New to Houston? Here’s What to Check Out First.
There are lots of options when it comes to the Lone Star state, but Houston comes with world-class amenities, restaurants, sports franchises, and culture to explore. From space exploration to the museum district, here’s a round-up of our favorite things to do in Houston.
1. Get Out of This World at Space Center Houston
Whether you’re dreaming about visiting space one day or just want to learn more about NASA, check out Space Center Houston. With over 400 things to see and do, you can easily lose track of time here. See the world’s largest display of spacesuits and moon rocks, along with an up-close look at the history of space exploration. The center is great for just about everyone, even offering sensory-friendly events for all ages.
2. Explore Houston’s Museum District
Explore something new every day at Houston’s Museum District. With four walkable zones and 19 museums, there’s plenty to see. Art and history buffs looking for things to do in Houston can choose from the Houston Center for Photography, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, or The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston among others.
There are also some specialty, niche museums to expand your world-view. The Czech Center Museum or Buffalo Soldiers National Museum educating about African American history, are both excellent choices. The Health Museum is also a wildly popular spot for people of all ages. Here you’ll find with an up-close look at the human body with larger-than-life organ replicas and more.
3. Go Shopping for Your New Apartment at The Galleria
The Galleria is a big deal in Houston. Houston residents pretty much know the direct route from any given neighborhood. The Galleria is Texas’ largest shopping center and located in Uptown, Houston. However, most locals now just refer to it as “The Galleria Area.”
Shop for mattresses and bedding at Amerisleep, new electronics at the Apple Store, and an updated work wardrobe at retailers like Banana Republic, Burberry, or Nordstrom. Afterward, grab a bite at Fig and Olive, White Oak Kitchen + Drinks, or other on-site restaurants to recharge before heading home to outfit your new Houston apartment. Seriously, The Galleria is your one-stop-shop for just about everything.
4. Take a Break at Hines Waterwall Park
After an afternoon at The Galleria, stick around the Uptown District and discover more things to do in Houston. A picnic break at Hines Waterwall Park is the perfect escape from the city hustle and bustle. Known as the “Water Wall” by locals, the park spans across nearly 3-acres. The headliner of this park is the 64-foot semi-circular fountain, creating a natural waterfall. Stretch out on the lawn and sip an iced coffee or sweet tea under one of the park’s many oak trees. Watch as 11,000 gallons of water recirculate through the inner and outer walls of the fountain each minute. It’s as relaxing as it sounds.
5. Drink Cold Brews at Saint Arnold Brewing Company
You can’t move to Houston without imbibing at Texas’ oldest craft brewery at Saint Arnold Brewing Company. Choose from unique seasonal or year-round beers like Fancy Lawnmower, 5 O’Clock Pils, Orange Show, and Raspberry AF. And if you’re not a beer lover, the brewery also serves hard cider. Pair your beer with innovative pub fare like grilled ribeye, falafel dippers, pizzas and more for a satisfying night out.
6. Get Rowdy at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Whether you’re an urban dweller or a cowboy/cowgirl at heart, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a must-see. Discover 20-days of things to do in Houston around this much-anticipated event. Your options include rodeos, casino nights, live music, and more. As the largest livestock exhibitions and rodeo in the world, the event also attracts some of the world’s most prominent recording artists like Houston native Beyonce, Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, and many others.
7. Cheer for the Home Teams
As a premier sports destination, Houston locals have their pick of sports franchises and professional leagues to choose from. The Houston Astros (MLB) call Minute Maid Park home. This ballpark features a classic old-time vibe with modern amenities. You can also book a tour to see parts of Minute Maid Park normally inaccessible to the public like the press box, suites, and dugout.
Meanwhile, Houston’s football fans storm the NRG Stadium to see the Texans. Basketball fans watch the Rockets shoot hoops at the 18,300-seat Toyota Center. You can also catch a spirited soccer match at the BBVA Compass Stadium, or a rugby game with the SaberCats playing at the relatively new AVIVA Stadium.
Houston is an awesome sports town. Embrace the culture by checking out a live game, or catching one on TV at a local bar.
8. Explore the Underground
On a hot, humid day, go 20-feet underground to the 6-mile long tunnel system underneath the city. Here you’ll find endless things to check out. Once connecting two downtown movie theaters, today the tunnel system includes restaurants and retail destinations across 95 city blocks. There are even residential complexes that connect to the tunnel, as well as buildings housing everything from city government to banking centers. Whether you are just checking out the shops and spots to eat, you’ve got to check it out. Houston’s underground makes it entirely possible to get from work to home without stepping foot outdoors.
9. Visit Buffalo Bayou Park
Take a break from the city at Buffalo Bayou Park. This 160-acre greenspace features Houston skyline views, trails, a skate park, and more. Stretching across 2.3 miles, locals come to Buffalo Bayou Park for biking, urban hiking, and to play with their pups at the dog park. Head over to the park’s “Lost Lake” for lush wetland gardens, a restored pond, and paddle craft rentals for a tranquil afternoon on the water.
10. Bug Out at Cockrell Butterfly Center and Brown Hall of Entomology
There’s something magical about journeying through a living butterfly habit and viewing some of the world’s largest and weirdest species of arthropods. The Cockrell Butterfly Center and Brown Hall of Entomology in Houston features a sea of butterflies, as well as a conservatory with a 50-foot waterfall in a simulated tropical rainforest. Learn more about the center’s residents, including the Owl Butterfly and Whip Scorpion, Praying Mantis, and more.
11. Catch a Show at Hobby Center of the Performing Arts
Theater lovers looking for things to do in Houston flock to Hobby Center for the Performing Arts to see blockbuster Broadway musicals like Rent, a Chorus Line, Hamilton, and other award-winning shows. You can also skip the parking headaches and hop a light rail to the Theater District. Indulge with a cocktail from the on-site bar and enjoy a lovely play.
12. Go Indoor Skydiving
If skydiving is on your bucket list, skip the open skies and head to iFly Houston for an indoor skydiving adventure. Guests take flight in state-of-the-art wind tunnels with wall-to-wall airflow in the flight section. It’s one of those, “you have to experience it to understand it” type of adventures. But once you try it, you’ll likely be back for more.
Houston isn’t just an exciting city to explore; it offers affordable rents and a fun place to live. Make your own bucket list of all your favorite things to do in Houston and head out to explore your new H-town neighborhood.