Houston will inspire. Read on to discover the top 20 things to do in Houston, Texas, and get motivated for a trip of a lifetime!

 

1. The Houston Museum of Natural Science

The Houston Museum of Natural Science london

The Houston Museum of Natural Science is a distinguished collection of dinosaur skeletons, gems and minerals, and Texas coastal ecology. With permanent and rotating exhibits, as well as a planetarium and a butterfly center, you may need more than one visit to soak up all the learning at this educational gem. Sit down for a movie at The Wortham Giant Screen Theater, which plays nature-oriented films such as the Great Bear Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, all in 3D. Or take a Discovery Tour with a guide, to get an enriched museum experience. All-accessible to those differently-abled (wheel-chair accessible), The Houston Museum of Natural Science is a crowd-pleaser for all. Head to the museum on Thursdays between 2-5 pm for their free hours.

Address: 5555 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030-1718
Website: www.hmns.com
Phone: 1 713-639-4629

 

2. Minute Maid Park

Minute Maid Park london

Home to the Houston Astros, watching a game at Minute Maid Park is an iconic experience on the top of list of things to do in Houston. From March to September, enjoy games at Minute Maid, complete with fireworks each Friday night! A retractable roof keeps all of Houston’s baseball fans dry and having fun. If you really want to dig into the field’s history, take a tour of the ballpark which run daily throughout the year. Plan ahead with parking to avoid over-the-top expenses, or far away spots. Check out Minute Maid’s website for tickets both for games and for tours.

Address: 501 Crawford St, Houston, TX 77002-2113
Website: www.mlb.com
Phone: 1 713-259-8000

 

3. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum of Fine Arts Houston

At the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, get ready to marvel at some 70,000 objects from antiquity to the present. Upcoming rotating exhibits include Norman Rockwell’s American Freedom collection, as well as Radical: Italian Design from 1965-1985. Permanent collections include a diverse selection such as Arts of Asia, Latin American Art, and two dedicated galleries of Art of the Islamic Worlds. Always free on Thursdays, thanks to the Shell Oil Company, there is no reason not to pop into the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, when in town.

Address: 1001 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005-1803
Website: www.mfah.com
Phone: 1 713-639-7300

 

4. Houston Zoo

Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo is an incredible resource in the Houston area, with some 6,000 animals! With festive events such as the current Zoo Lights and daily opportunities for up-close “animal encounters,” The Houston Zoo is a perfect way to spend a day or half-day. Clearly well taken care of, the various ecosystems within the zoo are home to the vast residents of animals. Most recently, the zoo is celebrating the birth of a new giraffe, Bobbie. Easy to stroll with children or elderly, this well-loved zoo is a winner when looking for things to do in Houston.

Address: 6200 Hermann Park DrHouston, TX 77030-1710
Website: www.houstonzoo.com
Phone: 1 713-533-6500

 

5. Space Center Houston

Space Center Houston

Of course, you remember the famous line, “Houston. . . we have a problem.” At Space Center Houston you can learn the backstory to that memorable statement as well as exploring NASA’s rich history. Visit the Educational Complex and Space Museum with the world’s largest collection of moon rocks, or have lunch with a real live astronaut. Get jazzed on space exploration like it was 1969 (the year Armstrong landed on the moon) at Space Center Houston!

Address: 1601 NASA Parkway, Houston, TX 77058-3145
Website: www.spacecenter.com
Phone: 1 281-244-2100

 

6. Children’s Museum of Houston

Children's Museum of Houston

Children’s Museum of Houston should be on every parent’s list of things to do when visiting Houston with their children. An incredible place to play and learn, the Children’s Museum of Houston boasts exciting exhibits such as Kidtropolis, a city made for children, and ropes challenge course that will be sure to burn off energy. Great for the very young, with a designated “Tot Spot,” or for older, elementary-aged students, you may never want to leave the Children’s Museum of Houston. Stop by the healthy and enticing Fresh Cafe when batteries run low to refuel. Open every day but Monday, note that Thursday evenings from 5-8 pm are free.

