Josh Koop
May 15, 2023

20 Epic Reasons Why Houston Should Be on Your Travel List

Discover why Houston is a must-visit destination! Explore 20 reasons that will make you fall in love with the city.

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Are you looking for a destination that offers a unique blend of culture, history, and entertainment? Then look no further than Houston, Texas. As the fourth largest city in the United States, Houston has something to offer every type of traveler.

From its culinary delights to its world-famous Space Center, there are countless reasons why Houston should be on your travel bucket list. One of the highlights of visiting Houston is undoubtedly its food scene. With over 10,000 restaurants representing more than 70 countries and American regions, you’ll never run out of new places to try. Whether you’re craving Tex-Mex or Southern barbecue, Houston has it all.

And if you’re a craft beer enthusiast, you’ll love exploring the city’s thriving brewery scene. But that’s just the beginning – historical attractions such as The Alamo and San Jacinto Battlegrounds State Historic Site provide insight into Texas’ rich past while NASA’s Space Center Houston lets visitors experience what it’s like to be an astronaut for a day.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and head to Houston – we guarantee you won’t regret it!

Culinary Delights

Get ready to indulge in Houston’s culinary delights, because this city has some seriously delicious food that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

Houston is known for its diverse food scene, so you can expect a range of flavors and cuisines from all over the world. From Tex-Mex to Vietnamese cuisine, there’s something for everyone in this foodie paradise.

One of the must-try dishes in Houston is definitely barbecue. The city is home to some of the best BBQ joints in the country, serving up mouth-watering brisket, ribs and sausages that are slow-cooked to perfection. If you’re looking for a classic Texas-style BBQ experience, head to places like Killen’s Barbecue or Gatlin’s BBQ.

But Houston isn’t just about meat – it also has plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans alike. You can find everything from plant-based burgers at Hopdoddy Burger Bar to vegan sushi rolls at Kinoko Sushi Bar & Restaurant.

And if you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss out on trying some of the city’s famous desserts like pecan pie or tres leches cake.

Houston truly is a food lover’s dream destination with endless options for every palate. So whether you’re looking to try something new or stick with familiar favorites, this city won’t disappoint when it comes to satisfying your cravings.

Craft Beer Scene

Oh, so you think Houston’s just a city of cowboys and oil? Well, let me introduce you to the craft beer scene that’ll make your taste buds do a happy dance.

Houston’s craft beer scene has been on the rise in recent years, with new breweries popping up all over town. Here are just a few reasons why you should add a brewery tour to your itinerary:

  • The variety: Houston’s craft beer scene offers something for everyone. Whether you prefer a hoppy IPA or a smooth stout, there’s a brewery in town making it. And with each brewery putting its own unique spin on classic styles, you’re sure to find something new and exciting.
  • The atmosphere: Brewery tours are more than just about the beer – they’re also about the experience. Many of Houston’s breweries have created inviting spaces for visitors to hang out and enjoy their brews. From outdoor patios to cozy tasting rooms, there’s no shortage of places to relax with friends.
  • The education: Want to learn more about how beer is made? Many of Houston’s breweries offer tours that take you behind-the-scenes and show you the brewing process from start to finish. You’ll come away with newfound appreciation for the artistry behind each pint.

So go ahead and add “visit a Houston brewery” to your list of things to do in this vibrant city. With so many options, it may be hard to choose where to start – but trust us when we say that any choice will be a good one!

Historical Attractions

You’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time as you explore the historical attractions of Houston, discovering its rich past through landmarks such as the San Jacinto Monument and Battleship Texas. The San Jacinto Monument stands tall at 567 feet, commemorating the Battle of San Jacinto that secured Texas’ independence from Mexico. Visitors can take a ride up to the observation deck for breathtaking views or explore the museum to learn about this significant moment in history.

Another must-see attraction is Battleship Texas, which served in both World War I and II. The battleship is now permanently docked near the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site and offers tours for visitors. You can walk through its decks and see what life was like on board during wartime.

