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30 Best Things to Do in Houston, Texas

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There’s a lot to love about Houston, Texas. Over 2.3 million folks call Houston home, making it the largest populated city in Texas, the largest populated city in the south, and the 4th most populated city in the entire country. With a total land area of about 640 square miles, you can bet you’ll never run out of things to do in Houston.

Since it’s so large, visiting Houston can be overwhelming to plan out, but don’t worry–we’ve got you covered. From downtown Houston to the Space Center to the museum district, we’ve got the inside scoop on all the best things to do in Houston, Texas.

Whether you’re on a solo adventure on the quest to see all of the best Houston museums or have the entire family with you and need some kid-friendly options, there are plenty of things to do in Houston.

Speaking of families, Houston is very kid-friendly, and you’ll find many attractions that the little ones will love. Of course, no matter your age, everyone loves the Houston Zoo.

And then there’s the aquarium, one of the country’s most unique underwater adventures. After all, it’s not every day that you get to ride a train through an aquarium! In addition to the 3,000 sea creatures that call the aquarium home, there are also several amusement park rides that will satisfy the thrill seekers in your family.


  • Most significant landmark – San Jacinto Monument
  • Best park – Memorial Park
  • Free activity – Market Square Park
  • Activity for kids – Houston Zoo
  • Activity for adults – 77 Degrees Rooftop Bar
  • Place to eat – State of Grace
  • Nightlife – Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar
  • Place to stay – Courtyard by Marriot (there are two; all will become clear)

Things to Do in Houston, Texas

1. Houston Museum of Natural Science

Interior or Houston Museum of Natural History
Stay647 / TripAdvisor

Address: 5555 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030

With over two million visitors each year, you can bet that the Houston Museum of Natural Science is one of the most popular things to do in Houston. It’s actually one of the most popular museums in the entire country!

Established in 1909, this Museum of Natural Science keeps getting better with age, and they’re always planning a new exhibit or presentation that will blow you away. After strolling through the museum and viewing the many interactive exhibits and displays, including the Cockrell Butterfly Center, catch one of the shows at the planetarium or IMAX theater.

Using the latest digital planetarium software and projection system, you’ll feel like you’re flying through the universe watching one of the shows here. The planetarium shows about ten shows daily, ensuring at least one show your entire group will enjoy. Due to the nature of the shows (and the complete darkness in the planetarium), late entry is not allowed, so keep that in mind.

After the Planetarium, be sure to catch an IMAX show. Wortham Giant Screen Theater is a state-of-the-art IMAX theater with incredible 4K projection of 3D images that are nearly eight stories high! There are always a few shows playing each day, so check the schedule before your visit to get your tickets ahead of time. 

Don’t forget to check the museum’s website to learn what exhibits will be displayed during your visit! One of the biggest attractions of this Houston museum is the Cockrell Butterfly Center.

Previously, this walk-through live-animal exhibit was just chock-full of beautiful butterflies of all shapes and sizes, including a 50-foot waterfall!

See Related: Things to Do in Lubbock, Texas

2. Space Center Houston

Space Center Houston Outdoor Exhibit
Management / TripAdvisor

Address: 1601 E NASA Pkwy, Houston, TX 77058

It’s hard to mention Houston and not mention space exploration…One of Houston’s nicknames is Space City, after all. The Space Center Houston is the official visitor center of NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston and an incredible learning center for space exploration for folks of all ages.

With a focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, Space Center Houston will inspire you to dream bigger and bolder than ever.

During your visit to this popular Houston museum, you’ll get the opportunity to view more than 400 space artifacts from both permanent and traveling exhibits, as well as immerse yourself in unique simulation experiences through virtual reality technology.

Have you ever wanted to see what it’s like on board the International Space Station? Thanks to virtual reality, you can! Pro tip: buy your tickets online and skip the ticket booth lines.

That way, you can bring your tickets straight to the turnstile without hassle. This Houston museum is quite popular, so you’ll want to consider any special holidays or school closures that may bring the crowds!