Address: 1500 Binz St, Houston, TX 77004-7112
Website: www.cmhouston.com
Phone: 1 713-522-1138

 

7. Cockrell Butterfly Center 

Cockrell Butterfly Center  Houston

Cockrell Butterfly Center, part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, is an uplifting way to spend an afternoon. The glass-enclosed building is home to thousands of colorful butterflies as well as a variety of exotic plants. Perfect for a rainy day,  a visit to the Cockrell Butterfly Center will leave you in a tranquil mood. Slow down and take a walk through the magical ambiance of verdant plants and bright butterflies. An additional $12 per adult from the entrance fee for the Museum of Natural Science, tickets for the Cockrell Butterfly Center can also be purchased separately.

Address: 1 Hermann Circle Dr, Houston, TX 77030-1749
Website: www.hmns.com
Phone: 1 713-639-4629

 

8. Rodeo Houston

Rodeo Houston

What’s more, Texas that a trip to the rodeo? Rodeo is a mecca for all things rodeo including horse shows, trail rides, livestock auctions, and rodeo season. Rodeo Season, considered the signature event of the venue, is held annually in March. The jammed packed festival includes Go Texan Day, World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Competition, a parade, concerts, and of course, rodeo. A staple in Houston’s culture since 1931, if you get a chance to visit Houston during Rodeo Season, you simply must go.

Address: 3 Nrg Park, Houston, TX 77054-1574
Website: www.rodeohouston.com
Phone: 1 832-667-1000

 

9. The Galleria

The Galleria Houston

No trip is complete without at least a little retail therapy. The Galleria makes it even easier to hit the mall, with more than 400 stores and 60 eateries. The largest and most luxurious shopping center in Texas, The Galleria is the perfect place to shop for gifts or to try on a new style. Additionally, the entertainment such as an indoor ice skating rink, make the trip to the mall worth it even if you don’t intend to shop until you drop.

Address: 5085 Westheimer RdHouston, TX 77056-5673
Website: www.simon.com
Phone: 1 713-622-0663

 

10. Toyota Center

Toyota Center Houston

The Toyota Center, with an outstanding seating capacity of over 18,000, is a staple in Houston entertainment venues. Home of the Houston Rockets, Toyota Center also headlines major names such as upcoming performers Andrea Bocelli, Cher, and Chance the Rapper. As goes with most major venues, the snacks tend to be pricey, and the parking limited. Uber in or walk (hotels are nearby) to ensure a stress-free evening.

Address: 1510 Polk St, Houston, TX 77002-7130
Website: www.houstonarena.com
Phone: 1 713-758-7200

 

11. NRG Stadium

NRG Stadium Houston

NRG Stadium is the football stadium for the NFL Houston Texans, as well as a number of thrilling entertainment options. Come for an all-American experience for a football game, or other events such as Monster Jam (monster trucks), Sesame Street Live!, or the Houston Auto Show. University games are also played here, so there is no shortage of chances to view one of Texas’ most beloved pastimes. Ticket prices vary per event and can be found on NRG Stadium’s website.

Address: 1 Nrg Park, Houston, TX 77054-1574
Website: www.nrgpark.com
Phone: 1 832-667-1400

 

12. Discovery Green

Discovery Green Houston

Discovery Green is one of Houston’s top public parks, complete with free yoga, playgrounds, outdoor movie showings, and spray fountains. Truly one of Houston’s top free resources, the event list never ends at Discovery Green. Come for the night flea market, Flea By Night, held Saturdays from November 16th-December 21st. Or attend an urban bird walk or mindfulness course. Discovery Green makes it easy to love and be inspired by the great outdoors.

Address: 1500 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77010-4011
Website: www.discoverygreen.com
Phone: 1 713-400-7336

 

13. National Museum of Funeral History

National Museum of Funeral History Houston

The National Museum of Funeral History is a fascinating look into one of the country’s most taboo subjects—death. Learn about the history of funeral homes in the United States, as well as famous funerals of presidents and celebrities. Check out the museum’s collection of hearses, and dig deep into the history of embalming, cremation, and burial. A bit off the beaten path, this under-discussed stage of life gets uncovered at the National Museum of Funeral History. The website also offers excellent resources for obituary and eulogy writing.

Address: 415 Barren Springs Dr, Houston, TX 77090-5918
Website: www.nmfh.com
Phone: 1 281-876-3063

 

14. The Menil Collection

The Menil Collection Houston

Always free, The Menil Collection is a museum of permanent and rotating art, celebrating the legacy of philanthropists, John and Dominique de Menil. Set on a 30-acre campus which also is home to the  Cy Twombly Gallery as well as the Byzantine Fresco Chapel, The Menil Collection is truly worth the visit. Be prepared for big names such as René Magritte, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso in this intimate setting. Set in a beautiful suburban area of Houston, the ambiance is on-whole, relaxing.

