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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you are in the mood for some good baseball, head on over to Minute Maid Park which is home to the Houston Astros. Formerly known as both Enron Field and later, Astros Field, Minute Maid Park has a retractable roof and can be fully air-conditioned. The field is known as being friendly to the hitters, resulting in exciting games for the fans! For multi-taskers, wireless Internet is available for a fee. Besides major league baseball, the field occasionally hosts other sports games such as college baseball and private functions.
Buffalo Bayou Park is a lush 160-acre park (64 hectares), where everyone can come to soothe the senses. Eleanor Tinsley Park, located within the park is host to many of Houston's festivals and a variety of activities. Experience a canoe trip, or a walk with a loved one through the beauty of this park. The park also has a play area for children, a dog park, sculptures and fountains throughout and also includes bike trails.
This theater is one of the most respected in Houston's thriving art community. An Equity theater (Union), it puts on the hottest cutting-edge plays available. Do not be surprised to see a wildly intense show when you visit. With such strong actors performing, you will not be disappointed by the end result. Productions and curtain times change throughout the year. Call for the current schedule and ticket prices, and buy your tickets early or you might not get a good seat (or any seat at all).
The vision of philanthropists, John and Dominique de Menil, The Rothko Chapel is a block away from the extraordinary art museum, The Menil Collection. The abstract expressionist Mark Rothko created 14 immense paintings for the sacred space, and the meditative aura that resulted is the true definition of tranquility. Renowned architect, Phillip Johnson, along with Houston's own Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubrey designed the octagonal brick structure that overlooks Barnett Newman's sculptural tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Free to all and open to people of all beliefs, the independent site made it to the official National Register of Historic Places.