Top 10 Things to Do in Houston: Museums, Food, Tours, Rodeo & More

Visiting Houston and looking for places to see, things to do, and spots to eat and drink? We’ve been discovering the ins and outs of cities around the country since 1999 while creating fun, challenging scavenger hunts, and we’ve developed lists of favorite places we go to have fun. And you know what they say: Sharing is caring. Read on for 10 great things to do in Houston, from historic sites to epic bites.

1. Space Center Houston

The humble tram tour will take you on a ride into outer space (so to speak) as you learn all about our heroic quest to visit places that apparently want nothing to do with us. If you really want to get your space geek on, take the Level 9 Tour: pricier, but over the course of five hours you’ll get the NASA VIP tour. Highlights include seeing where the astronauts train, getting up close to out-of-this-world equipment such as moon rovers, and (lump in throat!) visiting the Mission Control from the Apollo era. Houston, we have no problem!

2. Wildflowers

They can be found just about anywhere there are open spaces. To get a fix, take a drive out towards Brenham, or visit the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center and spot those blossoms.

3. Blue Bell Ice Cream Country Store and Ice Cream Parlor

If you do go to Brenham, make a pitstop at the place where the vanilla lives up to the boast that Blue Bell is the best ice cream in the country.

4. Hermann Park

A favorite with the locals, the park’s 445 acres pack in everything from pedal boats and gardens to the Houston Zoo and the award-winning Miller Outdoor Theatre. But wait! There’s also…

5. Houston Museum of Natural Science

The Hall of Paleontology alone is so vivid you’ll swear you feel the hot breath of a dinosaur on your neck. You can also mingle with mummies, pick a favorite in the animal vs. boar showdown in the Texas wildlife exhibit, learn the secrets of household objects in the Hall of Chemistry, ramble in the jungle with zebras, and much more. Find out why this is our most popular destination for groups on our scavenger hunts. Oh wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves…

6. Barbecue

You want some? Of course you do. Get thee to Gatlin’s, one of the quintessential Houston BBQ joints. It ain’t fancy, but it gets the job done with award-winning St. Louis style ribs, smoked brisket, venison sausage, and a heck of a lot more.

7. Vietnamese Food 

Houston has a thriving Vietnamese community, which of course means you can find some fantastic Vietnamese cuisine. The best of the best, if you ask us (and that’s what you’re here for, right?), can be found at Mai’s Restaurant, where the menu boasts about 150 dishes.

8. Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Sadly, it comes but once a year, in March—so make plans now! For starters, take the kids to the AGVenture exhibit: you can see a cow get professionally milked, watch chicks hatching, enjoy the petting zoo, and learn all about farming, bees, and rabbits. In the birthing center you might catch calves being born. And that’s just one exhibit! There’s a barbecue contest to kick off the festivities, a carnival, and the rodeo culminates in a concert every night. The 2017 performers ranged from Demi Lovato, Alicia Keys, and Blink-182 to ZZ Top, Willie Nelson, and Brad Paisley.

9. Texas Beer Bus

Hop aboard for tours that explore breweries and distilleries and wineries, and personable guides lead you through taste tests of the craft beverages. Plus snacks!

10. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

This museum boasts the kind of encyclopedic collection that every great city needs. You can play time traveler as you go from ancient Romans in sculpture to famous American artists, hop continents from Africa to Asia, dabble in Old Masters and then be dazzled by the latest contemporary curiosities. Or take a side trip to the museum’s Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. We’ve been staging cultural scavenger hunts at the MFA for years and can’t get enough of the place.

BONUS: Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts!

Our Houston scavenger hunts send teams on trails of tricky clues through museums, neighborhoods, and other spots to answer fun, funny questions. Available for private groups and for corporate team building, the scavenger hunts reveal the best of such locations as the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Houston Zoo. The Lone Star Showdown Scavenger Hunt and the Grab ’n’ Go Houston Scavenger Hunt can both be played virtually anywhere. Go on a Watson Adventures scavenger hunt to find more fun in Houston!