16+ Free Things to Do in Houston: Best Free Attractions and Uniquely Houston Activities without Breaking the Bank

Houston is a huge city with plenty to offer tourists and residents alike. However, not everyone knows that there are tons of free things to do in Houston! In this blog post, we will discuss 16+ fun activities that won’t cost you a penny.

Free Things to Do in Houston

Houston is a great city with plenty of things to do, but sometimes it can be expensive. If you’re looking for some fun activities that won’t break the bank, look no further! In this blog post, we will provide a list of 16+ free things to do in Houston.

Visit one of Houston’s Many Parks

If you don’t want to spend big bucks on your next trip, check out these free things to do in Houston:

  • Memorial Park;
  • Hermann Park;
  • Buffalo Bayou Park;
  • Buffalo Bayou Park ;
  • Discovery Green. The park offers free programming year-round, such as yoga classes on Wednesday evenings during the summer months or open-air film screenings during fall evenings through December 31st each year. There are also family activities every weekend including craft workshops every Saturday morning until noon followed by children’s performances at 2pm.

Museum of Fine Arts Houston

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, also known as MFAH, is a staple in the Houston art scene. Located just to the east of Hermann Park and a short walk from the Medical Center Light Rail Station, MFAH is conveniently located near two other free activities: The Miller Outdoor Theater and the Houston Zoo. MFAH has been around for over 100 years and houses more than 60,000 works of art from around the world. It’s one of the largest museums in North America. With free access to special exhibitions on select days, there’s always something new to see. 

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, formerly known as the Menil Collection of Contemporary Art, is a beautiful space that’s free every day. The exhibitions change often, but if you go on Thursdays it’s mostly for students. Although there are no tickets required for the museum’s art collection, students receive complimentary admission every Thursday from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., and all day on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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Explore the Houston Zoo

If you want to be a part of the action and take advantage of all that the zoo has to offer, then plan your visit for the first Tuesday of the month. On that day, admission is free for everyone! The zoo is open daily from 9 AM until 6 PM with free tram rides running on an ongoing basis during these hours. This way, you can hop around to different areas of the zoo while enjoying the bird’s eye view. For those looking to get a little more active at the Houston Zoo, there are several fun activities that are sure to keep you busy.

Houston Museum of Natural Science

Want to experience the Houston Museum of Natural Science for free? If a Thursday is available on your calendar, you’re in luck! The museum offers free admission on Thursdays, but it’s only for a short window of time. The museum is open daily except Christmas Day, and its usual hours of operation are 9am-6pm. So if you want to take advantage of the complimentary admission, make sure you arrive before 6pm. Children ages two and under get in free every day.

Take a Walk or Jog Around Rice University

Rice University is a private research university located in the heart of Houston, Texas. The campus is beautiful, and it’s fun to go on a self-guided tour. You can also admire the James Turrell Twilight Epiphany Skyspace, which is open to visitors every half hour on their respective schedule.

Check out Downtown Houston

If you’re a Houstonian looking for free things to do in your city or an out-of-towner planning a trip to the Bayou City, then you’ll want to see what we have rounded up. Downtown is the perfect place to start! The area includes Discovery Green and Sam Houston Park with nearby Lake Houston serving as an amenity for visitors and residents.

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Take a Stroll Through the Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden, designed by world-famous Japanese architect Ken Nakajima. It features a two-acre pond, a tea house, a Zen garden, a bonsai garden, a sand and stone garden, and a bamboo grove that transforms into an open-air theater in the summer months.

Visit the Space Center Houston

You can see lots of space stuff at Space Center Houston, the official visitor center for NASA’s Johnson Space Center. There are real spacecraft, flight simulators, a shuttle replica and an awesome missile exhibit. You can even touch a moon rock! (Maybe don’t lick it though, that’s probably not allowed). The center offers plenty of educational opportunities too: you can meet an astronaut or learn about engineering and robotics.

Attend a Performance at Miller Outdoor Theatre

If you love theatre, but don’t want to pay for tickets, then you’ll be happy with the free shows offered at Miller Outdoor Theatre. This outdoor theatre is located in the Museum District, and they offer free performances almost year round. The weather doesn’t stop this show because the large canopy protects you from the weather. So if you’re looking for a fun activity and want to save some money, head on over there!

Go to Art Car Museum

Located in the Washington Avenue Arts District, the Art Car Museum is free to tour and features art cars and other fine art. The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but open from 11am until 6pm Wednesday – Sunday.

See Rothko Chapel

How would you like to learn to meditate, paint, or sing? Can’t afford visiting a Buddhist retreat in Japan? How about try something new and give yoga a shot? These are just some of the free things that can be found in Houston. What’s more, these activities are accessible for all ages and all backgrounds.

Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

The arboretum offers 5 miles of nature trails for walking and bird watching. The trails are easy enough for anyone to navigate—even children—and there are lots of informative signs along the way that teach visitors about the various plants and trees within.

Take a Selfie at the Water Wall

The Water Wall is a 64-foot-tall fountain that is located in the Uptown area of Houston. It was built in 1983 and has become a popular tourist attraction. During the day, the Water Wall exhibits a beautiful rainbow effect from its constant flow of water. At night, the fountain is lit up with bright lights to create an even more magical scene than during daylight hours.

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Get Close to Nature at Waugh Drive

Waugh Drive is a great place for a walk or a run and to see wildlife. The scenic drive with views of downtown Houston is between Allen Parkway and Buffalo Bayou. It’s a favorite running spot for locals, who frequently report sightings bats, alligators and turtles.

Have Fun at Children’s Museum of Houston

The Children’s Museum of Houston is the highest-ranked family attraction in the city, and one of the most exciting free things to do in Houston. It has 14 interactive exhibits with themes like science and culture, plus an outdoor area with a maze, water play and a climbing apparatus.

Free Things to Do in Houston

As you can see, the Bayou City is full of free ways to enjoy yourself. And that’s just the beginning! Houston has so much to offer, and these are only a few of the many free things to do in Houston. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next adventure today!


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