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Houston | © Sarath Kuchi/Flickr
Houston | © Sarath Kuchi/Flickr
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17 Things To Do In Houston This Summer

Picture of Barbi Barbee
Updated: 9 February 2017
Houston is a great place to spend a summer. It’s a city of wonderful outdoor resources, world-class museums, and family-friendly entertainment. If you’re visiting from out of town, Houston has plenty of events and attractions to help you make the most of your vacation. If you already live in the city, there are some unique opportunities you can only find in the summer and some hidden gems you may not have explored. Here are 17 things to do in Houston this summer to keep you cool and entertained.
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Catch A Free Show At Miller Outdoor Theatre

Theatre Under the Stars presents free performances of James and the Giant Peach and Million Dollar Quartet. Although the event is free, you have to pick up a ticket at the box office the day of the performance if you want to sit in the covered section. Visitors are also welcome to bring a blanket and watch the show from the hill.

Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX, USA, +1 832 487 7102

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Have A Picnic At Waterwall Park

This urban oasis is the perfect spot to keep cool during the hottest days of summer. If you want to have a picnic but don’t want to toast, sit under the refreshing mist of the Waterwall Fountain. This landmark is also one of the best photo ops in Houston.

Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park, 2800 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX, USA

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Rent A Pedal Boat On McGovern Lake

The pedal boats at Hermann Park are perfect for a daytime date or a group of friends. Up to four people can ride a single boat at a time and they are shaded to keep you covered from the sun. It’s a bit of a workout, but there are some great restaurants in the area where you can recover afterwards.

McGovern Lake, 6102 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX, USA

Take Advantage Of Discounted Movies

The summer blockbusters are coming, and you can watch them all without breaking the bank. Several movie theaters in Houston are showing free and discounted movies throughout the summer. A ticket to any movie at Alamo Drafthouse is only $5 before 2 PM any day of the week. Regal Cinemas and Studio Movie Grill, also have summer specials for adults and kids.

Alamo Drafthouse | © Phil Glockner/Flickr
Alamo Drafthouse | © Phil Glockner/Flickr

Enjoy Free Outdoor Movies

Spend a night under the stars watching Hollywood greats at a free outdoor movie screening. Discovery Green, and Miller Outdoor Theatre are just some of the locations screening family friendly hit movies throughout the summer. Some screenings have pre-show entertainment and snacks available for purchase. Many locations will allow you to bring a picnic.

Discovery Green | © Ed Schipul/Flickr
Discovery Green | © Ed Schipul/Flickr
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Visit The Waugh Drive Bridge Bat Colony

The summer months are some of the best to watch the bats of Waugh Drive Bridge take flight. The bat colony usually emerges around sunset, but show up 30 minutes early because the bats don’t stick to an exact schedule.

Waugh Drive Bridge Bats,

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Watch The Sunset At Skyspace

It’s a well-known fact that Texas summer sunsets are beautiful sights to behold. They become a true work of art when viewed at James Turrell’s ‘Twilight Epiphany’ Skyspace. Reservations are required for sunset light sequences, and spots go quickly, so be sure to book a spot well in advance.

Twilight Epiphany, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA

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Explore The Museum District On Free Thursdays

Free Museum Day is a good idea any time of the year. If you’re vacationing in Houston, this is the best way to explore Houston’s Museum District. Every Thursday, several museums offer free admission at different times of the day. The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, and Children’s Museum of Houston are some locations that participate in the program.

Museum District, Houston, TX, USA

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Tour The Beer Can House

You may need your shades for this one. Beer Can House shines brilliantly in the summer sun because it’s made of, well, beer cans. Beer Can House was created by John Milkovisch who covered his entire house with an estimated 50,000 beer cans over an 18-year period. He didn’t intend for the project to be a work of art, but it is now a permanent exhibit of the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. The house is open Saturday and Sunday, and admission is $5 per person.

Beer Can House, 222 Malone St, Houston, TX, USA, +1 713 926 6368

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Have A Beach Day On Galveston Island

If you’re itching to get out of the city, Galveston is only a short drive away. Delicious seafood and a fresh ocean breeze will greet you when you arrive. Be sure to check out Galveston Pleasure Pier, Galveston Railroad Museum, Bryan Museum, and The Strand. If you want to spend the night, Hotel Galvez is beautiful and rumored to be haunted.

Galveston Island, TX, USA

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Take The Family To Kemah Boardwalk

Enjoy the bay at Kemah Boardwalk. Located just outside of Houston, the popular family attraction has rides, restaurants, shops, and events. Every Thursday of the summer, bands will take the stage beginning at 7 PM. On Friday nights, visitors can watch firework shows from the boardwalk. Sunday night is Salsa Night featuring live salsa bands.

Kemah Boardwalk, 215 Kipp Ave, Kemah, TX, USA, +1 877 285 3624

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Ride A Bike Around Hermann Park

Hermann Park is the center of several Houston attractions including museums, the Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theatre, the Japanese Garden and McGovern Centennial Gardens. Houston B-cycle bike rental program is a great way to get around the park and see everything the area has to offer. The bikes come with locks so you can secure your bike while exploring.

B-Cycle Station, 6100 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX, USA

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Step Back In Time At Bayou Bend Collection

Spend a day strolling through the beautiful Bayou Bend Gardens. Begin at the house of philanthropist Ima Hogg for a trip back in time. The house features an impressive collection of antique furniture, ceramics, and art that Hogg carefully curated over her lifetime. Then discover the statues, fountains, and plants nestled away in the 14 acres surrounding the house.

Bayou Bend Collection & Gardens, 6003 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX, USA, +1 713 639 7750

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Jog Around Memorial Park

The Seymour Lieberman Exer-Trail at Memorial Park is perfect for walking or jogging. The trail is a well-maintained, 2.93-mile loop with exercise stations spread throughout. There isn’t a lot of shade on the trail, so consider visiting in the cooler afternoon. Memorial Park also features a playground, 30 miles of hiking trails, tennis courts, volleyball nets, and sports fields.

Seymour Lieberman Exer-Trail, Houston, TX, USA

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Escape The Bustle At The Arboretum

Escape into nature without leaving the city. The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center features 155 acres of plants and wildlife native to Texas. The Arboretum has several trails to explore, each focusing on different types of plants and trees. While traversing, visitors will find wooden pathways, bridges, ponds, and benches. The center hosts several educational and fundraising events throughout the year geared towards adults and children.

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, 4501 Woodway Dr, Houston, TX, USA, +1 713 681 8433

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Camp At Sam Houston National Forest

For the outdoorsy folks, Sam Houston National Forest is a great spot for hiking and camping. The forest contains 163,037 acres of land stretched between three counties. The park is located 50 miles north of Houston, just south of Huntsville. The park has several trails varying in length from 128 miles to 9.2 miles. There are several designated campsites, and primitive camping is allowed off the trail except during November and December.

Sam Houston National Forest, 394 Farm to Market 1375, New Waverly, TX, USA, +1 936 344 6205

Shop A Farmers Market

Houston has several year-round farmers markets offering fresh produce from local vendors. The markets happen throughout the week so that you can find one convenient to your schedule. City Hall Farmers Market happens every Wednesday. The Rice University Farmers Market is every Tuesday. You can find a list here. Be sure to pick up some peaches, watermelons, or tomatoes, as they are in season in Texas during the summer.

Houston Famers Market | © Ken/Flickr
Houston Famers Market | © Ken/Flickr