63 AMAZING AND FREE THINGS TO DO IN HOUSTON

The city of Houston, Texas has a lot to offer to its visitors, including awesome hotspots that offer free entry. In Houston, you’ll find many budget-friendly options for every type of traveler. There are free outdoor and indoor activities, free food samples and wine tastings, free days at museums, free happy hours, and much more.

Ready to get started? Here are 63 free things to do in Houston, Texas that you’re going to love.

63 AMAZING AND FREE THINGS TO DO IN HOUSTON

COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN HOUSTON

Best Downtown Rooftop Pool Option. Magnolia Hotel Houston is in the heart of downtown with an amazing rooftop swimming pool. The gorgeous hotel offers a free shuttle service to various local attractions, and is a particularly great spot for couples.  Enjoy a signature dining experiences at the Magnolia Lounge, which features an award-winning bar and billiards room.

Best Luxury Option. Four Seasons Hotel Houston is also in a great downtown location but with signature Four Seasons luxury. It’s just 0.6 mi from Toyota Center sports arena and features a full-service spa, an onsite restaurant, and TopGolf swing suites.

Best Budget Option. Quality Inn Houston is 7 miles from city center, is affordably priced and has decent reviews. It’s just a quick 10-minute drive from downtown, and central to many of the attractions listed in this article. You’ll also find an on-site restaurant here.

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OUTDOOR PARKS, MARKETS, & ENTERTAINMENT

MILLER OUTDOOR THEATRE

The Miller Outdoor Theatre is located inside Hermann Park, and it’s open from March to November and is free to access.

Pack a picnic and catch a performance at the Miller Outdoor Theatre, where you may see dance, music, ballet, and more.

Details: 6000 Hermann Park Dr., Houston, TX 77030 | Website

SAM HOUSTON PARK

Sam Houston Park and Museum is a Victorian wonderland that was first established in 1899. It is just a few minutes from City Hall.

You will have access to the historic buildings, park, and museum at no cost. Reservations through the Heritage Society will be needed for a museum tour.

Details: Website

MARKET SQUARE PARK

Market Square Park is a must-visit for film buffs and movie lovers. You will enjoy free movie screenings and other free events.

The grounds also inspire you to walk as you people-watch or walk your dog.

Details: 301 Milam St, Houston, TX 77002 | Website

ELEANOR TINSLEY PARK

This is an outdoor space known for huge impromptu events that are free to all public members. There is also a play area with swings, picnic tables, and more.

You will sit on a steep slope that acts as an amphitheater as you enjoy performances and events here. Sometimes, a stage is even set up for free concerts, Fourth of July fireworks, and more.

Details: 18-3600 Allen Pkwy, Houston, TX 77019 | Website

MEMORIAL PARK

Memorial Park is arguably the largest urban park in Texas, spanning 1466 acres. All this glorious expanse is free to access, although you may have to pay for some activities.

For a small fee, you can rent a bike and challenge yourself on the many trails available. Golfing, tennis, softball, volleyball, swimming, and more physical activities can be enjoyed here.

Details: 6501 Memorial Dr., Houston, TX 77007 | Website

BUFFALO BAYOU PARK

Bring your children and furry friends to this outdoor arena that allows everyone in at no cost.

Take a walk on any of the trails and try to spot the public art that is spread throughout the park. If you time your visit here just right, you may see the bats take to flight under the bridge!

Details: 1800 Allen Pkwy &, Memorial Dr., Houston, TX 77019 | Website

DISCOVERY GREEN

You will find Discovery Green in Downtown Houston. The 12 acres here are at your disposal at no cost.

There are free storytelling sessions for the kids, free workouts, and free concerts at any given time. Free movies and musicians on the stage make for time well spent.

Details: 1500 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77010 | Website

URBAN HARVEST FARMERS MARKET

 Saturday mornings are perfect for the Urban Harvest Farmers Market. There is no better way to kickstart your weekend than a visit here.

Explore the farmers market while sampling local produce. All of the farmers and producers at the market are from within 180 miles of Houston, so you can feel good knowing you’re supporting local vendors.

The market operates from 8 am – 12 pm at St. John’s School parking lot and allows you in at no charge.

Details: 2752 Buffalo Speedway, Houston, TX 77027 | Website

MCGOVERN CENTENNIAL  GARDENS

The Mcgovern Centennial Gardens are part of Hermann Park. The gardens are a free, safe, and public space.

Gardeners and budding gardeners will enjoy the free educational vegetable garden. There is a free storytelling hour here every Friday at 10.00 a.m Walk around and find a meditation spot surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Parking is also free.

