Tucked away in the 20-acre Sam Houston Park downtown, you will find an impressive bit of Texas history. Visit the Heritage Society Museum & Tour, which features historical records, then take the outdoor tour of noble buildings restored to their original glory. Pathways lead to an assortment of prestigious homes in Greek and Victorian styles. The 1868 Victorian-style Pilot House also happens to be the site of the city's first indoor kitchen. All the homes on the tour are unique in structure and furnishings. There is also a quaint church built in 1891 by German farmers.
Pack your lawn chairs and your cooler, and prepare to have a relaxing good time at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Visitors sit on the hillside or under the polygon canopy to enjoy the weekly shows that start in the spring and run through the fall. Sponsored by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, free admission guarantees you can enjoy a lovely evening without hurting your entertainment fund. From folk music to grand opera, serious Shakespeare to outrageous comedy, concerts to full Broadway musicals, this outdoor theater appeals to all ages. Special children's programs are even available on occasion.
The selection of exhibits at Houston's Museum of Fine Arts covers both modern and ancient art and represents the talent of artists from Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. You will find Frederic Remington's fine Western art mingling with medieval pieces and the work of early European masters. Paintings are abundant, but the lovely sculpture garden here is also worth viewing. Both the Glassell School of Art and the Hirsch Library for Art History call this museum home. Film buffs love the museum for its weekly showings of classic and foreign films. A gift shop and restaurant are both on hand to satisfy your hunger after a day of exploring.
Alkek Velodrome is the only facility for high speed cycling training in the entire state of Texas. Although many of the open hours are taken up with professional training sessions, the velodrome also offers hours for public usage. Sessions for skaters are also available, which makes this attraction popular with both serious skaters and cyclists.
Memorial Park is a popular Houston attraction complete with a beautiful three-mile playground. There are walking paths, picnic sites, baseball fields, pine trees, gardens and ponds. Appreciate nature's beauty and make the most of the sunny weather. The locals love to jog here, but you can also rent a bike and hit the trail. There is also a public golf course with a clubhouse and restaurant, a tennis club, and a workout facility nestled on the grounds.
Houston will be forever grateful for George Hermann's generous gift of land in the early 1900s. The park spans over 445 acres (180 hectares) and is one of Houston's oldest public parks. People from all walks of life gather here for various events throughout the year. A monstrous statue of Sam Houston welcomes you to the park. Those seeking an educational outing for themselves or the kids will find many options inside the park. The Museum of Natural Science, Houston Zoo, Burke Baker Planetarium and an IMAX theater are all popular attractions. Lighter family entertainment is available in the form of pedal boats, train rides and other activities.
This massive hall has been the prestigious home of the Houston Symphony for many years. It was built in 1966 to add an opera house to Houston's expanding list of artistic offerings. Located downtown in the theater district, it has also played host to other musical productions over the years, including Broadway musicals and sold-out concerts. Underground parking is available and convenient.
If there is a theater in Houston that everyone knows, this is it. Located downtown in the Theater District, it stands tall and proud, rather like a contemporary castle, and casts an enchanting spell. This Tony Award winning theater knows how to put on an impressive performance. It consists of two stages. The Hubbard Stage is the largest, with 824 seats, and the Neuhaus Stage hosts smaller performances, seating 310. The season is planned well in advance, so call ahead for information and buy your tickets early or you might find yourself missing the show. Parking garages are available for a small fee.
Founded in 1955, this opera company has established a respected international reputation. It is currently the fifth largest opera company in the U.S. and has received numerous Tony, Grammy and Emmy awards during the past 50 years. Each season's performances consist of both new works and classic productions. Opera fans will be more than satisfied with each and every performance. Call for schedule and ticketing information.
Houston is a city that offers a lot of free (and fun) attractions. This museum is located at the Police Academy on the spacious grounds of George Bush Intercontinental Airport and is a great place to spend an afternoon. Police uniforms from around the world are on display, along with a somewhat odd collection of various weapons seized from criminals. With the assistance of an officer, you can view the elaborate gun collection and see what riding in a police car is like. The police helicopter is always a big hit with people of all ages.
The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts is one of Houston's grandest venues for entertainment. This magnificent building houses two main theaters: Sarofim Hall and Zilkha Hall. Sarofim Hall, the bigger of the two, seats 2650 people and hosts major productions like touring Broadway shows. Zilkha Hall seats 500, and is home to the Uniquely Houston program, which showcases small to mid-level performing arts groups.
Have a yearning for the nautical life? Take a plunge into the deep at the Houston Downtown Aquarium. This aquarium is definitely the place to be for a fun day out. The aquarium features around 400 species of aquatic life, with the Shark Voyage being the main attraction. This voyage gives visitors the opportunity to travel via train into an acrylic viewing tunnel with live sharks swimming overhead. Other attractions include the Diving Bell Ferris wheel, the aquatic carousel and some themed educational exhibits. If you've had your fill of the aquatic life and need some grub then take a pick from the Aquarium Restaurant or Dive Lounge.