Houston, one of the most well-known cities in Texas, makes for a fantastic weekend getaway. Located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, this city has a rich heritage stretching back centuries and a variety of contemporary, locally owned restaurants. In addition, Houston and its surrounding area are home to various world-class tourist attractions.
Considered as one of the top U.S. travel destinations, tourists will find plenty to do in Houston. How massive it all is is hard to imagine. When it comes to tourist destinations, Houston has everything you could want.
More than 140 languages are spoken in Houston, making it one of the most racially and linguistically diverse big cities in the United States.
If you plan on visiting the city, you’ll need to leave plenty of time to explore the city’s many museums, theatres, and other cultural attractions. We’ve listed the top 30 best places to visit in Houston based on their significance and popularity with locals. Like the city, some outcomes are likely to come as no surprise, while others are not.
1. Space Center Houston
Since Space Center Houston first opened in 1992, it has been attracting big crowds of people who come to view the numerous permanent and traveling exhibits, space artifacts, films, live shows, and many other types of entertainment.
The museum frequently organizes programs such as Innovation Gateway, Space Center U, Explorer Camps, and Human Performance Accelerator Lab to educate adults and children about science, technology, mathematics, and engineering, among other topics. Additionally, the museum allows visitors to participate in some interactive events. The museum features a gift shop where guests can purchase a variety of souvenirs, including clothing, toys, and purses, among other items.
2. Houston Center for Photography
When it first opened in 1981, the Houston Center for Photography was a modest institution. Still, it has since grown into a significant fine art organization focused on photography. It also attempts to teach visitors about the art through publications, educational programs, and workshops. It offers many permanent exhibitions as well as rotating exhibits that comprise images on a wide range of topics created by various artists.
It provides students of any age access to hundreds of different art-related seminars and workshops. The Learning Center allows students to select a topic of interest relating to film in addition to photography, and the programs frequently feature talks and demonstrations given by professionals working in the industry. These sessions are held in the Center’s critique room and digital darkroom, off-site in artists’ studios, and at the facilities of other organizations that are partners with the Center.
3. Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is an institution that aims to highlight the lives and legacies of African American soldiers, often known as Buffalo Soldiers, via various exhibitions, events, and programs. The exhibits feature artifacts such as helmets, tools, weapons, uniforms, photographs, medals, household items, and other items that provide an insight into the contributions made by Buffalo Soldiers during the Civil War, Vietnam War, and the 2 World Wars, and also into their everyday lives. Other items featured in the exhibits include a variety of household items.
It is particularly well-known for its Reenactment Program, in which viewers get the opportunity to witness actors perform and share stories about the everyday lives of soldiers. Additionally, the museum routinely organizes programs for individuals of all ages, and some of these programs include activities such as hiking, camping, painting, meditation, fitness and wellbeing, and a great deal more. In addition, it leases out rooms for private events such as weddings, meetings, and other types of gatherings.
4. ArtCar Museum
The ArtCar Museum in Houston is a private museum established in 1998 to bring attention to the political, economic, and personal aspects of art. The museum combines modern art with automobiles. The museum, also known as Garage Mahal, is home to a sizable collection of redesigned stock automobiles that have been modified to fulfill the artistic visions of local, national, and international artists.
They are one of a kind and perhaps a little strange because they are decked up in various colors, patterns, and designs. In addition to the numerous pieces of art that are on show at the museum, there are many art automobiles, low riders, and mobile gadgets representing folk art, public art, and fine art. The Houston Art Car Parade, in addition to rotating and permanent exhibitions, lectures, and workshops, are quite popular events at this location.
5. Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts is not only the largest but also the oldest art museum in the state of Florida. It is also among the largest art museums in the United States. It is located in the Houston Museum District and has a significant collection of artwork totaling over 70,000 pieces. These pieces of art come from six different continents, and they range in age from antiquity to the current day.
This collection features works of art from the Italian Renaissance, Latin American art, decorative art from the United States and Europe, African-American art, Texas paintings, and much more. The Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens and the Rienzi, which can be found in the River Oaks neighborhood, are well-known museums associated with the Museum of Fine Arts. Both of these museums include a variety of American and European decorative arts, as well as paintings and ceramics. Guests are strongly recommended to visit the MFA Café, the MFA Shop, and the Cottage Shop at Bayou Bend while at the museum.
