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HOME > Communities > Be A Tourist

Whether you’re new to Houston, “naturalized” after years of living here, or a born and bred “native,” chances are that you’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to seeing and experiencing Houston’s many treasures.

As our own annual “Out and About” publication listing some of the city’s most exciting events, exhibits and excursions demonstrates, there is a reason that Houston has been recognized on so many “Best” lists in notable publications and respected websites, as well as those of government agencies and special interest groups. From Forbes, Fortune, Business Week, and US News & World Report to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Charity Navigator’s Charitable Analysis Study, Houston ranks “best” or near the top among major U.S. cities.

Plainly stated, there is a lot to do and see! That’s why we’ve created “Be a Tourist” on our web site. No matter how often you visit, you’ll always find something new and exciting.

“Be a Tourist.” There’s no better single source for exploring the many rewards just waiting for you in your very own hometown.

Ya sea si es nuevo en Houston, "naturalizado" después de años de vivir aquí, o un nacido y criado "nativo", es probable que apenas haya tocado la superficie cuando se trata de ver y experimentar muchos de los tesoros de Houston.

Como nuestra propia publicación anual "Out and About" menciona, algunos de los eventos más emocionantes de la ciudad, exposiciones y excursiones demuestra que hay una razón por la que Houston ha sido reconocido en muchas listas "mejores" (ver Braggin’ Rights en la sección Centro de Bienvenida en otra parte de nuestro sitio web). ¡Dicho sencillamente, hay mucho para hacer y ver!

Es por eso que hemos creado "Sea un turista" en nuestra página web. No importa cuántas veces usted visite, siempre encontrará algo nuevo y excitante.

"Sea Un Turista." No hay mejor fuente para explorar las muchas recompensas esperándole en su propia ciudad natal.



Amusement Parks & Attractions

Downtown Aquarium

The product of redeveloping two Downtown Houston Landmarks -- Fire Station No. 1 and The Central Waterworks Building. This magnificent seven-acre entertainment and dining complex is a 500,000-gallon aquatic wonderland, home to over 200 species of aquatic life from around the globe. With a full-service restaurant, an upscale bar, a fully equipped ballroom, aquatic & geographic exhibits, shopping and a variety of amusements, Downtown Aquarium has it all! Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. aquariumrestaurants.com

Sam Houston Race Park

Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located 15 minutes from downtown Houston, and offers a variety of attractions including 19 luxury suites overlooking the race track, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options. The Park’s newest addition, The Showgrounds, is an all-ages venue that hosts annual Country, Classic Rock and Contemporary concert events throughout the year. shrp.com

Space Center Houston

As the official visitors center for Johnson Space Center, this theme park for space fans features actual spacecraft, flight simulators and a guided tram tour of NASA and Mission Control. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. spacecenter.org

Water Wall

In the heart of the city, the Water Wall Park is one of Houston's most beloved, iconic landmarks. Located in Uptown Houston, this 64-foot high, semi circular Water Wall re-circulates 11,000 gallons of water per minute as it cascades down the inner and outer walls of the fountain. The adjacent 2.77 acre park features 186 live oak trees, a lush lawn and park benches for relaxing and enjoying the day. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. www.2800postoak.com

Gulf Greyhound Park

The world's premier pari-mutuel greyhound-racing complex offers fast-paced action just south of Houston in La Marque. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. gulfgreyhound.com

Orange Show

Houston postman Jeff McKissack’s creation. Built in honor of his favorite fruit, it illustrates his belief that longevity comes from hard work and good nutrition. The result is an architectural maze of walkways, balconies, arenas and exhibits decorated with mosaics and brightly painted iron figures. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. orangeshow.org

Splash Town Water Park

This waterpark features 50 acres of slippery sensations including Thunder Run, a five-story aqua speedway. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors splashtownpark.com

Port of Houston

A 25-mile-long complex of diversified public and private facilities located just a few hours' sailing time from the Gulf of Mexico. The port is ranked first in the United States in foreign waterborne commerce, second in total tonnage, and sixth in the world. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors portofhouston.com

Museums & Galleries

Bayou Bend

Framed by the native bayou woodlands, the Diana Garden at Bayou Bend provides a magnificent vista from the north terrace of the house. This grand mansion, surrounded by 14 acres of landscaped gardens, is home to one of the country's finest decorative arts collections. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.mfah.org/bayoubend

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Houston Museum of Natural Science

