As the fourth largest city in the US, Houston has vast tourist attractions that match its size. If you’re seeking exciting spots for shopping, dining and fun outdoors, there are no limits to the unique things to do in Houston. Regardless of the competition from other big cities like Dallas and Austin, the fact remains that Houston is Texas’ hottest city for fun and extraordinary attractions all year round! This city is home to the renowned Space Center Houston, famous chefs, and excellent museums, with sprawling beautiful green spaces running across the city’s center.
Nightlife in Houston is exciting due to numerous clubs and pubs scattered around the big city, especially downtown Houston. Suppose you’re planning a trip to Houston or want to move here to enjoy city life, these top fun things to do in Houston will surely interest you. Let’s dig in!
Become an Astronaut for a Day at NASA’s Space Center Houston
If your childhood dreams involved visiting the moon, then the NASA Space Center is an easy way to live out that dream – at least for a day. The Space Center Houston is the official visitor center of NASA’s Space Center, an iconic attraction in Houston.
This enormous complex lets you explore space travel and gives you the privilege of testing real interstellar equipment astronauts once used. However, it isn’t all machines and equipment – there’s also a cafeteria if you get hungry. It’s a unique experience you’ll want to recommend to loved ones.
Check Out Vintage Rides at the Art Car Museum
Also called the “Garage Mahal”, the Art Car Museum lives up to its name with a perfect blend of art made from cars. This museum showcases beautiful sculptures of old school rides from the stables of both homegrown and foreign artists.
This eclectic museum also hosts a fantastic selection of classic vintage rides decorated in lobsters and artificial fruit. You also have the chance to see non-automobile-related artworks when you come to pass the afternoon at the Art Car Museum. To top it all off, admission here is always free!
Explore Buffalo Bayou Park
Buffalo Bayou Park is one of Houston’s most renowned green patches. With plenty of places to host a picnic and get together with friends, this park stretches from Shepherd to Sabine and Memorial.
How about taking a hike or cycling along the winding paths surrounded by trees, dog parks, picnic areas, and skate parks? There’s plenty of fun art to enjoy, ranging from tall sculptures to monuments to the Dandelion Fountain.
Visit Houston’s Museum District
This is the home of Houston’s most famous museums. The area hosts 19 tourist attractions, including cultural centers, museums, and various galleries. In case you didn’t know, the Museum District also hosts the Houston Zoo, NASA Space Center Houston, The Children’s Museum of Houston, the Art Car Museum, and the National Museum of Funeral History. We’ll circle back to some of these museums before the list ends.
Check Out the Houston Museum of Natural Science
Perhaps the most amazing Houston museum, the Museum of Natural Science sits on four floors with interactive exhibits of nature displayed across the entire building. Prepare to discover thousands of ancient artifacts from Native American history to the ancient Egyptian empire.
You can also expect to find local wildlife and fabulous seashells. If all that doesn’t sound like you, perhaps a visit to George Observatory or the Cockrell Butterfly Center will change your mind.
Explore Historic Art at the Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts is a convergence hub for art lovers, with many visitors spending their entire day engaging and entertaining themselves here. This museum is located in the Houston Museum District and hosts over 65,000 artworks from over 6,000 years ago.
One of the largest art museums in the country, the Museum of Fine Arts hosts the 14-acre well-manicured Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. Whenever you’re craving the finest of American paintings, then Bayou Bend is the place to go with your family.
Shop Vintage Collectibles at 19th Street in the Heights
19th Street in The Heights is your go-to spot for vintage wear, old school décor, and vintage collectibles. This funky shopping area hosts all categories of unique shops selling reminiscent essentials, ranging from nightgowns to jewelry, home equipment, and other amazing products.
You could also come here to shop for gifts. However, the outfit isn’t entirely vintage with some stores displaying everyday items or blending contemporary and vintage goods. One exciting thing about 19th Street is that you don’t need to make any purchases to soak in its beautiful ambiance. Even when you don’t plan to buy anything, the experience of visiting this place is unique and worth the time.
