15 Best Things to Do in Houston, Texas (with Photos)

As one of the biggest cities in the country and home to the iconic Johnson Space Center, Houston has a lot to offer travelers. With endless parks, galleries, unique buildings and plenty of culture, you won’t run out of things to do in Houston.

It’s easy to fly into the city, which makes Houston the perfect destination for a quick trip or long adventure. You could spend your time here exploring the city’s connection with space exploration or its series of world-class art galleries. Top it off with a visit to Galveston or the Rodeo, and Houston promises to be a memorable time.

15. National Museum of Funeral History

flickr/A Yee

We begin our list with a rather unique attraction in Houston, the National Museum of Funeral History. It’s likely you wouldn’t have visited something like this before, which is exactly why you should add it to your itinerary. The museum is home to an incredible collection of artifacts that grant insight into one of our oldest traditions.

Learn about the different hearses used through history along with exhibits on the funerals of Popes, Presidents and various celebrities.

14. Hermann Park

Hermann Park© dreamstime

Home to the Houston Zoo, a Japanese and Centennial Garden along with the popular Miller Outdoor Theater, Hermann Park is Houston’s crown jewel. With wide open spaces and plenty of things to do (the park is also next to the museum district), you will never get bored here.

The specific gardens are taken care of meticulously. They’re complemented by a display of sculptures that makes exploring the park a pleasure. Another way to get around includes taking a ride on the relaxing Hermann Park Railroad for some sightseeing. While you can also explore the small lake on a pedal boat.

13. The Menil Collection

The Menil Collection© dreamstime

Thanks to the efforts of art patrons, John and Dominique de Menil, you can enjoy one of the most unique attractions in the city. Found in the Montrose neighborhood, the collection is in fact a campus of free-standing buildings home to extravagant galleries focusing on contemporary art and surrealist works.

You will also find a bookstore and the Menil Drawing Institute here. The highlight of the Menil Collection is the main building designed in the shape of a Renzo Piano.

12. Discovery Green Park

Discovery Green Park© dreamstime

To catch some sun and experience a bit of Houston’s culture, head to Discovery Green Park. The park has undergone renovations that have seen it become a prominent urban oasis.

Discovery Green Park has a strong community feel with a variety of events that bring residents together. These include story times, movie nights, concerts and free yoga classes throughout the year.

The kids will love the playground, the open air reading rooms and a spot to borrow park games for some friendly competition. There is also plenty of space to spread out and enjoy a pleasant picnic or some reading under the shady trees.

11. Water Wall

Water Wall© dreamstime

The most photographed location in Houston is the Water Wall, a must-visit when in town. The iconic 64-foot U-shaped structure has water falling down, creating a memorable sight.

Water Wall uses almost 80,000 gallons of recycled water every three and a half hours. You can stand in the water’s mist and admire the subtle roar of the water cascading down.

With plenty of green space to relax in, you can kick back and admire the architectural marvel, or enjoy a picnic under the 180 oak trees. The Water Wall is close to the Galleria for whenever you want to take a break from shopping.

10. Children’s Museum of Houston

Children's Museum of Houston© dreamstime

Created by a community of parents in an act to improve early childhood development, the Children’s Museum is one of the best things to do in Houston with kids.

The Children’s Museum features several exciting hands-on exhibits that allow the kids to interact with the world of science and technology. There is also a heavy focus on history and culture.

The Market exhibit is an outstanding example of this, a place where kids can apply for jobs, use an ATM and even collect paychecks. While the outdoor area comes with water pipes and toy boats for some more upbeat adventures.

9. Galveston

Galveston© dreamstime

With white sand beaches, a famous pier and a historic downtown, Galveston presents as the perfect escape from Houston. Just an hour out of the city, you can escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy the sunshine. Endless beaches allow for plenty of swimming and the pier provides all-day entertainment.

Beyond the rollercoasters and games, you will also discover several excellent museums. Examples include the Seaport Museum and the fascinating Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum. You can’t leave, however, before exploring the Strand Historic District, with cafes, restaurants and bars.