If you’re planning on visiting multiple museums, consider getting the Houston CityPASS. The Space Center is included in the pass, and it’ll save you money on a bunch of other top attractions.

3. Holocaust Museum

Exterior of the Houston Holocaust Museum
Fernando A. / TripAdvisor

Address: 5401 Caroline St, Houston, TX 77004

Houston’s museum district is peppered with fascinating museums, and the Holocaust Museum Houston is just the tip of the iceberg. Established in 1996, Houston’s Holocaust Museum is the fourth-largest Holocaust museum in the United States, and worth a road trip from any corner of the state.

The Houston Museum offers four different types of tours: docent-led tours, virtual tours, audio-guided tours, and self-guided tours, so you can pick the tour to match your group. Regardless of what you opt for, it’s an essential stop for first-time visitors to Houston. The museum offers several free admission days on certain holidays, which you can find out more about on the museum’s website.

See Related: Best Vacations for a Group of Friends

4. Houston Zoo

Houston Zoo Scenery
Jim Evans / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: 6200 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030

Everyone loves the zoo, right? Zoos are always family-friendly, and the Houston Zoo is no exception! The 55-acre zoo is home to more than 6,000 animals ranging from the tiniest to the mightiest, and you’ll get to see them all during your visit.

Explore the swamp critters in the Texas Wetlands, and admire the stately giraffes, rhinos, and gorillas of the African Forest before checking out the massive elephant habitat for an up-close look at some of the earth’s most majestic creatures. For avian lovers, the zoo is home to one of the largest bird habitats in the country, so be sure to swing by and see some feathered friends.

There are three distinct bird exhibits where you can admire everything from flamingos to blue-winged kookaburras, Don’t forget about the Bug House.

While most get the creepy-crawlies thinking about bugs, a visit to the Bug House may very well demistify some of your fears when you learn more about these bugs and their importance in the world. Once you’ve conquered your fears, head to the Goat Yard, where you can give adorable goats some good pets and scratches.

The Zoo is one of the best things to do with kids in Houston, and visitors of all ages will have a memorable time seeing everything from alligators to otters and everything in between. After you’ve seen the real deal up close and personal, take a ride on your favorite animal on the wildlife carousel. It may just be the only carousel in the world where you can ride an armadillo, and how can you pass up an opportunity like that?

All of that adventure is bound to work up an appetite. Stay hydrated and fueled at one of the many cafes and restaurants around the zoo.

There are several themed food trucks near each animal exhibit for a grab-and-go option, but if you’d like to sit for a spell, check out Twiga Cafe, the Trading Post, or the zoo’s newest restaurant, Cypress Circle Cafe. Speaking of food, don’t miss the giraffe feedings, which happen twice daily.

5. Minute Maid Park

Houston's Minute Maid Park
Nowpacking / TripAdvisor

Address: 501 Crawford St, Houston, TX 77002

One of the most recognizable parts of the Houston skyline, Minute Maid Park, hits a homer daily. Metaphorically speaking, at least. Home to the Houston Astros, watching a baseball game at Minute Maid Park is one of the most unique things to do in Houston, so get yourself some tickets to an upcoming game.

Even if you’re not a fan of the sport, attending a baseball game is an all-around American pastime, and you may even walk away with a ball! If you visit during the off-season, you can always take a ballpark tour to get a behind-the-scenes look at the park.

The retractable roof stadium has a capacity of over 40,000, and when it’s not being used for sporting events, mainstream artists often play there. Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Paul McCartney are just a few of the big names that have played here.

See Related: Best Islands in the US to Visit

6. Museum of Fine Arts

Museum of Fine Arts Exhibit
Chrisinkingwood2 / TripAdvisor

Address: 1001 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005

Greater Houston has over 150 museums and cultural institutions, but few compare to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. It’s the 12th largest art museum in the world based on square feet of gallery space, so be sure to give yourself ample time to stroll through.

One of the most incredible art museums in the entire country, this museum of fine arts features both permanent collections and traveling exhibits, and the permanent collection includes roughly 70,000 works from six continents, spanning more than 6,000 years of history.