If you’re interested in learning more about Houston’s history, there’s no better place than The Heritage Society Museum. This open-air museum features historic homes, buildings, and artifacts that showcase how Houstonians lived from 1820 to 1920. Take a stroll through Old City Park and immerse yourself in early Texan life with costumed interpreters who bring history to life.

Historical AttractionsDescription
San Jacinto MonumentCommemorates Battle of San Jacinto; Offers observation deck & museum
Battleship TexasServed in WWI & WWII; Docked near battlegrounds; Offers tours
The Heritage Society MuseumOpen-air museum showcasing historic homes & artifacts

Houston’s historical attractions offer visitors a glimpse into its rich past. From towering monuments to preserved battle ships, these sites are not only educational but also awe-inspiring. So why not take a trip back in time on your next visit to Houston? You won’t be disappointed!

NASA’s Space Center Houston

If you’re into space exploration, NASA’s Space Center Houston is a must-visit spot. It’s the official visitor center for NASA Johnson Space Center and offers a wide range of exhibits and activities that cater to people of all ages.

Take a tram tour to see actual spacecraft and learn about the history of human spaceflight. Or, visit the Astronaut Gallery to see spacesuits worn by famous astronauts like Neil Armstrong. In addition to interactive exhibits, there are also live shows and demonstrations that give visitors an up-close look at what it takes to explore space.

You can watch astronauts train in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory or attend a live Q&A session with someone who has been on a mission to space. There are also simulators where you can experience what it’s like to land on Mars or dock with the International Space Station.

Overall, visiting NASA’s Space Center Houston is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with a greater appreciation for all things related to space exploration. From learning about the history of human spaceflight to seeing actual spacecraft up close, there’s something for everyone at this incredible attraction.

So if you’re planning a trip to Houston, be sure to add this one-of-a-kind destination to your itinerary!

Art Museums

When you’re in the mood for something cultural, head over to the art museums – they’ll transport you to a world of color and creativity.

Houston boasts some of the best art museums in the country, with displays that range from contemporary works to ancient artifacts. The Museum of Fine Arts is a must-visit, housing more than 70,000 pieces from around the world.

As you wander through the galleries, let your senses be stimulated by the vibrant colors and textures on display. You may find yourself lost in thought as you ponder the meaning behind each piece or marvel at how an artist was able to create such a masterpiece.

Take time to appreciate each exhibit and allow yourself to be fully immersed in this artistic wonderland.

One thing’s for sure – visiting Houston’s art museums will leave you feeling inspired and enriched. Whether you’re an art lover or just someone who appreciates beauty, these museums offer a unique experience that will stay with you forever.

So go ahead and indulge your inner artist – Houston’s waiting for you!

Outdoor Spaces

Moving on from the art museums, let’s talk about Houston’s outdoor spaces. You’ll be surprised to know that Houston is home to over 200 parks, all of which offer various activities for visitors. From picnics and walking trails to fishing and kayaking, there is something for everyone in these urban oases.

One park you should definitely check out is Buffalo Bayou Park. This 160-acre green space offers stunning views of the city skyline as well as a plethora of recreational opportunities. Take a leisurely stroll along the bayou or rent a bike and explore the park’s many trails. If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding or take a boat tour down the bayou.

To give you an idea of just how much Houston values its parks, take a look at this table:

Park NameAcreageSpecial Features
Memorial Park1,466Golf Course, Tennis Courts
Hermann Park445Japanese Garden, Miniature Train Ride
Discovery Green12Dog Runs, Concerts & Events

As you can see, each park has its unique offerings that make them worth visiting. So if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life for some fresh air and relaxation, head on over to one of Houston’s many parks and enjoy nature at its finest.

Theater District

Get ready to be entertained because we’re now diving into Houston’s Theater District, where you can catch a Broadway show or enjoy some local talent at one of the many theaters.

The district is home to nine world-class performing arts organizations that offer everything from ballet and opera to musicals and plays. You won’t find a more diverse range of performances anywhere else in Texas.

