Houston, TX is jam-packed with awesome things to do, it can be hard to know where to start! Here’s a list of 30 fun and interesting things to do to get you started on your adventure in Space City!
The NASA Johnson Space Center Houston is one of Houston's most popular attractions, and rightfully so! Where else can you get a behind-the-scenes look at what astronauts do? See artifacts from space exploration like the Apollo 17 Command Module, a full-size Skylab Training module, a collection of spacesuits, a Moon rock, and more! Take the NASA Tram Tour and see the Astronaut Training Facility and Mission Control from where NASA led the Apollo and Gemini space missions.
Discover the detective in you by playing one of several challenging immersive escape rooms! Every game has multiple rooms, unique themes, and lots of puzzles and clues to solve. Investigate sinister goings-on at an abandoned underwater lab! Rush to fix your spaceship stuck on Mars before a deadly solar flare hits you! Travel through time to save the future or rescue a priceless masterpiece from an evil curator. Search for lost gold or break out of a 1950s prison!
Whichever game you choose, there'll be plenty of ‘wow’ moments! The Escape Game rooms can accommodate 8 people making this a cool thing to do for a work party. For a large corporate event in Houston, you can book a few rooms and have each game start simultaneously.
You’ll know you've come to Texas if you find yourself at a rodeo! If you can swing it, visit Houston sometime between late February and the third week in March to attend the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It’s one of the biggest rodeos in the nation. Celebrate Western culture with fierce rodeo competitions, livestock contests, concerts by top performers and thrilling rodeo stunt displays like trick roping, trick riding, and freestyle bullfighting.
If you are looking for things to do in Houston for adults, come to this part of town. It has an electric buzz about it and a lively nightlife that will keep you up into the wee hours of the morning! Brimming with energy, filled with stunning architecture, with the skyline as a backdrop, it makes for a great night out.
There are lots of top-notch restaurants, trendy bars, and fantastic entertainment options. You can walk from place to place, making it perfect for clubbing or bar hopping. The 806 Lounge is popular with the locals who sip on artisanal cocktails. Revisit the sounds of the 1980s at Cherry’s retro dance parties set to classic vinyl!
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is one of the most visited museums in the country, which means it’s got to be great -- and it is! With engaging exhibits, fascinating artifacts, and fun interactive displays, this museum allows you to uncover the secrets of ancient civilizations.
You’ll marvel at the awe-inspiring dinosaur fossils, be bedazzled by gemstones, and be intrigued by the museum’s Cabinet of Curiosities, private collections of extraordinary natural and manmade objects from centuries ago that were forerunners to modern museums.
Buffalo Bayou Park is a 160-acre greenspace that lies along a 2.3-mile stretch of the Buffalo Bayou Waterway and winds right through the heart of Houston. It provides locals and visitors alike a respite from the urban jungle. Take a leisurely stroll along the winding trails, soak up some sunshine, and enjoy views of the dramatic downtown skyline. It’s a great place to take a bike ride or even kayak on the Buffalo Bayou Waterway!
Houston loves its sports and there are four professional sports teams to see throughout the year. From April to October, you can get tickets to see the Houston Astros play baseball at Minute Maid Park. You can also see the Texans play football at NRG Stadium, the Dynamo plays soccer at the Shell Energy Stadium, and the Houston Rockets shoot hoops at the Toyota Center.
This unique venue, created by artist James Turrell, is on the Rice University campus. It was acoustically engineered to enhance musical performances which take place often throughout the year. The Skyspace was designed to showcase a LED light sequence that is projected onto the ceiling before sunrise and sunset with a stunning effect. magnificent result. Visitors can sit inside and enjoy the show. The Twilight Epiphany Skyspace is free and open to the public every day.
This building, located at 1503 Chartres Street in Downtown Houston, is covered in vibrant, eye-catching graffiti art. It has become a hotspot for locals and tourists alike who love this accessible and popular art form. The ever-changing artworks reflect the city's diverse culture and artistic spirit.
For a tour beyond Downtown, this Mural and Instagram Tour will take you to dozens of more murals throughout Downtown, Midtown, and EaDo on a golf cart! As the tour's name says, you’ll have lots of opportunities to post on Instagram along the way. This is just one of many things to do in Houston your teens will love!
Traveling with young children? This museum is a destination for sure! Its exhibits offer kids ages 10 and below to express their creativity and explore their curiosity. The museum's interactive displays and activities are arranged by age groupings, so everyone in the gang will find something they can enjoy. A visit here is one of the top things to do with the family in Houston.
