The city of Houston is full of amazing places to entertain yourself and your entire family. There are so many popular places, but the following spots are particularly great for the family and you could easily spend a full day at each one of these destinations.
This museum has it all, which makes it fun for adults and children. Check out a show in the planetarium or an amazing IMAX film at the Wortham Giant Screen Theater. Or if prehistoric creatures are more to your liking, go to the Hall of Paleontology. You won’t be disappointed. Visitors can also view mummies and all sorts of interesting artifacts in The Hall of Ancient Egypt. This is one incredible exhibit. I've seen it numerous times and always look forward to seeing it again.
During your visit, go see the Foucault pendulum, which showcases the rotation of the earth. You can watch it from the floor above or at ground level to watch the pendulum swing and knock over each encircling pin.
The Cockrell Butterfly Center is one of the most amazing features in the museum; you can experience an actual butterfly habitat. The three story glass structure allows you to get up close to a simulated rainforest including a 50 foot waterfall!
The gift shop features an amazing selection of souvenirs. We love to purchase geodes in the gift shop. You can choose a rock and watch as they crack it open--it’s so much fun! The museum is located at 5555 Hermann Park Drive in Houston. It is open Monday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Every Thursday, you can visit the permanent exhibits for free from 2 to 5 p.m.
For more information, visit the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
The Children’s Museum of Houston makes learning fun. It’s full of interactive exhibits that give children a hands-on experience. Even as an adult, I find this kid-friendly destination extremely entertaining.
The museum encourages learning while also promoting creativity. In the 450 square foot Chevron Maker Annex, children can invent and show off their own creation through robotics, animations and other mediums. The friendly staff is always ready to help with any project. This is where my family tends to spend the most time.
You can also learn about the environment at the EcoStation where kids can participate in activities like insect collecting and leaf rubbings. During a hot summer day, check out FlowWorks, which allows kids to experience the power of water. A 19 foot cauldron powers the outdoor exhibit. Kids can splash around in the water and have fun while learning.
A popular destination is Kidtropolis. In this amazing small scale city, children can explore different professions. There is even a bank that allows children to experience having a bank account with a debit card. Kids can play chef in an authentic restaurant, or be a meteorologist on the big screen.
The Children's Museum of Houston is located at 1500 Binz in Houston. It is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Sundays, you can visit the museum from noon until 6 p.m. On Thursdays, the museum is open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., which includes a free family night from 5-8 p.m.
For more information, visit the Children's Museum of Houston.
The Downtown Aquarium is an incredible location tucked away among the skyscrapers. It’s a 6 acre complex that features rides, games, exhibits, shopping and food. With over 500,000 gallons of water, it’s filled with more than 200 species of aquatic life!
The shipwreck area is really neat. You will feel as though you are on the hull of a 17th century Spanish galleon. You can enjoy this unique environment as you observe fascinating aquatic life.
If you prefer rides, then check out the diving bell Ferris wheel or the aquatic themed carousel. There are different attractions for visitors of all ages.
The most notable attraction is the white tiger exhibit. You step into the Maharaja’s Temple and observe the tigers in their habitat, while also learning about conservation efforts. For a more hands-on exhibit, check out Stingray Reef for the opportunity to touch and feed stingrays!
If you want to eat during your visit, you can enjoy a meal in the Downtown Aquarium Restaurant. Not only will you feast on a wide variety of cuisine, you can be entertained by fish. The tables in the restaurant are surrounded by a 150,000 gallon tank.
The Downtown Aquarium is located at 410 Bagby Street in Houston. The exhibits are open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, you can visit from 10 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.
For more information, visit Downtown Aquarium.
All of these locations offer hours and hours of entertainment. So whether you live in Houston or are looking to move to Houston, you’ll quickly discover that entertainment is easily accessible and fun activities can be found everywhere around the city.
My reputation for loving good food has started to cause people to turn to me for restaurant recommendations. After exploring the city of Houston and the food scene as of late, here are some of my favorite places to eat out with friends.