Get your tickets on the Museum of Fine Arts website to save time waiting in line, or for the art lover on a budget, visit the museum on Thursdays, when general admission is free. Remember that the general admission does not include any special exhibits, and you’ll need to purchase those separately, regardless of whether you’re visiting on a free day or not.

7. Discovery Green

Discovery Green Scenery
Tom W. / TripAdvisor

Address: 1500 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77010

In between the incredible indoor museums, spend some time soaking up that beautiful sun. The Discovery Green is a 12-acre park that’s so much more than a chunk of green space in an urban jungle.

Spend some time enjoying the iconic art pieces, Synchronicity of Color, let your dog enjoy some outdoor adventure at the park’s dog park, or take a casual stroll along Kinder Lake for beautiful water views. During the warmer months, you can even rent a kayak and paddle around the lake for an entirely new perspective of the park! Visit the website to learn about all of the incredible attractions at Discovery Green.

Looking for a place to crash? You’re just a short hop from the Courtyard by Marriot Downtown, so book yourself a room!

See Related: Top Most Beautiful Cities in the World to Visit

8. Buffalo Bayou Park

Picnic at Buffalo Bayou Park
Manon C. / TripAdvisor

Address: 1800 Allen Pkwy &, Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77019

Once you’ve tasted Discovery Green, you’ll want to hunt down all the sprawling green spaces in Houston. Buffalo Bayou Park stretches from Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street and boasts 160 acres of natural scenery, including Buffalo Bayou, which snakes through the city.

From scenic strolls through beautiful gardens to public art displays and hiking/biking trails, you could easily spend half a day here enjoying the scenery. Pack snacks or a full lunch and enjoy the beautiful Houston skyline for a picture-perfect day. 

Be sure to check out the many pedestrian bridges around the park. Not only do they offer unique connections to nearby neighborhoods, but you’ll also find some very beautiful views along the way.

9. The Galleria

The Galleria Interior
Chrisinkingwood2 / TripAdvisor

Address: 5085 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77056

They say everything is bigger in Texas, which certainly applies to shopping. Located in Uptown, The Galleria is the largest mall in Texas. The 2.4 million square foot space includes 400 retail stores and restaurants, two high-rise Westin hotels, and three office towers.

It’s safe to say that no matter what you’re shopping for, you’ll find it here at The Galleria. Or if you forgot something during your vacation, you’ll definitely find it here.

Actually, even if you don’t need anything, The Galleria is worth checking out just for the sheer size alone. There’s even a full-size ice rink, a children’s play area, and two swimming pools, just in case you need more things to do in this incredible mall.

Check out The Galleria’s website to get a full listing of all the shopping opportunities and restaurants before you go, and you may want to check out this map ahead of time, too. It will make parking much less of a headache!

And if you want to make this a real retail adventure, check into the nearby Courtyard by Marriot by the Galleria for your base of retail ops.

See Related: Best Breweries in Austin, Texas

10. Smither Park

Smither Park Scenery
HoustonTravelingfool / TripAdvisor

Address: 2441 Munger St, Houston, TX 77023

It is one of the newer parks to hit the Houston scene. You may be surprised that this beauty opened in 2013, even though it looks like it’s been there for decades.

One of the most underrated parks in the Houston scene, this quirky park boasts artwork from local artists in bold, vibrant street art-style displays just about everywhere you look.

While it may not end up on the top of the must-see attractions in Houston, if you’ve got some time to spare, Smither Park is worth it, especially for art lovers.

The creative urban space offers an amphitheater, a pavilion, a meditation garden, and some unique swings for your inner child (or actual child) to play on. Be sure to check out the 400-foot memory mall–more than 300 people have contributed to this inspiring art piece!

11. The Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show

Houston Rodeo Show
Rodeo Houston / Facebook

Address: NRG Pkwy, Houston, TX 77054

Of course, a visit to Houston isn’t complete without seeing some livestock, and what better place than the largest livestock exhibition and rodeo in the world? Also called RodeoHouston, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is held annually at the NRG stadium, and if your visit coincides with this epic event, get tickets.

