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45 Free Things To Do In Houston, TX USA, The Bayou City

 

There are many free things to do in Houston, but you just need to know where to go and what you’re looking for. Luckily, most are accessible by public transportation coupled with a short walk. But some you definitely have to drive; after all, it is Houston.

If you know of any more, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to add them to the list.

 

Houston Visitor Center

1302 Dallas St, Houston, TX 77002 [downtown]

Highly recommended as they have a lot of free information about what to see and do in the city of Houston.

Discovering Houston - Visit Houston Visitors Center

Discovering Houston – Visit Houston Visitor Center

 

American Statemanship Park Houston, TXAmerican Statemanship Park (Mount Rush Hour)

1400 Elder St Houston, TX 77007

Or as I call it, the Presidents Heads. This piece of artwork is found in one of the six Wards, the Sixth Ward, of Houston. The Wards are/were the low income areas of Houston primarily in the downtown area. I don’t think this was the initial intent, it may have just happened. In some areas, land developers have bought them up and relocated the people and built new expensive townhomes; the process continues. Visible form I-45 and I-10 highways you can see the huge sculptures of four statesmen (Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington). The statues are 18 foot tall and made of white concrete. A pretty impressive sight, but kind of odd where they are located as there are homes just behind them.

Admission is free to everyone.

 

Discovering Houston Texas USA - American Statemanship Park - Mount Rush Hour

Discovering Houston Texas USA – American Statemanship Park – Mount Rush Hour

 

     

    Battleship Texas

    3523 Independence Parkway South LaPorte, TX 77571

      I’ve visited this ship twice. But sadly it doesn’t get enough visitors so its closed. They are looking for funds to repair and actually move it to somewhere where it can be appreciated more and visited and the cost of visiting fund its upkeep.

      So, you have until about April 2020 to see it in its current position. as they plan to move it some point between April and August 2020 to repair it. Check for the latest information.

       

      Battleship Texas Looking at San Jacinto Monument in Houston Texas

      Battleship Texas Looking at San Jacinto Monument in Houston Texas

       

      Echo Chambers at the Houston-Intercontinental Airport

      Intersection near gates C14 and C45

      This one is not downtown, but its worth mentioning. When you are at the Houston-Intercontinental airport in Terminal C. There are two places where four walkways cross. I guess the architects thought it would be fun if they created an echo chamber. So if you stop in the dead center and speak it echoes and scares everyone around you. It’s a lot of fun so try it when you are passing through the airport. They are located near C14 and C45. If you don’t know they are there, you will walk right past them and it’s just an open space.

      Discovering Houston - Houston-Intercontinental Airport Echo Chamber near C43

      Discovering Houston – Houston-Intercontinental Airport Echo Chamber near C43

         

        Discovering Houston - Houston-Intercontinental Echo Chamber near C14

        Discovering Houston – Houston-Intercontinental Echo Chamber near C14

         

        Green Link Driving on Smith Street - MetroFree Green Link Bus

        Downtown Houston

        To help visitors get around downtown form their hotels, the city operates a complimentary bus. Typically, it goes from the hotels to the Convention Center (Minute Maid Park (baseball stadium) and Toyota Center (basketball)) are close by; Houston is a mega convention city and has many conventions year round. If you have 30 minutes, get on at one of the designated stops to get out of the heat in the summer time and the cold at winter. Both locals and tourist take the bus. You can get on and off at any of the stops, check out that area and then get on again. Check the schedules.

           

          Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park In The Middle of The City

          2800 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX 77056

          If you journey a little bit to the Galleria area and locate the Williams Tower; don’t worry its the tallest building in the area with a rotating beacon so you can’t miss it, you will find a park with a huge waterfall. It’s mesmerizing that such a monument sits in the city, just constantly gushing water. And yes, when you get too close you will get sprayed.

          Houston, TX USA - Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park in the Galleria area

          Houston, TX USA – Gerald D. Hines Water wall Park in the Galleria area

          If you put the address in the Google Maps, it will tell you how to get there using public transit. But basically, just take the 81/82 from downtown Houston, get off at the Galleria Mall and walk down Post Oak Boulevard until you get to it. Just walk past the Williams Tower.

