Houston Things to Do Tips by H-TownJourneyman Top 5 Page for this destination
Houston Things to Do: 348 reviews and 550 photos
The Downtown Aquarium, part of Landry's Restaurants, Inc., is popular attraction here in town for it's entertainment & exhibits of underwater life, as well as it's restaurant. But it's popularity and somewhat interesting showcases for the most part do not make up for it's prices & brief rides. First off, I will say that the Downtown Aquarium definately stands out at night. Bright neon lights illuminate the surrounding area, & even attract attention if you are driving overhead on I-45. But the establishment seems to be more geared towards getting people to come here, see some quick sites, & then eat at the seafood restaurant, which is basically an overpriced version of Joe's Crabshack, another Landry's restaurant. The main aquarium exhibit has quite a few different tropical fish to view, while interesting, is nothing that drops your jaw in awe. The rainforest exhibit has a few exotic birds & frogs, & a boa constrictor snake. I did enjoy seeing the white tigers, & there are stands set up to sit & watch them. But the price for this short 20 minute venture is $7.50 per person, a little much for the amount of sites you see here. You can also pay an additional $5 to see the shark exhibit, which I enjoyed. A train takes you through a tunnel in which the sharks, along with stingrays & a few oher exotic fish are swimming overhead. The also have a couple of rides here, but of course, for an additional price. There is a large ferris wheel & a drop ride, as well as a small carousel for kids. But again, all this appears to be centered around the restaurant, which I have not eaten at, as I have heard it is highly overpriced for mediocre seafood. I have to admit some of the sights here are worth seeing, especially the tigers as I mentioned. But the price & the short amount of time you have to see these things can make it not worth your while. I think it would be a good place to take the kids, & if you want to eat at the restaurant, a family could make a decent evening of it.
Address: 410 Bagby
San Jacinto Monument
Located just east of Houston near the town of LaPorte, the San Jacinto Monument stands in the location where in 1836 Texas won it's independence from Mexico, and became a republic until 1845 when it joined the United States. The famous battle cry "Remember the Alamo" was yelled here by the Texas Army, under the command of General Sam Houston, after the valiant but tragic loss earlier in San Antonio. On the morning of April 21, 1836, the Texas Army surprised the Mexican Army, swept in, and killed 600 Mexican soldiers, while suffering only 9 casualties themselves. Now the monument that stands here is one of the proudest symbols in all of Texas. Completed in 1939, and standing at 570 feet, the structure is the tallest monument tower in the world. It's lone star atop it gives the monument a definative Texan feel. There is an observation deck at the top, and an extremely fast elevator takes you up. My ears pop everytime I go up it as the elevator is moving at such a high rate of speed! With such historical significance, this is most certainly a must see while in the Houston area!
Directions: From Houston, take the LaPorte Freeway (225) east to Battleground Rd, and make a left.
Houston Ship Channel
The Houston Ship Channel is the 30+ mile long waterway that extends from Galveston Bay to the southeast side of town, and turns into Buffalo Bayou, which runs through the center of the city. The Ship Channel is how Houston got its start as growing city on the banks of Buffalo Bayou, and it links Houston to the sea, making the city one of the most important international port cities in the world. After Texas won it's independence from Mexico in 1836, small ships began navigating up the then narrow and shallow channel to Buffalo Bayou, and the city. Plans were made quickly to expand the channel so larger vessels could make their way up to the city. Competition quickly began between Houston and it's then rival city to the southeast, Galveston. As the jostling continued between the 2 cities over several decades, Houston was also linked to the national system of railroads, which gave it an extra edge on the dispersal of shipped in items. Then in 1900 when a hurricane struck Galveston, killed thousands of it's residents, and all but wiped the city of the map, Houston emerged as the chief port city on the Texas coast. And after the Texas oil boom occured soon after, Houston's shipping activities increased dramatically. Over the years, as the port has been expanded and more commerce and shipping has been conducted here, the Houston Ship Channel has become one of the most vital parts to the city's livelihood. Now not just used for shipping, many cruise and casino ships use the port for a departure location. Tours are now available to relive the port's history, and discover it's immense importance to the City of Houston. A very interesting look into one of the largest ports in the world!
Address: 111 East Loop North
The Woodlands Waterway is a recently developed marine thoroughfare through an entertainment, dining, & shopping area of The Woodlands. In future years with much developement planned for it, it is anticipated that it will be a popular means of getting around to various sites in this area. Pick up points include The Woodlands Mall & The Woodlands Waterway Marriott, with the outdoor gathering area of Market Street and the event and concert location of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion nearby. Whether you have an actual destination in mind, or just feel like a short boat ride, it's a fun activity to partake in while in The Woodlands.