Think of this event like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, it’s one of the most epic things to do in Houston, and one of the most iconic aspects of the city. The dates for 2023 are February 28 – March 19, and it’s worth rearranging your schedule to see this spectacular event in person.

RodeoHouston is more than a rodeo. It’s a full-on epic showcase of live entertainment, musical performances, incredible food, and even some carnival rides. Buy tickets to a specific event or an all-day pass to enjoy it all.

This is a family-friendly event, but it can sometimes get a little loud. For those with sensory needs, the rodeo has several sensory-friendly quiet rooms around it where no music is played and folks of all ages can gather their thoughts in between digging into finger-licking good BBQ and epic eight-second bull rides. 

See Related: Spring Break Destinations For Families

12. San Jacinto Monument

San Jacinto Monument
Management / TripAdvisor

Address: 1 Monument Cir, La Porte, TX 77571

In 1836, General Sam Houston led the Texan Army in one of the most historic 18 minutes in American war history. That’s right, the battle lasted a mere 18 minutes. It may have been brief, but it was an important milestone in Texas history, and you can visit the historic battlegrounds and learn all about the Texas Revolution at the San Jacinto Monument.

The San Jacinto Monument is located on the Houston Ship Channel, about 30 minutes east of downtown Houston, so it’s easy to fit in during your trip. The 567-foot-high monument is the tallest masonry column in the world, and it’s an impressive sight to see. The Washington Monument, the tallest stone monument in the world, clocks in right under 555 feet.

This is just another example of how everything is bigger in Texas! The San Jacinto Museum is located inside the base of the monument and focuses on the battle of San Jacinto as well as Texas culture. Visitors can take an elevator to the observation deck for an incredible view of Houston as well as the San Jacinto battlefield. 

13. Z on 23 Rooftop Bar

Z on 23 Rooftop Bar Outdoor Seats
Z on 23 Rooftop Bar / Facebook

Address: 1121 Walker St, 23rd Floor, Houston, TX 77002

Houston has a very lively nightlife scene, and if you’re looking for a spot to grab some drinks with an incredible view, Z on 23 is just the spot. Located at the top of Le Meridien Houston Downtown, Z on 23 is the city’s highest open-air rooftop bar, and the perfect spot to sit for a spell after touring Houston. You’ll feel like you’re on top of the world, taking in the 360-degree views of the city while sipping on any of their incredibly refreshing specialty cocktails.

You don’t need to be a guest at the hotel to enjoy the view, either, although it is a nice perk if you are staying here! Houston’s most Instagrammable bar also offers bottle service as well as a selection of light bites to snack on.

For a full meal, head downstairs to the first floor, where you’ll find Zuturo, a vibrant eatery with a menu full of American classics.

See Related: Things to do in Corpus Christi, Texas

14. Lucille’s

Lucille’s Restaurant Meal
Lucille’s / Facebook

Address: 5512 La Branch St, Houston, TX 77004

Located in the heart of the museum district, Lucille’s is your go-to spot in Houston for hearty Southern staples. Brothers Chris and Ben Williams opened Lucille’s in 2012, naming the restaurant after their culinary inspiration and great-grandmother, Lucille B. Smith.

Over a decade later, this nationally acclaimed restaurant has fed millions of hungry souls searching for some of the finest Southern food in Houston. Start with the famous chili biscuits before diving into the main course.

You can’t go wrong with the shrimp and grits, it’s a southern staple, but if you visit for lunch or weekend brunch, the chicken and waffles are a must. 

See Related: Things to Do in Beaumont

15. Houston’s BBQ Scene

Barbecue at Houston's Tejas
Tejas BBQ & Chocolate / Facebook

Texas and BBQ have a long history together, and when you’re in the Lone Star State, you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and try some Texas-style BBQ! There are plenty of BBQ restaurants in Houston, like The Pit Room, Gatlin’s BBQ, Pinkerton’s, and Truth BBQ, and all have a cult-like following for a reason.