6. Houston Museum of Natural Science
The Houston Museum of Natural Science, formerly known as the Houston Museum and Scientific Society Inc., may be found close to Hermann Park. It was established in 1909, and today it is considered one of the country’s most famous museums. Its exhibits include gemstones, plant and animal displays, mineral specimens, the Foucault pendulum, archaeological artifacts, recreations of Egyptian temples and mummies, and more.
The building comprises three different facilities on top five stories devoted to exhibits and permanent natural science halls. The George Observatory, located within the museum, plays host to various educational activities throughout the year. Some examples of these events include Astronomy Day, Baby Boomers Day, and Rocket Day. In addition, the museum shop offers a wide selection of goods, including clothing, items for the home and workplace, fine jewelry, children’s playthings, a variety of minerals and stones, and more.
7. Grand Texas Theme Park
The Grand Texas Theme Park is an amusement park and entertainment complex that features a variety of food and shopping establishments. It is located close to the Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, approximately nine miles to the north of the airport. Over 25 rides, including five roller coasters and two water rides, can be found in the Grand Texas Theme Park, which covers a total area of 645 acres.
All of the parks and attractions at Big Rivers Waterpark, Gator Bayou Adventure Park, Speedsportz Racing Park, and the Grand Texas RV Resort are open and operating normally. The entirety of the park will be broken up into seven sections, each of which will be themed after a different era in Texas’s past.
8. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown
Theme Park with Six Flags Spring, north of Houston, is home to Hurricane Harbor Splashtown. Since its opening in 1984, it has served as one of the region’s waterparks longer than any other. There are two swimming pools, nine water slides, and two play areas for kids across its 48 acres. You can take the day off and relax in one of the Six Flags’ pools. On the other hand, if you’re looking for some action, you may take advantage of the thrilling steep slides or explore the many attractions and challenges that use hydropower.
Thrill rides and family-friendly attractions may be found side by side in Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown. The thrill rides include the 333-foot-tall, 360-degree-floor-dropping Bonzai Pipelines, the free-falling Paradise Plunge, the tumbling RipQurl, the spinning Big Spin, and the gliding Flow Rider. The youngsters can enjoy rides like the Bamboo Chutes, Big Kahuna, Hurricane Bay, Paradise River, and Coconut Bay with their families.
9. Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
As its name suggests, the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier is a pier that can be found in the city of Galveston in the state of Texas. This amusement pier was repaired and opened to the public in 2012; its predecessor, which was devastated by Hurricane Carla in 1961, served as the inspiration for its construction.
The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier was constructed on the waves of the Gulf of Mexico. It features one roller coaster, 15 rides, and various games geared toward families. The Iron Shark rollercoaster, which has more than 100 feet in height, is the most well-known. Other attractions include the Texas Star Flyer, which is over 100 feet tall, as well as the Galaxy Wheel, which is also over 100 feet tall. The amusement park offers a wide variety of dining options on the pier and in the surrounding area, including pizza, burgers, shrimp, wines, and many more to choose from.
10. Gator Bayou Adventure Park
The Grand Texas Theme Park includes the Gator Bayou Adventure Park as one of its attractions. This adventure park is next to the Big Rivers Waterpark and features a wide variety of land-based and aerial pursuits for guests to participate in.
People who aren’t typically fans of water parks are drawn to Gator Bayou because they know they can have fun there regardless of the time of year. The Eagle Challenge is an aerial rope obstacle course that is part of the competition. There is also a free-fall Vulture’s Dive attraction that is seven stories tall and a zip line that goes over the wave pool, down a creek, and over the pond. There will be a Hawk’s Glide and an inflatable water park to keep guests of all ages entertained.
11. Typhoon Texas Waterpark
Typhoon Texas is a chain of water parks in the state of Texas; at the moment, it is active in two places, namely Austin and Katy, which is in the greater Houston area. It features a wave pool that is 27,000 square feet in size, 33 slides, a lazy river, and two attractions specifically designed for children. Few popular rides at the amusement park include the Duelin’Daltons, Monster Storm, Howdy Hollow, and the Double T Bar. The playground uses a one-of-a-kind filtration system to maintain a sanitary and risk-free environment. Every minute, 70000 gallons of water are forced to pass through the filters. In addition, it is an excellent location for hosting parties and outings for school, camp, or the church.
12. Splashway Water Park
In addition to being a water park, Splashway Water Park also features a campground for guests. With its RV sites, tent sites, and a camp store right on the premises, this campsite was build to provide the space for as many people as possible. It includes things like going fishing, kayaking, and riding peddle carts, among other things. In addition, a dog park is available for your furry friends.
