A Sports Fans Guide to Houston, Texas

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Space Center Houston. Photo Credit: NASA.

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Houston

Houston, Texas, is a fascinating city with lots of fun things for visitors to see and do. There are great museums, beautiful parks, wonderful restaurants – and don’t forget Space Center Houston! Here’s your quick guide to the Bayou City!

The New England Patriots of the American Football Conference will take on the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football Conference in Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, on 5 February 2017.

This might be the biggest day of the year for sports fans in the United States – the country virtually comes to a standstill on Super Bowl Sunday.

But what should you do if you find yourself in the Bayou City on game day and either …

Your team didn’t make it to the Super Bowl so you don’t care who wins or

You don’t like American football?

But there’s another possiblity. Maybe you DO like American football and maybe you DO have a ticket to the Super Bowl.

But you’ve come all this way to Houston and you don’t know what to see and do.

Hopefully this quick guide to Houston will give you some Houston trip ideas.

10 Best Things to Do in Houston

I’ve put together a list of 10 things to see and do in Houston for non-sports fans on Super Bowl Sunday – and for sports fans on Super Bowl Weekend.

If you’re a non-sports fan, you’re luck because you’ll have some of these places all to yourselves on Super Bowl Sunday because most Houstonians will be either at home or at a sports bar glued to a television screen.

By the way, all of these places are worth visiting ANY time you’re in Houston.

This list is NOT just for sports widows.

  1. Space Center Houston
houston-citypass-space-center-apollo-17-command-hull
Apollo 17 at Space Center Houston. Photo Credit: CITYpass.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are at the heart of Space Center Houston.

There are space artifacts, Including the world’s largest collection of moon rocks and other lunar samples on public display, as well as permanent and traveling exhibitions, within this 250,000 square foot complex.

Attractions include the Galileo Shuttlecraft, Independence Plaza, Mission Mars, Space for Art, Saturn V at Rocket Park, NASA Tram Tour, Building 9, Historic Mission Control, International Space Station, Stellar Science Show Living in Space – the list goes on.

Shopping

The complex has two gift shops selling NASA and Star Wars souvenirs as well as other kinds of space-related items.

Food + Beverage

The complex has two food and beverage outlets. The Zero-G Diner serves everything from salads and sandwiches to vegetarian dishes, pizza, and hamburgers.

The complex also has a full-service Starbucks.

Where

SPACE CENTER HOUSTON, 1601 NASA Parkway, Houston, Texas. Telephone: (281) 244-2100.

When

Open daily, 10 am – 5 pm; extended seasonal hours. Closed Christmas Day.

1940 Air Terminal Museum

houston-1940-air-terminal-museum-photo-credit-mlickliter
1940 Air Terminal Museum. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Housed in the original Art Deco terminal of Houston Municipal Airport, this museum would be my first stop on a tour of Houston. I’m a life-long aviation buff, you see!

Showcasing the history of civil aviation, the museum occupies the terminal’s ground floor.

There are galleries devoted to the DC-3, aviation art, period photographs, model airplanes, artifacts, aviation uniforms, and more.

Restoration of the upper floors, including the observation decks and tower cab, is pending.

Shopping

The museum’s gift shop sells a selection of aviation books, memorabilia, posters, toys, and other aviation related products.

Food + Beverage

The museum does not have a food and beverage outlet. What a great addition that would make!

Where

1940 AIR TERMINAL MUSEUM, 8325 Travelair Street, Houston, Texas. Telephone: (713) 454-1940.

When

Open 10:00 am –  5:00 pm, Tuesday through Saturday; 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Sunday; closed Mondays.

Downtown Aquarium

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Downtown Aquarium. Photo Credit: CITYpass.

Fire Station No. 1 and the Central Waterworks Buildings have been repurposed into one of downtown Houston’s most exciting tourist attractions: The Downtown Aquarium.

This six-acre entertainment and dining complex houses more than 200 species of aquatic life from around the world.

There are numerous exhibits. Amusement park rides include a shark voyage, a Ferris wheel, a carousel, a lighthouse dive, and a frog hopper.

Shopping

The Treasure Chest Gift Shop sells clothing, stuffed animals, toys, and various other aquatic related merchandise.

Food + Beverage

An underwater restaurant is surrounded by 150,000 gallons of water. Dishes run from seafood to steaks, chicken, salads, pasta, and mouth-watering desserts.

DOWNTOWN AQUARIUM, 410 Bagby Street at Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas. Telephone: (713) 223-FISH (3474).

Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 10 am – 9 pm; Friday – Saturday, 10 am – 11 pm; ours adjusted seasonally: occasional early closures or late openings may occur due to private events.

Buffalo Bayou Park

Houston's Buffalo Bayou Park
. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Hike, bike, jog, or boat your way through this 160-acre oasis in middle of the nation’s fourth largest city.

Attractions include a skate park, a dog park, the Houston Police Officers Memorial, Wortham Foundation Grove, a bat colony with 250,000 Mexican free-tail bats, the Lost Lake – the list goes on.

Where

From Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive.

When

Lighted areas, 6 am to 11 pm; other areas, dawn to dusk.

Houston Museum of Natural Science

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Houston Music of Natural Science, Paleontology Hall. Photo Credit: CITYpass.

The museum has more than 16 permanent exhibitions including collections on life science, earth science, paleontology, discover works, and space science.

There is also a planetarium, a butterfly center, a giant screen theatre, and an observatory.

Shopping

The MuseumStore sells a wide variety of apparel, items related to current exhibits, gems and minerals, office equipment, and other items.

Food + Beverage

The museum does not have any food and beverage outlets.

Where

HOUSTON MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE, 5555 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, Texas. Telephone: (713) 639-4629.

When

Open daily, 9 am – 5 pm; extended summer hours, 9 am – 6pm; hours subject to change for holidays, special exhibitions and other events; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Houston Zoo

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Houston Zoo, boy feeding a giraffe. Photo Credit: CITYpass.

Amphibians, aquatic animals, birds, mammals, and reptiles are all represented at the Houston Zoo.

There is an African Forest, an aquarium, and a children’s zoo.

There are animal encounters, you can feed the giraffes, and you can observe carnivores, elephants, primates, and sea lions.

Shopping

The zoo has three gift shops scattered about the grounds.

Located at the entrance of the African Forest, the Herzstein Trading Post sells ice cream, cookies, brownies, floats, soda, slushes, and coffee.

Located near the exit of the African Forest, the African Forest Gift Shop sells a selection of stuffed animals, hand puppets, and other gifts related to the animals of Africa.

The Main Gift Shop is situated near the exit of the zoo, which means you won’t have to lug around your purchases.

The selection includes T-shirts, souvenirs, adorable stuffed animals, animal-related gifts, and other items.

A selection of handicrafts from the zoo’s conservation partners in other countries is also on offer.

Food + Beverage

The zoo also has three eateries with indoor and/or outdoor seating.

The Macaw Café served seasonal salads, sandwiches, and wraps as well as hamburgers, hotdogs, pizzas, French fries, parfaits, cookies, trail mixes, and fresh fruit.

Overlooking the Duck Lake, Cypress Circle serves hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs, snacks, desserts, sodas, a variety of beers, and frozen alcoholic beverages

Twiga Café offers indoor and outdoor seating with everything from salads and hamburgers to chicken, pizza, children’s favorites, and various snacks.

Karts and kiosks selling snacks such as hotdogs, nachos, pretzels, popcorn, fresh fruit, cotton candy, sodas, water, snow cones, and other treats are scattered around the zoo’s grounds.

Where

HOUSTON ZOO, 6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, Texas. Telephone: (713) 533-6500

When

Open daily, 9 am – 6 pm; extended seasonal hours; last entry one hour prior to close; closed Christmas Day.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

houston-citypass-museum-of-fine-arts-statue-gallery
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Photo Credit: CITYpass.

The museum has several collections covering such aras as the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, American painting and sculpture, antiquities, the arts of Asia, decorative arts, craft, and design, European art – the list goes on.

There are also two house museums and temporary exhibitions.

Shopping

The MFA Shop sells a selection of “artful “gifts, prints, jewelry, books, toys, and other items. Shoppers can enter the shop without having to pay admission to the museum.

Food + Beverage

The MFA Café serves an Italian inspired menu with “Texas flare”. There is a European style coffee bar and a kids menu.

Where

MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON, 1001 Bissonnet Street, Museum District, Houston, Texas. Telephone: (713) 639-7771.

When

Tuesday – Wednesday, 10 am – 5 pm; Thursday, 10 am-9 pm; Friday -Saturday, 10 am – 7 pm;

Sunday, 12:1 5pm -7 pm; closed Mondays (except federal holidays), Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

Kemah Boardwalk

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Entrance to Kemah Boardwalk. Photo Credit: CITYpass.