8. The Galleria

The Galleria© dreamstime

One of Houston’s most popular malls, the Galleria, is the place to shop ’til you drop. The Galleria gets its name from a shopping center in Milan after which it was designed. Along with your usual stores, the Galleria also has an amazing selection of high-end shops for when you really want to treat yourself.

It isn’t all shopping, however, as you will find a full-sized ice rink to skate on, several food courts and full-service restaurants along with a giant play area for the kids.

7. Minute Maid Park

Minute Maid Park© dreamstime

Home to the infamous Houston Astros, Minute Maid Park packs out between March and October. Nothing screams summer more than catching a ball game and eating one too many hot dogs. Minute Maid Park is a great place to watch a game of baseball, with many themed nights throughout the season to keep things exciting.

With a retractable roof, you don’t have to worry about the weather either as you know the game will always go ahead. Grab yourself a great seat and enjoy the model train that sets into motion whenever the home team hits a home run.

6. Houston Zoo

Houston Zoo© dreamstime

One of the top attractions in Houston is their local zoo. Set in the spacious Hermann Park, the zoo is a hit with locals and tourists alike. Inside the zoo you will find over 6,000 indigenous and exotic animals along with a fantastic education center and a children’s zoo.

A highlight for all visitors is the chance to feed the giraffes along with watching the marine life play around just several feet away. Hermann Park is also home to the Houston Museum of Natural Science so you can explore two of Houston’s best activities in one hit.

5. Museum of Fine Arts

Museum of Fine Arts© dreamstime

Comprising two buildings and one sculpture garden, the spectacular Museum of Fine Arts is easy on the eyes. Walking between the buildings and the gardens is one of the best things to do here, and a chance to appreciate an architectural marvel.

The Museum of Fine Arts is home to 6,000 years of history with works that have arrived from all parts of the globe. The museums are home to such masterpieces as Memling’s Portrait, Monet’s Water Lilies and a series of amazing Roman-era sculptures.

4. Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo© dreamstime

In cowboy country, the city’s biggest annual event is the Livestock Show and Rodeo. The massive 19-day event brings all of Houston together and is more than just a rodeo and auction. The show is an extensive carnival full of all your favorite rides, games and entertainment.

While you could spend all day on the rides, the rodeo events come with amazing atmosphere and immense skill. Because of the size of the show, big music names headline the evening concerts for a great way to end the experience.

3. Buffalo Bayou Park

Buffalo Bayou Park© dreamstime

More than just a sprawling urban park, Buffalo Bayou offers its fair share of outdoor adventures. The waters of the Buffalo Bayou cut through the park, allowing visitors to rent kayaks, canoes or SUPs and go for a paddle.

There are also many hiking and biking paths around the park, providing a great way to stretch the legs and enjoy the outdoors. You can also embark on several tours of the historic Cistern, along with bike tours through the Bayou.

Stick around for sunset to enjoy approximately 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats taking flight.

2. Houston Museum of Natural Science

Houston Museum of Natural Science© dreamstime

Since opening its doors in 1909, the Houston Museum of Natural Science has grown to be one of the most popular versions in America. Right from the start, kids will love the entrance, which features the famous Grasshopper Clock.

The museum also offers a rare collection of mineral specimens and an impressive 60 skeleton mounts. Four being Tyrannosaurus Rex and three huge Quetzalcoatlus, one of the largest flying animals ever recorded.

Owing to Houston’s historical connection to space, the Museum of Natural Science also houses various space station models along with a planetarium. You will also find a collection of rotating exhibits providing quality fresh content throughout the year.

1. Space Center Houston

Space Center Houston© dreamstime

One of the best things to do in Houston is to explore the official visitor center of NASA’s Johnson Space Station. The Space Center Houston is an enormous complex with a replica of the space shuttle Independence connected to the shuttle carrier.

Other highlights include the chance to wander through a replica of America’s first space station and hold rocks from the Moon. One of the best ways to explore the center is to take an open-air tram tour to see where astronauts get up to speed ahead of their missions to space.

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