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Best things to do in Houston

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Where in the world: USA  /  Texas  /  Texas Gulf Coast  /  Houston
Although most of its tourist attractions occupy the relatively small downtown area, things to do in Houston can take you beyond that single district. Considered one of America's most restaurant-oriented cities, Houston boasts a thriving culinary scene enriched with diverse ethnic tastes. The interests of all kinds of knowledge seekers meet at the halls of Houston Museum of Natural Science, while the nearby Children's Museum of Houston engages young visitors through numerous scientific exhibits. Those fascinated with the infinite universe should visit Space Center Houston and learn about human efforts to discover the secrets beyond this planet. Home to art collections originating from six continents, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston makes a perfect treat for all art lovers.

Houston is best known for its Specialty Museums, Science Museums, and Ballets.

Top 15 things to do in Houston

1. The Houston Museum of Natural Science

Explore the far reaches of outer space, roam with the dinosaurs, wander through Africa's Serengeti, and marvel at the world's rarest and most beautiful minerals. Discover all this and much more at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, one of the nation's most heavily attended museums.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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2. Space Center Houston

Fulfill your dream of becoming an astronaut and traveling through space at Space Center Houston. The NASA facility features dozens of hands-on, interactive exhibits and artifacts dedicated to human spaceflight. Take part in astronaut simulations of landing on the moon and walking in space, or tour the center’s collection of spacecrafts from U.S. missions, including the Saturn V. Don’t miss a chance to take a tour of the NASA control center. Look into purchasing a Houston City Pass for discount tickets to the Space Center and several other museums in the area.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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3. Houston Zoo

A support line for at least 12 species' conservation programs, Houston Zoo is also home to more than 6,000 animals. The attraction is the tenth-largest zoo in North America and hosts more than 1.8 million visitors every year. Stop by the Masai giraffe area to meet the occupants up close and get a chance to feed them. Check out the 4-D movie experience, which adds mist and smells to an already thrilling 3-D film experience.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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4. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

One of the ten most-attended musuems in the United States, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is also one of the largest museums in the country, featuring 64,000 works from six continents. Come to view the Impressionist and Postimpressionist art, as well as pieces from the Baroque and Renaissance periods, plus sculptures from Africa, South America, the Caribbean islands, and the South Pacific. Check at the entrance or online for details about temporary exhibits.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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5. Room Escape Games

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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6. The Seawall, Galveston

Take a 16.6 km (10.3 mi) walk on one of the longest continuous sidewalks in the world, The Seawall. It was built to protect the city from the destructive power of waves. On this 5.2 m (17 ft) high wall, you'll see long stretches of murals that depict underwater life painted by children. You'll encounter a number of statues and historical markers throughout the site. The sidewalk is wide and suitable for jogging and cycling. You'll see shops and restaurants along the wall as well.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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7. Hermann Park

Since 1914, Hermann Park has been one of the most visited public parks in Houston. Take your pick among the options, such as beautiful gardens, a zoo, an outdoor theater, and a museum. Play 18 holes at the Hermann Park Golf Course, the first desegregated golf course in the United States, or aim for a more educational experience at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. At the Houston Garden Center, you can immerse yourself in the enchanting aromas of fresh roses. The park features a picnic area and many walking paths.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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8. Glenwood Cemetery

Glenwood Cemetery is located in Houston, Texas, United States. Developed in 1871, the first professionally designed cemetery in the city accepted its first burial in 1872. Its location at Washington Avenue overlooking Buffalo Bayou served as an entertainment attraction in the 1880s. The design was based on principles for garden cemeteries, breaking the pattern of the typical gridiron layouts of most Houston cemeteries. Many influential people lay to rest at Glenwood, making it the "River Oaks of the dead." As of 2018, Glenwood includes the annexed property of the adjacent Washington Cemetery, creating a total area of 84 acres (34 ha) with 18 acres (7.3 ha) still undeveloped.

