The city of Houston is the largest in the state of Texas and the fourth most populous metropolis in the United States. Its leading cultural institutions are a great place that offers a variety of educational and recreational activities and fun things to do that are open to the public throughout the year and are completely free of charge.
Free Things To Do In Houston or inexpensive
If you are looking to get away from the sprawling concrete of downtown Houston, duck into one of the city’s parks to enjoy some quiet or a jog. If you are interested in history, visit Sam Houston Park. Covering 20 acres, the park preserves Houston’s Victorian past and features footpaths that will take you over old bridges and past historically restored buildings such as a mill.
The Lily and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden is part of Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts. This vast outdoor expanse features works of art from great 19th- and 20th-century sculptors. Envisioned and created by the famed sculptor Isamu Noguchi in 1986, this garden is now considered the prettiest acre in Houston. Between the fresh air and the breathtaking surroundings, this garden makes it easy to take a refreshing walk on a sunny day.
If you want to sample food grown by local farmers, head down to the Houston Farmers Market at Rice University. On Tuesdays from 3:30 to 7 pm, the Houston Farmers Market features local produce, meats, and bread. There are also handmade products available, such as soaps and Italian sodas. You can even get a massage if you’re tired.
One of Houston’s quirkiest museums happens to offer free admission. The Art Car Museum features cars that have been changed into modern art. Also known as the “Garage Mahal,” the museum opened in 1998 and focuses on the collision of car culture and post-modern art. The museum also hosts rotating exhibitions, such as Calacas, where artists feature bones as a modern of transportation.
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s motto, “Always Fresh, Always Free,” succinctly expresses its mission of making contemporary art accessible to the public and art lovers. The museum focuses on regional, national and international artwork from the past 40 years and offers lectures, talks, and other events in conjunction with its exhibitions. On the last Friday of every month, the museum hosts Steel Lounge Underground, a social event during which visitors can enjoy music and cocktails while viewing artwork. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.
Holocaust Museum Houston
With the hope of preventing future genocides, the Holocaust Museum Houston seeks to educate the public about the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, an attempt by Nazi Germany to wipe out the European Jewish population during World War II. Photographs, film footage, documents, permanent exhibits and artefacts depicting the life of European Jews before and during the Holocaust are part of the museum’s permanent exhibit. A railcar the Nazis used to transport Jews is also on permanent display as is the rescue boat Danish Christians used to save many Jews from execution. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.
If you are a biking enthusiast, Houston offers 345 miles of biking trails. These trails include bayou trails, bike lanes on motor roads, and rail trails. An additional 80 miles of bike trails go throughout the city’s parks that are also designated for hikers and joggers.
If you are a flower enthusiast, the next best thing is to visit the Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, another Houston attraction that offers free admission. Spread over 300 acres, the Arboretum features walking trails, a cultivated Botanic Garden bamboo, daylilies, and numerous other flowers. Make sure you bring a picnic as there are 58 tables where you can have a great time and enjoy your lunch in this lush and beautiful park.
The sprawling expanse of Hermann Park makes for a fun place to spend an afternoon. Hermann Park offers places to walk and run, as well as art exhibitions and sprawling greens. The park also houses the Houston Zoo, an outdoor theatre, and a garden centre. You can stroll through the Japanese gardens or play a round of golf.
With the slogan “Nature awaits!” the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center are the best places to take a brisk hike in the wilderness. Located on 155 acres, this natural beauty offers classes, a discovery room, and more than five miles of hiking trails. While admission is free, the arboretum greatly appreciates donations. The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to dusk and is one of the top things to do while you’re visiting.
The Menil Collection
The Menil Collection houses the nearly 16,000 art pieces that connoisseurs John and Dominique de Menil, the museum’s founders, amassed beginning in the 1940s. Italian architect Rienzo Piano designed the building, which contains, among other objects, paintings, rare books, decorative objects, sculptures, and photographs. The works are as eclectic in origin and period as they are in the medium; they range from Paleolithic-era artefacts to Medieval relics to 20th-century pop art and come from places as remote as Russia, Asia Minor, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free.
Miller Outdoor Theater
From March through October, the Miller Outdoor Theater, which occupies 7.5 acres in Houston’s Hermann Park, offers live music, free dance, and musical and theatrical performances, including Shakespearean plays, film screenings, international artists in free concerts, special events and shows for children. Admission to all of the performances is free, but some events offer ticketed seating with a limit of four tickets per person. Theatregoers can also bring their own blankets and lawn chairs and watch performances from a hillside seating area.
Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, is located near Galveston Bay in the eastern part of Texas. Notorious for its sprawl and intensely hot summers, Houston still offers plenty of exciting attractions if you are visiting. Luckily, if you are in Houston on a budget, there are plenty of free activities and educational things to do and enjoy.
The trader’s village is a large, open-air flea market. Every weekend this village opens itself up to thousands of visitors looking for one-of-a-kind rarities or simply window shopping. In addition to the flea market, the trader’s village also boasts of barbecue cook-offs, Cajun festivals, and summer concerts.
The Houston area offers a bevvy of attractions and free things to do. While trying new restaurants and taking in the sights is much fun, however, it can be expensive. Houston has many free attractions to have you contemplating art, getting exercise, and communing with nature. From sculptures, art museums, outdoor theatres, Japanese gardens, and great parks to arboretums, there is something for everyone among Houston’s attractions. Who says that you can’t enjoy the cheap things in life?