Things to do in Houston

Unique Things To Do Houston

Discover Houston's unique side with our guide to offbeat and cool experiences, making your visit one-of-a-kind.

You’ve arrived in Houston, the city where cowboy boots meet space suits. But it’s about more than cowboys and trips to the moon. Discover the wide range of things to do in Houston, from unique cultural experiences to exciting urban adventures. We’re taking a trip through Bayou City, and you won’t want to miss it.

Sports and Entertainment

You’ll find thrilling entertainment all around Houston. The city’s home to several major sports teams and the history of space flight — how could you possibly go wrong? Catch a game at one of multiple sports venues, or visit NASA’s iconic museum and take a trip through the stars. It’s hard to be bored here!

1. Become an Astronaut for a Day at the NASA Space Center

If you’ve ever wanted to bounce around on the moon, a trip to the NASA Space Center is one small step in the right direction. With hundreds of incredible artifacts from America’s space missions, it’s hard not to get lost in the awe and wonder of our galaxy.

Gaze at the original NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft in Independence Plaza and imagine that historic first flight, or sail into the future by experiencing a simulated trip to Mars. You can even touch a real piece of rock from the Red Planet! The whole museum is a massive 250,000 square feet, so get your space suit and spend a day exploring. 

2. Attend an NBA Game at the Toyota Center

Toyota Center should be one of your first stops if you’re an NBA fan. Watch the Houston Rockets play while you devour some classic Texas BBQ from the concession stands. Plus, the profits from some of the arena’s foods and beverages go to charity, and we love that. While you’re there, stop by the team store and get some new merch.

Photographer: Alexander Londoño

3. Watch a Baseball Game at Minute Maid Park

Another one for the sports fans! Minute Maid Park, aka the Juice Box, is a massive stadium at the heart of downtown Houston. The city is home to the Houston Astros, and you’ll watch it come alive as you cheer with fellow fans through each inning. And don’t forget about the fresh food — give yourself the true Houston experience and order a Texas Reuben or smoked brisket.

Arts and Culture

Houston is a little offbeat when it comes to arts and culture, reflecting the city's many hidden gems. As pioneers of creativity, we find this aspect of the city particularly fun and engaging.

From a house covered in beer cans to restaurants serving sauteed insects, fall down the rabbit hole and see where Houston takes you. These unique things to do can keep you entertained for days.

4. Admire the Creativity on Display at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston keeps things interesting by constantly swapping in new artwork by fascinating creatives. The building itself is also a work of art by Gunnar Birkerts, a renowned architect from Latvia. Built in 1972, the structure is covered in stainless steel, creating a modernist, shimmering facade.

Wander inside for free and get lost in the galleries. Whether you’re experiencing art installations or admiring a sculpture, you can easily spend hours exploring the museum’s surreal world of contemporary art.

5. Snap a Selfie in Front of the Houston Graffiti Building

The legendary Houston Graffiti Building is a monument to free spirits and public art. The structure is the centerpiece of the broader Graffiti Park, an unofficial gallery for some of the city’s most impressive street artists. The murals change over time as new creatives leave their marks, so exploring the artwork is always one of the most unique things to do in Houston.

Keep an eye out for the colorful work of GONZO247 or Empires13, two of the city’s most beloved artists. You’re sure to find an eye-catching spot to snap some selfies or group photos.

Photographer: Ayo Ogunseinde

6. Taste Your Way Around Houston on a Food Tour

Food tours can be fun anywhere, but Houston elevates the experience with unique and wild dishes, including dining at some of the best rooftop restaurants in Houston.

Stop by Hugo’s for a serving of buttery grasshoppers, or try a pizza cone, which is exactly what it sounds like — ice cream cone-shaped pizza.

Ready for dessert? Sample mangonadas, a spicy-sweet shaved ice treat that can be topped with Hot Cheetos. You’ll discover even more spellbinding food as you explore the city, so shop around and find something fresh.