Here are three reasons why Houston’s Theater District should be on every visitor’s itinerary:

  • The district is home to the Alley Theatre, one of the most renowned regional theaters in the country. Founded in 1947, the theater hosts a wide variety of productions each season, from classic plays like Macbeth to contemporary works like Sweat.
  • If you’re a fan of musicals, you’ll love catching a show at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. This state-of-the-art facility has two theaters that host touring productions of Broadway hits like Hamilton and Wicked.
  • For something truly unique, check out Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park. This outdoor venue hosts free performances throughout the year, including concerts, ballets, and plays. Pack a picnic and enjoy an evening under the stars.

In short, Houston’s Theater District has something for everyone – whether you’re looking for high-brow drama or family-friendly fun. Don’t miss your chance to experience some of the best live entertainment in Texas during your visit to Houston!

Sports Teams and Venues

You’ll love exploring the sports teams and venues in Houston, where you can catch a game or take a tour of some of the city’s iconic stadiums.

Baseball fans should head to Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. This state-of-the-art stadium features a retractable roof and boasts some of the best views in all of baseball.

If football is more your thing, check out NRG Stadium, where the Texans play their home games. The stadium also hosts concerts and other events throughout the year.

For soccer enthusiasts, BBVA Stadium is a must-visit. Home to both the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash professional teams, this stadium has an intimate atmosphere that makes every match feel like a special event.

And if you’re into basketball, don’t miss Toyota Center, where you can watch the NBA’s Houston Rockets shoot hoops on their home court.

No matter which sport you prefer, there’s no shortage of options for getting your fix in Houston. From tailgating before kickoff to cheering on your team from the stands, experiencing live sports in this vibrant city is an unforgettable experience that will leave you wanting more.

Music Scene

Houston’s music scene is a must-see, where you can feel the rhythm and soul of the city through live performances and diverse genres. From country to hip hop, jazz to rock, there’s always something happening on any given night in Houston.

The city boasts a plethora of venues that showcase local talent as well as international acts. One of the most iconic music venues in Houston is Fitzgerald’s. This legendary spot has hosted some of the biggest names in music such as The Ramones, James Brown, and Willie Nelson to name a few.

If you’re looking for a more intimate setting, head over to Warehouse Live where you can catch local up-and-comers or established artists in an industrial-style atmosphere.

Houston also hosts several music festivals throughout the year including Free Press Summer Fest and Day for Night which attract thousands of music fans from all over the world. Whether you’re into indie rock or electronic dance music, there’s something for everyone at these events which feature both emerging and established acts.

In short, Houston’s vibrant music scene offers endless opportunities to discover new sounds and experience great live shows. So whether you’re a die-hard fan or just love good tunes, make sure to add Houston’s thriving music scene to your itinerary when visiting this dynamic Texan city!

Unique Neighborhoods

Explore Houston’s diverse neighborhoods and discover the city’s unique personality; it’s like taking a journey through different countries without leaving the United States.

Just like how every person has their own distinct character, each neighborhood in Houston has its own flavor and vibe that makes it stand out from the rest.

  1. Montrose: This neighborhood is known for being eclectic with a bohemian feel. You’ll find colorful murals, vintage shops, and independent art galleries on Westheimer Road. The area is also home to some of Houston’s best restaurants and bars, making it a popular spot for foodies.
  2. The Heights: A historic district with beautiful Victorian homes and tree-lined streets, this neighborhood has become trendy in recent years. Take a stroll along 19th Street to explore unique boutiques or visit one of the many coffee shops for a caffeine fix.
  3. Chinatown: Located just outside of downtown Houston, this vibrant area is home to over 400 Chinese-owned businesses including restaurants, grocery stores, and retail shops. Try authentic dim sum at Fung’s Kitchen or shop for traditional Chinese herbs at Hong Kong Food Market.