Located 20 miles from downtown Houston, Kemah Boardwalk is a traditional waterfront amusement park with rides, a midway, and games.

Included is a boat tour into Galveston Bay, a wooden rollercoaster, a stingray reef and rain forest exhibit, a Ferris wheel, a train, a double decker carousel, and a mini-Ferris wheel for the kids.

Shopping

The boardwalk has several kiosks and retail shops selling a variety of merchandsze.

Food + Beverage

The boardwalk has several eateries, with an emphasis on seafood. But you will also find outlets serving everything from steaks, pizza, and Mexican food to coffee, ice cream, and popsicles.

Accommodation

If you would like to spend the night, the boardwalk has one hotel: The Boardwalk Inn.

The hotel has 52 rooms overlooking Galveston Bay and a swimming pool..

Where

KEMAH BOARDWALK, 215 Kipp Avenue, Kemah, Texas. Telephone: (877) 285-3624; (877) AT-KEMAH

When

Open 363 days a year. Amusement rides and restaurant hours vary depending on the season; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

San Jacinto Museum of History and Battleship Texas

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San Jacinto  Memorial. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Located 20 mile east of Houston, the battleground of San Jacinto is where Texas won its independence from Mexico.

Here, you will find the San Jacinto Monument, which bears a resemblance to the Washington Monument in Washington, DC – until you get up close! There is a Lone Star on toip! ;

There is also the San Jacinto Museum of History and Battleship Texas.

Shopping

The museum has no gift shop.

Food and Beverage

The museum’s all-you-can-eat restaurant has closed.

Where

SAN JACINTO MUSEUM OF HISTORY, One Monument Circle, La Porte, Texas. Telephone: (281) 479-2421.

When

9 am to 6 pm daily (museum and battleground d state historic site); 9 am – 5.45 pm (observation floor); 10 and – 5 pm (Battleship Texas).

Children’s Museum of Houston

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Entrance to the Children’s Museum of Houston. Photo Credit: CITYpass.

The museum has an interactive format, with exhibits designed to engage children to a variety of innovative activities.

Shopping

The museum has no gift shop.

Food + Beverage

The museum has one eatery, the Fresh Café, which features hamburgers, corn dogs, hotdogs, pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, grilled chicken, chef’s salads, and fruit salads.

Where

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF HOUSTON. 1500 Binz Street, Museum District, Houston, Texas. Telephone: (713) 522-1138.

When

Summer (Memorial Day-Labor Day): Monday – Saturday, 10am-6pm; Sunday, noon – 6 pm; Thursday, 10 am – 8 pm; non-summer: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm; Sunday, noon – 6 pm; non-summer: open select Mondays (check website); closed New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

How to Get There

Houston is served by two major airports. The larger of the two airports, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is 23 miles north of downtown Houston.

The airport is a major hub for United Airlines. A total of 25 domestic and international carriers serve the airport.

Foreign air carriers are especially well-represented at the airport.

William I. P. Hobby Airport (HOU) is located 7 miles south of downtown Houston.

Southwest Airways is the airport’s biggest operator. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines also serve the airport.

Where to Eat in Houston

From fine dining to cheap eats, Houston is full of great places to eat.

You will find everything from seafood to Mexican to Vietnamese, Italian to Chinese to Indian.

And don’t forget that mouth-watering barbecue, Tex-Mex, Creole, and Cajun.!

Find the perfect place to eat at TripAdvisor.com.

Where to Stay in Houston

Houston is full of lodging, from luxurious five star hotels to convenient motels.

You will also find bed-and-breakfasts, vacation rentals, and other types of specialty accommodation.

Find the perfect place to stay in Houston at TripAdvisor.com.

There are plenty of places in Houston to have fun. Start making your travel plans now!

If You Go to Houston …

You can save 50% off admission to five of Houston’s top attractions if you buy CITYpass.

And you won’t have to rush, either, because the pass is good for nine consecutive days starting with your first day of use.

Not only will you save money, you will also save time because you will be able to skip many ticket lines.

If you purchased tickets to these five attractions, you would pay US$112.98.  With CITYpass, you will pay US$56 – a US$56.98 saving.

The savings on a child’s entrance fees would be US$38.24.

What’s Included

You will get a book of tickets providing entrance to …

  • Space Center Houston
  • Downtown Aquarium
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science
  • Houston Zoo OR Musuem of Fine A|rts, Houston
  • Kemah Boardwalk OR Children’s Museum of Houston

Buy Houston CITYpass now!

 

 

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