13 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Houston

Houston is a bustling city with plenty of things to do for tourists and locals alike. The city is buzzing with culture, restaurants, shopping, attractions, and fun experiences. It is the fourth largest city in the United States. Tourists can visit Space Center Houston, eat at world-class restaurants, shop at unique stores, see inspiring museums, and enjoy green spaces along the bayou.

Houston is a wonderful city for sports fans. Houston has a long history of sports, including the Houston Astros, the Houston Texans, and the Houston Rockets. For entertainment, there are many events to choose from. Perhaps you will want to catch a performance at the Houston Grand Opera or enjoy some live music at the Houston Symphony. Or you can just relax by taking in a show at any of the city’s many theaters.

To spend a great weekend away, you should visit Houston. The city has direct connections to all of North America. If you’re visiting Houston, you can’t miss its neighbor, Galveston Island. It’s just an hour away and gives you the best of both worlds by combining urban life with beach life. Check out our top recommendations for things to do in Houston, including the Space Center Houston and the Downtown Aquarium.

1. Visit Space Center Houston

The visitor center for NASA’s Johnson Space Center is a must-see attraction in Houston. The Independence shuttle replica and its carrier aircraft are on display at the Space Center Houston complex, which is large enough to comfortably house them.

In the visitor center, you can walk inside a replica of America’s first space station, Skylab. It is the place to learn about NASA’s upcoming missions, including travel to Mars. If you are here on Friday around noon, you can even meet an astronaut.

At the visitor center, you can take a tram tour to the Johnson Space Center, home of mission control. This tour takes you to Rocket Park, where you can see actual rockets on display. If you just want to visit the Rocket Park, that’s fine. Just go to the gate and inform them that you’d like to visit, and they will let you in.

Do you want to know what it feels like to be an astronaut? Sign up for a Level 9 Tour and see what goes on behind the scenes at Johnson Space Center. You’ll see the Buoyancy Lab, the ISS Mission Control, and simulation labs, among other places off-limits on regular tours, and you might even run into a real astronaut!

This is a one-of-a-kind experience. You’ll get to tour the building and meet astronauts! This is not a ticket for the Space Center Houston, but rather a ticket for your exclusive VIP tour. Only 12 tours are sold per day. The tour begins at the Space Center Houston, which you are free to explore with the purchase of this ticket.

When you are in Texas, it is a good idea to visit the Houston Space Center. You can do it in two ways. The first is to purchase the Space Center Houston and City Sightseeing Tour, which includes admission to the space center and a bonus city tour.

Also Read: 16 Top Attractions & Things to Do at the Grand Canyon

2. Explore Houston’s Museum District

The Museum District in downtown Houston is one of the best cultural attractions in the city. Here you will find 19 museums, 11 of which are free to the public.

Highlights include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Children’s Museum of Houston. The Menil Collection and the Holocaust Museum are in this area as well. Hermann Park is a lovely place with the Houston Zoo and Miller Outdoor Theatre.

Most of the museums are within walking distance to each other, but the Rothko Chapel and the Menil museum are a little farther away. Free museums in Houston include:

The Menil Collection, Rothko Chapel, the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Lawndale Art Center, Houston Museum of African American Culture, Moody Center for the Arts, and the Houston Center for photography.

3. Walk, Bike, or Paddle in Buffalo Bayou Park

Buffalo Bayou Park is a 160-acre green space in the heart of downtown Houston. The slow moving waters of Buffalo Bayou are a key aspect of this urban park, which also offers extensive walking and biking trails, a dog park, and plenty of trees for shade.

If you are looking to do something outdoorsy in Houston, whether it’s for exercise or to explore the city, renting a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard is not only fun but also easy. You can rent them at the park, and there are tours that range from one to three hours. Additionally, there are cycling tours available.

A unique site in Buffalo Bayou Park is the Cistern. It was originally used as a drinking-water reservoir in 1926, but it now hosts different art installations. Visitors can take a guided tour of the Cistern today.

The park is home to a huge colony of Mexican free-tailed bats. A quarter of a million of them fly out from the Waugh Drive Bridge each evening at sunset.

4. Visit the Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo is an incredibly popular attraction. The zoo is actually the largest urban zoo in the United States, with more than 6,000 animals and almost 400 species. It’s divided into several areas that include the African Savanna, the Asian Forest, the Aquarium, and the Primate, Reptile & Amphibian House. Some of its most popular attractions are the giraffes, the aquariums, and the sea lions..

Hermann Park in Houston, Texas is a beautiful place. There, you’ll find the Houston Museum of Natural Science and Miller Outdoor Theatre, a Japanese Garden and McGovern Centennial Garden, and a lake for paddle boats. There are also many paths for strolling.

5. Take the Kids to the Houston Children’s Museum

The Houston Children’s Museum is an excellent place to take the kids this summer. The museum has a ton of great features and exhibits that will entertain and educate children of all ages. With so many engaging displays and activities, parents can sit back and relax while the kids play for hours.

Do you ever wonder how things work? At the How Does It Work exhibit, you can find out. The FlowWorks wet zone is an area where you can start and stop water flow. It’s also fascinating.

If your kids love to play spy, they will be excited about the SECRETS Spy Game exhibit. It’s a way for them to use their skills and knowledge to crack codes and find clues. They will be competing against evil characters, and they must think quickly and strategically.

6. Discover Houston’s Street Art

Houston is a street art capital, and this is one of the secrets that tourists don’t know. It has some of the world’s best artists in street art, such as Gonzo247 and COPE2. You can find their work all over the city.

In the city of Houston, there are many murals painted on walls in various spots. These murals are worth seeing by car. They have been made by a popular artist who goes by the name Gonzo247.