          Discovering Houston - Water Wall from behind

          Discovering Houston – Water Wall from behind

           

          George Bush Monument Houston, TXGeorge Bush Monument

          Corner of Bagby St & Franklin St, Houston, TX 77002

          You just walk a bit from the curb to the center of the monument to enjoy the view that he “sees.”

          The statue was created by famed portrait artist, Chas Fagan.

            It’s free and open to everyone from dusk to dawn.

             

            Houston Public Library – Julia Idelson Building

            550 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77002 [downtown Houston]

            This is a study room in downtown Houston as part of the Houston Public Library system. I highly recommend visiting this building.

            Always free as long as its open.

            Discovering Houston Texas USA - Julia Ideson Building Houston Public Library

            Discovering Houston Texas USA – Julia Ideson Building Houston Public Library

             

            Lynchburg Ferry

            1001 Independence Parkway N, Baytown, TX 77520

            This is perhaps one of the coolest things I’ve done in Houston. It’s perhaps the shortest vehicular ferry crossing I’ve ever taken. If you take I-10 to the San Jacinto Monument, then you have to take the Lynchburg Ferry in order to cross the Houston Ship Channel. And it’s free. If it’s closed, you have to take the long way around.

             

            Sam Houston Boat Tour

            7300 Clinton Drive, Houston, Texas 77020

            One of the true hidden gems of the city and completely free including parking. It occurs twice a day Tuesdays to Saturdays (10a and 2:30p) except on Thursdays its on at 10a. only. It lasts 90 minutes and gives you a tour of the Houston Ship Channel.

            Reservations are required in advance and can be made online at any time, or by calling 713-670-2631, Monday through Friday between 8a and 5p

             

            Museums

            Houston has many museums to choose from, some make you wonder, Really? There’s a museum for that? Not all the museums are paid ones. Some are free depending on when you go. Let’s take a look:

             

            1940 Air Terminal Museum Hobby AirportThe 1940 Air Terminal Museum 

            8325 Travelair Street, Houston, Texas 77061. At the other side of Hobby Airport.

            There is an admission fee for this museum, however, there are a few free exceptions:

            • You can walk around inside the terminal and outside the terminal at no charge. If you’re an aviation geek, I highly recommend this.
            • Present your annual Museum Day ticket. Museum day varies from year to year and you can get the tickets online. It’s April 4, 2020 this year.

             

            ArtCar Museum

            140 Heights Blvd., Houston, Texas, 77007

            Always FREE admission when open.

             

            The Asia Society

            1370 Southmore Blvd. Houston, TX 77004

            There is an admission fee for this museum, however, there are a few free exceptions:

            • Admission to the building is free. Exhibitions in the Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall do not require an admission fee.
            • Admission to the Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery is free for Asia Society Members and children ages 12 and younger

             

            Buffalo Soldiers National Museum

            3816 Caroline St. Houston, TX 77004

            There is an admission fee for this museum, however, there are a few free exceptions:

            • Admission is free on Thursdays 1p – 5p

             

            Discovering Houston - BuffaloSoldiers National Museum

            Discovering Houston – BuffaloSoldiers National Museum

             

            Children’s Museum of Houston

            1500 Binz St, Houston, TX 77004

            There is an admission fee for this museum, however, there are a few free exceptions:

            • Children Under 1 year old are Free
            • Thursday night from 5p – 8p – Free Family Night with at least one child/Free admission is available every
            • First FULL weekend of the month – Bank of America Museums on Us® Program. Admission is free for valid Bank of America cardholders.
            • Members of the Association of Science Technology Centers Passport Program receive free admission for the number of people designated by their corresponding membership level.
            • Lone Star Cardholders (including WIC and SNAP) TANF, SNAP, WIC benefit recipients and Texas Lone Star card holders receive free admission for up to 6 individuals. Texas Lone Star card holder must be present and show one of the following to gain admission: Award letter for the current month you are using the card The app on your phone with the expiration date A recent receipt that shows that you are using the card and a valid state issued photo ID WIC recipients may present their current shopping list or a store receipt that shows the date within the month that they’re visiting along with a valid state issued photo ID.

             

            Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

            5216 Montrose Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77006

            Always FREE admission when open.

