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Best Things To Do in Houston

Houston is home to a wealth of activities and interesting sights. The city offers things to do for outdoors enthusiasts (Buffalo Bayou), families (the Houston zoo and children's museum) and lovers of art (the unique Art Car Museum and superb Menil Collection). Shoppers will enjoy the massive Galleria, and there's even a very impressive and very sobering Holocaust Museum Houston. Visitors can learn about the origins of "Houston, we've had a problem" and NASA's astronaut program at Space Center Houston or enjoy prehistoric exhibits and colorful butterflies at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. And we can't forget Tex-Mex: The city teems with superb Texas-Mexico fusion cuisine.  

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Houston

"Houston, we've had a problem." Most Americans have heard of the infamous phrase uttered by the Apollo 13 crew when it encountered a spacecraft explosion mid-flight on its way to the moon (or its modified "Apollo 13" movie version, "Houston, we have a problem"). The astronauts were communicating with Mission Control at this NASA space center, about 25 miles southeast of downtown Houston.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston
"Houston, we've had a problem." Most Americans have heard of the infamous phrase uttered by the Apollo 13 crew when it encountered a spacecraft explosion mid-flight on its way to the moon (or its modified "Apollo 13" movie version, "Houston, we have a problem"). The astronauts were communicating with Mission Control at this NASA space center, about 25 miles southeast of downtown Houston.
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#2

#2 in Houston

Situated in the Museum District near the Houston Zoo, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Holocaust Museum, the Houston Museum of Natural Science offers a variety of permanent exhibits. Visitors can explore everything from dinosaur fossils in the paleontology hall to sparkling emeralds, rubies and sapphires in the gem vault to interactive exhibits in the chemistry hall.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Houston Museum of Natural Science
Situated in the Museum District near the Houston Zoo, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Holocaust Museum, the Houston Museum of Natural Science offers a variety of permanent exhibits. Visitors can explore everything from dinosaur fossils in the paleontology hall to sparkling emeralds, rubies and sapphires in the gem vault to interactive exhibits in the chemistry hall.
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#3

#3 in Houston

Free
Just so there's no confusion, the name "Buffalo Bayou" refers to an entire 52-mile waterway that starts in Katy, Texas, and winds its way to Houston's River Oaks area. The 10-mile stretch from Sheperd Drive to the Port of Houston Turning Basin is a popular place for outdoor recreation. Recently, the stretch of Buffalo Bayou from Sheperd Drive to Sabine Street underwent a complete restoration: $58 million was put in to revitalize the area by reintroducing natural landscapes, updating hiking and walking trails and more.
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Neighborhood/Area Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Buffalo Bayou
Just so there's no confusion, the name "Buffalo Bayou" refers to an entire 52-mile waterway that starts in Katy, Texas, and winds its way to Houston's River Oaks area. The 10-mile stretch from Sheperd Drive to the Port of Houston Turning Basin is a popular place for outdoor recreation. Recently, the stretch of Buffalo Bayou from Sheperd Drive to Sabine Street underwent a complete restoration: $58 million was put in to revitalize the area by reintroducing natural landscapes, updating hiking and walking trails and more.
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#4

#4 in Houston

Minute Maid Park, home to Major League Baseball's Houston Astros, is another popular place to be during the summer months in Houston. And, as most visitors will testify, you get much more than a ballgame when you buy tickets to the park. 
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Sports Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Minute Maid Park
Minute Maid Park, home to Major League Baseball's Houston Astros, is another popular place to be during the summer months in Houston. And, as most visitors will testify, you get much more than a ballgame when you buy tickets to the park. 
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#5

#5 in Houston

Free
The Menil Collection is the 30-acre compilation of art gathered by Jean and Dominique de Menil. The permanent collection features 10,000 works of art collected by the couple from the 1940s until the late 90s. Exhibits range from works of African and Byzantine art to a collection of pieces of Native American art from the Pacific Northwest. 
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
The Menil Collection
The Menil Collection is the 30-acre compilation of art gathered by Jean and Dominique de Menil. The permanent collection features 10,000 works of art collected by the couple from the 1940s until the late 90s. Exhibits range from works of African and Byzantine art to a collection of pieces of Native American art from the Pacific Northwest. 
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#6

