Fun Things to Do in Houston, Texas
I’ve heard so many negative things about visiting my hometown of Houston and I have to admit, I just don’t get it. Houston is a BIG place and has a BIG list of wonderful things to see and do there! Enjoy amazing food, historic sights and cultural experiences.
It is true that Houston is BIG.
So, just how BIG is Houston? Well, Houston is the 4th most populated city in the United States with a population of more than 2 MILLION people. Those 2 million plus people are from all over the world and speak more than 90 languages.
What is BIG in Houston?
*The World’s Largest Medical Center – The Texas Medical Center
*The Energy Capital of the World – Home to 5,000 energy related firms
*FIRST in the world for amount of tonnage that comes through the Port of Houston
*The CITY of Houston is larger than the STATE of New Jersey
* So many seats in the theatre district for shows – second only to Broadway in NYC and has a 17 block theatre district with 8 performing arts organizations and 12,000 seats
*Third highest number of consular offices in the United States – 92 countries
*Home to the world’s largest livestock show and rodeo
*excluding the US, only 31 countries in the entire world have a GDP higher than Houston’s
Fun Things to Do in Houston – NASA – Space Center Houston
You can’t come to the ‘Space City’ without visiting the actual Space Center. You will LOVE this place! Just walking up from the parking lot you’ll see a HUGE rocket outside. Enter and you’ll find simulators! It is worth waiting in line to get to fly a real rocket ship. My kids loved this! Watch the 12 minute show which gives you a history of the manned spaced program. See REAL capsules that flew in space. If everyone in your group is older than 14, be sure to check out the Level 9 tram tour which gives you an amazing behind the scenes tour.
TIP – People visit here from all over the world and it can get crowded. Go early. Buy tickets online so you don’t have to wait in line when you get there.
Address: 1601 NASA Parkway Houston, Texas 77058 281-244-2100
Hours: SUBJECT to change. Check the calendar.
Ticket Prices: Adult $29.95 Children (4-11) Children under 4 FREE $24.95 Senior (65 years + with ID) $27.95
Splurge and have lunch with an astronaut! Adult $69.95 Child (4-11) $35.95
Fun Things to Do in Houston – Houston Museum of Natural Science
I’ve been to a lot of museums in the world and this is one of my all time favorites. It is a MUST visit for anyone who visits Houston. See the incredible permanent exhibits which include lots of posed, stuffed animals and gorgeous crystals and dinosaur skeletons. Watch the pendulum on the enormous Foucault pendulum clock which knocks over small stones on the floor. Watch an IMAX show!
Address: 555 Hermann Park Drive Houston, Texas 77030 713-639-4629
Hours: Monday – Sunday 9 – 5. Last entry at 4:00 to special exhibits. IMAX movies 10-4 Planetarium 10 – 4 Butterfly Center 9 – 5.
Ticket Prices: Adult $25 Child $15 Senior (62+ with ID) $15 FREE Thursdays 2:00 – 5:00. (FREE hours subject to change.)
Fun Things to Do in Houston – Houston Zoo
The Houston Zoo is a fun spot for kids of all ages to see new things and get outside and get moving. No worries about being still or quite here. Kids love the zoo! There is a LOT going on at this zoo: Behind the scene animal encounters, adult only adventures like Brew at the Zoo, Zoo Sprouts for the youngest visitors, Spend the night at the zoo for ages 6 and up, Teen Adventures, and more!
Giraffe Feeding 11:00 am and 2:00 pm
Water Play Park – Open April 1 – October 12
Petting Yard in the Children’s Zoo – 10 – 5
Reptile and Amphibian House opens at 10
Address: 6200 Hermann Park Drive Houston, Texas, 77030 713-533-6500
Hours: Open daily 9-7 (last entry 6)
Ticket Prices: Adults $ 19 Children (2 – 11) $15 Children (under 2) FREE Senior (65+ Bring ID) $12.50 FREE first Tuesday of the month 12 – closing Students of local universities One FREE visit with ID (University of Houston, Rice, St. Thomas and Texas Southern) Students of the universities get $2 off (Houston Baptist, Houston Community College, South Texas College of Law) Frankly, I’m surprised some of the law students haven’t taken the zoo to court over the difference in discounts for universities….some get a free visit and some get only $2 off? That sounds like a law students class project to me!
Fun Things to Do in Houston – The Galleria Mall
Yes, even shopping is bigger in Texas. The Galleria Mall is proudly HUGE and has 2.4 MILLION square feet of space. This mall is Houston’s most popular retail destination and has 400 stores and restaurants, office towers and two hotels. You can ice skate, too! See the list of shops! You’ll find everything here from Abercrombie and Fitch to Zumiez!
Address: 5085 Westheimer Rd Houston, Texas 77056
Hours: Daily 10 – 9
Fun Things to Do in Houston – Save money with the CityPASS.