Details: 1500 Hermann Dr., Houston, TX 77004 | Website

SESQUICENTENNIAL PARK

Sesquicentennial Park is an urban park offering you free access to its outdoor space. Featuring waterfalls, a greenspace, a promenade and more, this is a great park to visit while in Houston.

Visitors can enjoy the waterway, hike-and-bike trails and boat launches, too. The park is free, and open 365 days a year.

Details: 400 Texas Ave, Houston, TX 77002 | Website

FIRST SATURDAY ARTS MARKET

The First Saturday Arts Market allows you to mingle with dozens of visual artists who showcase their work here.

The event is absolutely free to the public. You’ll enjoy free musical performances while buying fine art, jewelry, and more.

Details: 540 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008 | Website

HERMANN PARK

Hermann Park is a free and safe spot for lovers of outdoor living.

Residents and frequent visitors are encouraged to register for membership. Conservancy members will enjoy free tickets for the Hermann Park Railroad free pedal boat tour tickets every second Saturday of every month.

Details: 6001 Fannin St, Houston, TX 77030 | Website

TWILIGHT EPIPHANY

James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace is found on Rice University campus grounds.

There is a clever play of light in this music laboratory that projects onto the ceiling every day at sunrise and sunset. You can experience this play of light every day except Tuesday at no cost. Just make sure you arrive an hour before sunrise or 30 minutes before sunset.

Details: Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion, Houston, TX 77005 | Website

TRAVIS SPARK PARK

The Spark Park Program expands school parks into interactive neighborhood parks in an effort to increase green space and get everyone playing.

Travis Spark Park is a free entry park open to all after-school activities. It is also open on weekends, holidays and in the summer.

Free parking is also available as you play on the rock wall, a huge dinosaur bones fitness center, and more.

Details: 3311 Beauchamp St, Houston, TX 77009 | Website

HOUSTON ZOO

On the first Tuesday of each month, the Houston Zoo provides free daytime admission!

See all sorts of animals — like chimpanzees, Asian elephants, a Galapagos tortoise, lemurs, fish, meerkats, snakes, orangutans, sea lions, rhinos, tigers, and so much more! This is an amazing place to visit, and for sure should be on your Houston bucket list.

Online reservations are required for the free admission days — tickets are not available at the gate. Reservations are available on the Wednesday before each Free Tuesday at 7:00 a.m.

Details: 6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, TX 77030 | Website

WALKING, HIKING, AND WATER FUN

ARMAND BAYOU PADDLING TRAIL

Enjoy free admission to Armand Bayou Paddling Trail every first and third Sunday of the month.

Explore 5 miles of walking trails, including the Discovery Loop Boardwalk, and bison viewing platform.

The program is from 1-4 pm. Free admission is from 12-4 pm. The front gates lock at 5 pm.

Details: Website

GALVESTON ISLAND

You cannot visit Galveston Island and not play on the beach as you build a sandcastle for free! Get to Stewart Beach and learn from professional sandcastle builders. Just don’t forget your bucket and shovel.

Get competitive in the free family beach challenge. Here you will battle each other in an obstacle race and can even win a prize and bragging rights.

Details: Website

HOUSTON ARBORETUM AND NATURE CENTER

The exhibits at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center are free.

Learn how to conserve native plants and animals at no cost. Take a stroll on any of the trails and bring your four-legged friends to explore nature.

Details: 4501 Woodway Dr, Houston, TX 77024 | Website

WATER WALL

This is one of those things you’ve just got to see to believe. Enjoy this waterfall and take lovely selfies here the next time you visit Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park.

See 11,000 gallons of water per minute cascade down the inner and outer walls of the 64-foot-high semi-circular water wall. It’s an amazing site to see, and absolutely a must-do thing to see in Houston.

The best part? The total volume of water in the fountain completely recycles through a filtration system every three and a half hours.

Details: 2800 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX | Website

SAM HOUSTON BOAT TOUR

The Sam Houston Boat Tour affords you an exploration of a busy port at no cost! The entire 90-minute journey along the Houston Ship Channel happens every day except Sunday and Monday.

The boat offers free air-conditioning and drinks to sweeten the deal further as you enjoy the passing views from the sun deck. How do you say no to Sam?

Details: 7300 Clinton Dr, Houston, TX 77020 | Website

KEMAH BOARDWALK

A clever way to save big bucks when visiting Houston is to get a Three Parks – One Pass! Plan it for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday when the pass is valid.

This will allow you unlimited admission on rides while on the Kemah Boardwalk, Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, and the Downtown Aquarium Houston.

There is also a free playground next to the Boardwalk for all kids to burn extra energy.

Details: 215 Kipp Ave., Kemah, TX 77565 | Website

MERCER BOTANIC GARDENS

Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens welcome you to visit daily with free admission. You will have access to  250 acres along Cypress Creek.

