7 Fun and Free Things to Do in Houston, Texas
A gem in the crown of Texas, the Space City of Houston is a bustling metropolis, filled with life, fun and a horde of tourist attractions that enthrall every person who visits them. Numerous stunning spots within the city make it a haven not just for Texans residing inside this great city, but also travelers and backpackers from all over the United States. Be it families looking for some fun spots to spend their summer breaks or couples looking for a retreat away from home, this buzzing, beautiful city provides a range of options that are both free and guarantee fun-filled and exciting experiences with your children, spouse and loved ones. So here, we will discuss some of the exciting and free things to do in Houston, during your next Houston, Texas vacation. Also, we have a great article about Houston nightlife, that you may want to check out, if you plan on visiting this great Texas city.
The magnetic city of Houston, named after General Sam Houston, is one of the largest and most populated cities within the United States and is home to its millions of residents. The fourth largest metropolis within United States, according to this November 2020 study, Houston is blessed with numerous things you can involve yourself in and activities to spend the hours without even knowing.
This magical city is brimming with 300 miles of hiking trails that instill the spirit of excitement and adventure and a thirst to explore the city’s many undiscovered and unknown gems — biking trails and twisted and turning hiking trails in the mountains of Texas.
Those who are fans of food can also choose to revel in the different tastes and flavors that are offered in Houston from all over the world, including some of the best Indian and European cuisines that truly reflect the diverse, multicultural spirit of this wonderland in Texas. Experience the diversity and rich cultural spirit of Houston — a melting pot of different communities and different cultural and ethnic populations.
Be it catching a game of one of Houston’s professional sports teams, donning colors and waving flags and foam-fingers as all of the city congregates together for a celebration of sport, fun and festivity or watching a performance in the infamous Houston Theater District, known worldwide for its stunning and striking performances, there is something for everyone to enjoy and experience in this expansive Texan wonderland. History buffs in particular will love to take a trip way down the memory lane of the world and of America as they explore the many artifacts and rich cultural offerings housed in the precious and historical Houston Museum District.
Families and couples looking for a weekend trip are often wondering which American city will fall under their budget with affordable costs and favorable and amenable weather all around the year. Texas’ crown city Houston provides all that and much more to all visitors within its bounds. Houston offers every visitor the opportunity to plan their own trip, pick their own adventures, and wander on the trails (or museum halls) of their own choice. From the scenic Texas Gulf Coast to the mysterious and thick Piney Woods region, H-town has a little something for everyone looking to unwind and explore this active, bustling and buzzing metropolis in Texas.
The city attracts crowds from far and is known for its many vacation spots that make it a top choice for families all over America. The city itself is blessed with several attractions and linked closely to the Space Center Houston, a coastal visitor center at NASA’s flight controlling and astronaut complex and is a hub of tourism in Texas. Home to the stunning Houston Grand Opera, the Historic District and numerous other attractions, “The Bayou City” as it is called by many, Houston offers the most beautiful restaurants and historical buildings to linger around and take a trip back in time.
To put the cherry on top, this global metropolis has a trove of treasures for all those looking for fun and activities that are free but also offer the ultimate Texan experience.
We have put together the perfect list of the top 7 things you must do in Houston without spending even a dime and enjoying the best that H-town has to offer to all visitors to Texas. So, let’s get into it. Here is your list of 7 exciting, fun, and free things to do in Houston:
1. Attend a Show at the Miller Outdoor Theatre
One of the finest activities you can take part in when in Houston is attending a show at Houston’s iconic and characteristic Miller Outdoor Theatre. The iconic amphitheater-style complex offers all citizens and tourists a space to enjoy splendid performances by solo and groups of artists. An outdoor theatre used for performance arts, the Miller Outdoor Theatre is situated on approximately seven and a half acres of land in Hermann Park, at 6000 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, TX. The theatre itself is used for various forms of entertainment by Texans such as classical jazz shows, ballet, music and even theatrical performances of Shakespearian plays. From time to time, shows are also conducted on classic films within the premises.