11. The Galleria
Sometimes shopping is part of one’s vacation. If that’s the case for you, you’ll love the Galleria. It’s the largest shopping mall in Texas, with 400 stores! There are high-end boutiques like Gucci, Chanel, Ferragamo, Bally of Switzerland, and several other designer stores.
If you are looking for chain stores, you'll find lots here. Shop at Urban Outfitters, Free People, Gap, Adidas, Express, Aeropostale, and more. Grab a quick bite at fast food spots like Shake Shack or sit down at The Cheesecake Factory. If you are in Houston on a hot day, the Galleria can keep you busy and comfortable in the air conditioning all day and night!
12. Kemah Boardwalk
Head out of Houston to nearby Galveston Bay to enjoy this boardwalk lined with shops, restaurants, and an amusement park. You can buy a pass for the park for all rides or pay for individual rides. One of the best rides is the wooden roller coaster, the Boardwalk Beast, that peaks at close to 100 feet tall. From atop the 65-foot tall Century Wheel, you’ll get a fabulous view of the bay and at the waterfront restaurants, you can dig into fresh seafood.
The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston is a renowned cultural institution housing an extensive collection of art spanning over 6,000 years of human creativity. With a world-class collection of nearly 70,000 works of art, the museum is of the biggest art museums in the U.S.
Located in the Houston Museum District, the museum showcases a diverse range of artistic treasures, including ancient Egyptian artifacts, European paintings, Asian art, and American sculptures. Especially impressive are its French Impressionist and Italian Renaissance paintings and its modern art collection of over 1,200 works from Picasso, Pollock, Matisse, de Kooning, Rothko, and many other greats.
If you want to see a theatrical performance, Houston’s Theater District has lots of choices. Spanning 17 city blocks, it’s the nation’s second-largest theater hub after New York City. With several theaters and performing arts centers, there is always something great playing.
The gorgeous Hobby Center for the Performing Arts has Broadway shows. The Wortham Theater Center is home to the Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera. The Bayou Music Center has welcomed a host of comedians and well-known musicians. Impress your partner on a date night in Houston by going to an amazing theatrical production!
15. Waugh Bat Colony
Another unique Houston display is the sunset sight of nearly 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats flying out from under the Waugh Street bridge to go hunting for food. The sight of the bats streaking across the Houston sky is stunning. The colony is largest between summer and early fall, but you can still see a smaller colony in the cooler months.
The Holocaust Museum of Houston is dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust by focusing on both the victims, but with an emphasis on the survivors. Through its exhibits, artifacts, and educational programs, the museum aims to promote awareness, tolerance, and understanding, and to emphasize the importance of human rights and social justice. Two exhibits are very moving: an actual railcar that transported Jews to concentration camps and a small Dutch fishing boat that transported Jews to safety.
17. Hermann Park
This 445-acre park packs a punch! The park is home to the Houston Zoo, a Japanese garden, and the McGovern Centennial Gardens, an eight-acre botanical garden. Wander the park and see public art installations and sculptures, fountains and monuments, picnic areas, playgrounds, and even an 18-hole golf course! Rent pedal boats and observe migratory birds on McGovern Lake. Plus, there’s an open-air mini-train that can take you and your little ones on a 14-minute trip around the park.
This theatre is a popular outdoor venue, with an expansive lawn and a covered seating area. Located in Hermann Park, the theatre is known for its diverse programming, showcasing local talent as well as renowned national and international artists. It is free to attend shows here. With concerts, ballet, opera theater, and movies, the line-up has something for everyone!
This niche museum isn't for everyone, but it will be adored by those with an interest in aviation history fans. It’s housed in the original art deco terminal building of the Houston Municipal Airport, which was built in 1940. The museum showcases the rich history of aviation and the significance of the Houston airport system.
The museum features exhibits that highlight the airport's role in World War II, the development of air travel in Texas, and the growth of the Houston aviation industry. Visitors can explore vintage aircraft, artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that offer a glimpse into the past.
Part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the planetarium’s full-dome immersive theater will transport you out of this world and into the cosmos! The theater has state-of-the-art technology that simulates the experience of exploring planet surfaces and navigating asteroid fields. The knowledgeable staff ensures that shows are more than just visually engaging as they make the experience interesting to both astronomy enthusiasts and curious minds. What could be more fitting in Space City than to see a space show?