Notable burials at Glenwood include former residents of the Republic of Texas, some who were re-interred from condemned cemeteries from downtown Houston. Charlotte Allen and William Robinson Baker were early arrivals to Houston, and also long time residents. Baker was one of several interments of former mayors of Houston. The last president of the Republic of Texas, Anson Jones, has a family plot. Former governors of Texas and a former governor of Mississippi lie at rest at the cemetery, as do some high-ranking federal officials. Scions of the oil business include two co-founders of Sharp-Hughes Tools, as well as founders and early investors of Texaco and Humble Oil. The founding president of Rice University, the school's chief architect, and the institute's first trustee are found at Glenwood.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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9. Downtown Aquarium

In addition to 200 aquatic species and a variety of exhibits, Downtown Aquarium also features a restaurant, games and rides, and a ballroom for events. The complex, housed in two repurposed downtown buildings, boasts almost 2 million l (530,000 gal) of tanks. Visit themed areas, such as the Louisiana Swamp, the Gulf of Mexico, the Rainforest, and more, all filled with their associated creatures. Hop on board the site's train for a loop of the entire facility, passing the shark tank and revving through glass aquarium tunnels. If you work up an appetite, enjoy a meal at the restaurant, where you can dine on seafood specialties in front of one of the main display tanks. Visit the website to make reservations and get information on special events.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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10. Houston Museum District

Within a 2.4 km (1.5 mi) radius of Mecom Fountain, Houston Museum District features 20 museums showcasing art, science, culture, and history. Take the opportunity to learn about cultural and business connections between nations of the East and the West. You can find out more about the Holocaust, browse through extravagant Bohemian crystal pieces, tour the insides of a giant human body, and meet 6,000 animals of various ecosystems within the district. See artifacts and documents relating to African-American history, including the military life of Buffalo soldiers. Children's Museum of Houston, rated a top children's museum by Parents magazine, educates kids as they play throughout the 14 hands-on, interactive exhibits.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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11. George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, College Station

Learn about the life and career of America's 41st president by visiting George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, featuring 1,800 sq m (20,000 sq ft) of exhibit space. This library/museum strives to preserve the official records and personal papers of George H.W. Bush. It also aims to promote civic education about a pivotal time in the nation's history. Permanent exhibits focus on Bush's role in the development of offshore drilling methods as well as on his family's involvement in cancer research. Download a museum brochure and audio guide to your mobile device before your visit, or check online for available guided tours.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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12. The Strand, Galveston

Take a stroll through The Strand district, home to a number of historical buildings, restaurants, antique shops, art galleries, and souvenir stores. Many of these late-18th-century constructions survived the 1900 storm, the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history. You can learn more about the natural disaster at Pier 21, which has daily showings of "The Great Storm of 1900." Horse-and-carriage rides or an old-fashioned trolley are novel ways to explore the neighborhood.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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13. Moody Gardens, Galveston

Complete with accommodations, a golf course, and science center, Moody Gardens combines recreation with an extensive collection of zoo and aquarium exhibits. Spread out over 98 hectares (242 acres), the park hosts three attractions in the form of giant pyramids: the Aquarium pyramid, the Rainforest pyramid, and the Discovery pyramid, each focused on a different group of animal residents. You can wander amongst the living displays, home to more than 9,000 individual creatures. Don't miss seeing monkeys roaming free through the jungle habitat. For some outdoor fun, take the paddlewheel boat tour, or spend time on the hotel's white sand beach. If you're planning to golf, book a tee time beforehand, as spots can fill up very quickly.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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14. Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park

Standing more than 18 m (60 ft) tall, Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park recirculates more than 4,000 li (1,057 gal) of water per minute. The architecture of the wall behind the water features a semicircle with water cascading down the structure's inner and outer walls. Be sure to step inside, where the deafening roar provides another perspective of this centerpiece of the city's business center. There is no fee to visit the wall, but be mindful of posted opening and closing hours. To avoid parking fees, park your car at the nearby mall for free and walk over.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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15. Discovery Green

Discovery Green is a 12-acre park located in the heart of Downtown Houston that opened in 2008. Our mission is to operate an urban park that serves as a village green, a source of health and happiness for our citizens, and a window into the diverse talents and traditions that enrich life in Houston.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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