The top striking attraction which draws in crowds of people on weekends looking for some time out among the natural setting is the fact that the place offers all shows free to cost to the general public in a charming setting. The Amphitheatre style hillside is an iconic space to relax and unwind after a day of being caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and is an excellent option to visit with friends and family in Houston.
Free shows run all the way from March through November, enthralling and enticing audiences in a clam and composed aura which is filled with both the natural allure of enjoying the outdoors and also the stunning and breathtaking performances which make it a great date for couples and a memorable evening for families and friends. Revel in the atmosphere while you put down your picnic basket of fresh fruits and snacks to enjoy with the phenomenal shows-and all that for free! Relax and unwind on a grassy hill under the warm and comforting sunlight as you enjoy the show at the Miller Outdoor Theatre in the heart of Houston’s Museum District. However, make sure to check their site to know what the scene is before visiting.
2. Spend some Time at the Discovery Green
Situated at 1500 McKinney Street, Houston, TX, the Discovery Green is an oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Downtown Houston. Located across the street from the historic and famed George R Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green is a great spot for visitors to listen to splendid performances by musicians and even outdoor screenings of popular films on movie nights and evenings.
Experience the fun-filled live performances of local bands and musicians and you will find yourself grooving to the ultimate frenzy of H-town. Those who are looking for some peace and quiet can once again find themselves in a haven in this lush and expansive space in Houston. One of the most iconic and memorable spots at the Discovery Green is the “Unique Listening Vessels” exhibit which is essentially two stone sculptures that can be used to have a quiet conversation with any person who is 70 feet away from you.
3. Visit “The Water Wall” Park
As we continue on our journey of discovery for fun and free things to do in Houston, another great and free attraction, which also happens to be one of Houston’s most photographed and most iconic places, is the Gerald D Hines Waterwall Park, (also known simply as, “The Water Wall”). The splendid fountain area was formerly known as the Williams Waterwall and is a multi-structure sculpture-fountain that has multiple stories bedecking its finesse. Sitting opposite to the southern façade of the Williams Tower in the Uptown district of Houston, this splendid and marvelous structure is situated in a stunning and peaceful ambience which allows everyone visiting it to reconnect with nature once again.
Making it an ideal spot for dates and even for picnics with families and friends, the Water Wall offers a unique 64-feet tall U-Shaped fountain which is located only a few blocks away from the famed Houston Galleria. You can choose to step inside the U-shaped structure and feel the water spray over you as you take Instagram-worthy shots of this Texas attraction. Families and couples find this cool, outdoors environment a pleasant escape during the warm and gritty heat of Texas summer. Get sprayed and sprinkled by the cool water as you vibe to this stunning setting.
Located on 2800 Post Oak Boulevard in Houston, this site and its dramatic fountain are bound to make anyone kill their summer woes and enjoy the outdoor fun and all without any entry price! The splendid site was constructed and designed in 1985 by globally acclaimed architect Philip Johnson and his team and pumps more than 78,500 gallons of water (that too, recycled!) every three hours and twenty minutes. Run around on the soft, prairie green grass in the three acres of oak-complemented area on a picnic or enjoy an enlivening game of Frisbee with your friends and family in this great outdoor setting. The fountains play from 10 am to 9 pm and attract hordes of Texans looking for some time away from the hustle and bustle and monotony of everyday life and enjoy a peaceful and calming aura with their friends and family.
The waterwall designed to imitate a horseshoe of rushing water next to the Williams Tower is 64 feet tall and is bound to make you lose your breath!
4. Take a trip into the past at Houston’s Heritage Society
The hustle and bustle of the modern and fast-paced metropolis that Houston is today often overshadows the historical gems it hides in plain sight for all visitors to this part of Texas. Houston’s premier outdoor historical space, an interactive museum for all to visit for free, the Houston Heritage Society take every visitor back into history and presents a great outlook of what Houston used to be before rapid development phases ushering it to present days.
Observe and marvel the many collections of historical homes from the 17th century and even the 1891 St. John Church in this splendid setting in the outdoors of Houston. Visitors to this museum are supposed to head to the west side downtown region of Houston and have a taste of history with the many guided tours presented on site of old structures and buildings.
