The Best Things to Do in Houston, Texas

Houston, the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest in the United States, is a dynamic, diverse metropolis brimming with personality. From exploring world-class museums to enjoying the great outdoors in expansive parks, there’s never a shortage of things to do in the Bayou City. In this article, we will journey through Houston’s rich history, diverse culture, and exciting attractions that make this city a must-visit destination.

Visit the Space Center Houston

One of Houston’s most popular attractions, Space Center Houston, is a leading science and space exploration learning center. It’s also the official visitor center of NASA Johnson Space Center and a Smithsonian Affiliate museum. Here, visitors can:

  • Learn about the history of space exploration.
  • Take a tram tour of the NASA Johnson Space Center.
  • See actual spacecraft, including the Apollo 17 command module.
  • Experience the exhilarating sensation of a simulated rocket launch.

Explore the Houston Museum District

Houston’s Museum District is home to 19 museums, galleries, and cultural centers, located within a 1.5-mile radius of the Mecom Fountain. A few highlights include:

  • The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH):** The MFAH is one of the largest art museums in the United States, with a vast collection spanning 6,000 years of history.
  • The Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS):** The HMNS houses the Burke Baker Planetarium, Cockrell Butterfly Center, and Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, alongside vast permanent exhibit halls.
  • The Menil Collection:** This art museum focuses on preserving and exhibiting the art collection of founders John de Menil and Dominique de Menil.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities in Buffalo Bayou Park

Buffalo Bayou Park offers a variety of outdoor activities. Visitors can rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard, take a scenic hike or bike ride along the trails, or enjoy a picnic while overlooking the Houston skyline. The park is also home to public art installations and the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, a former drinking water reservoir built in 1926.

Stroll through the Houston Botanic Garden

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and serenity of the Houston Botanic Garden. The Garden is filled with plants from around the world, including a global collection garden and a family discovery garden.

Market Square Park

Located in downtown Houston, Market Square Park is a bustling urban park that sits on the site of the original City Hall. Enjoy the open green spaces, walk your dog in the dog run, or catch a free outdoor movie or concert.

Rothko Chapel

Adjacent to the Menil Collection, the Rothko Chapel is not only a chapel but also a major work of modern art. Surrounded by a tranquil plaza and reflecting pool, it’s a place for contemplation and introspection.

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

Bayou Bend, a part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is an estate located in the River Oaks community. The former home of Houston philanthropist Ima Hogg, it now houses an impressive collection of decorative art, furniture, and paintings, surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Hermann Park

Located in the heart of Houston, Hermann Park offers a range of attractions including the Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theatre, a golf course, and the McGovern Centennial Gardens. It’s an ideal spot for a day out with family and friends.

Terry Hershey Park

This park, located in west Houston, offers miles of biking and hiking trails along Buffalo Bayou. Named after the environmental activist Terry Hershey, it’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Memorial Park

One of the largest urban parks in the United States, Memorial Park features a golf course, running and cycling trails, tennis courts, and fields for sports like soccer and baseball. It’s a favorite among local athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

This sanctuary located on the western edge of Memorial Park is a wonderful place to learn about Houston’s native plants and wildlife.

Tranquility Park

Named in honor of the Apollo 11 mission, Tranquility Park in downtown Houston features a series of fountains and water features, along with a replica of a footprint left on the moon’s surface.

Sesquicentennial Park

This downtown park, celebrating the city’s 150th birthday, stretches along the banks of Buffalo Bayou and offers lovely trails and beautiful views of the Houston skyline.

Discovery Green

This 12-acre park in downtown Houston is a vibrant gathering place with a lake for boating, various art installations, restaurants, and a calendar full of special events and activities.

Sam Houston Park

Sam Houston Park is home to The Heritage Society, which features ten historic buildings dating from 1823 to 1905. A walk through this park offers a glimpse into Houston’s past.

Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark

A top-tier public skatepark located near downtown Houston, this facility attracts skateboarders of all levels, with bowls, a street course, and a promenade along Buffalo Bayou.

Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park

This park is most famous for its stunning 64-foot semi-circular fountain that re-circulates 11,000 gallons of water per minute. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

Levy Park

Recently revitalized, Levy Park in the Upper Kirby District offers an array of activities and amenities, including a children’s play area, a dog park, and a performance pavilion.

In conclusion, whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, a nature lover, or a foodie, Houston offers an array of attractions and activities that promise an unforgettable experience. So, plan your visit and experience the unique blend of Southern hospitality and urban sophistication that Houston has to offer!

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