Now, all of those joints are practically perfect in every way regarding BBQ, but if you’re willing to take the road less traveled, find your way to Tejas Chocolate & BBQ. Since it’s located about a 30-minute drive outside of Houston in the nearby town of Tomball, it can be easily overlooked, but it’s worth the extra effort, we promise.

Not only will you find incredible, authentic Texan BBQ, but you’ll also stumble into a chocolate shop! It’s not every day that you see this dynamic duo under the same roof, but once you feast on incredible BBQ, you’ll have some sinfully delicious, award-winning chocolates for the ride back.

See Related: Best Places to Travel in Your 20s in the US

16. Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar

Live Music at Pete's Dueling Piano Bar
Management / TripAdvisor

Address: 1201 Fannin St. #310, Houston, TX 77002

There is certainly no shortage of bars in Houston, but few compare to the experience you’ll have at Pete’s. Every night Pete’s puts on an electrifying show, complete with dueling pianos, talented musicians, a fabulous cocktail menu, and so much more.

There are a handful of Pete’s Dueling Piano Bars dotted around Texas, and while you’re in Houston, this show is a must. The show begins with two talented pianists dueling it out and throughout the show, more instruments are added, and before you know it… you may very well find yourself on stage! While walk-ins are welcome, it’s always a safe bet to reserve a table ahead of time. You wouldn’t want to arrive and find out the show has sold out!

17. Miller Outdoor Theater

Miller Theatre in Houston
Management / TripAdvisor

Address: 6000 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030

Located on about seven acres in Hermann Park, Miller Outdoor Theater is always putting on an epic show. The outdoor theater for performing arts offers an impressive eight-month season of entertainment that’s always free.

That’s right, free admission! Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre is the largest “always free” program of its kind in the United States.

All performances are family-friendly, from ballet to Shakespeare and everything in between, so bring a blanket and enjoy the show. Since the shows are free, everything is on a first-come, first-served basis, so you’ll want to arrive early to snag a good spot.

For some performances, you can reserve a seat in the covered area beforehand (don’t worry, it’s still free). Visit the website to see what’s playing. Since this is an outdoor venue, you’ll want to check the weather forecast beforehand. Remember: vacation smarter, not harder!

See Related: Things to Do in Dallas, Texas

18. Saint Arnold Brewing Company

Beer Garden at Saint Arnold Brewing Company in Houston
Juan G / TripAdvisor

Address: 2000 Lyons Ave, Houston, TX 77020

Established in 1994, the Saint Arnold Brewing Company is the oldest craft brewery in Texas and one of the most beloved breweries in Houston.

Easily one of the most fun things to do in Houston for adults, this brewery is located just north of downtown Houston and offers a scenic beer garden where you can enjoy one of its many craft beers and ciders.

Grab a pint or two and munch on some of their delicious pub grub before taking a tour to learn all about the brewing process and the history of this special brewery in Houston, Texas. The menu even includes suggestions for what beers to pair with what dishes, which is wonderful.

Saint Arnold is always hosting unique events, too. These events can range from themed cookoffs to photos with Santa. Check the events page to see what’s on the horizon.

19. Hermann Park

Hermann Park in Houston
Douglas N. / TripAdvisor

Address: 6001 Fannin St, Houston, TX 77030

This 445-acre urban park in Houston, Texas is located just at the southern tip of the Museum District, and it’s actually home to many of the attractions listed above, including the Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theatre, and the Houston Museum of Natural Science, so you may find yourself in Hermann Park without even knowing it!

Established in 1914, not only is Hermann Park one of the oldest urban parks in the city, but it’s also one of the most popular things to do in Houston, and it’s clear to see why when you consider how many attractions are within the park.

In addition to the exciting attractions mentioned earlier, Hermann Park also offers a golf course, a reflection pool, several picturesque gardens, and picnic areas.

Oh yeah, and an eight-acre recreational lake. You can rent a pedal boat to enjoy the scenery; afterward, the kids will love climbing aboard the train.

The train takes a 15-minute ride around the park, departing at Kinder Station and making additional stops along the way. It is a fun way to see the park. Plus, you could use the much-welcomed seat after all that walking around!

