There’s no need to drop a ton of money on a jet-setting adventure to enjoy your time off; taking a staycation can be just as much fun as if you were heading out of town! You can indulge in an exciting and epic adventure without even leaving the Greater Houston area. Whether you’re squeezing in a last-minute summer activity with the kids, or looking for a weekend away, these staycation ideas are extremely budget-friendly and fun for the whole family.
Dynamo or Astros Game – There’s no better way to spend your summer than cheering on two of Houston’s favorite teams. Treat your family to an Astros game at Minute Maid Park, where fans have the chance to catch a home run ball at the Phillips 66 Home Run Alley, purchase Astros gear at The Shed, or dine at the FiveSeven Grille, opened in honor of Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio – all while cheering on the former World Series champs. Trade in your Astros gear for an orange jersey while at BBVA Stadium, home to the Houston Dynamos. This state-of-the-art, 22,000-seat stadium is the only soccer-specific Major League Soccer stadium located in the downtown area of a U.S. city.
Downtown Aquarium – The 500,000-gallon Downtown Aquarium complex is a multi-functional destination, which boasts a Ferris wheel, aquatic carousel, Shark Voyage, a white tiger exhibit, and a restaurant whose surf-and-turf menu has dishes that please both parents and children alike. While at dinner, keep an eye out for scuba divers feeding fish in the restaurant-set tank.
Discovery Green – Lovingly referred to as “Downtown’s new backyard”, Discovery Green is a 12-acre park that offers beautiful green spaces, dramatic views, and year-round events and activities. Located across the street from the George R. Brown Convention Center, the park also encompasses a 2-acre recreation area known as the Great Lawn, a 1-acre pond, urban garden, multi-purpose amphitheater, gazebo bandstand, fenced dog runs, putting green and playground, permanent art installations, and The Grove, a fine dining restaurant complete with outdoor terraces and a deck. If you’re looking for fun for the whole family, Discovery Green is your place.
Buffalo Bayou – Buffalo Bayou is the ultimate destination for outdoor recreation near Downtown Houston. Buffalo Bayou Park, the 160-acre green space that lies along the 2.3-mile stretch of the bayou from Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street, is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic with the family, while soaking in the urban views of downtown juxtaposed with beautiful gardens and native landscaping. Take advantage of the hike and bike trails, dog park, and public art. There are also boat tours available for those who want to see Houston from a different perspective.
Hotel Alessandra – Hotel Alessandra touts itself as “a high-end luxury hotel that blends the cultural influence of the European lifestyle with the pioneering spirit of Texas.” If that isn’t enough to sell you, guests of the hotel enjoy access to unrivaled amenities, including Spa by Alessandra, a fitness center, premiere Continental European dining with Mediterranean accents at Lucienne, finely aged wines and spirited cocktails at Bardot, and a rooftop pool, perfect for soaking in mesmerizing views of the Houston skyline.
Concert at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion – The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is an outdoor amphitheater that provides the Greater Houston area with an array of performing arts and contemporary entertainment set against a backdrop of unparalleled beauty. You can opt for tickets on the lawn rather than the covered reserved seating if you prefer a more informal, laid-back concert experience. There’s no better place to spend a summer night.
Lake Conroe – Offering excellent fishing and a number of recreational water activities, such as jet skiing, water skiing, windsurfing, and sailing, it’s no surprise that Lake Conroe is one of the most popular lakes in Texas. After a long day on the water, enjoy fine dining at one of the area’s lakeside restaurants.
Galveston Island Beach – Sink your toes into the sand and experience the cool sea breezes of the Texas coast in Galveston. With 32 miles of sparkling beaches and beautiful coastal scenery, Galveston Island offers something for everyone.
Moody Gardens – As one of the premiere educational and leisure facilities in the Southwest, Moody Gardens is home to countless family-friendly attractions and events. Explore the world’s oceans in a 1.5 million-gallon aquarium, experience the exotic animals and endangered plants of the world’s tropical rain forests, immerse yourself in the 3D Theater featuring the largest screen in Texas and top-of-the-line surround sound system, challenge yourself on the ropes course, or relax on the lazy river.
Galveston Island Pleasure Pier – Reminiscent of older amusement parks, Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier is a staple for those visiting the coastal city. Extending into the Gulf of Mexico, the seaside park features a number of exciting rides and amusements, shopping, and dining at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
South Central Houston
Hermann Park – Having recently been named one of America’s great public spaces by the American Planning Association, Hermann Park is a true Houston gem that offers countless points of interest for those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation in the heart of the city. Spend the day riding the train along the Hermann Park Railroad, pedal around in a pedal boat on McGovern Lake, jog along the trails, or enjoy a peaceful moment in the Japanese Garden. Hermann Park is also home to the Miller Outdoor Theatre, which provides free performances, concerts, and events to the city of Houston. The sloped lawn is the perfect spot for you to set up your blanket and picnic basket while enjoying talented performers from around the world.
Houston Zoo – Gather up the whole family and enjoy a day of exploration and education at the Houston Zoo. From giant anteaters to zebras, the Houston Zoo is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic wildlife. As the second most visited zoo in the United States, the Houston Zoo offers a nature play area, giraffe feeding platform, children’s petting zoo, water play park, wildlife carousel, various animal habitat area, and much more!