7. Snap a Selfie in Front of Beer Can House

John Milkovisch had an uneventful life when he moved into 222 Malone Street in the 1940s, but that would soon change. After years of mowing the lawn of his small home, John was sick of maintaining the landscaping, so naturally, he covered the whole thing in concrete, pieces of metal, and marbles — like a giant mosaic.

That was the start of the Beer Can House. By the ‘70s, John’s unconventional decorating had climbed up the sides of the home in the form of flattened beer cans. Hanging from the roof and framing the windows, the cans popped up everywhere. Today, over 50,000 beer cans bejewel the building. Stop by for a picture and wonder “Why?” 

8. See the Totally Bizarre Orange Show

Like our performances, The Orange Show is an experience, not a destination. With a touch of whimsy, a dash of live music, and plenty of neon colors, this trippy venue is perfect for anyone who likes their art to be quirky and just a little weird.

First up is the Orange Show Monument, a maze-like environment with seating areas, space to watch live performances, and a bunch of outsider art. Then there’s Smither Park just down the block, a fantastical world of colorful folk art that’s part of the Orange Show family. Venture into both locations and see what happens — you’re in for a weirdly fun time.

9. Admire the Creative Works at The Menil Collection

If you’re into art that’s equal parts thought-provoking and mystifying, stop by The Menil Collection and get your fill. It all started in 1987, when two philanthropists named John and Dominique de Menil opened a museum. Their goal was to give the public access to visionary artwork, so the building purposefully reflects democratic values through its ground-level entry.

Today, the campus offers 30 acres of green space to explore and several gallery buildings that house a rotating collection of works. We love the campus’s ethos of making art accessible to everyone, and we give it bonus points for the free admission.

Photographer: Juan Nino

Family-Friendly Activities

There are exciting and unique things to do in Houston, a city for kids and adults alike. Take the whole family on an adventure and keep everyone entertained with these kid-friendly activities.

10. Explore Houston's Web of Underground Tunnels

If busy sidewalks aren’t your style, why not switch it up and travel underground? You can in Houston! With a network of tunnels 20 feet below the surface, it’s time to break out your inner adventurer and start exploring.

The winding pathways started as a simple connection between two movie theaters in the 1930s, but the network has expanded to connect nearly 100 city blocks, including stops along the way for shopping and dining. Venture underground, and see where the tunnels take you. 

11. Race Against the Clock in an Escape Room

Tackle puzzles and hunt for clues in one of Houston’s many escape rooms. Whether it’s a murder mystery at Escape Hunt or an art heist at The Escape Game Houston, get in some good family bonding and have a blast racing against the clock. For even more fun, split up into groups and see who gets out first.

Photographer: Jerome.Romme

12. Take the Kids to Downtown Aquarium

Normal aquariums are fascinating and all, but Houston’s Downtown Aquarium is anything but normal. Imagine an underwater train taking you to a deep-sea restaurant for a delicious dinner surrounded by swimming fish.

When you’re full, explore a lost shipwreck before feeding live stingrays. Next, swim to the surface and meet a real-life tiger. It’s all possible at the Downtown Aquarium.

13. Take a Stroll at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

Get out of the hustle and bustle of downtown with a trip to the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. Explore winding boardwalks surrounded by wildflowers, or visit the Nature Playscape, a unique playground that encourages you to get up close and personal with nature.

Be a bug exploring the larger-than-life Grass Climb, or crawl into a human-sized spider web. Parents can enjoy pathways throughout the playground, and there’s a hand and foot washing area, so patrons can clean themselves up when it’s time to leave.

Adventures and Outdoor Activities

Blue skies and sunny weather make it hard to stay indoors in Houston. Get outside with these exciting activities and electrifying adventures.

14. Spend at Least a Day in Hermann Park

Hermann Park was born in 1914, when a philanthropist named George H. Hermann donated over 200 acres of land to the city. Today, the property has expanded to over 400 acres of sprawling green space filled with fascinating attractions.

Relax under the shade of a live oak, hop in a pedal boat and sail across the lake, or journey through the trees on the Hermann Park Railroad. Looking for some arts and culture? Hermann Park has that, too.