Houston’s neighborhoods offer visitors an opportunity to experience various cultures within one city. From Montrose’s artsy vibe to Chinatown’s bustling energy, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So grab your walking shoes and embark on a journey through these unique communities during your next trip to Houston!

Festivals and Events

Get ready to immerse yourself in Houston’s vibrant culture by attending one of the many festivals and events held throughout the city. Whether you’re into music, art, food, or sports, there’s always something happening in Houston that will pique your interest.

One of the most popular events is the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which attracts millions of visitors from around the world each year. This 20-day event features live concerts, carnival rides, rodeo competitions, and more.

Another must-see festival is the Bayou City Art Festival, which showcases some of the finest contemporary art from around the country. This two-day event takes place in downtown Houston and draws thousands of visitors who come to admire and purchase works from over 300 artists.

In addition to browsing through art booths and galleries, attendees can also enjoy live music performances, delicious food, and drinks.

If you’re a fan of spicy cuisine, don’t miss out on the annual Houston Hot Sauce Festival. Held every September at the Stafford Centre Performing Arts Theatre & Convention Center, this fiery festival features over 200 vendors selling hot sauces, salsas, and other spicy foods. Visitors can sample products ranging from mild to insanely hot while enjoying live music entertainment all day long. So pack some milk just in case!

Houston has so many exciting festivals and events that it’s impossible to list them all here. From cultural celebrations like Dia de los Muertos to holiday parades such as Thanksgiving Day Parade, each one presents an opportunity for visitors to experience different sides of this diverse city’s culture firsthand!

Shopping Destinations

You’re in luck because you love shopping! Houston has some of the best malls and markets for you to indulge in.

The Galleria is one of the largest shopping centers in Texas. It features high-end stores like Gucci, Chanel, and Prada.

If you’re looking for something more budget-friendly, head over to the Houston Premium Outlets. You can find discounted prices on popular brands like Nike and Levi’s.

For a unique shopping experience, check out the various markets scattered throughout Houston. The Rice Village Market offers an eclectic mix of local vendors selling handmade jewelry, clothing, and art. If you’re a foodie looking for fresh produce and gourmet snacks, visit the Urban Harvest Farmers Market on Saturdays.

Don’t forget about Houston’s historic shopping districts like Montrose or River Oaks Districts. These areas offer a mix of local boutiques and high-end shops nestled among trendy restaurants and cafes.

With so many shopping destinations to choose from in Houston, you’ll never run out of options!

Distinctive Architecture

As you wander through Houston’s distinctive neighborhoods, take a moment to appreciate the city’s unique architecture.

From the towering skyscrapers of downtown to the historic mansions of the Heights, Houston has an impressive collection of buildings that reflect its rich history and cultural diversity.

One must-visit site is the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park, which features a stunning 64-foot-tall fountain made of concrete and glass. The wall creates a serene oasis in the heart of Uptown, where visitors can relax under its misty spray or snap photos against its shimmering backdrop.

Another architectural wonder is the Menil Collection, located in Montrose. Designed by Renzo Piano, this museum boasts natural light-filled galleries set amidst lush gardens and outdoor sculptures. The Menil Collection also houses an extensive collection of art from around the world, including works by Pablo Picasso and Max Ernst.

Houston’s architecture is as diverse as its people, reflecting a blend of modern design with historical influences from across the globe.

Whether you’re interested in contemporary buildings or historic landmarks, Houston has something to offer for everyone who appreciates fine architecture without having to travel far from their hotel room!

Family-Friendly Activities

Moving on from the distinctive architecture, let’s talk about what Houston has to offer for families. Whether you’re travelling with toddlers or teenagers, there are plenty of activities that will keep everyone entertained.

Start off your family adventure by visiting the Children’s Museum of Houston. Your kids will have a blast while learning about science, technology, engineering and math. With interactive exhibits and hands-on activities, this museum is sure to spark creativity and curiosity in young minds.