I take a lot of factors into consideration before picking a spot: ambiance, fun-level, menu variety, overall experience. Well, here are five places that always make my shortlist:
A Houston must-stop-restaurant for its inventive Indian fusion cuisine (think Texas shrimp chaat, chicken and avocado dosas and an Indian-inspired veggie burger), Pondicheri will definitely serve up a meal that delights your taste buds. But, the best part of the restaurant is the bake shop above the restaurant where you can find chocolate chip cookies spiked with coconut and mint, rosewater soaked doughnuts, and a chai pie.
Whether you’re gathering with a group of friends for brunch, casual lunch or a nice dinner out, Pondicheri’s modern and airy interior is the perfect setting. And don’t forget about that bake lab above if you’re looking for a tasty way to surprise the office with some morning pastries, or to get fueled up before class!
W+M is a beautiful and modern restaurant and bake shop (do you see a trend here), that can fit just about any occasion or meal with friends. You can choose from freshly made doughnuts, croissants and other pastries from the bake shop next door to enjoy during brunch. And did I mention that they offer a variety of toasts, which are my favorite – try the mushroom, avocado, or the Nutella-banana-bacon-fried egg (oh yeah).
If brunch isn’t really your scene, don’t fret. W+M also has a great happy hour with an amazing bar and lounge inside and an awesome patio for some outdoor drinks. Try out their roasted carrot pizza; it’s received quite the praise. And to top off your meal, definitely try their freshly baked “doughknots” – I can vouch for them as the perfect dessert to any meal.
If I’m looking to go out for a bite to eat, you can bet that Local Foods is at the top of my list. Let’s just say I have trouble deciding between their smoked salmon sandwich filled with lox and a savory onion jam on a poppy seed bagel or their market veggie sandwich (a delicious mash of roasted brussel sprouts, cauliflower, hummus and avocado, which you can get on a pretzel bun) and that’s only to name a few items that fill their menu with the freshest of foods and flavors. Oh and their addictive Tuscan kale side dish that even the staunchest kale haters have to admit they love.
There are two locations, Village and Kirby – both have a wide selection of craft beer, spacious parking lots, and a variety of tables with indoor seating for big and small groups. The Kirby location has a large patio and generally a bigger dessert selection.). Think massive chocolate cupcakes that are the same recipe as Benjy’s famous mom’s chocolate cake (another great spot for happy hour or a ritzier dinner). Each of the restaurant’s menus is chef-driven, so you’re always in for a unique menu.
If you don’t want to deal with splitting bills, Local Foods is a great casual option for groups since it’s an order-at-the-counter type of deal.
This trendy Italian hotspot has locations all around the world, with only one in Texas. Right in the heart of midtown, which makes it the perfect location for some late night eats. Piola has an excellent variety of perfect thin crust oven-fired pizza, antipasti, pasta dishes and loaded salads (I love the Toscanini, which comes with olives, tuna, shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, arugula, brie and more), and an extensive wine list.
You can sip on your drink inside at the bar, move to an outdoor table on the patio, or imbibe inside under their funky-colored light fixtures. My favorite part about Piola, however, is their Gnocchi Day. On the 29th of every month, they do an all-you-can-eat gnocchi special (you don’t want to see how much I can eat) for $15. Reservations are highly recommended if you’re trying to make it for Gnocchi Day. And if you think you have enough room for dessert, go around the corner to Dolce Delights for something sweet.
This is a relatively new midtown hang out, perfect for happy hour drinks or tapas-style dinner with friends. Just don’t confuse it with its older location. The menu tends to be a bit seafood heavy, but you can find delectable risotto balls, pesto pizzas, and potato croquettes. Come for happy hour (3-6:30pm Monday-Friday) to take advantage of bites that range from $5-$8 and the fluffy pizettes or sandwiches for under $10. Plus, lots of drink specials! Let’s just say, it’s a gorgeous space to hang out with great food and wine – I wouldn’t mind being taken on a date here.
I visited Houston for the first time a few years ago, and it immediately felt like home. Needless to say, we moved a few months after our first visit. The only change I had to make in my lifestyle was driving on a highway with five or six lanes, and remembering which highway is which (there’s a lot of them in Houston).
In 2012, Houston was named at the top of Forbes’ list of America’s Coolest Cities and America’s Fastest Growing Cities list in 2015. So, there’s much more to this great city than “Houston, we have a problem.” What is there to love about Houston? Here’s a quick list on a very long list of things that I personally love about H-Town.