See Related: Best Unknown Places to Visit in the US

20. Texas Rock Gym

Houston Texas Rock Gym
Jwilliams191 / TripAdvisor

Address: 1526 Campbell Rd, Houston, TX 77055

If you’re looking for a unique way to spend your time in Houston, consider spending an afternoon rock climbing at Texas Rock Gym. Rock climbing has gained much popularity over the last decade, and Houston has always been ahead of the curve in this department. This rock gym opened in 1996 and was Houston’s first indoor rock-climbing facility.

Even if you’ve never tried rock climbing, Texas Rock Gym has plenty of classes to get you started, so you’ll reach new heights in no time. All visitors are required to go through a safety course, and then you’re ready to go!

You can even rent climbing gear, including shoes, chalk, and harnesses so you’ll even look the part. This is a perfect rainy day activity, especially if you want a change of scenery from all of the museums but still want to keep your body moving.

The courses are constantly being updated to keep climbers fresh, and there are plenty of courses ranging from beginner to expert level, so you’ll always have a new goal to reach. Pun intended.

21. Cyclone Anaya’s

Exterior of Cyclone Anaya's in Houston
The_Loup_Garou / TripAdvisor

Address: multiple locations around Houston

At some point during your visit to Houston, you will want to try some Tex-Mex. You don’t have to go far to find a Tex-Mex restaurant in Houston, but few can compare to Cyclone Anaya’s.

Since being family-owned and operated since 1966, Cyclone Anaya’s has been dishing out huge portions of enchiladas and margaritas to the Greater Houston Area for over 50 years.

There are a handful of locations peppered around Houston, and each one will serve you some of the best Tex-Mex you’ve ever had. Be sure to try the crab nachos. I know it’s not what you’d expect, but they are a fan favorite and the perfect appetizer for the table to share before enjoying incredible enchiladas.

See Related: Things to Do in San Antonio, Texas

22. State of Grace

Oysters at State of Grace in Houston
HBCU96 via TripAdvisor

Address: 3258 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX. 77098

Conveniently located just south of Memorial Park, the State of Grace offers a chic dining experience ideal for a night out on the town. When they’re in season, the oyster bar is one of the most popular in Houston, but you may also find brunch, lunch, and dinner options.

The menu features a bold fusion of Southern, Asian, German, and Latin flavors to make your taste buds explode. Ok, maybe not, but you will walk away with a new respect for blending flavors you may have never thought of before.

23. Health Museum

Houston Health Museum
Management/ TripAdvisor

Address: 1515 Hermann Dr, Houston, TX 77004

How much do you know about your own body? After a visit to the Health Museum in Houston, you may be surprised to learn you didn’t know as much as you thought! One of the most interactive museums in Houston, this unique museum seeks to inspire passion and curiosity about one’s overall health, the medical sciences, and the human body.

Of course, pandemic-related exhibits uncover the intricacy of global pandemics and why controlling them is not as easy as it sounds. Still, you’ll also find other thought-provoking exhibits about everything from air quality to basic anatomy.

Step inside a massive 22-foot-long backbone with ribs surrounding you as you learn all about your body and how to take better care of it. You only get one, so taking care of it while you can is a good idea!

24. McGovern Centennial Gardens

Houston McGovern Centennial Gardens
Barry Broughton / TripAdvisor

Address: 1500 Hermann Dr, Houston, TX 77004

There’s nothing like a stroll through a garden to clear your mind, and the McGovern Centennial Gardens offers eight acres of beautiful gardens to admire.

Located in Hermann Park, these gardens were custom-made specifically for Hermann Park, and there are several gardens to stroll through. Nearly 500 trees, 760 hedge shrubs, 650 azaleas, and 55,000 perennial bulbs illuminate the gardens year-round, including nearly five acres of grass to sprawl out on.

As a reminder, please do not pick the flowers or plants! As with any public park, the idea is to leave no trace and take only photographs so future generations can appreciate the park like you did. 

This scenic spot in Houston is just delightful for those moments when you need an escape from the “concrete jungle” without actually leaving the said jungle.