Celebrating 100 years of natural science education throughout 2009. In addition to the well known permanent exhibits, HMNS offers many special exhibits. Photo courtesy of Houston Museum of Natural Science. hmns.org

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The Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts

The Pearl is the first Fine Arts museum to be located outside of the Houston Museum District. Non-profit organization that is supported solely by grants and through the generosity of the residents and businesses in the community. The Pearl brings world-class art exhibitions to NW Houston and provides valuable educational programming throughout the year. www.pearlmfa.org

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Rienzi Collection and Gardens

Rienzi is bounded by formal gardens and surrounded by lush woodlands complete with azaleas and magnolias. Explore the extraordinary collection and gardens in a variety of docent-led and self-guided tours. mfah.org

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Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

A dynamic cultural complex consisting of two museum buildings, two art schools, two decorative arts centers, and a sculpture garden. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.mfah.org

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Heritage Society

The city's only outdoor, interactive historic museum and park. Nestled in 10 acres of beautiful green parkland in the heart of downtown Houston, The Heritage Society boasts 9 historic structures dating from 1823 to 1905. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. heritagesociety.org

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Art Car Museum

A private institution dedicated to contemporary art with an emphasis on art cars, other fine arts and artists that are rarely, if ever, acknowledged by other cultural institutions. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.artcarmuseum.com

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Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum

Intimate in scale, a rare, “jewel box” repository of the only intact Byzantine frescoes in the Western Hemisphere. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. menil.org/visit/byzantine.php

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Children’s Museum of Houston

A Playground for Your Mind™. Housed in a whimsical building designed by internationally acclaimed architect Robert Venturi, CMH offers a multitude of exhibits bursting with action-packed fun that engage kids in the ultimate learning experience. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. cmhouston.org

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Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

With a focus on exhibiting the most exciting and compelling art of our time, there’s always something new to see at the CAMH. The Museum’s home is a unique all steel parallelogram building designed by architect Gunnar Birkerts. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. camh.org

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Holocaust Museum Houston

Educating about the Holocaust, remembering and honoring the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and teaching the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. hmh.org

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Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

Experience innovative exhibitions, on-site artists-in-residence, educational programming and a retail gallery featuring fine handmade objects. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. crafthouston.org

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Lawndale Art Center

This museum develops local contemporary artists and the audience for their art. Lawndale presents exhibitions, lectures and events, and offers an annual residency program to further the creative exchange of ideas among Houston’s diverse artistic, cultural and student communities. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.lawndaleartcenter.org

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Project Row Houses

Twenty two shotgun-style homes in the heart of the Third Ward were rescued by Project Row Houses. This unique arts organization utilizes the houses for artist installations, artist studios and cultural education programs that celebrate the surrounding community and its history. PRH also provides community services and incubation space for local artists. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. projectrowhouses.org

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Space Center Houston

As the official visitors center for Johnson Space Center, this theme park for space fans features actual spacecraft, flight simulators and a guided tram tour of NASA and Mission Control. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. spacecenter.org

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Jung Center of Houston

The center offers more than one hundred courses, programs and conferences every year that address the critical social and spiritual issues of our time, as well as the need for personal growth and development. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. junghouston.org

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Rothko Chapel

Built by the visionary philanthropists, John and Dominique de Menil — an ecumenical, interfaith chapel, housing 14 masterpieces by the abstract expressionist Mark Rothko. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. rothkochapel.org

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Menil Collection

Collection dedicated to exhibiting and preserving the art collection of Houston philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil — diverse holdings that represent thousands of years of human creativity. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. menil.org

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Health Museum

Take a seat on a giant tooth, walk through a 10-foot brain alive with electrical activity, “scan” your internal organs and more at the Museum’s permanent exhibits. mhms.org

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Rice Gallery

Presents one kind of art: installation. Five times a year, artists are invited to create a single work of art that transforms the space. When you walk into Rice Gallery, you enter the art and move through it. ricegallery.org

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Museum of Southern History

A Special Traveling Exhibit of LEE and GRANT was put together in Virginia about these two outstanding men. A collection of artifacts from different Museums: Lee's coat from Appomattox, Geo. Washington’s pistol, Grant's saddle & uniform, etc. museumofsouthernhistory.org