There are adventurous rides at the Splashway Water Park, such as the Dueling Splash Blasters, Midnight Storm, and Ray’s Riptide, in addition to a relaxing river trip. In addition, this amusement park offers activities like laser tag, putt-putt, and other unique events that are timed and themed appropriately for the many seasons and holidays. In addition, guests can reserve cabanas and tables, allowing them to rest after a stressful week and relax with their families.
13. Sky Sports Trampoline Park Houston
The entertainment complex known as Sky Sports Trampoline Park spans approximately 40,000 square feet of space. Trampoline bounce, computer games, an obstacle course, and a merry-go-round are all included in this attraction. In addition, it has a batting cage of professional quality, complete with IronMike throwing equipment.
In addition, Sky Sports features two-story obstacle courses and a foam pit, which are great for getting along with family and friends. They have discounted rates for groups as well as trips for school children. In addition, they provide birthday party packages that include various activities, as well as food and drinks. It is among the best places to visit in Houston with the family after a stressful week and has a good time during the afternoon.
14. Big Rivers Waterpark
The Big Rivers Waterpark is now operating independently despite being a part of the Grand Texas Theme Park. It is well-known for the extensive selection of rides and attractions that it provides, which includes anything from water rides to aerial adventures. It is more than just a waterpark, as is described in the trademark for the Big Rivers Waterpark, which can be found here. It is home to some of the most extended and thrilling zip lines in the state of Texas.
The next activity is wall climbing, and then there is a raccoon run and a free fall from a height of seventy feet. In addition, the amusement park features activities for children such as a maze, mining, and fishing. The Wild Isle is a one-of-a-kind attraction that stands out due to the fact that it is an inflatable waterpark that is located on a lake. All of these activities, in addition to the typical water park rides, combine to make it an all-inclusive experience for any guest who comes.
15. Holocaust Museum Houston
The Holocaust Museum Houston, which first opened its doors in the year 1996 and is located within the Museum District, is the fourth largest Holocaust museum in the United States. The museum’s primary objective is to educate visitors against hatred, violence, and prejudice through the use of several galleries and displays that focus on the lives of Holocaust victims.
The Education Department of the Holocaust Museum Houston is housed within the Boniuk Center. This museum section features classrooms, offices, a library, and storage facilities. The museum offers a variety of educational initiatives, such as EIM or the Educator in Motion program, intending to educate high school students in Houston about the history of the Holocaust, Genocide, Social Justice, and other relevant topics of today. The numerous exhibitions and galleries dispersed across all three floors of the museum represent the primary focus of attention for guests who come to the establishment.
16. National Museum of Funeral History
The National Museum of Funeral History, which first opened its doors in 1992 and occupied a space that is 35,000 square feet in size, is home to a wide range of artifacts and relics associated with the funeral service as well as exhibits that provide information on the numerous facets of afterlife care. The displays and collections center on particular funeral practices related to a culture or nation (such as cremation), provide additional information on the use of various things at funerals, pay honor to several historical personalities, or emphasize certain terrible occurrences.
Interestingly, the museum collaborated with the Vatican in curating the exhibit entitled “Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the Popes,” which was intended to teach visitors about the various burial rites practiced by Popes. In addition, the museum is well-known for hosting multiple educational programs for adults, students, and teachers. These programs center on aspects of funerals related to biology, culture and social practices, chemistry, history, the craftmanship of artifacts, vehicles, language, and so on.
17. Sylvan Beach
The beach that is located closest to downtown Houston is called Sylvan Beach. It is the ideal setting for relaxing or spending quality time with loved ones, be they, friends or family. Swimming is more pleasant there due to the fine sand, lower levels of seaweed, and more manageable wave heights. The beach is home to a park complex that spans 32 acres and features amenities like a giant playground, tennis court, skate park, picnic tables, and a pavilion with air conditioning.
In addition to that, there is a boat ramp that provides convenient access to the water, and fishing is available on the pier. It is an excellent location for holding meetings, and the Annual Sylvan Beach Park Crawfish Jam, which takes place in the springtime, is the event that draws the most attention to the location.
18. El Jardin Beach
El Jardin Beach is a city-owned beach that serves as a favorite destination for day trips by the water with one’s family among the residents. It is in the beach’s favor that tourists do not frequent it very often because this allows the beach to stay relatively uncrowded. Despite its size, this beach has a significant amount of marine life and vegetation.
