Houston and Galveston

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Houston and Galveston - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Space Center Houston

    Remember Apollo 13's "Houston, we have a problem?" This is the "Houston" that Jim Lovell and his crew were talking to—and the home of the...

    Remember Apollo 13's "Houston, we have a problem?" This is the "Houston" that Jim Lovell and his crew were talking to—and the home of the Mission Control that NASA astronauts communicate with today when they're in space. Visitors to the center can learn about the history and science of space exploration at the Living in Space exhibit, which simulates what life is like aboard the space station—and how even "simple" tasks like showering and eating get complicated in zero-gravity. In the Kids Space Place, children can ride on a lunar rover and try out tasks in an Apollo command module. Want to know exactly how it feels to be launched into space? Then check out the Blast Off Theater, where you'll experience the rocket boosters and billowing exhaust of liftoff. You'll then dock at the International Space Station to get started on your mission. The adjacent Johnson Space Center tour includes a visit to (the real) Mission Control and laboratories that simulate weightlessness and other space-related concepts. You can also see a real Saturn V, the launch vehicle for the Apollo moon missions, in Rocket Park. Be sure to allow several hours for your visit.

    1601 NASA Pkwy., Houston, Texas, 77058, USA
    281-244--2100

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $29.95, Mon.–Fri. 10–5, Sat.–Sun. 10–6
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  • 2. The Menil Collection

    Museum District

    This is one of the city's premier cultural treasures. Italian architect Renzo Piano designed the spacious building, with its airy galleries. John and Dominique de...

    This is one of the city's premier cultural treasures. Italian architect Renzo Piano designed the spacious building, with its airy galleries. John and Dominique de Menil collected the eclectic art, which ranges from tribal African sculptures to Andy Warhol's paintings of Campbell's soup cans. A separate gallery across the street houses the paintings of American artist Cy Twombly; Richmond Hall, a few blocks away, houses one of only two permanent Dan Flavin installations in America.

    1533 Sul Ross St., Houston, Texas, 77006, USA
    713-525--9400

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Wed.–Sun. 11–7, Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 3. Art Car Museum

    Heights

    If you can't visit Houston during the annual Art Car Parade (though do try to if you can), the next best thing is a visit...

    If you can't visit Houston during the annual Art Car Parade (though do try to if you can), the next best thing is a visit to this funky museum, where you can see several of the over-the-top autos plus cutting-edge temporary exhibits (of the non-car kind).

    140 Heights Blvd., Houston, Texas, 77007, USA
    713-861--5526

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Wed.–Sun. 11–6, Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 4. Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

    River Oaks

    This estate houses the MFAH's decorative arts collections and lets you step back in time to witness the elegant lifestyle of the first half of...

    This estate houses the MFAH's decorative arts collections and lets you step back in time to witness the elegant lifestyle of the first half of the 20th century. Noted Houston philanthropist and collector Ima Hogg donated the 28-room mansion, complete with period pieces dating back to the 1600s, to the Museum of Fine Arts. Be sure to take the time to wander through the beautifully manicured gardens—you'll feel as if you're strolling the grounds of a French château. The woodland trails are especially wonderful, like something out of a fairy tale. Guided and self-guided tours of the mansion must be scheduled in advance (no reservations are necessary in order to tour the gardens).

    6003 Memorial Dr., Houston, Texas, 77265, USA
    713-639--7750

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $12.50, Tues.–Sat. 10–5, Sun. 1–5, Closed Mon.
  • 5. Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum

    Museum District

    Frescoes from a 13th-century votive chapel have been preserved in this jewel in the Menil complex, located one block from the Rothko Chapel. The dome...

    Frescoes from a 13th-century votive chapel have been preserved in this jewel in the Menil complex, located one block from the Rothko Chapel. The dome and apse were rescued from thieves and restored under a unique arrangement with the Greek Orthodox Church and the Republic of Cyprus.

    4011 Yupon St., Houston, Texas, 77006, USA
    713-521--3990

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Mon. and Tues.
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  • 6. City Hall

    Downtown

    Northwest of Tranquility Park, this 1939 modernist structure of Texas limestone was designed by Joseph Finger, Houston's premier architect of the time. There's a visitor...

    Northwest of Tranquility Park, this 1939 modernist structure of Texas limestone was designed by Joseph Finger, Houston's premier architect of the time. There's a visitor center on the ground floor.

    901 Bagby St., Houston, Texas, 77002, USA
    713-837--0311
  • 7. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

    Museum District

    Housed in an aluminum-sheathed trapezoid, this non-collecting institution hosts traveling avant-garde art shows. Previous exhibitions have included "Design Life Now: National Design Triennial," showcasing the...