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Museum of Printing History

Permanent exhibits narrate the story of written communication and the ways in which the technologies of printing have transformed our lives. During our guided tours, visitors participate in the hands-on printing of a leaf of the Gutenberg Bible pulled from a replica press, then move to the printing of the Declaration of Independence on a 19th-century Columbian iron handpress. printingmuseum.org

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Blaffer Gallery

Founded in 1973, the only museum on the central campus of the University of Houston. The museum presents 5 – 8 exhibitions a year featuring emerging artists and bodies of work in the field of contemporary visual arts. Named in honor of the late Sarah Campbell Blaffer, a noted Houston art patron and collector, who was the daughter of William Thomas Campbell, founder of Texaco, and the wife of Robert E. Lee Blaffer, founder of Humble Oil (later Exxon). www.class.uh.edu/blaffer/

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Parks, Gardens, Monuments & Nature, Zoo

Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

An oasis of serenity and natural beauty along Cypress Creek is a horticultural masterpiece. These 300 acres of East Texas Piney Woods showcase the region’s largest collection of native and cultivated plants. A living museum, it is also home to a wealth of animal life. www.hcp4.net/mercer

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Memorial Park

Dubbed the largest urban park in Texas, Memorial Park covers approximately 1,466 acres just inside Loop 610. The park includes Texas' top-rated municipal 18-hole golf course, facilities for tennis, softball, swimming, track, croquet, volleyball, in-line skating, cycling and a popular 3-mile running course. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.www.houstontx.gov/parks/memorialpark.html

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Houston Audubon’s Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary

Located in West Houston is a 17.5 acre wooded sanctuary along Rummel Creek with a restored log cabin that houses a variety of education programs. Non-profit organization with the mission of promoting the conservation and appreciation of birds and wildlife habitat.houstonarboretum.org

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George Observatory

The George Observatory, located about one hour’s drive south of Houston in the attractive Brazos Bend State Park, is a satellite facility of the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The Observatory houses a Challenger Learning Center for Space Science Education, a meteorite exhibit and three domed telescopes. Credits: Houston Museum of Natural Science.www.hmns.org

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Sam Houston Park

In 1900, Mayor Sam Brashier bought the Kellem-Noble land and house on the edge of town to create Sam Houston Park –the city's first. By 1910, it had been landscaped and included an old mill, a stream, a rustic bridge, and paths. Sam Houston Park has been the home of The Heritage Society since 1954, with historic homes and a church housed in the downtown park. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.heritagesociety.org

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The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy time in a natural oasis. 155-acre nature sanctuary located at the southwest corner of Memorial Park, just inside the 610 loop. The Arboretum offers 5 miles of walking trails, an interpretive center with hands-on activities and exhibits, a Nature Gift Shop, reference library, and classrooms.houstonarboretum.org

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San Jacinto Monument

Experience Texas history! A 570-foot obelisk capped by a giant star marks the spot where Texas won its independence from Mexico. San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Reenactment recreates the battle and hosts a festival that the whole family will enjoy. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.www.sanjacinto-museum.org

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Houston Zoo

Founded in 1922, the Houston Zoo is an exciting live animal adventure that provides a unique educational and conservation resource serving 1.5 million guests annually. Set in a 55-acre lush tropical landscape, the Zoo is home to thousands of exotic animals representing hundreds of species. The Zoo's water playground is set in a Galveston coastal fishing village setting. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.houstonzoo.org

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Discovery Green

Discovery Green, a 12-acre park located in downtown Houston. Emulating the model of great urban parks around the country, Discovery Green is designed as an engaging and active place with programming to serve all ages and backgrounds, as well as workers, residents and visitors alike. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.www.discoverygreen.com

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Hermann Park

Hermann Park, presented to the City of Houston by George Hermann in 1914, is one of Houston's most historically significant public green spaces. The park rests on 445 acres in the heart of the Museum District. The park includes the Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theatre, Houston Garden Center, Japanese Garden, a public golf course, the statue of General Sam Houston and the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors' Plaza. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau(Jessica Tripodo).hermannpark.org

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George Ranch Historical Park

“Journey to a place and time where cattle and cotton are king and Texas is a country all its own.” Discover hands-on Texas history of the 1800’s and 1930s historical sites.georgeranch.org

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Battleship Texas

The first battleship memorial museum in the U.S. is currently anchored on Buffalo Bayou and the Houston Ship Channel, near the San Jacinto Monument and Museum. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. tpwd.state.tx.us/park

