Texas may be seen by many as a dry state with long desert roads under clear blue skies. But the state does get ample rain, and Houston sees its fair share. Luckily, Houston has more than enough indoor things to do when it does rain.
Whether you are traveling as a family or not, or even traveling solo, here are 27 things to do on a rainy day in Houston!
1. Learn about space exploration
The Space Center Houston is one of Houston's best indoor activities and rightfully so. Guests can take an indoor tram tour for a behind-the-scenes look at some of NASA’s operations, including the Astronaut Training Facility. You’ll see the actual Mission Control from which NASA led Apollo and Gemini missions. Visiting the Space Center is one of the unique things to do in Houston on a rainy day.
2. Play an escape room
Who said rainy days had to be dull? For a fun and exciting thing to do indoors head to The Escape Game Houston. With just 60 minutes, you must find a way out of a ‘locked’ room by deciphering clues and solving riddles. Break out of a 1950s prison cell. Stop a notorious art thief from getting away with a crime. Investigate ominous happenings at an abandoned lab at the bottom of the ocean! Conveniently The Escape Game Houston has two locations, one in the City Center and the other at The Galleria mall.
3. Explore Downtown Houston’s tunnels
At more than 6 miles long, covering 95 city blocks, Houston's downtown tunnel system is the most extensive downtown tunnel system in the United States. It’s as if Houston’s city planners were thinking about what to do on a rainy day! The tunnels are primarily a way for downtown workers to get from building to building. The tunnels also contain shops, restaurants, and other services. Use this map to explore the tunnels on your own or to learn about the tunnels and Houston itself, take a Tunnel Tour.
4. See colorful aquatic life
Houston’s Downtown Aquarium is part attraction, part restaurant, which is a bit odd. But on a rainy day in Houston, you can have fun indoors here looking at bright colorful sea creatures and then sit down for a meal without getting wet! The aquarium has 500,000 gallons worth of aquatic wonders. The grounds include outdoor attractions so if the sun peeps out, you can take advantage of all the aquarium has to offer.
5. Satisfy your need for speed
Have high-speed fun at K1 Speed Houston, an indoor go-kart race track. The go-karts at K1 are powered by a 20-horsepower electric motor which means you can race at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour! On Friday nights, go-kart in a disco-like atmosphere when K1 turns down the lights and the LED lighting that lines the track barriers turn bright, neon colors.
6. Go indoor skydiving
Of all the indoor things to do in Houston, indoor sky-diving has got to be the most exhilarating! At iFLY Houston, you can experience what it feels like to defy gravity without leaping out of a plane. Step into a manmade wind tunnel and feel what it's like to freefall while just a few feet off the ground. Whether it’s a rainy day or not, iFly Houston makes for great indoor fun.
7. Immerse yourself in light
Surrounding yourself with colorful lights at the Color Factory is a fantastic rainy-day activity in Houston. This interactive art museum allows guests to experience the joy of color through 14 interactive and immersive light installations. The installations are inspired by the colors of Houston so you can get some sense of the city even though you’re inside.
8. Try indoor rock climbing
Don't let a rainy day in Houston stop you from being active - try indoor rock climbing! This is one of America’s fastest-growing sports. It’s ideal for those who are interested in learning to climb but aren't ready to head up the side of steep rocks.
Indoor rock climbing facilities have options for climbers of all levels of experience so whether you are a novice or an expert, you’ll be challenged. Here are the top places to go indoor rock climbing in Houston that sell day passes.
9. Take a bus tours
So you are in Houston and want to see the city, but it’s raining…what to do? Take a sightseeing bus tour! This is one of the best things to do in Houston on a rainy day. You’ll stay nice and dry while getting an overview of Houston.
If you don't mind getting a little wet, take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour which will drop you off at major attractions, and then when you are done, just hop back on the next bus that comes along the route. Look here for some bus tour options.
10. Say hello to some mummies
One could happily pass hours at the Houston Museum of Natural Science is one of the top indoor attractions in Houston. This gigantic complex deals with everything from prehistoric times to the space age.
Some of the highlights of this great museum are the Paleontology Hall, the Hall of Ancient Egypt, the Cabinet of Curiosities, and the Hall of Gems and Minerals. The Cockerell Butterfly Center is also part of the complex and is a lovely place to visit.
Houston Museums for Rainy Days
Going to a museum on a rainy day in Houston is an obvious choice for the best thing to do indoors. What isn’t obvious is that Houston has some unusual museums that might appeal to you. One great museum is listed just above. Here are some more of the most popular Houston museums.
11. Museum of Fine Arts
Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts is one of the 10 largest art museums in the United States, with a gigantic collection of nearly 70,000 works of art from antiquity to the present day. Whatever kind of art you like, it’s here. From French Impressionist and Italian Renaissance paintings to European and American decorative arts. Its modern art collection is outstanding and has its own wing which could keep you occupied for hours!
12. Houston Museum of African American Culture
This museum is one of Houston’s unique institutions that showcase thought-provoking temporary exhibits typically related to African-American culture, but not always. Many masters of African American art have been displayed here like Faith Ringgold, Romare Bearden, and Richard Mayhew. The Houston Museum of African American Culture is free to visit, so this should give you something to smile about on a gray day.
13. Menil Collection
For those who love modern art and architecture, a visit to this exceptional museum is one of the best free indoor things to do in Houston. The Menil is one of several Houston museums that has free admission which makes a trip here a bit more enjoyable! The Menil has several buildings with different artists on a large campus.