Burn calories on any hike trails and make time to be enchanted at the butterfly house. When you tire from mother nature, rest as you picnic on the beautiful grounds as you spot different birds flying overhead.

Details: 22306 Aldine Westfield Rd., Humble, TX 77338 | Website

JESSE H JONES PARK & NATURE CENTER

Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center allows you access to its 312-acre grounds. The nature center is open every day of the week free of charge.

The entrances are handicap-friendly as are the trails allowing all to work up a sweat. Take advantage of the free guided tours to explore nature and the history of the local Indian tribes.

 Use your spare time to play at the free playground with swings, tunnels, and play decks. Or just watch them play from the picnic tables on-site.

Details: 20634 Kenswick Dr, Humble, TX 77338 | Website

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SKATING AND BIKING IN HOUSTON

TRANQUILITY PARK

Tranquility Park opens its gate to you at no cost. This allows you access to walkways and fountains, pools, and embankments.

Bring your skates and roll along the way.

Details: 400 Rusk Street, Houston, TX 77002 | Website

LEE AND JOE JAMAIL SKATEPARK

Every skater needs to bring their board and put themselves to the test at Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark.

This is a state-of-the-art facility that costs $2.2 million and is every skater’s dream.

Details: 103 Sabine St, Houston, TX 77007 | Website

RIDE THRU DOWNTOWN HOUSTON

If you are a cycling fan, the cycle from downtown to Buffalo Bayou will be easy.

Bring your bike, grab a map and let loose across spots like the Ferris wheel and downtown murals.

Details: Bike Houston Map

FREE MUSEUMS

ART CAR MUSEUM

At no cost to you, you have access to an art car museum unlike any other. Cars here are a work of art you have to see to believe.

Ready to see a car with a killer bunny on it? Or a cockroach, or wings? Sounds unbelievable? Just get here and see with your own eyes.

Details: 140 Heights Blvd., Houston, Texas 77007 | Website

HOUSTON BICYCLE MUSEUM

With parking every day, a visit to the Houston Bicycle Museum is a good idea.

Time your visit for Thursday between 3 pm to 6 pm and you will get in free of charge.

There is a free to attend market right outside the museum on Saturdays.

Details: 1313 Binz St., Houston, TX 77004 | Website

HERITAGE SOCIETY MUSEUM

Access to The Heritage Society Museum is free. You can, however, pay for a guided tour.

You will have access to a museum free of charge where you can admire permanent exhibits displayed. You will also see beautifully restored homes from the 19th- and 20th-century.

Details: 1100 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002-2504 | Website

HOUSTON POLICE MUSEUM

The museum is located at the entrance of the Houston Police Department headquarters. You will not be charged for entry or a good through the place.

A vintage full-size police car, a mounted helicopter, badges, uniforms, and more will be found here.

Plan your visit for Monday to Friday from 9 am to 9 pm.

Details: 1200 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002 | Website

ASIA SOCIETY TEXAS CENTER

Access to the building and its exhibitions is free for everyone. You will appreciate the Asian arts and culture, and their innovative programs.

Admission to the building and Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall exhibition is free.

Details: 1370 Southmore Blvd, Houston, TX | Website

TOMBALL RAILROAD DEPOT

Tomball’s Railroad Depot has free trips every weekend from noon to 5 p.m.

You will also have free access to train memorabilia, antiques, and model railroads.

Details: 201 S. Elm Street, Tomball, TX 77375 | Website

WATERWORKS EDUCATION CENTER

The center is open from Monday up to Friday from  9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Admission is free, albeit via appointment.

You will learn about the journey made by a water molecule from its source to its purification and consumption.

Details: 12550 Water Works Way, Humble, Texas 77396 | Website

ADULTS ONLY

HOUSTON WINE MERCHANT      

Enjoy free wine tastings every weekend once a month. Choose from the sampler cases.

Details: 2646 S Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77098 | Website

SOUTHERN STAR BREWING COMPANY

The brewing company shows off numerous signature beers and ales. All are brewed to perfection locally.

Southern Star offers free tours and free tastings  every Saturday from 1 p.m. up to 3 p.m. at the Brewery.

Details: 3525 N. Frazier St., Conroe, Texas 77303 | Website

RAILEAN DISTILLERY

 You need to make reservations for free hours and free tasting.

Shock your taste buds with a free rum and free rum cake.

Details: 341 5th St, San Leon, TX 77539-2862 | Website

PUBLIC ART & ART GALLERIES /MUSEUMS

Beer Can House

Drive-by this house made of beer cans for free.

It is estimated that the owner used thousands of beer cans for the look. Children under 12 are free during tours.