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Nature Discovery Center

In the old Henshaw home, nestled in Russ Pitman Park, a four-acre rural retreat for both wildlife and people in the midst of the city of Bellaire. The Center offers science and nature based educational programs, both on and off-site for children, their families, adults and educators. naturediscoverycenter.org

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Sesquicentennial Park

An urban oasis in the heart of Houston's downtown Theater District. The two-acre Phase I site includes a cascading fountain, gatehouse, and octagonal pavilion. The 8.2-acre Phase II section of the park, features a gently sloping 1.25-acre lawn flanked by a walkway and stately trees.www.sesquicentennialpark.org

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Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center

Harris County Precinct 4 nature preserve of over 300 acres and is open daily to visitors, free of charge. The park features a variety of plant and wildlife species, white sand beaches along Spring Creek, swamps and sloughs with century-old cypress trees, and a pristine floodplain hardwood and pine forest. All features are accessible by over six miles of all-weather, handicap-friendly pedestrian trails and several unpaved primitive trails.www.hcp4.net/jones

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Theater & Cultural Districts

Cypress Creek Foundation for the Arts & Community Enrichment (FACE)

Non-profit foundation, provides top quality concerts and educational opportunities for all members of the community through their Star-Lit!, Family, Promenade, Free Children’s, and Klein ISD “Art Days” series. www.cypresscreekface.org

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Houston Ballet

A top-tier troupe with an international reputation, Houston Ballet is America's fourth largest ballet company. The ensemble of dancers has been hailed by The New York Times as "one of the nation's best ballet companies."Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. houstonballet.org

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Houston Symphony

One of America's pre-eminent performing arts organizations under the musical direction of Hans Graf, The Houston Symphony was founded in 1913. It has an impressively rich history and is counted among the world's finest orchestras. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.houstonsymphony.com

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Society of Performing Arts

Society for the Performing Arts brings the world's greatest performing artists and companies to Houston. Consistently uplifting, awe-inspiring entertainment. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.spahouston.org

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Alley Theatre

One of the oldest and most respected resident professional theater companies in the country, this Tony Award-winning theater literally began in an alley in 1947. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. alleytheatre.org

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Wortham Theatre Center

This 437,500-square foot facility in the Theater District is home to the Houston Ballet and the Houston Grand Opera. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. www.worthamcenter.org

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Jones Hall

Dominating an entire city block, Jones Hall is stunning with its curving travertine marble facade, an exterior rectangle of eight-story columns, and a brilliantly lit grand entrance. Jones Hall is home to the Houston Symphony and Society for the Performing arts. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. www.joneshall.org

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Hobby Center for Performing Arts

Designed by Robert A. M. Stern, this $102 million shining star illuminates Houston's Theater District. The Hobby Center provides the ultimate experience for cultural-connoisseurs with two opulent, acoustically distinguished. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.thehobbycenter.org

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Miller Outdoor Theatre

An outdoor amphitheater in Hermann Park presenting free performances April through October including ballet, the Houston Shakespeare Festival, musicals and the Houston Symphony. Credits: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. milleroutdoortheatre.com

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Theatre Under The Stars

Houston's oldest non-profit musical theatre company, presenting world-class musical theatre since 1968. Each year, TUTS also participates in a variety of community outreach and education projects, bringing musical theatre beyond the stage. www.TUTS.com

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Houston Grand Opera

Has a reputation for commissioning and producing new works, including 39 world premieres and six American premieres since 1973. In addition to producing and performing world-class opera, HGO contributes to the cultural enrichment of Houston and the nation through a diverse, innovative and balanced program of performances, events, community and education projects that reaches the widest possible public. www.houstongrandopera.org

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Da Camera of Houston

Concerts feature small ensembles performing chamber music and jazz. Known for innovative programming, notably Artistic Director Sarah Rothenberg's programs connecting chamber music with literature and the visual arts. Nationally acclaimed for thought-provoking chamber music programming, as well as a jazz series with a unique balance between renowned performers and emerging artists. www.dacamera.com

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Ranches & Farms (Under Construction)

George Ranch Historical Park

“Journey to a place and time where cattle and cotton are king and Texas is a country all its own.” Discover hands-on Texas history of the 1800’s and 1930s historical sites. georgeranch.org

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To view large pictures, please click on a gallery below:
Amusement Parks & Attractions
Museums & Galleries
Parks, Gardens, Monuments & Nature, Zoo
Theater & Cultural Districts
Ranches & Farms (Under Construction)