This is a guest post by Dana DuTerroil and Joni Fincham, founders of Trip Chandler, a two-woman team who creates guides to Houston and give tours of the city to visitors and locals looking for something new to do.
Looking to plan the perfect date? Whether it’s your first date or your 500th, there are tons of fun things to do in Houston for couples. The best part? You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great time. With these 50 free and cheap date ideas in Houston, you can have a night to remember without breaking the bank.
Note: Prices shown are per person.
Trip Chandler Tip: Always bring cash for the tip jar! It’s a move that never fails to impress.
2) Rent BCycles on White Oak in the Heights for a photo safari of the area’s mural scene. ($3 per 30 minutes) Trip Chandler Tip: Spring for two scoops at Gelazzi before a selfie shoot in front of Daniel Anguilu’s Greetings from Houston mural on the side of the building. More murals can be found on 19th Street between Heights Boulevard and Shepherd. Check out our full guide to Houston mural locations!
3) Set a course for adventure aboard the Sam Houston for a free cruise around the Houston Ship Channel. Advance reservations required. This is one of the most unique and fun things to do in Houston for couples.
4) Meet at dusk for the evening emergence of Mexican free-tailed bats at the Waugh Drive Bat Colony Bridge along Buffalo Bayou. It’s a classic way to start a date night in Houston.
5) Head to the Museum of Fine Arts on Thursday for free admission plus happy hour. Trip Chandler Tip: Take in the view from the top of the newly opened BBVA Compass Roof Garden across the street.
6) Take time to smell the roses with a stroll through the McGovern Centennial Gardens in Hermann Park.
7) Go underground with a tour of the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern featuring an immersive art installation by Carlos Cruz-Diez. (Advance tickets required $10)
8) Hike the trails of the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. This is a great choice if you’re an active couple looking for date ideas in Houston.
9) Watch a foreign film at the Czech Center Museum of Houston’s monthly free movie night on Fridays.
10) Get in step at Neon Boots with free line dancing followed by couples dancing lessons on Thursdays at 7:30 pm.
11) Meander the Menil Collection’s art-filled campus paired with a picnic on the lawn. Note: The Menil’s buildings are open Wednesday-Sunday. Trip Chandler Tip: Bistro Menil offers a happy hour menu of small bites and drinks from 2-6:30 pm, Wed-Sun.
12) Looking for a more relaxing date idea in Houston? Namaste for two with a free outdoor yoga session at the Raven Tower on the first Sunday of the month at 10 am.
14) Get your arcade game on at Joystix’s Pacman Fever night featuring unlimited gameplay for $15 on the first and last Fridays of the month. Note that since they’re only open a couple nights a month, this is one of the more popular fun things to do in Houston for couples on those evenings and it can get busy.
15) Hear the Fab Four cover band, Beetle, play their longstanding Thursday happy hour gig at the Continental Club from 7-10 pm.
16) Pick a winner at Little Woodrow’s Turtle Races in Midtown on Thursday nights starting at 8 pm. This is another one of those classic Houston date ideas that ever couple needs to do at least once.
17) View super-sized street art, murals, and wild styles at the Harrisburg Art Museum (HAM), a covered warehouse in Houston’s East End. Trip Chandler Tip: Check the HAM’s calendar for their occasional Art Markets and live painting events.
18) Book a free reservation for the sunset light sequence in the James Turrell Twilight Epiphany Skyspace on the campus of Rice University. Closed Tuesdays. Trip Chandler Tip: Enjoy budget-friendly beers at Valhalla, Rice’s graduate student pub. Closed Saturdays.
19) Picnic under the stars while watching a free performance at Miller Outdoor Theatre.
20) Travel to the Far East via LuckyLand and explore two acres of Asian culture. ($10)
21) Pop a top and play ping pong at the West Alabama Ice House. Trip Chandler Tip: Order tacos for two at the Tacos Tierra Caliente truck across the street.