Explore Unique Dining Experiences in Houston
You’ve probably heard that Houston chefs are among the most renowned in the country. Dining in Houston is an attraction, with an almost never-ending array of dishes from Latin America, Mexico, and Asia. Of course, the number of exciting spots to dine at in Houston are too numerous to count, but we will still highlight a few.
If exotic Mexican dishes are your favorites, you could try out Mexican free tailed bats, or the flavors of Oaxaca at Xochi in historic downtown Houston. Seafood joints like Eddie V’s Prime are rife throughout Houston for fresh, spiced seafood from the Mexican Gulf. The city also hosts a range of low-calorie restaurants like Vibrant for vegetarians and vegans alike.
Take a Walk Through Rice University Campus
The Rice University Campus isn’t just one of the top 20 universities in the country – it also boasts many favorite spots and sights for many Texans. How about walking or hiking through the on-campus trails, with magnificent ancient structures spread across this 300-acre school campus. Many unique contemporary artworks add to the serene ambiance of this campus atmosphere.
Visit the Holocaust Museum Houston
Sometimes, learning from the sober side of history is a better therapy for the mind than brighter alternatives. Located in Houston’s Museum District, Houston’s Holocaust Museum offers tremendous insights into the tragedies that bedeviled Europe and the entire world during World War Two.
Reputed to be the fourth largest of its kind in the US, the Holocaust Museum Houston offers an enormous level of education, artifacts, and touching information. You could utilize the museum’s free three hour tours at 2 pm every Thursday to learn more about history.
Spend the Day Out at Hermann Park
Join the over six million tourists who come around every year to take free walking tours of Hermann Park. Stretching across a dazzling 445 acres, this urban park hosts exciting attractions like the dancing Mecom Fountain when the moon’s out.
Don’t forget to stop by at Bob’s Fishing Pier at McGovern Lake or check out the Houston Zoo. What’s more? If you’re anywhere near the park’s northern landmarks, the Butterfly House at the Houston Museum of Natural Science is only a walk away. All these are just a glimpse of what you can enjoy when you visit this exciting park.
Experience the Minute Maid Park
This crown jewel at the crux of downtown Houston hosts the city’s baseball team – Houston Astros. There’s virtually nothing comparable to hearing the shouts of 41,000 spectators at the stadium when the home team hits a run. That’s not all, if you’re not pro-baseball, you may find the events and musical concerts it hosts interesting during off-season.
Take the Kids to the Houston’s Children’s Museum
Here’s undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Houston for tourists traveling with children. The Children’s Museum in Houston has had a significant overhaul and become twice its original size with over 90,000 sq. ft. of never-ending entertainment for the kids.
Your kids would undoubtedly have no dull moments in this highly interactive, educating, and fun-filled museum, with different sections to keep them busy all day long. Most kids love learning about water at FlowWorks or imitating adult-world experiences by running a model city called Kidtropolis.
See Your Favorite NBA Stars at the Toyota Center
The Toyota Center is undoubtedly a place you will want to go over and over again if you’re a basketball fan. This Center plays host to the city’s Basketball team, the Rockets, and features an excitement and crowd energy that beats most stadiums in the nation.
When the season isn’t on – and sometimes even during the season – The Toyota Center sells tickets for concerts and events like WWE fights, musical concerts, and UFC events.
Check Out the Houston Health Museum
Here’s one of the city’s most innovative museums, with plenty of medically-related fun things to do in Houston. If you’re wondering whether binging on canned drinks is responsible for your tightening clothes the Health Museum has the answer!
Other exciting things to do here include taking a walk via a 10-foot-high brain and getting way too close to an artistic representation of a giant eyeball.
You could also take time out to see what your heart has been doing all your life by viewing a 12-foot-high beating heart. That’s not all! You’ve also got the Calorie Crank to use to check out how many calories you’ve been gulping in-between meals.
Watch and Support the Home Team at the NRG Stadium
This stadium is the home of the Houston Texans NFL team. Regardless of what’s happening in the city or the team – the NRG stadium is always full of fans and football tourists.
Interestingly, this stadium has a diverse calendar which you’ll rarely find at other stadiums in the city. The NRG stadium almost always welcomes visitors in droves, from conferences to pop concerts and family-friendly rodeos.