If you are going to multiple sites in Houston you can save money – and time because you won’t have to stand in a ticket line, with the CityPASS.
Space Center Houston
Houston Museum of Natural Science
Houston Zoo OR Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Kemah Boardwalk OR Children’s Museum of Houston
Cost: Adults $50 Children $49
Fun Things to Do in Houston – Downtown Tunnels
Hidden under the streets of downtown Houston are more than 6 miles of tunnels. Enter via Wells Fargo Plaza and the McKinney Garage on Main street and get out of the heat or the rain and explore the shopping and restaurants underground.
The original tunnel was built in the 1930s as a passage between two movie theatres, the tunnel system now connects 95 city blocks on the western side of downtown.
This is a great resource for the people who work in all those tall buildings in downtown Houston. In addition to restaurants and shopping, there are services like dry cleaners and beauty salons. You can get your dry cleaning done and your teeth cleaned, too! Most people who work downtown have a long commute each morning and can’t get home in time to get to the dry cleaners at night so these resources are valuable!
Monday – Friday 6 am – 6:30 pm
CLOSED – Nights, weekends, and national holidays
What to Eat in Houston’s Downtown Tunnels
Pastabilities (Pasta and Pizza)
815 Walker St., Set T18
Luchi & Joey’s (Mexican)
914 Main, Ste B
Treabeards (Salad and Fish)
Becks Prime (Hamburgers and Shakes)
910 Travis St.
Mediterranean Grill House
808 Travis St.
Brooklyn Meatball Company (Italian)
1200 McKinney St.
Use the Houston Tunnels Mobile App to locate the shop or restaurant that is perfect for you!
Read before you go to help the kids have an even better experience!
Fun Things to Do in Houston – Minute Maid Park
Take in a ballgame and watch the World Series Champs, the Houston Astros, play a game in the fantastic Minute Maid Park. The ball game is played on a grass field! The roof opens if the weather allows so the games go on rain or shine and you are comfortable in the air-conditioning. Air conditioning is KING in Houston!
You have to eat at a ball game. I think it is a rule somewhere! You can find all the typical ballgame fare like hot dogs and nachos, but come hungry because you have a lot of eating options!
Food and Drink Options at Minute Maid Park:
Beverage Express – Adult beverages, soda and water
Corona Cantina – Beer, margaritas, soda, and water
Craft Bar – Draft beer
Dining Car Grill – burgers and chicken tenders
Extreme Dog – Hot dogs with a twist – extra special toppings
El Real – Mexican food
Five Seven Market – Healthy choices like fruit and salad
H-Town Grill – Ballpark food like hot dogs and burgers
Hand Made Funnel Cakes – Funnel Cakes
Home & Away – Ballpark food like hot dogs and nachos
Scoops and Ice Cream – Ice cream in a souvenir helmet bowl
Kids Meals – Stuff just for the kids
Kickin Nacho Portable – Create your own nacho plate
Little Bigs – Burgers and Pulled Pork sandwiches
Minute Maid Juice Stand – Healthy food and smoothies
Montejo Bar – Beer
Papa Johns’ Pizza – Pizza
Premium Beers – Beer on tap or bottle
Premium Wines – Wine by the glass or bottle
Shake Shack – burgers and shakes
St. Arnolds Bar – beer
Texas Legend Grill – burgers, chicken tenders and fries
Texas Smoke – BBQ
Torchy’s Tacos – tacos
Union Station Favorites – hotdogs, pretzels, and popcorn
Z Bar – alcohol drinks
Kids love the ballpark! Watching the game is fun and so are the kids’ only play areas.
Minute Maid Park
501 Crawford Street
Tickets – Choose the right ticket for you here.
Minute Maid Park
501 Crawford Street
713 – 259 – 8000
Things NOT allowed in Minute Maid Park: (Get the FULL list here)
Bags larger than 18″x16″x8″ Measure yours now to make sure it is OK. Your bag will be checked upon entry.
costumes and masks
cameras with a lens larger than 8″
wagons for kids
tripods for cameras – included monopods and bipods
cans and glass bottles (Baby food OK)
inflatable items like balls and balloons
Pets (service animals OK)
Things you CAN bring to Minute Maid Park:
Food in ONE plastic bag no larger than gallon size
ONE bottle of water PER PERSON – sealed and no larger than one liter
What will you see? Uniforms by day:
Monday – Thursday – White with blue unders and blue hats
Friday – Orange with blue unders and blue hats
Saturday – White with blue unders and blue hats
Sunday – Navy blue with orange unders, blue and orange hats
*** I had to look into the definition of ‘unders’ and that is the undershirt under their jersey.**
Weddings, proposals, and birthdays are all celebrated here. Get the information you need:
Birthday Parties: 713-259-8996 firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you visiting the state capital during your visit to Texas? Enjoy Austin!
Happy Travels in the Lone Star State,
Natalie, The Educational Tourist