Whether it’s the stunning architecture of the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion or the calming ambiance of the Hawkins Sculpture Walk, this massive urban park has something for everyone.

15. Go Full Western — Learn How to Ride a Horse!

You’re in Texas, the land of cowboys and tumbleweeds, so why not go for it and learn how to ride a horse? Houston might be a metropolis, but stables and riding schools are tucked away at the edges of the city. Schedule a lesson and go full Western!

16. Go Skydiving… If You’re Brave Enough

Jump out of a plane? Sure, why not! Houston is home to several skydiving companies ready to give you the thrill of a lifetime. Gawk at the stunning view of Earth from above, or just enjoy the full-body rush. If you’re not ready for the real deal, head to iFLY and experience an indoor skydiving simulation. It’s basically the same thing, but maybe a little less terrifying.

Treat Yourself

If it’s time for a little R&R, we’ve got you. Whether it’s a spa day, retail therapy, or a violin concert, Houston wants you to treat yourself — so go for it.

17. Treat Yourself at a Spa

Spa days are about more than pampering yourself, they’re about slowing down and getting centered. So take a moment to relax at one of Houston’s many spas. Immerse yourself in a healing sound bath at Unwind Studio, clarify your skin with a facial at Face Haus, or indulge in an all-day journey through saunas, hot tubs, and massages at Gangnam. You deserve it.

18. Shop Till You Drop at the Tanger Outlets

Tanger Outlets is your go-to if you need to spend a day shopping. Dozens of stores are conveniently located within walking distance throughout Tanger’s large campus, and they have everything from activewear to the latest designer pieces at discounted prices.

Snack along the way, thanks to unique eateries on-site, or grab a quick cup of coffee at Starbucks and keep shopping!

19. Get a Little Elegant at the Candlelight Concerts

Calming candles, relaxing music, and tranquil lighting — this isn’t a spa we’re talking about — it’s the Candlelight Concerts. This touring show visits stunning concert halls around the world and bathes audiences in a mixture of warm candlelight and classical-inspired music.

Hundreds of candles surround the performers and the stage, creating an enchanting atmosphere that’s hard to resist. Let yourself get carried away by the music.

Sightseeing

One of our breathtaking shows, serenity in nature, beautifully built buildings. There’s so much to see, so make a day of it — or a week! Houston is best experienced up close and personal, so hop on a bus or bike and start exploring. Or for something a little different, head out of town and visit the ocean-side city of Galveston.

20. See Everything on a Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus

Walk down Hosuton’s streets and you’re sure to see a few double-decker, open-air buses. These vehicles are a fabulous way to take in the city. Hop off when something catches your eye, and hop back on when you’re itching for the next ideal attraction. You’re in charge of your trip, so try one of these bus tours and see what excites you.

21. Head Out on a Galveston Day Trip

Houston’s a thrilling city, but let’s face it: those city streets can get hot. When the summer weather hits triple digits, a day trip to the coastal city of Galveston can be a welcome escape. Go for the refreshing ocean and stay for the seafood (don’t forget to try a fish taco).

While you’re there, take a trip through the city’s history at sites such as Bishop's Palace, built in 1892, and the Galveston Railroad Museum. 

Photographer: Cayetano Gil

22. Explore the City on Two Wheels

You don’t need a car to travel around downtown Houston. With bike rentals throughout the city, it’s easy to hop on and start exploring — or for something a little more unique, take a segway tour and blast down the streets. Adventurous travelers can take self-guided trips, or look for a tour service to hit all the top destinations.

Charting Your Unconventional Houston Adventure

Houston is a city for dreamers, people who seek out the unconventional, and anyone who loves good food. Whether you’re a long-time resident or a new visitor, a voyage through the city is one you’ll cherish forever. There are countless fun things to do in Houston, so plan a trip and pack your bags!

While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out one of our Houston shows. Enter a land of ice and acrobatics through Cirque du Soleil CRYSTAL and marvel at our boundary-pushing circus display.

Experience the fantastical expedition of Corteo, a journey through visions of tragedy and beauty. Every one of our shows is a spectacle you won’t forget, so join us in our world of imagination! 

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