The airy, naturally lit main building is stunning and was designed by Renzo Piano, who also designed the Whitney in New York. The Menil’s collection is outstanding with works from antiquities to modern art. When the rain dies down, enjoy time in the lush Menil Park, an urban oasis in Houston.
14. Holocaust Museum of Houston
Houston’s Holocaust Museum https://hmh.org/ approaches its mission to educate the public differently from most Holocaust museums. It focuses more on the survivors and their stories, while still honoring those who died. Two immensely interesting objects in the museum are a railcar that transported Jews to concentration camps and an actual small Dutch fishing boat that transported Jews to safety.
15. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Founded in 1948 by locals, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) has established a solid presence in Houson’s arts and culture scene. Rather than collecting artworks for permanent exhibitions, the CAMH presents temporary regional, national, and international art exhibits. There’s always something new to see at CAMH. It also hosts lectures, educational programs, and events.
16. 1940 Air Terminal Museum
For fans of aviation history, a trip to this museum is one of the coolest things to do inside in Houston. The museum is located at the Hobby Airport, a splendidly restored Art Deco building.
The museum has an array of exhibits covering the history of aviation throughout the ages. The Aviation Heritage Gallery has exhibits on the Douglas DC-3, while other galleries and halls have scale aircraft models, original aviation art, and other artifacts from every aspect of aviation.
Things to Do on a Rainy Night in Houston
No reason to stay in your hotel room for the evening watching raindrops fall outside - Houston has such great nightlife! Naturally, with the city’s warmer climate, there are lots of fun things to do at night outside. But Houston’s indoor arts and culture scene will keep you entertained on a rainy night!
Don't forget that many of the above activities can be enjoyed at night like The Escape Game Houston, bus tours, and indoor skydiving.
18. See a Broadway Show
Houston’s Theater District is one of the top districts in the country to see an array of performances including Broadway shows. The Houston Theater District spans 17 blocks and has multiple theaters and performing arts centers. For Broadway shows check out the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, as well as the Wortham Theater Center, Jones Hall, and the Alley Theatre.
19. Hear Live Music
Big cities have music venues of every genre and Houston is no different! The Toyota Center houstontoyotacenter.com is Houstn’s biggest venue where top performers play, from Justin Bieber to Metallica. Jones Hall hosts performances that run the gamut from the Houston Symphony to comedians. 713 Music Hall holds 5,000 people for blues, jazz, punk, hip-hop you name it 713’s got it!
20. Play Arcade Games
Cidercade is one of Houston’s largest arcades with a staggering 275+ arcade games. You can play the best retro games like Super Pac-Man, Asteroids, Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros, and more! Cidercade serves 14 homemade hard ciders by Bishop Inc. and hard seltzers. They don't serve food but it’s BYOF - bring your own food, get delivery or a bite from their roster of rotating food trucks.
21. Go Bowling
This might seem like an old-fashioned rainy-day activity, but Houston’s bowling alleys are anything but old-fashioned. With modern vibes, hip decor, and cool tunes, bowling alleys like Bowlero, Lucky Strike, and Bowlmor make it easy to kill a few hours while waiting for the sun to appear. These bowling alleys have state-of-the-art lanes and serve food and drinks as well. For family-friendly alleys, check out Emerald Bowl and Tomball Bowl.
22. Catch a Flick
Movie lovers rejoice! Houston has a lot of movie theaters showing everything from the latest blockbusters to the classics. The AMC Houston 8 in Downtown Houston has 8 screens that show mainstream and indie films. The Alamo Drafthouse serves burger fare right to your seats. At the premium iPic theater, you can have food and drinks brought to your oversized, plush recliner seats. Houstonians like to wine and dine while they watch movies!
Rainy Day Family-Friendly Things to Do in Houston
Keeping children entertained and having fun on rainy days is not too hard in Houston. Many of the above indoor activities are family-friendly. Below are a few more that are especially suited to young children.
For other family-friendly things to do in Houston, rain or not, read our article, 28 Family-Friendly Activities in Houston.
23. Children's Museum of Houston
A trip to the Children’s Museum of Houston (CMH) is one of the most fun indoor things to do with kids on a rainy day in Houston. This excellent children’s museum has activities for toddlers, young children, and even infants!
CMH is entirely interactive and seeks to engage children by sparking curiosity and creativity. One exhibit, FlowWorks, educates children about water, while Kidtropolis teaches them about how cities are run. Plus there are inventor labs for every age group.
24. The Health Museum
This hands-on family-friendly museum lets you explore the inside of a much larger-than-life human body to learn about organs. Walk through a 10-foot-high brain or a 12-foot-high beating heart! Interactive kiosks and videos make learning about the human body more exciting than one could imagine!
25. The Play Space
Without a doubt, this is THE place to bring the kids for fun indoor activities on a rainy day in Houston. With 16,000 square feet on the ground and three levels, this is the largest indoor play space in Texas. This oversized playground has endless tunnels and 20-foot slides, ball blaster arenas, obstacles plus arcade games! The Play Space even has special monitored sections for toddlers and infants.
26. Main Street Theater
The Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston (MATCH) hosts performances of every kind. While most of the programming is for adults, young adults, and teens, the in-house Main Street Theater puts on shows that are perfect for children. Past shows have included Cinderella, Charlotte's Web, and The Cat in the Hat.
27. Astros Baseball Game
Houston’s Astros play at Minute Maid Park which has a retractable roof, which means that when rain is in the forecast, the game can go on! Temperatures inside the closed-roof baseball park With family value deals and promos, seeing an Astros baseball game is one of the best fun indoor activities in Houston for you and the kids.