Details: 222 Malone St, Houston, TX 77007 | Website

BLAFFER ART MUSEUM

Blaffer Art Museum is a modern art museum found on the University of Houston campus. You will have free access to the exhibitions and programs all it offers if you visit on Wednesday through Sunday.

Details: 120 Fine Arts Building, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204 | Website

THE MENIL COLLECTION

The Menil Collection is open and free to the public. The art covers different eras and is considered one of the greatest in this day and age.

Details: 1533 Sul Ross St., Houston, TX 77006 | Website

MOODY CENTER FOR THE ARTS

The Moody Center for the Arts is free to everyone from Tuesday to Saturday. It is found within Rice University and allows you access to its gallery.

Details: 6100 Main St, Houston, TX 77005 | Website

ORANGE SHOW CENTER FOR VISIONARY ART

Admission inside is free to those under 12 years of age.

You can still admire the  3,000 square foot orange from the outside at no cost.

Details: 2401 Munger Street, Houston, TX 77023 | Website

MURAL HUNTING

All you need is a car and a map to go scavenger hunting for murals all over the city. The vivid murals are free to everyone and make for great photo sessions.

Details: Website

CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM

The CAMH is free to the public and will allow you access to exhibits.

Purchase a t-shirt or a book from its shop.

Details: 5216 Montrose Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77006 | Website

HOUSTON CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY CRAFT

Admission to HCCC is always free. You will explore works from different artists using different materials.

Details: 4848 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002 | Website

LAWNDALE ART CENTER

Lawndale is found in Houston’s Museum District and focuses on contemporary art.

It is free to the public, although you will need an appointment for the gallery.

Details: 4912 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002 | Website

PROJECT ROW HOUSES

At no cost at all, you will explore 22 row houses.

In the houses are different literary projects, art, and photography.

Details: 2521 Holman Street, Houston, TX 77004 | Website

HOUSTON CENTER FOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Access to the display hall is permanently free, but needs a reservation. You will then get to enjoy works of some of the greatest photographers and successful emerging photographers.

Details: 1441 West Alabama, Houston, Texas 77006 | Website

BUFFALO BAYOU PARK CISTERN

Without spending a dime, you will have access to the rotating exhibits found on Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern.

Details: 1019 Commerce Street, Suite 200, Houston, TX 77002 | Website

SPIRITUAL CENTERS

ROTHKO CHAPEL

The Rothko Chapel is a peaceful sanctuary open to all at no cost.

This non-denominational chapel has exhibit space for contemporary art.

Details:  3900 Yupon St, Houston, TX 77006 | Website

THE JUNG CENTER OF HOUSTON

Entry to the Jung Center is always free.

You have access to a free exhibit and classes on writing, meditation, and more.

Details: 5200 Montrose Boulevard, Houston, TX 77006 | Website

BAPS SHRI SWAMINARAYAN MANDIR

This Mandir is accessible to all visitors, and entry is always free.

You will appreciate the culture, religion, architecture, philosophy, and art of the Hindu.

Details: 1150 Brand Lane, Stafford, TX 77477 | Website

DISTINCTLY HOUSTON

DOWNTOWN TUNNELS

Houston has tunnels below the streets that you can access at no cost.

The tunnels connect 95 blocks in the city.

Details: Website

THE BAYOU BURP

There is a red bell you press, and a big bubble forms in the Bayou. This is free to everyone on any day though it doesn’t always work.

Details: 515 Preston Street, Houston, Texas | Website

SOUTHERN PACIFIC STEAM ENGINE 982

The steam engine is found between the George R. Brown Convention Center and Minute Maid Park. It offers a fun and free activity for train buffs.

Details: Website

GLENWOOD CEMETERY

Cemeteries aren’t always spooky, as evidenced by the historical Glenwood Cemetery.

At no cost at all, you can admire the headstones of iconic Houstonians, and the beauty of this historical resting place for many.

Details: 2525 Washington Avenue, Houston, Texas 77007 | Website

HOUSTON POLICE DEPT HORSE BARN

The Houston Police Department Horse barn is an incredible place to visit. It is also an accessible location!

Bring carrots to feed the horses as you listen and learn.

Details: Website

HOUSTON GREETERS

Houston Greeters gives you a personal insight into Houston in connecting you to a local for a free and private tour.

Details: Website

MUSEUMS WITH FREE DAYS

  • MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS: Thursdays, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. | Website
  • MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCES: Thursdays, 2-5 p.m. | Website
  • CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF HOUSTON: Thursdays, 5-8 p.m. | Website
  • HEALTH MUSEUM: Thursdays, 2- 7 p.m. | Website
  • BUFFALO SOLDIERS NATIONAL MUSEUM: Thursdays, 1-4 p.m. | Website
  • HOLOCAUST MUSEUM HOUSTON: Thursdays, 2-5 p.m. | Website

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