best places to visit in houston

Whether you’re new to the city, just passing through and looking for things to do on the weekend in Houston, or looking for ways to entertain your guest, there are plenty of great Houston attractions here you absolutely must see.

Before you plan your trips and start purchasing tickets, make sure you’re getting the best deal whenever possible. The Houston CITYPass allows you to see up to 5 of Houston’s best attractions and save up to 49% off the total price of admission! Check out our Houston CityPASS review {hint: it’s totally worth it!}

Read more below for our guide to The Best Places to Visit in Houston:

 

BEST HOUSTON ATTRACTIONS

Space Center Houston- The official Visitor’s Center for NASA and the Johnson Space Center is open every day of the week! See the Starship Gallery, go inside a shuttle replica of the Independence, learn the names and accomplishments of NASA Astronauts, take a Tram Tour through Mission Control, and more. Admission is $24.95 for kids and $29.95 for adults. You can also save a bundle visiting this and other Houston attractions with CityPASS! Check out our full guide to all of the Space Center Houston coupons and discounts available.

The Houston Zoo- One of the best zoos in the nation is right here in Houston! Exhibits include the African Forest, the Bug House, the Giraffe Feeding platform, the World of Primates, the Petting Zoo, the Kipp Aquarium, the McNair Elephant Habitat, and much more. There is also a splash pad, carousel, gift shop, and a chance to have an up and close animal encounter. Admission is $15.95 for kids and $19.95 for kids of all ages from 12- 64!  Save with CityPASS! Check out our guide all of the Houston Zoo coupons and discounts.

The Boardwalk in Kemah & Galveston- Houston has two amazing boardwalks nearby and they each have their own unique fun! Admission to the Kemah Boardwalk is free, just pay for your rides, food, and drink. To enter the boardwalk in Galveston, you will need at least a Walk-On Pier Pass. Once inside, be prepared for rollercoasters, carnival games, water rides, kids rides, food, and more! Plus, if you want to go to Kemah, you can take advantage of CityPASS!

The Downtown Aquarium- If you can’t make it all the way to the Gulf Coast for boardwalk fun, just head to downtown! The Downtown Aquarium offers its own miniature version of roller coasters and carnival games, plus their enormous aquariums and delicious food! Feed the stingrays, see white tigers, and visit the sunken temple. Admission and ticket prices vary but you can save by using CityPASS! Check out our guide to all of the Houston Aquarium coupons and discount options.

Battleship Texas & The San Jacinto Battleground Monument Site– If exploring the battleship itself doesn’t wear out the kids, take them to the top of the monument and give them one of the tallest views in all of Houston. Plus, the tickets are cheap! Admission for kids aged 3- 11 is just $3 per person; adults and kids over 12 are just $12! It’s a great value and a great Houston attraction.

 

OUTDOOR PLACES TO VISIT IN HOUSTON

Buffalo Bayou-  Houston is named the Bayou City for good reason! The Buffalo Bayou Park includes Lost Lake, a dog park, the Nature Play Area, and a skatepark. Don’t miss the underground Cistern which was just recently discovered. They hold public tours and frequent art installations!

The Gerald D. Hines Water Wall Park- One of the most gorgeous structures in Houston is also open to the public. Do yourself a favor and park nearby- parking around the park is now private. You can learn everything you need to know before you go with our Houston Water Wall review.

Hermann Park- This sprawling park near the Museum District features a monument, the McGovern Centennial Gardens, a splash pad, reflection pool, walking trails, and the free Japanese Tea Gardens.

Discovery Green- Houston’s largest downtown park has fun for the whole family. You can catch frequent events, free workouts, remote control boats, kayaking, public art, the Gateway Fountain, an awesome playground, and much more. With so much going on, it’s no wonder this is one of the most popular places to visit in Houston.

Houston Arboretum- Entrance to the hiking trails and nature center is free, just be sure to follow all of the rules! You can also catch special events, take a class, or enjoy their nature programming for a small fee.

Waugh Drive Bat Colony- Arrive near sundown to see one of the largest nightly swarms of bats in the Houston area. Be sure to stay several feet away from the colony and the bridge, you don’t want to have any contact with the bats or their droppings.