#6 in Houston

This museum, just like its name suggests, is all for the little ones. Exhibits include the Tot*Spot, for kids up to 35 months old, which is complete with mirrors and a ball and pillow pit. Older kids will enjoy exhibits like Invention Convention, a mini engineering workshop, or EcoStation, an indoor/outdoor area where kids can do everything from bug collecting to leaf rubbings.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Children's Museum of Houston
This museum, just like its name suggests, is all for the little ones. Exhibits include the Tot*Spot, for kids up to 35 months old, which is complete with mirrors and a ball and pillow pit. Older kids will enjoy exhibits like Invention Convention, a mini engineering workshop, or EcoStation, an indoor/outdoor area where kids can do everything from bug collecting to leaf rubbings.
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#7

#7 in Houston

If you're looking for an educational stop to add to your itinerary, consider the Houston Holocaust Museum. Exhibits include everything from film footage taken during World War II and inside the concentration camps to a 1942 railcar for transporting victims. But the museum also tells of resistance efforts, and to that end, displays a Danish fishing boat that rescued more than 7,000 Danish Jews from their deaths.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Holocaust Museum Houston
If you're looking for an educational stop to add to your itinerary, consider the Houston Holocaust Museum. Exhibits include everything from film footage taken during World War II and inside the concentration camps to a 1942 railcar for transporting victims. But the museum also tells of resistance efforts, and to that end, displays a Danish fishing boat that rescued more than 7,000 Danish Jews from their deaths.
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#8

#8 in Houston

Free
The Galleria is just a fancy way to say "humongous mall." This gargantuan shopping center sprawls across 2.4 million square feet of space with more than 400 stores. The massive mall predominantly contains upscale brands like Burberry, Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Giorgio Armani, Gucci and more. If those stores are out of your price range, you will find brands like Forever 21 and Gap here, too.
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Shopping Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
The Galleria
The Galleria is just a fancy way to say "humongous mall." This gargantuan shopping center sprawls across 2.4 million square feet of space with more than 400 stores. The massive mall predominantly contains upscale brands like Burberry, Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Giorgio Armani, Gucci and more. If those stores are out of your price range, you will find brands like Forever 21 and Gap here, too.
... more
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#9

#9 in Houston

Free
The Art Car Museum is exactly what you might think it is – a museum filled with ornately painted and decorated vehicles. Also affectionately known as the "Garage Mahal," this museum opened in 1998 and features an array of different automobiles ranging from low riders and hippie vans to derby racers and police cruisers. Some cars are bejeweled, some are painted and some are outfitted with additional intricate art installations. Along with the brightly colored cars, the museum houses rotating modern art, photography and sculpture exhibits.
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Art Car Museum
The Art Car Museum is exactly what you might think it is – a museum filled with ornately painted and decorated vehicles. Also affectionately known as the "Garage Mahal," this museum opened in 1998 and features an array of different automobiles ranging from low riders and hippie vans to derby racers and police cruisers. Some cars are bejeweled, some are painted and some are outfitted with additional intricate art installations. Along with the brightly colored cars, the museum houses rotating modern art, photography and sculpture exhibits.
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#10

#10 in Houston

The Houston Zoo contains more than 6,000 animals that range from cheetahs and giraffes to otters and bats. There's even a habitat for rare albino reptiles. The zoo's interactive kids section is a great place to keep young tikes occupied. What's more, the zoo offers special activities like giraffe feedings, a water play park and a 4-D movie experience. Most visitors say the zoo's layout makes it easy to navigate and they appreciated the large variety of animals. 
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Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Houston Zoo
The Houston Zoo contains more than 6,000 animals that range from cheetahs and giraffes to otters and bats. There's even a habitat for rare albino reptiles. The zoo's interactive kids section is a great place to keep young tikes occupied. What's more, the zoo offers special activities like giraffe feedings, a water play park and a 4-D movie experience. Most visitors say the zoo's layout makes it easy to navigate and they appreciated the large variety of animals. 
... more
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