    Housed in an aluminum-sheathed trapezoid, this non-collecting institution hosts traveling avant-garde art shows. Previous exhibitions have included "Design Life Now: National Design Triennial," showcasing the experimental projects, emerging ideas, major buildings, and new media that were at the center of contemporary culture from 2003–06; firms represented in the show included Apple and Nike. The museum also throws "Steel Lounge," an evening get-together of music, drinks, and mingling masses, on the final Friday of every month.

    5216 Montrose Blvd., Houston, Texas, 77006, USA
    713-284--8250

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Mon.
  • 8. Discovery Green

    Downtown

    This 12-acre greenspace across from the George R. Brown Convention Center features Wi-Fi access, a lake, a model-boat pond, an amphitheater, and The Grove, serving...

    This 12-acre greenspace across from the George R. Brown Convention Center features Wi-Fi access, a lake, a model-boat pond, an amphitheater, and The Grove, serving steaks, seafood, and acclaimed burgers.

    1500 McKinney St., Houston, Texas, 77010, USA
    713-400--7336
  • 9. Downtown Aquarium

    Downtown

    A Landry's property with a themed restaurant, this one's a lot of fun for the kids. There's a giant Ferris wheel, arcade games, and rides,...

    A Landry's property with a themed restaurant, this one's a lot of fun for the kids. There's a giant Ferris wheel, arcade games, and rides, plus an enormous aquarium with exhibits that include a Louisiana swamp, a 17th century shipwreck, a tropical rain forest, a shark voyage, and an exhibit featuring white tigers.

    410 Bagby St., Houston, Texas, 77002, USA
    713-223--3474

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $20.99
  • 10. Fannin Flower District

    Got a date? On your way to visit a friend at the hospital? Or perhaps for some reason you need fresh tulips at 3 am?...

    Got a date? On your way to visit a friend at the hospital? Or perhaps for some reason you need fresh tulips at 3 am? The 24-hour Fannin Flower District is filled with shops offering super-cheap flowers, plants, and arrangements any time, night or day. While you're there, you can stock up on garish knickknacks like teddy bears, bonsai trees, giant topiary monkeys, and helium balloons, plus greeting cards.

    4803 Fannin St., Houston, Texas, 77004, USA
    713-520--9788
  • 11. Galveston Island State Park

    Galveston Island State Park, on the western, unpopulated end of the island, is a 2,000-acre natural beach habitat ideal for birding, walking, and renewing your...

    Galveston Island State Park, on the western, unpopulated end of the island, is a 2,000-acre natural beach habitat ideal for birding, walking, and renewing your spirit. It's open daily from 8 am to 10 pm. The Nature Center is open weekends from 10 to 2.

    14901 FM 3005, Galveston, Texas, 77554, USA
    409-737–1222

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $5
  • 12. Galveston Juneteenth Exhibit

    Housed in the carriage house of the historic Ashton Villa, one of the city's historic Victorian-era mansions, the exhibit ("And Still We Rise ...") tells...

    Housed in the carriage house of the historic Ashton Villa, one of the city's historic Victorian-era mansions, the exhibit ("And Still We Rise ...") tells the story of the origin of Juneteenth, the day in 1865 (June 19, 1865 to be exact), when Union General Gordon Granger and others read General Order No. 3, announcing that the formerly enslaved residents of Texas had been emancipated two and a half years earlier by Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation (Confederate general Robert E. Lee had surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant in April of that year). June 19 has since been declared a federal holiday in the U.S. to commemorate this event.

    2328 Broadway, Galveston, Texas, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $10, Closed Mon.--Thurs.
  • 13. George R. Brown Convention Center

    Downtown

    This massive convention center on the east side of downtown, one of the 10 largest in the nation, is named for Houston entrepreneur, civic leader,...

    This massive convention center on the east side of downtown, one of the 10 largest in the nation, is named for Houston entrepreneur, civic leader, and philanthropist George R. Brown. Adjacent to the hotel are the Discovery Green Park and the Hilton Americas-Houston, which is connected to the convention center via several skywalks. With 1,800,000 square feet, the center hosts the nation's largest quilt show, as well international technology conferences like ITEC.

    1001 Av. de las Americas, Houston, Texas, 77010, USA
    713-853--8000

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed weekends
  • 14. Hermann Park

    There's plenty to see and do on this 545-acre oak-shaded urban oasis. Kids love riding the miniature train (just $2.25 a pop) that winds through...