If you’re looking for something more outdoorsy, head over to the Houston Zoo. It’s an immersive experience that allows visitors to get up close with some of their favorite creatures. Home to over 6,000 animals from around the world, the zoo also offers various educational programs for all ages – perfect for those wanting to learn more about conservation efforts and animal habitats.

End your day by visiting Space Center Houston. Take a tram tour through NASA’s Johnson Space Center or visit one of many interactive exhibits where you can try on astronaut suits or even touch a moon rock! While we already mentioned it in our previous subtopic, it’s worth mentioning again as it caters not only to adults but also children who dream big about exploring space. It’s truly an out-of-this-world experience that will leave lasting memories for everyone in your family.

LGBTQ+ Friendly City

Houston’s LGBTQ+ friendly culture is another layer to the city’s diverse and inclusive spirit, offering welcoming spaces and events for all. The city has a vibrant LGBTQ+ community that hosts various events throughout the year, such as the Houston Pride Parade – one of the largest in the country – which takes place annually in June. It draws thousands of visitors who come to celebrate love and equality.

The Montrose neighborhood is known as Houston’s gayborhood, with its numerous bars, restaurants, cafes, and shops catering to LGBTQ+ clientele. Visitors can also explore The Legacy Community Health Clinic located in Montrose – one of Texas’ largest health clinics for LGBTQ+ individuals. The clinic provides medical care and social services within a safe environment.

In addition to Montrose, Houston offers other LGBTQ+-friendly neighborhoods such as Midtown and EaDo (East Downtown), each with their own unique vibe. Whether you’re looking for an exciting nightlife scene or a quiet afternoon spent exploring local shops and art galleries, Houston has something for everyone in its welcoming LGBTQ+ community.

Business Hub

If you’re a business traveler, you’ll be pleased to know that Houston is home to the second-largest concentration of Fortune 1000 companies in the United States, with over 25% of the city’s workforce employed in professional, scientific and technical services. This makes it an excellent destination for networking and attending conferences.

The George R. Brown Convention Center located downtown attracts many corporate events throughout the year. Houston’s business district is also equipped with top-notch hotels and restaurants that cater to business travelers’ needs. The city boasts some of the best meeting venues in Texas, including The Ballroom at Bayou Place and the Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston. These venues are perfect for hosting large-scale conferences and conventions.

Moreover, Houston has a robust startup community that thrives on innovation and entrepreneurship. If you’re looking to start your own venture or invest in one, then this bustling city should be on your radar. With its diverse population and abundance of resources for entrepreneurs, Houston provides immense opportunities for those who want to make their mark in the business world.

Educational Institutions

You’ll be impressed by the educational institutions located in Houston, from world-renowned universities like Rice and University of Houston to prestigious medical centers such as MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Rice University is a private research institution that has consistently ranked among the top 20 national universities in the country. It boasts of having a beautiful campus with excellent facilities and highly qualified faculty members.

The University of Houston, on the other hand, is a public research university that offers over 300 degree programs across its fourteen academic colleges. It is also one of the most diverse universities in the country, with students coming from different parts of Texas and around the world. The university’s notable alumni include astronaut Peggy Whitson and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri.

If you’re interested in medicine and healthcare, then you shouldn’t miss visiting some of Houston’s prestigious medical centers such as MD Anderson Cancer Center, which is one of the leading cancer treatment hospitals in the world.

Other notable medical institutions include Baylor College of Medicine and UTHealth School of Dentistry. These institutions provide top-notch education for aspiring healthcare professionals while also contributing to groundbreaking research that benefits people all over the globe.

Medical Facilities

Hold onto your hats, because Houston’s medical facilities are out of this world – we’re talking about top-notch institutions like MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine that are making groundbreaking discoveries in healthcare. It’s no wonder why people from all over the world come to Houston for treatment and care.

With a wide range of specialties and cutting-edge technology, Houston’s medical community is at the forefront of modern medicine.