Recently recognized as one of the most diverse cities, Houston is a big melting pot with people living here from Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Our diversity also extends into the restaurant scene from African, Middle-Eastern, Asian to Caribbean. Plus, we have the most authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants! And we can’t forget good ol’ Texas barbecue. Here are some of the best:
Killen’s Barbecue – located in a suburb of Houston, it’s ranked the No. 2 BBQ destination in America.
The Breakfast Klub – trust me, whether you’re visiting or moving to Houston, you’ll want to make this stop.
Houston isn’t just highways; there are actually a lot of places for outdoor fun and recreation. You can visit Memorial Park, one of the largest urban parks in the United States. There’s also Hermann Park, which is home to the Houston Zoo and the famous Japanese Garden. If you want a great view of the Houston skyline, then head on over to Buffalo Bayou Park which is located right in the downtown area.
And if you want something a little more interactive, here are some of our favorites:
Houston Livestock and Rodeo – the largest Rodeo in the nation, this is a seasonal activity that usually launches in February and lasts through March.
NASA Kennedy Space Center – a must see for a Houston visitor and resident. It’s home to the Astronaut Corps, and it’s definitely a place you need to experience.
Houstonians are actually hugely fond of the arts and theater. We have an active ballet, opera, Broadway, and symphony in our theater and museum district. For a fun day with the family, there is a dedicated museum for children called the Children’s Museum of Houston, plus the Museum of Natural Science and The Museum of Fine Arts.
We have our famous upscale Houston Galleria, where you can definitely spend a few hours and a few bucks. Another upscale outdoor shopping plaza has just recently opened. The River Oaks District is home to great designers such as Christian Dior and Hermes. And for those looking to keep a watchful eye on their budget, we have three outlet malls!
The cost of living in Houston is one of the reasons that I decided to move there. Normally, you’d expect a higher standard of living in such a progressive city. But, your paycheck goes a long way in Houston. There are different areas in the city that are perfect for families, newlyweds, couples and singles. You’re bound to find a place that matches your needs.
Downtown and Midtown have grown substantially in the past few years with more condos, apartments and townhomes being built in the area. I find that single people who work in the corporate offices in downtown prefer to live in these areas for convenience and the cool factor.
There are obviously oil and gas companies in Houston, but we’re also home to 26 Fortune 500 companies and a major medical center. So if you’re looking to move here, you have options!
In a big city like Houston, there’s no shortage of successful businesses. When you’re fortunate enough to come across a business that is not only successful but also a great place to work, then that is what it is all about. You spend most of your week working in an office, so it’s great when you work somewhere where you can look forward to going into the office!
What makes an office a great place to work and a great place to thrive? I’ve reached out to 4 businesses in different industries, where, rumor has it, they are great places to work. Here’s an inside look at each of them.
Women’s Apparel and Accessories Boutique – get a different experience as you enter this unique store that welcomes you with open arms and creative style. Their employees are encouraged to learn skills beyond their role, experiment with their creativity and showcase their own style!
Describe Cakewalk Style in one sentence. Our clothing is modern, effortless, chic and we only buy what we would personally wear.
How long has Cakewalk Style been around? We have had our Brick & Mortar for a bit over 4 years.
How many employees? Two full time employees and a few part-timers. And, then there are the co-owners: Gina Cartwright and Jennifer Grigsby.
How would you describe the office/store/work environment? Our shop is bustling with activity and energy. It's not a stand-up-all-day environment and every day is different! We often have events and we love to host parties. Mundane would never be a word that describes a day at Cakewalk.
What makes Cakewalk Style such a great place to work? We think that our work environment is special because we offer our employees flexibility and freedom to make decisions that are above-and-beyond the environment of most retail establishments. They get training in so many different aspects of the business (marketing, creative processes, graphic design, buying, merchandise control, data organization, customer relations, vendor relations, event planning, and the list goes on)
Who is the Cakewalk Style customer? Our customers are looking for effortless style and the unique pieces that we stock in the shop. They are also looking for individual attention and styling. When they leave the shop, they are confident in knowing that they look put-together and ultra-chic. It’s like shopping in their best friend's closet!