See Related: Best Road Trips in the USA

25. Grafitti Park

Houston's Grafitti Park
wireless_in_ca / TripAdvisor

Address: 2102 Leeland St, Houston, TX 77003

If you’re looking for a fabulous background for your next selfie, look no further than Grafitti Park. Located in East Downtown, every square inch of space along these buildings has been turned into street art by some of the most talented street artists in town.

Everywhere you look, you’ll be met with vibrant colors, inspirational messages, and maybe even a few familiar faces from the Houston sports and music scenes. While you’re in the area, you may want to check out the iconic “we love Houston” sign that’s only two blocks away. Get those gram posts in!

26. The Kemah Boardwalk

Kemah Boardwalk

Christian Schneider / TripAdvisor

Address: 215 Kipp Ave, Kemah, TX 77565

The Kemah Boardwalk is technically located outside of Houston. Still, it’s only seven miles away from Space Center Houston, so if you’re vacationing smarter not harder, you can plan both of these into your day.

Nestled along the shores of Galveston Bay and Clear Lake, the 60-acre coastal theme park offers more than 10 restaurants, several amusement park rides, dozens of shopping opportunities, and so much more. There’s even a boutique hotel you can spend the night!

One of the most unique attractions here is the double-decker carousel. Kids of all ages will have a blast riding mythical creatures like dragons and unicorns on a two-story carousel.

There are plenty of adrenaline-pumping rides for the older kids, too, like the Boardwalk Tower. You’ll have an incredible view of the Bay before plummeting 140 feet (safely) back down to the ground. 

See Related: Best Family Vacation Spots in the World

27. David Braun Park at Lake Nassau

David Braun Park Boardwalk
City of Nassau Bay, Texas / Facebook

Address: 18900 Upper Bay Rd, Houston, TX 77058

If you’re looking for a place to escape the crowds and enjoy some of Houston’s more natural scenery, you’ll feel right at home at David Braun Park at Lake Nassau and the nearby Nassau Bay Peninsula Wildlife Park. David Braun Park has plenty of picnic tables and gazebos to enjoy as well as a scenic boardwalk to stroll along.

At the northern end of the peninsula, you’ll find the wildlife park. This 76-acre wetland area is a great spot to do a little birdwatching, the preserve is a favorite hang-out for herons and egrets in particular. There’s a lovely trail that weaves through the area, and the entire 2.5-mile trail is just stunning. 

28. Christie’s Seafood & Steak Restaurant

Christie's Restaurant in Houston, Texas
Christie’s Seafood & Steaks Restaurant / Facebook

Address: 6029 Westheimer Rd. Houston, Texas 77057

Christie’s is one of the few restaurants in Houston that can claim over a century of service, and if you’re in the mood for a little surf and turf, this is the spot.

Christie’s has been a Houston staple since 1917, and many menu items are made from the same recipes they’ve been using since the beginning. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Christie’s is famous for its fried fish sandwich. It’s one of the menu items that has never left since 1917; it pretty much put them on the map, and folks from all over town flock to get one.

Another fan favorite is the fried shrimp; they’re a must-try when visiting. There’s nothing better than biting into a perfectly golden shrimp freshly caught from the Gulf!

See Related: Strange Foods in America You Should Try

29. Someburger

Houston someburger
Someburger / Facebook

Address: 745 E 11th St, Houston, TX 77008

If you want to eat like a local, Someburger is the spot. This iconic eatery has been serving up some of the best Texan burgers in Houston since 1955, earning it a spot for one of the oldest burger joints in Houston. But what makes a Texan burger a Texan burger?

Legend has it that Uncle Fletcher Davis created the first hamburger in a small cafe in Athens, Texas, back in the 1880s. Years later, Uncle Fletch took his new creation to the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904, where it earned the name “hamburger,” a nod to a similar dish frequently found in Hamburg, Germany. The original burger included mustard, mayonnaise, and fresh produce…but no ketchup.

