Things to Do in Downtown Houston, Texas

Downtown Houston is brimming with exciting adventures
Downtown Houston is brimming with exciting adventures | © ERojas / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of David Darbyshire
Writer5 August 2020

Downtown Houston has plenty of fun things to do, from a Heritage Society tour to going for a dance at night in Bayou Place. Here are Culture Trip’s top picks.

If you’re only in Houston for a short time, focusing your energy on one area is wise, as you don’t want to spend your precious free hours zooming back and forth across the city in a car or on the metro. With museums, escapes rooms and more, you’ll have no trouble spending a day in downtown Houston.

If you are going to pick one part of Houston to explore thoroughly, the downtown district is hard to beat. It offers visitors the variety and diversity that make the city special but in a smaller and compact area. From its buzzing social scene to many fascinating attractions, it’s a sweet slice of the greater Houston culture.

The Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park

Historical Landmark
Map View

The non-profit Heritage Society cares for a collection of Houston’s historic buildings, which have been moved to Sam Houston Park in downtown to help in their preservation. The organization offers educational programs and guided tours, giving a fantastic and vivid snapshot of American life and the ordinary people who are often left out of history books. Also, it is worth checking the program of upcoming events. There is limited free parking adjacent to the museum or paid parking nearby.

Houston Police Department Museum

Museum
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In the lobby of the Houston Police Department (HPD) is a museum displaying historical items, uniforms, artefacts, badges and various equipment from the law enforcement agency. The collection also includes vehicles and a helicopter suspended from the ceiling, and guided tours are available and take about one and a half hours.

Escape rooms

Amusement Park
Map View

If you feel the need to test the bond between you and your family or friends to its ultimate limit, then an escape room is for you. This form of entertainment, where you have to work with your teammates to solve clues to escape a locked room, has rocketed in popularity in recent years. A trip to Houston is the perfect time to try one out as there are several great options across the city. Houston Escape Room is located on Jackson Street and you can book one of its three-themed rooms through their website.

Bayou Place

Architectural Landmark
Map View

Bayou Place is a busy nightlife hub. With a collection of restaurants and entertainment venues, including the Revention Music Center. It’s worth researching what live acts will be playing during your visit. The plaza is also ideally located in the middle of the Theater District in case you’re after a pre-show dinner or post-show drinks. There is public transportation nearby, along with many parking options, including valet parking.

Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern

Park
Map View

The Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern used to store water for the city of Houston. After the underground reservoir was decommissioned in 2007, it was turned into a huge, 87,500sqft (8,129sqm) public space. Aside from being impressive architecturally, the cistern also houses rotating art installations.

These recommendations were updated on August 5, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.