Website Design & E-Commerce Development Company – a team who works together stays together! From working off of a conference table together or sharing company dinners, CKO has created an environment that is open, flexible and fun for their employees to work.
Describe CKO Digital in one sentence. CKO Digital is a small team of creatives who love helping businesses grow online--from website design and ecommerce to your Instagram feed.
How long has CKO Digital been around? We started CKO in Spring of 2008, so almost 7 years.
How many employees? We do everything in-house and never outsource our work so we make sure that we have the best team in place. We currently have 6 people in our office and we all work very closely together.
How would you describe the office environment? Seth and I (Mishelle) have always been pretty laid back so I would say very relaxed. We have a large conference table where most of us work so it’s very team friendly and we definitely don't take ourselves too seriously.
What makes CKO Digital such a great place to work? Seth and I have never wanted the typical 9-5 corporate job which is one of the many reasons we ended up creating our own company and workplace. Right now our hours are 11-5 in the office but everyone can sort of make their own. Company dinners and happy hours are also a must when it's been a long week full of projects.
Marketing and Communications Agency – Who wouldn’t want to have a place that is designed to foster creativity and teamwork! Plus, roof-access to some great views of Houston makes this marketing agency a prime spot to be employed. And apparently, you’ll want to attend their holiday party as it’s one of the best around.
Describe Integrate in one sentence. Integrate is a full-service marketing and communications agency that stays true to traditional public relations roots while integrating the limitless strategic potential and power available with direction communication through bold and engaging social media, community partnership and clever marketing for business of all sizes, across all industries.
How long has Integrate been around? Integrate was founded in August 2009, which means we'll be 6.5 years old before we know it.
How many employees? We're now a team of 20 scrappy, creative and big-picture thinking communications professionals!
How would you describe the office environment? Our 2 story office space is a combination of a few shared offices, communal meeting spaces and a main, open floorplan, where most of our team works--the layout is intentional so that team members can easily turn around to ask their neighbor a question or look to their left or right for a quick brainstorming session. One of our favorite parts of the office, though, is our patio. Because we're on the top floor of our building (we like to think of ourselves as the penthouse), we take advantage of our outdoor patio, complete with a putting green and patio tables, on nice Houston afternoons.
What makes Integrate such a great place to work? Our love for our craft, along with our passion for our clients makes Integrate an amazing working environment for our team members. The energy here can't be beat, either! Outside of the work we do for our clients, we know when to take a breather and congratulate ourselves for the hard work we're doing. We also enjoy "Beer Thirty" on Friday afternoons when the clock strikes 3:30. Because our team members work together so closely in the office, we love being able to let loose off the clock, as well!
Hotel – a family and pet friendly hotel where the employees are as happy as the guests checking into their rooms. Plus, their mascot and in-hotel pet, Griffin keeps the community tight-knit and fun!
Describe the JW Marriott Houston Downtown in one sentence. JW Marriott Houston Downtown is "in the Heart of Houston."
How long has the JW Marriott Houston Downtown been around? We were the tallest building built in 1910. It was bought and set to be renovated to its original exterior in 2009 with an 80 million dollar investment. There are original steel columns throughout the entire building and the guest rooms. The Carter Room, which is my favorite event space in the hotel, looks exactly like it did 100 years ago.
How many employees? 300
How would you describe the office/work environment? The working environment at the JW Marriott Houston downtown is an open concept promoting a very fun and friendly family atmosphere. We celebrate holidays together, and share the duties of taking care ofour Pet Director, Griffin. He is a mix pug rescue that we adopted when we had a fashion show benefit in our hotel, we fell in love with him and just had to make a place for him at the JW.
What makes the JW Marriott Houston Downtown such a great place to work? The work environment, the community, the embrace of existentialism, having Griffin to play with! Plus, we are the first to have a uniform program that was designed by a local designer and the first to have a beautifully curated art collection.
Going out in Houston can be a lot of fun and pretty educational! Houston is home to many museums and all of them have fun programs and activities for kids and adults. As you venture out of your home, learn to analyze a cheek swab, print the Declaration of Independence or learn how to actually use your camera.