Here are just a few reasons why Houston’s medical facilities are worth visiting:

  • MD Anderson Cancer Center: Ranked as one of the top cancer hospitals in the country, MD Anderson offers personalized treatment plans for every patient. Their team of experts work tirelessly to find new ways to diagnose and treat cancer, making them a leader in the field.
  • Texas Children’s Hospital: As one of the largest children’s hospitals in the country, Texas Children’s provides specialized care for kids with complex health needs. With state-of-the-art facilities and a team dedicated to pediatric research, they offer hope for families facing difficult diagnoses.
  • Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center: This flagship hospital is known for its trauma care and emergency services, but also offers comprehensive care across multiple specialties. From cardiac surgery to neurology, their team has expertise in a variety of areas.
  • Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center: A part of Baylor College of Medicine, this hospital boasts some of the best physicians and researchers in the country. They specialize in everything from heart disease to organ transplantation.

Whether you’re seeking treatment or just interested in learning more about healthcare innovations, Houston is definitely worth checking out for its incredible medical facilities.

With so many options available, you can be sure that you’ll receive top-notch care from some of the most skilled professionals around.

Diverse Population

One can appreciate the richness of Houston’s diverse population, taking in the various cultural neighborhoods and experiencing unique foods, traditions, and celebrations.

The city is home to a large number of immigrants from all over the world, including Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. This has resulted in an amazing mix of cultures that make Houston a truly cosmopolitan destination.

One of the best places to experience this diversity is at Houston’s International District. Here you’ll find a range of restaurants serving up authentic dishes from around the globe, as well as shops selling goods from different countries. You can also attend cultural events throughout the year such as festivals celebrating Chinese New Year or Mexican Independence Day.

Houston also boasts several museums dedicated to showcasing different aspects of its diverse population. The Holocaust Museum offers visitors an opportunity to learn about Jewish history and culture while the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum tells the story of African American soldiers who served in segregated units during World War II.

These museums offer a glimpse into Houston’s rich cultural fabric and are not to be missed when visiting this vibrant city.

Southern Hospitality

Moving on from Houston’s diverse population, you’ll find that the city is also known for its warm and welcoming hospitality. Texans are famous for being friendly and hospitable, and Houstonians take it to another level. From the moment you arrive in Houston, you’ll feel like you’re part of the family.

Here are some reasons why Southern Hospitality in Houston is worth experiencing:

  • You’ll be greeted with a warm smile: Whether you’re checking into your hotel or walking down the street, Houstonians will make sure to greet you with a smile and a friendly hello.
  • People go out of their way to help: If you’re lost or need directions, don’t hesitate to ask someone on the street. They’ll not only point you in the right direction but may even offer to walk with you until you find your destination.
  • Strangers become friends: In Houston, people are quick to strike up conversations with strangers – whether it’s at a coffee shop or waiting in line at a museum. Don’t be surprised if someone invites you out for dinner or drinks after just meeting them.

In addition to these reasons, there are plenty more examples of Southern Hospitality in Houston that make it an unforgettable experience. From small gestures like holding doors open for others to larger ones like inviting someone into your home for a meal, it’s clear that hospitality is ingrained into Houston’s culture.

So next time you visit Houston, make sure to soak up all the warmth and friendliness that comes with Southern Hospitality – it’s one of the many reasons why this city is worth visiting.


In conclusion, Houston offers a wide range of experiences that cater to all types of travelers. Whether you’re a foodie, beer enthusiast, history buff, or science geek, Houston has something for you.

Indulge in the city’s culinary delights and craft beer scene while exploring its historical attractions and NASA’s Space Center. Immerse yourself in art museums and educational institutions while appreciating the diverse population and southern hospitality.

Houston is not just another big city; it’s a destination that will leave an indelible mark on your heart. So add it to your travel bucket list, pack your bags, and prepare for an unforgettable adventure!

Remember to capture every moment because once you leave this beautiful city behind, you’ll be yearning to return again soon. With so many reasons why Houston is worth visiting, there’s no excuse not to book your trip today!

Josh Koop

Discover Space City is a Houston blog by Josh and Jaime, a married couple that loves to discover new things at home and around the world.