    There's plenty to see and do on this 545-acre oak-shaded urban oasis. Kids love riding the miniature train (just $2.25 a pop) that winds through the trees and taking a pedal boat out on eight-acre McGovern Lake. Duffers can tackle a challenging 18-hole course, and horticulturalists may swoon over the Japanese Garden and the Houston Garden Center, surrounded by 2,500 rose bushes. The park also contains the Houston Zoo, The Museum of Natural Science, and the Miller Outdoor Theater (with a hill that's fun to run—or roll—down).

    1700 Hermann Dr., Houston, Texas, 77004, USA
    713-524--5876
  • 15. Historic Downtown Strand District

    This shopping area is defined by the architecture of its 19th- and early-20th-century buildings, many of which survived the storm of 1900 and are on...

    This shopping area is defined by the architecture of its 19th- and early-20th-century buildings, many of which survived the storm of 1900 and are on the National Register of Historic Places. When Galveston was still a powerful port city—before the Houston Ship Channel was dug, diverting most boat traffic inland—this stretch, formerly the site of stores, offices, and warehouses, was known as the Wall Street of the South. As you stroll up the Strand, you'll pass dozens of shops and cafés.

    2100 Strand Downtown, Galveston, Texas, 77550, USA
  • 16. Holocaust Museum Houston

    Museum District

    This memorial and education center to those who died and survived the Holocaust is housed in a stark, cylindrical edifice. Devastating and uplifting, the main...

    This memorial and education center to those who died and survived the Holocaust is housed in a stark, cylindrical edifice. Devastating and uplifting, the main exhibit, "Bearing Witness: A Community Remembers," can be viewed individually or by tour. There is also a 1942 German Holocaust–era railcar, the type that was used to carry millions of innocent victims to their deaths.

    5401 Caroline St., Houston, Texas, 77004, USA
    713-942--8000

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $12, Mon.–Fri. 9–5, Sat.–Sun. noon–5
  • 17. Houston Children's Museum

    Museum District

    Located in the Museum District, just a short stroll from Hermann Park, the Children's Museum of Houston offers fun, hands-on exhibits and activities for children...

    Located in the Museum District, just a short stroll from Hermann Park, the Children's Museum of Houston offers fun, hands-on exhibits and activities for children of all ages. Your kids can work in a TV station, shop in a supermarket, enter an inventors' competition, and much more.

    1500 Binz St., Houston, Texas, 77004, USA
    713-522--1138

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $12, Closed Mon.
  • 18. Houston Museum of Natural Science

    Museum District

    You've got to hand it to this Houston museum for expanding the definition of traditional science programming with recent blockbuster shows on jeweler Fulco Verdura,...

    You've got to hand it to this Houston museum for expanding the definition of traditional science programming with recent blockbuster shows on jeweler Fulco Verdura, life in Imperial Rome, and Diana: A Celebration, which detailed the life and work of the Princess of Wales. The museum's permanent exhibits are a little more traditional and include Wiess Energy Hall, the dazzling Smith Gem Vault, and the Farish Hall of Texas Wildlife. Also housed within the museum are the Burke Baker Planetarium, the Wortham IMAX Theatre, and the Cockrell Butterfly Center, where you can commune with 1,500 live butterflies. If you plan to see everything, buy the combination ticket.

    5555 Hermann Park Dr., Houston, Texas, 77030, USA
    713-639--4629

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $25
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  • 19. Houston Zoological Gardens

    Museum District

    This small but pleasant zoo is home to 4,500 animals, housed in carefully designed ecosystems along shaded trails. Be sure to visit the boardwalks and...

    This small but pleasant zoo is home to 4,500 animals, housed in carefully designed ecosystems along shaded trails. Be sure to visit the boardwalks and treehouses of the Wortham World of Primates. If you need a break from the heat, take a spin on the climate-controlled Wildlife Carousel near the Children's Zoo. The zoo is free on certain holidays: Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, the Friday after Thanksgiving, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

    6200 Hermann Park Dr., Houston, Texas, 77030, USA
    713-533--6500

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $18
  • 20. JPMorgan Chase Tower

    Downtown

    Get a quick overview of Houston by taking in the entire urban panorama from the 60th-floor observation deck of Texas's tallest building (weekdays 8–5). Architect...

    Get a quick overview of Houston by taking in the entire urban panorama from the 60th-floor observation deck of Texas's tallest building (weekdays 8–5). Architect I. M. Pei designed this 75-story structure, built in 1981.

    600 Travis St., Houston, Texas, 77002, USA
    713-223--0441

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $5

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