22) Put on your dancing shoes for Latin beats and free salsa dancing at the Houston Downtown Aquarium on Friday nights from 7-11 pm.
23) Hang with the cool cats of El Gato Coffeehouse for an hour of feline therapy in their Cat Cottage. ($10) Trip Chandler Tip: Set the mood with a look at Emily Ding’s mural, Oneness, depicting two elephants with intertwining trunks on the side of the nearby Nia Moves building.
24) Hear free live music paired with free St. Arnold’s beer at a Cactus Music in-store performance. It’s a great way to catch both national and local acts in an intimate performance, making it one of our favorite fun things to do in Houston for couples.
25) Watch sketch comedy pros at Station Theater’s pay-what-you-want shows on Friday and Saturday nights at 10 pm. Note: Station Theater is BYOB.
27) Lounge in a hammock and listen to live jazz on Wednesdays at Axelrad Beer Garden.
28) Take a guided architecture walk led by docents from Preservation Houston. ($10 with a $2 discount if you walk, bike, or take public transportation)
30) Go with the flow on Buffalo Bayou during their 30-minute Second Saturday Boat Ride. ($5)
31) Laissez les bon temps roulez at the Big Easy Zydeco Jam on Sundays at 8 pm.
32) Couple skate on Thursdays during adult skate night at the Dairy Ashford Roller Rink. ($7 entry; $3 skate rental)
33) Get in line early for Bootown’s Grown-up Storytime 8 pm session at Rudyard’s on the third Tuesday of each month. ($5)
34) Stargaze on Saturdays through the George Observatory telescopes in Brazos Bend State Park. ($14) Note: This is an approximately one-hour drive from Houston. Make a playlist for the drive!
35) Bring your own art supplies and a bottle of wine for the Watercolor Art Society’s monthly Wine Down Wednesday from 6-9 pm.
36) Do the time warp again at River Oaks Theatre’s select midnight screenings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. ($11)
37) Cruise the Third Ward on a Friday Night bike tour ($16 for early bird LED bike rental, glow glasses, and safety gear + $2.39 fee; $10 if you bring your own wheels)
38) Hear true crime tales, thrillers, and mysteries at Murder by the Book’s author signings and readings.
39) Meditate inside the Rothko Chapel. Trip Chandler Tip: Plan your visit when the Rothko Chapel offers concerts on the plaza with complimentary beverages from St. Arnold’s Brewing Company. (Donations welcome)
40) Listen to live bands against the backdrop of Lake Woodlands at Hughes Landing on Fridays from 7-9 pm.
41) Browse the Blue Field Saturday Night Market from 6-10 pm with live music and backyard games.
43) Root for the Sugar Land Skeeters baseball team on Thirsty Thursdays when there’s $2 beer and sodas. (GA tickets $9). Get discounted Sugar Land Skeeters tickets here.
45) Play bingo on Thursday nights at the SPJST Lodge 88 in the Heights at 7:30 pm. ($5 Bingo pads; BYOB)
46) Kayak on Discovery Green’s Kinder Lake. ($5) This is another one of those fun things to do in Houston that’s perfect for active couples! Trip Chandler Tip: Whisper sweet nothings with the help of the Listening Vessels in the Wortham Foundation Gardens.
48) Become a fan of the blues at Shakespeare Pub. ($5 cover on Fridays and Saturdays after 9 pm)
49) Learn the tango on Monday night at the Continental Club, 7 pm ($15 for 75-minute class; free social dancing set to live music at 8:30 pm)
50) Hop on the METRORail Red Line from Midtown to Downtown to view the Art Blocks, sculpture, and street art in plain sight. ($2.50 roundtrip) Trip Chandler Tip: Get off at Preston and walk to Prairie at Main to see artist Jessica Rice’s mural and take advantage of the 4-6 pm happy hour at the Conservatory Food Hall.
What are some of your favorite date ideas in Houston? Let us know by commenting below!