5. Jogging at Memorial Park
Also on our list of free things to do in Houston, also happens to be one of the largest and most beautiful urban parks in the U.S.A. State of Texas — the Memorial Park. The Memorial Park, in Houston, is truly one of the best and most peaceful places that enthralls and entices all those looking for a way to reconnect to the natural aura around them and have a great experience in the outdoors. A municipal park which is situated on Memorial drive, this Houston attraction is one of the largest urban parks in United States which is equipped with a range of amenities for all visitors.
The park opened its gates 96 years ago in 1924 and has ever since continued to be thronged by scores of excited crowds, individuals looking for some peace and quiet and just cyclists looking to follow its designated tracks. The park spawns over 1466 acres inside the 610 Loop which is situated across the neighborhood of the Memorial. One of the best and free fun ways to experience Houston is to don your running shoes, strap your trainers, wear your sweatpants and go on a run around the loop in Memorial Park.
The popular destination houses 3 miles of running trail with an enclosed 18-hole golf course and a designated tennis playing complex alongside the pine trees and oak trees thickets. The place itself is blessed with such serenity that you are bound to feel relaxation and calmness as you stride or bicycle through the tracks.
A beautiful natural retreat greets you and offers a variety of biking trails, volleyball courts and other numerous outdoor workout stations which make it the perfect spot for those looking to move a muscle and fulfil their exercise needs.
Popular with Houston’s community of joggers, the running course known as the Seymour Lieberman Exercise Trail is a pathway that is visited by more than 3 million runners and joggers each year.
6. Biking Alongside Buffalo Bayou
Moving along with our list of free things to do in Houston…
Houston provides one of the finest and most peaceful places for bikers and strollers to spend their hours close to nature and working up a sweat. One of such great spots includes riding through Buffalo Bayou via the famed Eleanor Tinsley Park. The twisted and curvy trails over the hills and rustic, old bridges provide a great view of the stunning Houston skyline from atop mountains and the ride back downtown promises to be as fantastic as the uphill one. Buffalo Bayou itself is a stunning location which is dominated by a slow-moving river flowing through Houston in Harris Country in the very heart of Texas. The bayou itself came to birth 18,000 years ago and has its root source in the surroundings of Fort Bend Country flowing more than 53 miles east via the Houston Ship Channel and into the greater Galveston Bay.
This scenic and peaceful atmosphere provides for the ideal location to jog through, take a leisurely stroll or bike alongside the beautiful and splendid Buffalo Bayou. If you do not have access to a bicycle you can very easily rent one from the Houston Bicycle stations in the area (at a little cost!) However, a leisurely stroll or meander through the bayou will also be as memorable and exciting!
7. Go Kayaking on the Armand Bayou Paddling Trail
Another great opportunity of fun-filled adventure and spirited frenzy that Houston provides is the chance to go kayaking on the splendid Armand Bayou Paddling Trail which offers the magnificent views of the splendid and grand Texas Gulf Coast. Visitors to Houston find it both cathartic and exciting to spend an evening kayaking on the cool and quiet Clear Lake in Houston. The lake itself is reached by following the path of the Armand Bayou Paddling Trail which leads you into the absolute splendor of the coastal woods that host numerous forms biodiversity. Be greeted by scores of rich and diverse wildlife such as egrets, pelicans and alligators that inhabit the marshes and thick woods. Kayaking provides a great opportunity to solo tourists, couples and families to experience the splendor and beauty of Houston’s great bayous and a chance to reconnect with their environment.
Conclusion of These Free Things to do in Houston
The global city of Houston today is a diverse and cultural hotpot in Texas and is filled with numerous iconic places to have the time of your life without spending a dime. From splendid waterfalls that run all day to beautiful amphitheaters which offer the most wonderful performances in an outdoor setting, Houston has everything you need to have fun without paying a penny.
Home to some of America’s most splendid and breathtaking cultural exhibits and institutions, Houston attracts more than 7 million tourists each year, enthralled by the city’s grand and welcoming aura which is dotted with attractions and activity spots for people from all walks of life. Be it the stunning and historic Museum District or the Theater District, visitors to Houston have a range of options to choose from when visiting this metropolis in the heart of Texas.
..And there you have it! Our adventurous list of 7 free things to do in Houston.