In addition to that, it is furnished with picnic tables, park benches, and BBQ pits, as well as electrical outlets. On the beach, dogs are permitted. However, they are required to have a leash at all times. Because there are only a few parking spots available, customers either have to park several streets away or pay to park their cars.
19. Menil Collection
The Menil Collection is a private art collection and museum located in Houston’s Neartown neighborhood. It features hundreds of works of art, including paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, photographs, rare books, and more. It featured works by artists such as Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, as well as antiques from the Middle Ages, the Byzantine Empire, and tribal cultures.
Cy Twombly Gallery, The Dan Flavin Installation, Byzantine Fresco Chapel, and Rothko Chapel are the other four structures on the land, two of which are galleries and the other two of which are self-sufficient. In addition, the museum holds numerous events and programmes (both in-person and online) throughout the year, displaying works of art from a wide variety of time periods, which brings in huge numbers. In addition to its high selection of books and toys for kids, the Menil Bookstore also features books and magazines about the museum’s exhibitions, collections, art, and architecture.
20. Contemporary Arts Museum
The Contemporary Arts Museum-Houston was established in 1948 as a non-profit, non-collecting institution dedicated to advancing the field of contemporary art. The museum features both historical and modern art displays, with an emphasis on the latter. It’s well-known for the variety of hands-on exhibits, programs, and events it offers year-round.
The museum hosts events for both children and adults, including talks, readings, musical performances, and film screenings, where guests can interact with the museum’s artists and curators, and workshops where participants can try their hands at using the museum’s various equipment and supplies. The museum also holds several auctions and other fund-raising events to pay for its displays and activities. Books and catalogs on the museum’s holdings, jewelry, decorative items, toys, and games manufactured by local artists, can all be found in the Museum Shop.
21. East Beach
East Beach, which can be found on the easternmost portion of Galveston Island, is known for being the place to go to for the best parties. It is especially famous for the beach parties, festivals, and live performances that take place all during the summer months.
Many people gather on the beach for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Sandcastle Competition, which held on the first weekend of June each year. The beach is equipped with a pavilion, boardwalk, entertainment stage, restrooms, showers, chair & umbrella rentals, and much more.
22. Surfside Beach
Surfside Beach, which can be found in Brazoria County, is considered the best gateway destination possible. It is well-liked by the community because of the simple yet exciting attraction that it offers. It is an excellent location to engage in water-related activities, gain exposure to the natural world, and watch wild animals.
The shorelines are beautiful, the waves mild, and the waters deep, giving ideal conditions for swimming, surfing, kayaking, and windsurfing. One of the activities enjoyed the most here is fishing, and this beach is famous for both bay fishing and the available offshore fishing. In this location, you can also wind down for the day by relaxing by a bonfire.
23. Quintana Beach
On the upper Texas Gulf Coast is where you’ll find the natural beach known as Quintana Beach. The tides and the weather of the area are the primary factors that determine its state at any given time. Bird watching, fishing, swimming, surfing, beachcombing, and shelling are just some of the activities that may be enjoyed at this location.
A 52-acre beachfront park is located on The Beach, and it features 56 asphalt full-service RV campsites, self-contained cabins, restrooms, showers, covered shelters, picnic tables, volleyball courts, and fishing piers, and a lot more. The park is located directly on the beach. Those interested in history may like to visit one of the two historical sites in this area: the ruins of the Freeport Harbor Defense and the former location of Fort Bates.
24. Houston Funplex
Beechnut Street in Houston is the location of the comprehensive amusement park for families known as the Houston Funplex. It is an indoor entertainment facility with over two hundred games that have been created. Bowling, roller skating, trampolines, go-karts, and even a Ferris wheel are all housed under the same roof. No matter the time of year, Houston Funplex is excited about the possibility of fulfilling the objective of creating a secure and exciting atmosphere for guests.
It is home to a Texas-sized, two-story PlayPort for children, in addition to several rides, including a fireball, bumper cars, and airplanes. There are various arcade games, such as Pac-Man and Skee-Ball, as well as many other modern racing games. In addition to the virtual reality games such as VR Roller Coaster and VR Car Simulator, Houston Funplex also features a vast selection of online games that may be played hourly. A food court is also included in the property for gamers’ convenience.
25. iRise Trampoline & Fun Park
The iRise Trampoline & Fun Park is a kid’s adventure park, trampoline park, and ninja arena spread across three stories. On the one hand, it offers exciting activities for children, and on the other, it offers trampoline handball, which provides an aerial thrill similar to that experienced by professional players.