Filled with interactive exhibits, the newest exhibit and the most amazing is the DeBakey Cell Lab. Older kids (7 years old and up) can dress up in lab coats, gloves and goggles and visit real experiment stations. Kids can learn about DNA and cells in a very hands-on way.
Plus, for young adults – you can join the Young Professionals Circle where you can enjoy membership and exclusive events.
Definitely more geared towards art-loving adults, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston also has a surprising number of activities for kids. From story time in the galleries, to homeschool classes and family studios throughout the year, the MFA calendar has many family-centric events.
And if you’re looking to try your hand at art, the museum hosts classes at the well-known and well-loved Glassell School for adults and kids.
A staple in the Montrose neighborhood, the Houston Center for Photography is a great stop in Houston. It’s a small gallery next to the Menil Collection and the Rothko Chapel, and is free to enter. Photography lines the walls and changes frequently.
Adults and teens can also partake in photography classes. If you’re visiting the neighborhood, you can often see students and teachers wandering down the tree lined sidewalks. They offer over 300 workshops each year both in the studio and in the field. (Hint: it could make a great first date!)
Also located in Montrose, The Printing Museum is a small museum but with big hands-on activities. You can take a guided tour to learn about the beginning of printing, print a copy of the Declaration of Independence or even silkscreen a T-shirt.
Plus, if you really enjoy the museum, you can take classes such as digital letterpress or book making all year long.
For those looking for a smart and social scene, the Museum of Natural Science hosts the Catalysts Young Professions Group. It’s a group for those 21 years and older to create a “reaction” at the event while mingling with other young professionals.
So, if you’re looking for a fun and educational place to live, look no further than Houston.
With so many fun activities and events to do with the family in Houston, it can be tough to narrow down what you want to do. While our family keeps a pretty careful budget, I always jump at the chance to do something fun for under $20. Our list keeps growing, but here are some of our absolute favorites!
This nature park is located in Humble (just northwest of Houston). It’s filled with miles of walking trails, lakes and woods. In addition, there are weekly kids clubs where your kids can learn about the wildlife in the park. Plus, they host a Pioneer day where they turn the park into an old fashioned settlement and kids can make corn husk dolls, snack on bread made over a fire and play with old-timey toys. It’s always free and always a fun time for our family. We give it five stars, it’s our favorite.
Also located in Humble, just south of Cypress Creek–it’s a great place to walk and be outdoors with your kids. Walk through the gardens while admiring gorgeous flowers and bushes. Plus, there’s even a fun playground for the kids after you’ve finished walking the gardens. While it may seem like a very “adult” location, there’s plenty of space for your kids to run around and get some energy out.
If you love the arts, then this place is for you. You can get free tickets or “sit on the hill”. Lots of families will bring blankets and sit and watch the show with binoculars from the grassy hill next to the theater. You can find plays, musicals, dance and symphonies at this fun outdoor theater.
In the summer, they host plays specifically for children in the morning. My family likes to sit on the hill because it allows the younger kids the opportunity to stand up and run around while still enjoying the show.
A must-see for visitors and locals alike, the Houston zoo houses so many different animals. And best of all, they have educational activities for kids and a petting zoo, so it’s a hands-on experience for the whole family.
I’ve been there with up to 10 kids at once and we had no trouble sticking together, that’s how spacious the zoo is! If you’e looking at ticket prices and wondering how this make the under $20 list, it's because I recommend getting a membership. They have a variety of options but for a family membership right now it’s $119. That gets two adults and up to three kids in for free for an entire year. Considering how often my family goes to the Zoo in the summer, it ends up being about a $5 trip over the year, and parking is always free.
A little bit of a drive from Houston, but still a fun trip. It costs $8 to park, but you can spend the entire day at the beach. Your kids will want to spend the whole day lounging on the beach, playing in the waves, and building sandcastles. It’s a short walk to some shopping, too!
Another one of our favorite places to go, there are inflatables for kids and adults, a rock wall and even an area for the really little ones! It’s nice that adults and kids can jump together, since some of the inflatables are large and intimidating. Entry ranges from $6-$8.50 depending on the day /time. But it’s worth every penny. Think about all that extra energy your kids are getting out!
If you are planning to move to Houston with your family check out some of these awesome places!