The city’s most famous street artist is creating a mural in the downtown area. The giant “Houston is Inspired” mural at the corner of Travis Street and Preston Street is one of his most iconic works. The smaller “Houston” mural at Leeland Street and St. Emanuel Street is also one of his masterpieces.

The Arts District is a neighborhood that has an incredibly large concentration of impressive works of art. These can be found on the walls of various buildings and homes and also scattered around the city.

7. Shop the Vintage Stores on 19th Street in The Heights

The Heights neighborhood is home to 19th Street, which is a funky area filled with all kinds of quirky shops. This place has vintage clothing, retro décor, old collectibles, evening gowns, casual clothing, jewelry, footwear, household gadgets, and all kinds of unique items, including all kinds of unique items.

New York City is also a great place to shop for gifts. The shops are not all vintage; some sell new pieces or a mix of new and old. Even if you are not looking to buy anything, the whole area is worth seeing and offers a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

8. Day Trip to Galveston

Galveston is a perfect day trip from Houston. A quick drive and you’re at the beach. If you want to get out of the city, head to Galveston for a little sun and fun in the sun. Explore the historic downtown and grab a bite to eat at a seaside restaurant. Miles of beach and deep, blue water await. If you want to be right in the middle of all the action, go to Pleasure Pier!

If you are traveling in Corpus Christi, make sure to visit Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum. It’s a museum that is located in the former offshore drilling platform. It is quite famous for its incredible size. The Texas Seaport Museum is another attraction. It was formerly known as the Texas State Aquarium. Finally, if you are traveling with kids, visit Moody Gardens.

If you don’t own a car or want to keep things simple,  you can  also take  an organized  tour  to the island. One recommended option is the Houston Sightseeing Tour and Galveston Day Trip. This includes  a 90-minute double-decker bus tour of Houston and transportation to and from Galveston, where  you’ll have free time to explore on your own.

9. Attend the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Houston’s most famous annual event is an exciting 19-day festival. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a fun, family-friendly celebration that brings the city together in February or March.

If you are in Houston, plan to visit the rodeo in February. If you aren’t, make plans to visit in February, when the rodeo is in town. It’s not just for cowboys and cowgirls. The whole family can enjoy this event, which has become more than just a rodeo; it is an experience.

If this is your first time at a fair, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much there is to do. There are rides, games, and food stands, as well as the possibility of spending an indefinite amount of time enjoying the entertainment.

Rodeo tickets are needed at the rodeo events. The cowboys show off their skills in a variety of areas, and in the evening they perform on stage. Check out the concert listing and buy tickets in advance to see some of the biggest names in music.

One day is not enough to see everything at the rodeo! If you have only one day to attend this fantastic show, wander the grounds and enjoy the carnival. Then, see some of the finest farm animals on display at the Livestock Show. Then, spend the evening at a concert. Another event that will not be missed is the Downtown Rodeo Parade.

10. See a Sports Game

Sports fans can see a game in Houston. There are many options here, whether it’s football, baseball, basketball, or soccer. Houston loves its sports teams, especially the Houston Texans (NFL), the Houston Astros (MLB), and the Houston Rockets (NBA).

Houston has three professional sports teams: the Texans, the Rockets, and the Astros. The Texans play at the NRG Stadium, which is located near the NRG Center, which houses the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The Toyota Center is located near the George R. Brown Convention Center. The Astros play at Minute Maid Park, on the edge of downtown.

Soccer fans, there are two teams in Houston you can’t miss. The Houston Dynamo (MLS) and the Houston Dash (NWSL) play their home games at BBVA Compass Stadium. They’re both in town this month, so be sure to catch a game while you’re here!

11. Discover Unique Dining Experiences in Houston

Dining in Houston is an experience. This city has put itself on the map when it comes to food. Foodies are in for a real treat when traveling to this Texas town. The cuisine is something you would not expect in a city of this size, ranging from traditional Southern dishes to Latin American, Asian, Mexican, and many other cultural specialties. There are too many great restaurants to list, but there are some that are worth mentioning because they are so unique.

The restaurant is in an old church, but it’s not really a religious place. It’s actually the creative vision of chef Chris Shepherd. The concept started with five different dining options, but now there are only three. This year, for instance, it’s a seafood restaurant. Next year it will be something else entirely.

In the past, the menu has changed a few times. First, it was a steakhouse, then a Mediterranean restaurant, and finally a Southern Comfort restaurant.

The Marriott Marquis Houston, situated in downtown Houston, has a new restaurant on the first floor: Xochi. It serves authentic Mexican dishes, and offers some unusual options to make you wonder.

Vibrant is an online meal delivery service that provides healthy meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Each dish is made of gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and non-GMO ingredients.

12. Walk through Rice University Campus

Rice University is an oasis in the middle of downtown Houston. It is a favorite outdoor space for many Houstonians, who love walking and running on its trails, admiring its thousands of mature trees, and strolling through its lovely old buildings.

The grounds also contain a large number of impressive works of contemporary art. The artworks are lit at night, which adds to the tranquil atmosphere. A lot of these artworks are equally as impressive as the day itself.

13. Experience the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park

The Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park is an impressive public park in the city of Houston, Texas. The park features a large, semi-circular fountain that cascades sheets of water over large concrete walls and sculptures. The fountain’s arch is 46,500 square feet in size and towers 64 feet in the air.

You can’t appreciate this park by simply seeing pictures. You need to see it in person. The 2.77 acres of green space is located in the middle of the city, yet it feels like you’re in the country. Dozens of ancient live oaks fill the park, providing a natural escape from the concrete jungle that surrounds it.

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