             

            Czech Center

            4920 San Jacinto Street Houston, Texas 77004

            There is an admission fee for this museum, however, there are a few free exceptions:

            • Last Monday of the Month Admission is free for everyone
            • Age 12 and younger
            • You’ve patronized the gift shop
            • A teacher who participates in their student education program

             

             

            The Health Museum

            1515 Hermann Dr. Houston, Texas 77004

            Admission is Free every Thursdays 2p to 7p.

             

            Holocaust Museum Houston

            Lester and Sue Smith Campus 5401 Caroline St. Houston, TX 77004

            There is an admission fee for this museum, however, there are a few free exceptions:

            • Free to all on Thursdays 2p to 5p
            • Museum members
            • College students with valid ID
            • Anyone age 18 or younger

             

            Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

            4848 Main St, Houston, TX 77002

            Admission is always free.

             

            Houston Center for Photography

            1441 West Alabama Houston, Texas 77006

            Admission to the galleries is free.

             

            Houston Fire Museum

            2403 Milam St, Houston, TX 77006

            Admission is free from 2p on Thursdays. Children age 2-12 are free on the second Saturday of each month.

             

            Houston Museum of Natural Science

            5555 Hermann Park Dr. Houston,Texas 77030

            There is an admission fee for this museum, however, there are a few free exceptions:

            • Permanent Exhibits free to all on Thursdays 1p – 5p [closing times varies by season]
            • Permanent Exhibits always free for Children 2 and under
            • Museum Members

             

            Lawndale Arts Center

            4912 Main Street Houston, Texas 77002

            Admission is free for all exhibitions and public programs.

             

            The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH)

            1001 Bissonnet, Houston, Texas 77005

            There is an admission fee for this museum, however, there are a few free exceptions:

            • Free to all on Thursdays all day until closing usually at 9p. There’s even free parking from 5p to 9p on Thursdays only.
            • Children 12 years or younger are free accompanied by a paying adult
            • Children visiting on a Saturday or Sunday ages 18 years or younger when you show your library card from any public library in the state of Texas
            • Each student who visits the Museum on a school tour is given a voucher to return with FREE admission for themselves—and their family
            • Lone Star Card participant who presents the card with a photo ID. Lone Star Card holders receive free admission for up to 6 people on one card.
            • If you have lunch at the Museum’s Cafe or Food Trucks, show your receipt for admission between noon and 2p. Stay until closing.
            • Admission to these specific outdoor spaces are free from 9a to 10p everyday:
              • The BBVA Roof Garden
              • The Brown Foundation, Inc. Plaza and
              • The Cullen Sculpture Garden
            • Bayou Bend Family Days at the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens: on the third Sunday of the month (September to May). Families are also welcome to enjoy guided tours of selected rooms in the house.
            • If you’re a college student:
              • If you can show that you’re participating in an art-related class assignment at any college or university and you have your student ID, you’re in for free.
              • MFAH has what’s called a  University Partnership Program. If our university participates and you have your student ID, then you’re in for free and you also get discounts on some of the paid exhibitions.
            • Active members of the U.S. military & reserves with valid ID and for military families with dependent cards.
            • Free general admission the first Saturday and Sunday of each month for Bank of America cardholders
            • The museums also has several adult programs and events. Check out the times and admission requirements.

            Rienzi, the MFAH’s section for decorative European arts

            1406 Kirby Drive Houston, TX 77019

            There is an admission fee for this museum, however, there are a few free exceptions:

            • Family Days held twice a year. Check with the museum for times.
            • Rienzi’s gardens have Free admission and are open for self-guided visits every day of the week: Monday–Saturday from 10a to 4:30p and Sunday from 1p to 4:30p
            • Active members of the U.S. military & reserves with valid ID and for military families with dependent cards.
            • Lone Star Card Participants Receive free admission for up to 6 people when you present your Lone Star Card and photo ID.

             

            Museum of African American Culture

            4807 Caroline Houston, Texas 77004

            Always FREE admission when open.

             

            The Menil Collection

            1533 Sul Ross St. Houston, TX 77006

            Always free admission when open.