Located in Downtown Houston, this district has historic homes and cobblestone streets, dating back to the 19th century. Locals and visitors alike seeking a mix of history and a modern urban experience are drawn to this district. Enjoy the many restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues.
The district also hosts festivals and art markets throughout the year. The laid-back Market Square Park is a nice place to hang out, and you can find locals having picnics, playing games and even watching free performances and movie screenings until 11 pm nightly.
22. Memorial Park
This sprawling urban park covers over 1,500 acres with lush greenery, walking trails, and even a golf course. There are so many activities to engage in here: biking, jogging, mountain biking, playing tennis, swimming, and more. In addition, there’s a large playground, making spending time here a very family-friendly activity in Houston. Inside the park is the beautiful Houston Arboretum & Nature Center where you can connect with nature and enjoy outdoor trails.
This underground labyrinth is 6 miles long, covering 95 city blocks, Houston's downtown tunnel system is the largest downtown tunnel system in the nation. City planners had rain and heat in their minds when designing this ingenious way for people to avoid both! The tunnels connect office buildings and their primary purpose is to allow workers to move quickly - and comfortably - between buildings.
The tunnels do have some attractions for visitors though and you can find delicious food and interesting shops. If you take a guided tunnel tour, you’ll learn about not just this underground city, but about Houston as well. On a rainy day in Houston, this is the place to be!
24. Discovery Green
This oasis is filled with things to do, green lawns ripe for picnics, and a performance stage with lawn seating. Check out interactive art installations and free live performances. Join a free yoga class, or grab a bite to eat at tasty food trucks. Discovery Green is open until 11 pm every night and until midnight in the summer. For a fun, free time in Houston, this is the place to be! Hanging out in Discovery Green is one of the best things to do in Houston at night!
Come for 500,000 gallons worth of beautiful marine life and stay for dinner! wonders! See over 300 species of marine life from around the world. Just a few of the creatures to marvel at include a giant Pacific octopus, colorful rainforest frogs, red-bellied piranhas, and beautiful birds.
You wouldn't expect this at an aquarium, but here you can dine in a full-service dining room with a floor-to-ceiling 150,000-gallon aquarium. Enjoy your food while watching over 100 species of aquatic life! Before or after your meal, visit the outdoor amusement park rides!
26. Houston Food Tours
Discover the city and compare its diverse cuisine on a food tour. Try Barbecue, Tex-Mex, Italian-American, Asian, and more. On the Howdy H-Town EADO Food Tour visit EaDo (East of Downtown) and stop at several food establishments. Throughout the tour, learn about EaDo’s architecture, its street art scene, and its green spaces.
The Astroville Food Tour of Downtown Houston not only takes you to try the food but also shows you a bit of Houston's fascinating downtown tunnel system. Food tours are an awesome choice if you are traveling solo in Houston as you are certain to meet people on the tour.
Just an hour’s drive from Houston is 32 miles of gorgeous beach. Swim in the Gulf of Mexico, play on the sand, or learn to surf and see live music. Or simply relax by the water. Some of the best beaches are East Beach at the far end of Galveston Island. There’s a pavilion, a boardwalk, and an entertainment stage. It’s for an adult crowd as alcohol is allowed and there are beach parties and live concerts. Stewart Beach has lifeguards, a playground, and games, so bring the family here.
Dive into a world of color, light, and sound at this 40,000-square-foot art museum on Houston’s west side. The more than 40 larger-than-life installations use projections, augmented reality, motion tracking, light mapping, and 9 million LED lights. The mesmerizing digital landscapes and kinetic sculptures are exhilarating and full of life.
For a casual time in Houston, strolling, shopping, and dining spend a few hours on 19th Street in Houston Heights. This highly walkable neighborhood in a city of cars, is an eclectic hub of charming boutiques, antique shops, art galleries, and cafes. The street is known for its historic architecture, with beautifully restored buildings and a cozy small-town atmosphere.
Visitors can explore a variety of locally owned specialty shops, from vintage clothing stores to local artisans' creations. For a girl’s night or day out in Houston, some time together in this neighborhood is just what you need to bond over shopping and catching up at a cafe.
30. Menil Collection
Take advantage of free admission to see this exceptional museum. It features an impressive collection of over 17,000 objects, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and rare books. The museum's emphasis is on modern and contemporary art, with works by artists like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock. The Menil Collection is known for its contemplative setting, allowing visitors to connect with the artworks in a peaceful environment.
For suggestions on how to organize your time in Houston including daytime activities, suggestions for meals, and nightlife, see our Houston 2-day itinerary!