The iRise facility features a ninja park that tests participants’ speed and endurance. It comes with dodgeball, which is excellent for team building and having fun, and slam dunk, which is great for aspiring basketball players or fans. In addition, it offers activities such as handball, freestyle jumping, rock climbing, and other fitness-related sports. Because of all these factors, it is a perfect location not just for throwing birthday parties for children but also for hosting business team-building events.
26. Downtown Aquarium
The reconstruction of Fire Station No. 1 and the Central Waterworks Building resulted in the creation of the Downtown Aquarium, which can be found on Bagby Street. It also features a variety of entertainment rides and games, in addition to other displays. The Shark Voyage Train Ride at Downtown Aquarium provides guests with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to enjoy themselves while getting an up-close look at several different shark species. This ride travels through a tank that holds 200,000 gallons of water.
Then there is the Aquatic Carousel, Lighthouse Dive, Frog hopper, and the Diving Bell Ferris Wheel, among the other options. Among the displays that may be seen here are the illustrious White Tigers of the Maharaja’s Temple, the Stingray Reef, the Sunken Temple, the Rainforest, and the Texas Bayou. The Dive Lounge at Downtown Aquarium provides patrons with the opportunity to partake in food services. In addition, it participates in a variety of scouting activities and educational field trips to impart education and create learning opportunities.
27. Lake Houston
The reservoir that is now known as Lake Houston was created on the San Jacinto river in 1953. It is located between the communities of Kingwood, Associa, and Humble. The structure now known as Lake Houston was initially a dam, but it was eventually transformed into a reservoir. The Texas Park and Wildlife department is currently in charge of the lake’s management. In addition, Lake Houston serves as the city’s primary source of dependable water supply.
In addition to having a significant past, Lake Houston is currently home to a large variety of fish, which contributes to the enhancement of the lake’s overall utility, as well as crucial aquatic flora, which assists in the maintenance of the river’s cleanliness. Lake Houston, which is well-known for the camping and trekking amenities it offers, contributes both to the aesthetic value and practical value of its picturesque surroundings.
28. Hermann Park Railroad
The Hermann Park Railroad has been operating for over half a century and is a popular destination for families with young children. Everyone of any age is welcome to board the train for a journey that goes all the way around Hermann Park. The entire circuit of Hermann Park on the Hermann Park Railroad takes approximately 18 minutes.
The train’s primary station is called Kinder Station, and it is surrounded by three substations: the M.D. Anderson Train Station, located directly across from the Houston Museum of Natural Science; the stop at the corner of Cambridge and Fannin, which provides access to the Texas Medical Center; and the Sunset stop, which allows access to METRORail and Rice University.
29. Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park
The Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park is an indoor amusement park that features a variety of exciting activities, like sky rider, indoor skydiving, go-karts, and trampolines, to name just a few. The wide variety of games and other entertainment options available here make it a great destination for individuals of all ages.
The kids’ area at Urban Air is designed for youngsters younger than seven years old. It features trampolines that go from wall to wall and is a convenient location for adults to keep an eye on their children. Acrobats can also practice their flips and other skills in the DropZone. Battle Beam and Foam Pit for battles that are both cushiony and filled with laughter, Dodge balls, bumper cars, and mini-golf are just a few of the many items that have been made to its never-ending roster. In addition, there is a café where one may take a little break and regain their strength. Because it is an inside venue, it is also suitable for parties at any time of the year.
30. Czech Centre Museum
Museum of the Czech Republic at the National Center The Czech Cultural & Community Center of Houston was founded in 1995. It featured hundreds of artworks covering the previous two centuries to promote Czech, Slovak, and European art, culture, and history. A wide variety of artworks, including paintings, ceramics, crystal perfume bottles, dolls, folk art, literature, kroje, and Bohemian Glass, make up the collection.
Activities like concerts, Easter egg hunts, painting and dancing courses, and other events are regularly scheduled at the museum to encourage participation from its guests. The building’s design was influenced by Czech villas of the 19th century, as evidenced by details like the stained glass windows, Bohemian crystal chandeliers, and baroque-style decorations. The Prague Hall, Brno Gallery, Pilsen Hall, and Comenius Library are all located on the building’s upper levels, and they host a variety of performances, exhibits, and other cultural events. Items of faith, Czech novels, children’s games, souvenirs made in the Czech Republic, coffee mugs, and more can all be purchased in the on-site gift shop.