Address: 1533 Sul Ross St, Houston, TX 77006-4729
Website: www.menil.com
Phone: 1 713-525-9400

 

15. The Music Box Theater

The Music Box Theater Houston

If you adore live entertainment, then The Music Box Theater is for you. With comedy shows as well as sing-alongs, The Music Box is immersive entertainment. Great for a light-hearted date night, or with a group out, The Music Box Theater is as goofy as it is genuine. Talented vocalists make remakes of popular music ever-enjoyable in an intimate theater setting.

Address: 2623 Colquitt St, Houston, TX 77098-2117
Website: www.themusicboxtheater.com
Phone: 1 713-522-7722

 

16. Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens Houston

The gorgeous 14-acres of park and gardens at Bayou Bend Collection is just one of the reasons to visit. The other is the fine showcase of American furnishings in the former home of philanthropist and civic leader, Ima Hogg. Time your visit in late February, early March when azaleas are in bloom at the spot many consider the most beautiful natural refuge in the city. Currently, an immersive Christmas experience is being offered at Bayou Bend with thousands of lights and activities.

Address: 1 Westcott St, Houston, TX 77007-7009
Website: www.mfah.com
Phone: 1 713-639-7750

 

17. Buffalo Bayou Park 

Buffalo Bayou Park  Houston

A great place for a stroll or to see Houston by way of a bike, Buffalo Bayou Park is a local favorite. Hugging Buffalo Bayou, the park is perfect for walking Fido, or for letting children loose. If you’re feeling really adventurous, rent a canoe from Bayou City Adventures, or hop aboard The Spirit of the Bayou pontoon boat. Check out the public art in the park, and view Houston’s city skyline from the green space.

Address: 18-3600 Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive, Houston, TX
Website: www.buffalobayou.com
Phone: 1 713-752-0314

 

18. Houston Museum District

Houston Museum District

Head to the Museum District in Houston to immerse yourself in the joy of learning. Home to 19 museums with four walkable zones, the Museum District is the place to be for those who seek knowledge. Check the Museum District’s website to learn about upcoming events in all four zones including Third Annual Turkish Music Festival, Holiday Maker Market, and Wines from Around the World-Sake: A Cultural Exploration of Japan. Museums include Czech Center Museum Houston, Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, Houston Center for Photography, and Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.

Address: 1300 McGowan St., Ste. 120 Houston, TX 77004
Website: www.houmuse.com
Phone: 1 713-521-4469

 

19. Saint Arnold Brewing Company 

Houston Saint Arnold Brewing Company 

When you’re feeling like you need a cold one (perhaps after hitting the museums hard!), head to the Saint Arnold Brewing Company. Texas’ oldest craft brewery, Saint Arnold Brewing is named after Saint Arnold who is said to have multiplied his beer for thirsty pilgrims. Free tours are offered daily at 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, and 7 pm and run about 45 minutes. The beer hall and restaurant are a wonderful place to refuel while enjoying a signature brew such as Fancy Lawnmower or Daydream.

Address: 2000 Lyons Ave, Houston, TX 77020-2028
Website: www.saintarnold.com
Phone: 1 713-686-9494

 

20. Lone Star Flight Museum

Houston Lone Star Flight Museum

Last but not least is the Lone Star Flight Museum, held in an old aircraft hanger. For anyone who loves flight, this museum has something of interest. From vintage airplanes to historic photos, simulated flights to real flights in restored aircraft, Lone Star Flight Museum is interactive and impressive. Most of the aircraft is focused on the WWII era, however, children too will enjoy this notable museum dedicated to flight.

Address: 11551 Aerospace Ave, Houston, TX 77034-5642
Website: www.lonestarflight.com
Phone: 1 346-708-2517

 

Conclusion

If you’re bored in Houston, then clearly you haven’t step foot outside! With so many things to do, it’s more a question of how much you can pack into your time while visiting this Southeastern Texas city. Houston is perfect for any age or interest, offering entertainment by way of sports, music, and museums. Head to Houston for a memorable vacation in the state larger than life!
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