 

BEST MUSEUMS IN HOUSTON

Lone Star Flight MuseumFor aviation enthusiasts, this is one of the best things about Houston. The museum has thousands of square feet dedicated to the history of flight, Texas Aviation stars, and vintage aircraft. Tour the restored aircraft and spring for the flight experiences! General admission is just $14.95 for adults, $12.95 for kids aged 12- 17, and $9.95 for kids aged 4- 11. For a limited time, you can get adult admission for just $10! Check out our full guide to the Lone Star Flight Museum.

HMNS & the Cockrell Butterfly Center- The Houston Museum of Natural Science is Houston’s favorite museum for people of all ages. See the Cullen Hall of Gems & Minerals, take in a show at the planetarium, and definitely stop by the Butterfly Center. General admission is $25 for adults, and $16 for kids. Shows and special exhibits are extra. Don’t worry about high ticket prices- we’re bringing you more than 50% off! Get your tickets now for just $11.10!

Houston Museum of Fine Arts- One of the largest museums in Houston, their permanent collection includes more than 65,000 works of art. While you’re there, you can also check out the Bayou Bend Collections & Gardens and Rienzi. Each has their own admission fees but you can save with CityPASS!

The Houston Children’s Museum- It’s meant for kids but there is fun here for everyone! Not only does the museum have interactive exhibits meant to engage and thrill the kids, they have themed days, character meets, spy games, and more. Admission is $12 per person. The Children’s Museum is also part of the CityPASS deal!

The Health Museum- Learn about the human body, see cells in a lab, and watch films at the McGovern Theater. This interactive museum is larger than life. Admission is $10, just $8 for kids aged 3- 12 years old.

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple- This Hindu temple in Stafford has amazing architecture with hand-carved Italian marble and Turkish limestone. The temple is open daily to visitors and is dedicated to teaching the public about Hinduism. They also serve delicious vegetarian cuisine in their cantina!

 

PUBLIC ART IN HOUSTON

The Orange Show- Houston’s Center for Visionary Art in the East End features a maze-like design with designs by Jeff McKissack at their monument and occasionally hosts shows. It’s definitely one of the most unique Houston attractions. Nearby is also Smither Park and the Beer Can House.

The James Turrel Twilight Epiphany- Also known as Sky Space, this public art installation plays with light and shadows. Visit at sundown and be sure to make reservations. It’s free!

The Miller Outdoor Theater- Hosting Houston’s best performances, you can always catch a show when the weather is good. See opera, ballet, children’s shows, and more.  Admission is free!

Contemporary Arts Museum- This Houston landmark is always free. See the latest installations from the edgiest up-and-coming artists around. The exhibits here are not always family-friendly.

The Menil Collection- See works from the prehistoric era, medieval art, and early modern art. You can also view works by Fernand Léger, Mark Rothko, Max Ernst, René Magritte, and more. Head to the nearby Rothko Chapel to see more works and get a dose of relaxation. Admission is always free at this great Houston attraction!

 

HOUSTON BREWERIES & BITES

Saint Arnold Brewery– One of the largest craft beer breweries in the U.S. is right here in Houston! Have a short tour, hang out in their beer garden with your dog, or play lawn games. Their pub grub is also great and be sure to order one of their root beers, made right on site.

8th Wonder Brewery– The Astrodome-inspired brewery opened their doors in 2013 and have made their way into the hearts of Houstonians ever since. Their taproom is open daily and they host frequent events with an awesome view of Houston’s skyline as their backdrop.

Karbach Brewery– If you’re looking for a brewery with their own restaurant and fine cuisine, this is the spot for you. Their enormous patio has plenty of seating. They also offer brunch!

Conservatory– This food and beer hall showcases local restaurants and local craft beer. Inside, their underground beer garden has a cool, indoor-outdoor vibe. Choose from amazing burgers or the best Ramen you’ve ever had and more.

BB’s Cafe- This small Houston chain of cafes is not Cajun. They’re Tex- Cajun! Their crawfish is spicy and unique but you really have to try the Midnight Masterpiece. Whatever you choose, wash it down with an Abita-Rita. It’s all delicious!

The Kitchen at Dunlavy- Houston is a foodie-lovers dream. We have so many amazing restaurants and kitchens, it would be impossible to choose just a few for this list. The Kitchen at Dunlavy makes it because of their amazing views of Buffalo Bayou, not to mention their gorgeous digs inside.

Tiny Boxwoods- Make sure you go Instagram-ready! You will want to capture everything here from the meticulously curated gardens to the perfectly paired dishes. Make sure you try the chocolate chip cookies, it’s part of what they’re known for!

 

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