Top Things to Do in Houston

Despite the famous quote from "Apollo 13," rarely does Houston "have a problem" when it comes to things to do. Full of attractions like zoos and aquariums, historical landmarks and museums, unique neighborhoods and entertainment districts, check out our top picks for discovering essential Houston. 

Classic Things to Do in Downtown Houston

Get to know the heart of Houston with a leisurely bike ride, run or walk along the Buffalo Bayou Trails, an inexpensive way to get a workout in and navigate the city's expansive downtown area. Nearby is Hermann Park, home to the Houston Zoo, Kipp Aquarium and more, not to mention a golf course, walking trails and a Japanese Garden. Downtown's other favorite urban-acre space is Discovery Green, a breath of fresh air from the bustling city that features seasonal events, art installations, community festivals and music and theater productions.  

Action-Packed Activities in Houston

One of Houston's most famous attractions (and rightfully so) is NASA's Space Center Houston, where guests can enjoy interactive exhibits, artifacts and tours that illuminate America's history of space exploration and what life is like for astronauts beyond the atmosphere. See the historic Mission Control Center and the massive Saturn V Rocket, or make plans to visit on a Friday to participate in the Space Center's meet-an-astronaut program. Not far away are must-see attractions like the Kemah Boardwalk and the historic beach town of Galveston, two tiny cities offering one-of-a-kind entertainment, coastal dining and their own unique feel.

Houston Museums, Historical Sites and More

As one of the nation's largest cities, Houston also boasts one of the largest networks of downtown museums, from art and science exhibits to special-interest museums. Among the most notable are the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Houston Museum of Natural Science, both located within the Houston Museum District. Kids and adults alike can absorb the beauty, history and importance of these expansive permanent collections, from one of the world's largest gem and mineral collections to paleontology exhibits, outdoor sculpture gardens and art galleries ranging from ancient to contemporary. The San Jacinto Monument and Battleship Texas serve as adjacent attractions for history and military buffs, as the site of the impressive sculpture is home to both a museum and an iconic U.S. naval ship.

Houston Museum of Natural Science

This striking location offers both special and permanent exhibitions and even houses an IMAX 3D theater. The museum seeks to further the education of natural science and offers learning and outreach programs for both families and schools.

San Jacinto Monument and Museum of History

The monument pays tribute to the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, which helped Texas gain its independence. The museum contains Mayan, Aztec, Spanish, Texan, French and Civil War artifacts. Its observation deck offers a great view of Houston.

Galveston

An island getaway is only about an hour outside of Houston. Visit the indoor tropical paradise of Moody Gardens, escape with the family to Schlitterbahn Waterpark or take an afternoon to tour historic homes and indulge in mouthwatering seafood.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

More than 65,000 works of art from ancient times to today are on display. Collections include African gold, ancient Asian art, impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, Latin American art, photography and textiles. Admission is free every Thursday.

Discovery Green

This 12-acre public park is a haven for Houston residents and tourists alike. A destination for fun, dining, art, play and relaxation, visitors get an eco-friendly experience of the downtown area.

Houston Zoo

What began in 1922 as the home to prairie dogs and other small animals has expanded beyond its original borders. Located inside the scenic Hermann Park Conservancy, the Houston Zoo now houses more than 6,000 reptiles, amphibians, aquatic specimen and wildlife.

Buffalo Bayou Park

Just west of Houston’s Theater District, along Buffalo Bayou, is a thriving green space with hiking and biking trails that link downtown’s Memorial, Buffalo Bayou, Sam Houston and Sesquicentennial parks.

Kemah Boardwalk

Located on Galveston Bay, the Kemah Boardwalk gives visitors an old-fashioned amusement-park experience complete with a double-decker carousel, Ferris wheel, thrilling rides and dining options ranging from fresh seafood at Landry’s Seafood House to Mexican cuisine at Cadillac Bar to steak at Saltgrass Steak House.