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10 Best Free Things To Do In Houston

Did you know that Houston, Texas, has a ton of free attractions, activities, and hidden gems just waiting to be discovered? From world-class museums to stunning parks and vibrant street art, there’s something for everyone in “Space City.”

Aerial view of Houston
(Photo courtesy of

In Houston, it’s easy to enjoy budget-friendly attractions. Spend your day exploring Houston’s greatest hotspots, while saving big with our list of the city’s most-loved free things to do. Luckily, for locals and visitors alike, several of Houston’s most memorable attractions won’t cost a dime.

Houston nightlife
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So, get ready to experience the best of Houston without draining your wallet, as we explore free fun things to do in Houston!

1. Exploring the Houston Museum District

Houston’s Museum District is a cultural hub with numerous museums that offer free admission. It’s a great place to commence your adventure. Houston’s cultural attractions have a tradition of offering free entry on Tuesdays or Thursdays. Some museums are free the whole day, while others have limited hours with waived admission fees.

Inside of museum, two girls looking at art
Museum of Fine Arts Houston (Photo courtesy of

Use this list as your guide to visit Houston’s museums for free when touring the Houston museum district.

Free Museums on Tuesdays and Thursdays

Photo of kids playing by fountain at the Houston Zoo.
Houston Zoo (Photo courtesy of Library of Congress)

Houston Museums that are Always Free

The majority of Houston’s museums are always free. Most of the smaller museums are closed on Mondays. Below is a list of some worth checking out.

Photo of exhibits at the Houston Museum of African American Culture.
Houston Museum of African American Culture (Photo courtesy of

2. View Outdoor Performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre

For those who enjoy some time outdoors, Miller Outdoor Theatre, located near the Houston Zoo, is Houston’s leading performing arts theater. This open-air oasis hosts complimentary performances from March to October, including concerts, film screenings, and cultural events. The best part? You can bring your own food and drinks to enjoy during the show!

Outdoor theatre with people sitting on the ground
Miller Outdoor Theatre (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia)

You can reserve tickets and check the performance schedule, including free movie screenings, on the Miller Outdoor Theatre website. Whether you fancy a live concert or a Shakespearean play under the stars, Miller Outdoor Theatre is the spot.

3. Visit the Parks

Situated in downtown Houston’s center, Discovery Green provides a range of complimentary activities and events for all age groups. This well-liked park boasts a dog park, walking trails, and art installations, guaranteeing continual new and thrilling discoveries. Alongside its outdoor facilities, Discovery Green also organizes complimentary movie screenings and live music performances on its stage, making it an ideal location for a soothing evening in the city.

Sam Houston Park

If you’re interested in visiting more of Houston’s historic parks, Sam Houston Park is conveniently located nearby. Here, you can walk through charming restored buildings, period pieces, and even a replica of a general store. With complimentary admission to the onsite museum, Sam Houston Park is a great option for a low-budget visit.

A view of the a park with a small pond
(Photo courtesy of

Tucked away in downtown Houston, Sam Houston Park is a distinct historic destination providing a peek into the city’s history. For an admission fee, visitors can explore a variety of preserved and relocated buildings, like the 1847 Kellum-Noble House. The park also hosts The Heritage Society, an organization committed to conserving Houston’s history and exhibiting picturesque gardens, historic homes, and collections.

To truly appreciate the park’s history, consider going on a self-guided walking tour, available at no charge. As you meander through the park, you’ll be taken back in time, enveloped by charming architecture and lush greenery that make Sam Houston Park a hidden gem in the city’s heart.

Buffalo Bayou Park

An aerial view of Buffalo Bayou Park
(Photo courtesy of SWA Group)

Buffalo Bayou Park, situated just west of downtown Houston, offers scenic trails, captivating public art, and the unique spectacle of Mexican free-tailed bats taking flight. This park caters to a variety of interests. Alongside its natural allure, Buffalo Bayou Park sometimes hosts complimentary movie screenings, excellent for a night under the stars.

For a comprehensive exploration of Buffalo Bayou, consider the Sam Houston Boat Tour, a complimentary tour that embarks twice a day from downtown docks and navigates you through the bayou’s serpentine waters. Don’t miss a trip to the Waugh Drive Bridge Bat Colony, home to nearly 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats that fill the sky at dusk. Is it a scene from Scooby-Doo or Batman? You decide.