Someburger keeps the tradition alive, serving its burgers with mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, onions, lettuce, and tomato…still no ketchup. These folks do things the old-school way, making all the difference in the world. Hand-cut fries, perfectly seasoned burgers, and don’t forget the hand-dipped malts, milkshakes, and floats to wash it all down.

No frills, all flavor. That’s what you can expect when you visit this local landmark. Don’t worry. You can ask for ketchup on your burger.

What is the best thing to do with kids in Houston? You can’t go wrong with a visit to the Houston Zoo or the downtown aquarium. Families with kids of all ages will have a blast seeing their favorite animals before their eyes.

Plus, both facilities offer interactive areas with petting zoos and hands-on tanks where you can pet goats, feed giraffes, or touch a stingray!

30. Geronimo Adventure Park

Obstacle Course at Geronimo Adventure Park
Geronimo Adventure Park / Facebook

Address: 6749 Farm to Market 2920, Spring, TX 77379

Adrenaline junkies, this one is for you! Less than 30 minutes north of Houston, Geronimo Adventure Park gives you the opportunity to soar through the sky on multiple zip line courses, and so much more. They have multiple sky trails, so you can choose whether you’d rather have a simulated free fall experience, or a more controlled, slow descent. There’s even a night zipping opportunity, where you’ll don a headlamp and soar through the sky under the moonlight! You will need to be at least six years old to participate in the zip line courses, but don’t worry, there are plenty of kid-friendly activities to keep the young ones entertained if they’re not quite old enough to fly through the sky.

Geronimo Adventure Park offers several activities, including a ninja obstacle course, rock wall climbing, and even axe throwing! While your crew is climbing the towers to the zip lines, those down below can stay entertained with a plethora of lawn games including giant Jenga, corn hole, bocce ball, tetherball, and more. After you’ve enjoyed all the thrills, chill out by the fire pits, where you can roast marshmallows and enjoy the sounds of a crackling fire.

If you’re looking for a place for the clan to rest up, consider booking a vacation rental. For example, this nearby townhouse is a steal, while this modern family home is perfect for large groups!

Tips for Visiting Houston

Considering the city sees an average of 50 inches of rain annually, it’s always good to plan some indoor activities for those days when the weather isn’t ideal for walking around.

June is the rainiest month of the year for Houston, while February is the driest, so keep those two months in mind as you plan your vacation. It never hurts to pack an umbrella for those unexpected afternoon showers! luckily there are plenty of museums to enjoy during those rainy days.

Speaking of rain, let’s talk about transportation while you’re in Houston. Many of Houston’s neighborhoods, like the Museum District, feature beautiful tree-lined streets that make strolling through the city very pleasant.

If you’ve hit your step goal for the day, you can always take the METRORail to your next destination. Houston’s METRORail will get you everywhere you need to go downtown. Houston also has plenty of ride-share options like Uber and Lyft and traditional taxi cabs, so you’ve plenty of options when you need to get from point A to point B.

Don’t forget about a place to rest your head at night’s end. If you will be staying for at least a week, you may want to look into some of the incredible Houston VRBOs that are available. This will give you a much more “homey” feel, plus you’ll have a kitchen where you can save money by cooking your meals.

Tours in Houston

1. Private Houston City Tour Including NASA Space Center Admission Top Recommendation

This 4-hour private Houston sightseeing tour begins with pickup at select hotels, followed by a sightseeing tour of popular landmarks around the city. With a map and instructions, you'll enjoy the flexibility to explore the space center on your own time, without the stress of rushing. Secure your NASA Space Center ticket in advance for a self-guided tour.

2. Best of Houston City Driving Tour with Local Guide

Houston's Downtown Underground Tunnel Tour is an exciting way to experience the city. The tunnel system provides a unique opportunity to learn about its history, see the tallest buildings in Texas, and enter into some of the most prestigious business offices. Tourists and locals alike will enjoy touring this unique piece of American history.

3. Houston: Downtown Underground Tunnel Tour

Get a unique experience and take in the best of Houston during this 4 hour tour. Travel through city streets, admiring the architecture and famous sites. Learn about the history of the area as you go, with your guide pointing out key landmarks and places along the way.

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