             

            Discovering Houston - Menil Collection

            Discovering Houston – Menil Collection

             

            San Jacinto Museum of History

            1 Monument Circle, LaPorte, TX 77571

            Free as long as the museum and the monument is open. You can freely walk around the massive property. You can also see the monument from miles away.

            There is a charge to go up to the observation deck and special exhibits.

               

              San Jacinto Monument

              San Jacinto Monument

               

              Discovering Houston - San Jacinto Monument View

              Discovering Houston – San Jacinto Monument View

               

              Houston Parks

              Houston has over 200 parks and all are free to use. Here are some of the larger ones that you may want to visit on your next trip:

               

              Discovery Green

              1500 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77010

              This is a Park that is located in downtown Houston. Many local events are held here. Check out the calendar of events.

               

              Emancipation Park

              3018 Emancipation Ave. Houston, TX 77004 in the Third Ward

              Admission to the Park is free. This is the oldest park in Houston and the state of Texas.

               

               

              Hermann Park Conservancy

              1700 Hermann Drive Houston, TX 77004

              Admission to the park is free for you to enjoy. There are fees for some attractions in the park.

               

              Houston Zoo

              6200 Hermann Park Dr Houston, TX 77004

              There is an admission fee for the Houston Zoo, however, there are a few free exceptions:

              • One free admission per student, per visit from the following Houston Universities:
                • St. Thomas University
                • Texas Southern University
                • University of Houston
                • Rice University
              • First Tuesday of each month September to May; except in January, it’s the second Tuesday. Only applies to daytime admission. Restrictions may apply.
              • Other discounts may apply.

               

              Japanese Gardens

              1700 Hermann Drive Houston, TX 77004 [entrance is near the Obelix]

              Admission to the gardens is free.

               

              McGovern Centennial Gardens & Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion

              1500 Hermann Drive Houston, TX 77004

              Admission to the gardens is free.

               

               

              Miller Outdoor Theatre In Hermann Park

              6000 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, TX 77030 in Hermann Park

              All performances are free. But if you want to sit in the covered area of the theatre, you must first get a free ticket (maximum of 4 per person) from the box office on the day of the performance.

              If you wish to sit in the hillside facing the theatre, you can sit anywhere you want on your own chair or blanket or just the grass.

               

              Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

              4501 Woodway Drive Houston, TX 77024

              Admissions to the Nature Center and trails are free. Parking is paid, except on Thursdays when parking is free.

               

              The Houston Police Officers Memorial

              Buffalo Bayou Park 1400 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77019 

              Houston Police Officers Memorial

              Houston Police Officers Memorial

              Admission is free to enter the park and view the memorial. You will get a great view of downtown Houston. Parking spaces are limited at the exact location.

               

                Market Square Park

                301 Milam Houston, Texas 77002

                This park is located in a historic part of downtown Houston. You can just bring a blanket and/or a chair and enjoy the free events. Check out the calendar of events.

                 

                Memorial Park

                6501 Memorial Dr. Houston, TX 77007

                Admission to the park and trails are free.

                 

                Watonga Drive Bridge Bat Colony

                White Oak Bayou Greenway Trail, Houston, TX 77092

                There is no admission, just go and enjoy and stay away from the bats; just observe.

                 

                Waugh Drive Bat Colony

                Waugh Drive and Allen Parkway Houston Texas 77002

                There is no admission, just go and enjoy and stay away from the bats; just observe.

                 

                Project Row Houses

                2521 Holman Street Houston, TX 77004

                It’s easier to explain this project in the Third Ward of Houston by just taking the description that they use:

                Project Row Houses occupies a significant footprint in Houston’s Historic Third Ward, one of the city’s oldest African-American neighborhoods. The site encompasses five city blocks and houses 39 structures that serve as home base to a variety of community enriching initiatives, art programs, and neighborhood development activities.

                Admission is free.

                 

                Project Row Houses

                Project Row Houses

                 

                Rice University

                6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005

                Walk around the Rice University neighborhood as well as on the campus and enjoy some of the best architecture that Houston has to offer. There is a jogging track around the entire university as well.

                There is no admission cost.

                 

                Paid Tours

                If none of these free things tickle your fancy, then check out these paid tours and/or the Houston Attractions page.

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