Hermann Park

A view from a park bridge of Hermann Park
(Photo courtesy of

Hermann Park, a cherished green space in Houston, is strategically situated near the Texas Medical Center and the Museum District. Attractions such as the Japanese Garden, the scenic McGovern Centennial Gardens, and the ever-popular Houston Zoo are some of my favorites in this expansive park.

For active visitors, Hermann Park offers exercise trails, an outdoor theatre, and a children’s playground, guaranteeing a fun-filled day for all age groups. Hermann Park Conservancy members enjoy a perk of free tickets for the Hermann Park Railroad pedal boat tours every second Saturday of the month.

Memorial Park

An aerial view of Memorial Park in Houston
(Photo courtesy of

As Texas’s largest urban park, Memorial Park offers a wide range of outdoor activities, from hiking and biking trails to tennis courts and shaded areas for relaxation.

Situated in west Houston, Memorial Park provides an ideal setting for a day of outdoor adventure and exploration. Whether you enjoy a leisurely walk through the park’s scenic trails or an intense workout on the tennis courts, Memorial Park offers activities for everyone in its extensive 1,500-acre expanse.

4. Visit Houston’s Local Farmers Markets

To experience Houston’s local flavors, visit Urban Harvest Farmers Market, organized every Saturday in the parking lot of St. John’s School at 2752 Buffalo Speedway. Here, you can find local vendors, try fresh produce, and find artisanal goods that exhibit the city’s varied culinary scene.

A farmers market with lettuce and other food items
Urban Harvest Farmers Market (Photo courtesy of Urban Harvest on X)

Visiting Houston’s farmers’ markets not only supports local businesses, but also offers an opportunity to procure fresh, seasonal ingredients. Boasting a lively atmosphere and a diverse array of products, Urban Harvest Farmers Market is an ideal location to spend a Saturday morning in Houston.

A view of plenty of vegetables at a farmers market
Houston Farmers Market (Photo courtesy of

Looking to visit a market on a weekday? The Houston Farmers Market is open every day from 6:00 AM – 7:30 PM (however, individual merchants’ hours may vary). The Houston Farmers Market is the City’s oldest and largest farmer’s market, the 18-acre market on Airline Drive is a can’t-miss Houston destination. Get ready to shop, cook, and dine like a local at the Houston Farmers Market, the only daily farmers market in the city.

5. Check out Unique, Artistic Experiences in Houston

Rothko Chapel

For a serene and reflective moment, visit the Rothko Chapel, a spiritual sanctuary and museum displaying Mark Rothko’s mesmerizing paintings. The chapel is not tied to any religion and welcomes all faiths and religions. This peaceful space offers visitors the chance to study the chapel’s art and architecture and partake in events and programs throughout the year. Every visit is its own unique experience sometimes hosting sound therapy and other tranquil experiences.

An outdoor view of Rothko Chapel in Houston
(Photo courtesy of

The Rothko Chapel is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 6pm, including holidays. You can check their events calendar in advance of your visit as they close for public programs or private events approximately twice per month. Their hours are updated on their website and on Google one week in advance.

Project Row Houses

Dive into the local art scene at Project Row Houses, a distinctive collection of 22 row houses exhibiting the works of local artists and photographers. Project Row Houses, located in Houston’s Third Ward, was founded in 1993 by artist Rick Lowe as a means to transform the community through art and African American history.

Exterior view of a decorated house that is part of Project Row Houses
(Photo courtesy of

Project Row Houses not only serves as a platform for community engagement, art, and social activism, but it also offers visitors an insight into the Third Ward’s vibrant culture and history. With complimentary admission and a wide range of artistic expressions on display, Project Row Houses is a destination that art enthusiasts and community advocates alike must visit.

6. Experience Houston’s University Campuses

Rice University Campus

Experience Houston’s academic history with a self-guided walking tour of Rice University’s beautiful campus, boasting impressive architecture and old oak trees. This historic campus gives visitors an insight into the past while also offering an opportunity to explore its picturesque grounds and facilities.

An exterior view of Moody Center of the Arts
Moody Center of the Arts (Photo courtesy of

Beyond its architectural allure, Rice University houses the Moody Center of the Arts, an arts installation that hosts engaging exhibitions and events. Don’t miss the light sequence at James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace, an outdoor art installation that manipulates light and color as the sky transitions during sunrise and sunset.