Relive Live Classical Music at the Miller Outdoor Theater
Here’s another significant attraction “within a bigger attraction site”. The Miller Outdoor Theater takes almost 7.5 acres of land in the vast Hermann Park. For the record, this theater retains the title of being the only free open-air theater of its nature, not just in Texas but also in the entire United States.
This theater is always a hotspot for culturally diverse outdoor shows, including the Houston Ballet and Houston Symphony. Surprisingly, everything at the park is always 100% free. It may be an excellent idea to come along with a blanket, some wine, and food to enjoy the wonderful evening at the park.
Participate in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo are reputed to be the city’s biggest annual event. The events run for almost three weeks, with fun-filled activities for everyone to celebrate in February or March.
Moreover, it might not be a bad idea to plan your visits around this time of year so you and your family can participate in the rodeo and livestock show. You can be sure that this is more than just a livestock show, and first-timers are often surprised by the immense diversity of things to do during the show. You definitely can’t take in all the fun-filled activities available to do here.
For instance, how about taking your partner and the kids for carnival rides, games, and food? Check out the cowboys displaying their skills in different ways and enjoy a great performance at night from some of the most renowned performers in the music industry.
Suppose you had only one day to spare for this exhilarating show, consider wandering the grounds and enjoying the festival during the day. Then check out some of Houston’s farm animals at the Livestock Show. As the evening approaches, consider spending the rest of the day at a concert.
Have a Picnic at Discovery Green Park
Sometimes, the hectic nature of downtown Houston could be a little overwhelming, especially for relaxation-oriented tourists. The good news is that travelers can turn to Discovery Green Park for respite.
This relaxation Park features dog parks, restaurants, a man-made lake, and a playground. Houstonians also organize live concerts, fitness sessions on the green patches, and festivals at Discovery Green.
See a Play at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
Lying at the heart of downtown Houston is the Hobby Center, which prides itself on being the prime entertainment complex in the Houston Theater District.
The Center hosts the impressive 2,650-seat Sarofim Hall, the 500-seat Zilkha Theater, and the Humphreys School of Musical Theater for visitors who don’t mind learning a few things about stage acting. If evening plays, musicals, and concerts sound like what you’d love to see, the Hobby Center is certainly worth checking out.
Discover Houston’s Street Art
Also known as Graffiti, Houston’s Street Art is one highly underrated gallery with outstanding benefits for viewers. Artworks by some of the most prominent national and international street artists, like COPE2 and Gonzo247, are available here.
You certainly want to take some time driving around to admire these colorful art installations on the walls of different establishments throughout Houston. Gonzo247 is the name of the unofficial curator of the city’s street art museum.
That’s right! He’s the name behind the giant “Houston is Inspired” mural at the edge of Travis and Preston Streets and less prominent “Houston” paintings at Leeland and St. Emanuel Streets.
You can find many beautiful street paintings across Travis and Preston Streets. But there are many sprinkles of street art all over the city on different walls of varying proportions.
Explore the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center
Located amidst the refreshing scenery of the Houston Memorial Park, this Arboretum & Natural Center stretches for 155 acres with a range of walking trails winding through the greenery. Consider spending an afternoon out here to take in the magical effect of the forests, ponds, and meadows around this Houston Arboretum.
The area also hosts thousands of turtles, birds, and frogs to delight visitors with the realities of the arboreal world. You certainly don’t want to leave behind your camera when you visit! Then you have the Nature Center, which hosts interactive exhibitions at the Discovery Room and the Learning Tree.
There you have it! We’ve seen some of the best things to do in Houston, whether you’re a visitor or looking to move here. These fantastic places to visit have lots of exciting and fun-filled activities to offer you and your family, ensuring you have the time of your lives in Houston. Hopefully, with this guide, you’ll discover the beauty that is Houston.
If you aren’t in Houston just for a trip, chances are you’re considering relocating to Houston. If that’s you then Realized Properties is here to help. We are available to help you buy a home in Houston. We combine a blend of affordable home listings with exceptional customer service to give buyers, sellers, or renters the most seamless real estate experience possible.