The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
This outdoor amphitheater, located in the The Woodlands just north of Houston, holds popular events and concerts throughout much of the year. There is a limited covered seating area at the front of the complex, and a larger grass area behind the covered area on a sloping hill. It is an excellent place to watch a live performance, and is located near a large entertainment, shopping, and dining area of The Woodlands.
Directions: From Houston, take I-45 north to The Woodlands, and exit Woodlands Pkwy. Take a right on Six Pines Dr., and then a left on Lake Robbins Dr. Pavilion is on the left.
The Kemah Boardwalk is located southeast of town in the small community of Kemah, on the shores of Clear Lake, an inlet of Galveston Bay. The boardwalk is essentially the workings of the huge Landry's Restaurants corporation. Most of the restaurants in the area are owed by Landry's, and the Boardwalk Inn Hotel is part of the company as well. There is quite a bit to do here, as it is sort of a waterfront carnival type atmosphere. There are many rides and games, such as a ferris wheel, a carousel, a small train, and various amusement games to play and win prizes. The boardwalk frequently has festivals throughout the year, including the popular "Christmas on the Boardwalk", when the entire area is decorated for the holidays, and there are many events and concerts put on. As I stated, there are many restaurants here as well, most of them are of the seafood variety. And you can take a tour of Galveston Bay in one of several boat tours available. The Kemah Boardwalk is an excellent place for families to go with the kids anytime of the year.
Directions: Located southeast of downtown in the Clear Lake area, take I-45 south to Nasa Rd. 1, turn left, and procede down to Hwy. 146, where you will make a right, and go over the bridge into Kemah.
Map of Houston Museum District
The Houston Museum District is one of the biggest conglomerations of museums in the world. Very few other cities have so many museums located in such a close proximity to each other. You have the large and more popular ones such as the Museum of Natural Science and the Museum of Fine Arts, and then some of the smaller less frequented ones such as the Menil Collection and the Buffalo Soldiers Museum. There is the Children's Museum for the kids, and the Holocaust Museum reflecting on the genocide of WWII. Other museums include the Contemporary Arts Museum, and the Museum of Health and Medical Science, quite appropriate with one of the world's largest medical centers just a stone's throw away. Whatever you are looking for, it's a good bet that the museum district will have something for you. And most of the museums are open 7 days a week.
TIP - many of the museums offer free general admission on Thursdays, such as the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Menil Collection, which itself is actually free everyday. Great day to check some of them out, and at an unbeatable price, free!!!
Opened in 1987, the Menil Collection is a wonderful museum with works that were of the personal collection of the de Menil family who immigrated to the United States from France after the Nazi occupation during World War II. The complex itself is very beautiful, of a very modern architectual design, with Magnolia trees all around the grounds. Paintings and sculptures here are of a wide variety and age. There are a few Byzantine frescoes and Renaissance era works, as well as paintings by Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. There are also many native tribe works from Africa and the Americas. The Rothko Chapel, located just down the street from the main building, contains a number of pieces by noted American artist Mark Rothko, and also serves as a non-denominational religious center. The best thing about it though is that is completely free of charge! A great opportunity to see a varied collection of magnificient pieces of art, and at a great price!
Address: 1515 Sul Ross
Directions: Located just northwest of the main Museum District area, off of Alabama St. near the University of St. Thomas
Holocaust Museum Houston
The Holocaust Museum is a chilling exhibition of the of the horrors conducted by the Nazis before and during World War II. The outside of the Museum, moving in and of itself with it's huge recreated smoke stack, is just the beginning of the experience this museum provides. There are endless amounts of photographs and videos of Jewish life in Europe before the holocaust, life in the concentration camps, and the aftermath and ghastly discovery of what had taken place after the defeat of the Nazis. I think the most emotional thing about the museum is the personal accounts and belongings that are here. There are writings and videos from survivors who tell incredible tales of what actually went on during the holocaust, and the collection of hundreds of shoes from children who were killed puts an indescribable feeling in you. One can't help but get emotional when visiting this important museum.
Address: 5401 Caroline St.
The Houston Zoo, located within Hermann Park, has been in operation since 1922. It is without a doubt one of the most popular places to visit in the entire city, and it's central location near other attractions such as Hermann Park itself and the Museum District makes it easily accessible. It features exotic animals from all over the world, such as lions, hippopotami, penguins, and a variety of primates. There are several refreshment stands around the grounds in case you need a snack or a cool drink on a hot Houston summer's day. And the gift shop has a slew of souvenirs for you to purchase to remember your trip here. The zoo was free to enter up until 1988, but the fees now are still very reasonable for all that you can experience while here.It open everyday of the year except Christmas Day.
Address: 1513 N. MacGregor
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