University of Houston

Acquire creative insights at the Blaffer Art Museum, located on University of Houston‘s campus, is a contemporary arts museum offering free admission and featuring works by local, national, and international artists. This avant-garde museum displays a diverse range of artworks, from the paintings of Edvard Munch to the provocative installations of Michael Ray Charles and Analia Saban.

Interior view of Blaffer Art Museum
Blaffer Art Museum (Photo courtesy of

The Blaffer Art Museum also hosts unique exhibitions and programs, like the Window into Houston series and the Blaffer Art & Design Store, aimed at inspiring and engaging visitors. Regardless if you’re an experienced art connoisseur or just curious about contemporary art, the Blaffer Art Museum is a must-visit destination in Houston.

7. Navigate Downtown Houston Through Tunnels

If you want to feel like Sherlock Holmes, then be sure to uncover a hidden facet of Houston by navigating through the 95 city blocks of tunnels beneath downtown Houston. These subterranean passageways provide a unique viewpoint of the city’s bustling streets, featuring shops, restaurants, and unique sights.

A view of Downtown Houston Tunnels
(Photo courtesy of

The Downtown Houston Tunnels are accessible during weekdays when businesses are open, providing a convenient and climate-controlled method to explore the city’s lively downtown area. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, navigating the Houston Tunnels offers a fun and exciting perspective of the city.

8. Find Serenity at Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

With complimentary admission to exhibits, nature trails, and events, the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center provides a peaceful escape for visitors of all ages.

View of Houston Arboretum & Nature Center
(Photo courtesy of Expedia)

On Saturdays, the center organizes complimentary nature hikes, offering an ideal opportunity to explore its diverse ecosystems and learn about the native flora and fauna. Beyond its gorgeous trails and educational programs, the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center houses the Houston Arboretum Nature Shop, where unique gifts and souvenirs inspired by the natural world can be found.

9. Uncover Murals and Street Art Gems

Houston’s lively street art scene attests to the city’s creative spirit and diverse culture. To catch a glimpse of this dynamic sphere, venture into popular areas like Heights, Midtown, and Montrose, where you’ll encounter stunning murals, intricate graffiti, and thought-provoking installations. For a more comprehensive experience, consider reserving a private tour to view the city’s most impressive murals and learn the stories behind them.

Street art that reads Houston
(Photo courtesy of

From constantly evolving murals in the East End to the fascinating space-themed mural in the Heights, Houston’s street art provides a visual treat and a unique method to explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods. So spruce up your Instagram with shots from your street art adventure in the heart of “Space City.”

10. Feed Horses Just for Fun

Police officer in stables with a horse
(Photo courtesy of

The Houston Police Department has a stable that is home to nearly 40 police horses and you can visit them for free. Bring your own bag of carrots, apples, and peppermint and feed the horses. Just be sure the bag is big because these horses can eat a lot! This is one of the local’s favorite free things to do in Houston with kids.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Houston

Houston has a wealth of free things and hidden gems to discover. From world-class museums to stunning parks and vibrant street art. So, whether you’re a local or a visitor, try out these diverse experiences in “Space City.” The best part? You can do it all for free!

An aerial view of Houston and their highways
(Photo courtesy of

Frequently Asked Questions

What is free on Tuesday in Houston?

Head to the Houston Zoo on the first Tuesday of each month for free admission from open to close – just make sure to reserve your ticket online in advance.

What museums in Houston offer free admission?

If you’re looking for free admission to a museum, you’re in luck; the Contemporary Arts Museum and the Houston Center for Photography are all free!

What are some popular parks in Houston to explore?

Head to Houston to explore Discovery Green, Hermann Park, and Memorial Park for unique attractions and activities.

Where can I find street art in Houston?

Explore Houston’s art scene and discover its vibrant street art in popular areas like Heights, Midtown, and Montrose, as well as the ever-changing murals in the East End.

A view of art and greenery in Houston
(Photo courtesy of Expedia)

Interested in Additional Travels? check out these other locations that you’ll love:

“How boring would the world be if everywhere and everyone were the same. Safe travels and good adventures.” Scuba Jay

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