Have you been thinking about taking a trip to Houston, Texas with your kids? Known as the “Capital of the South”, this cosmopolitan city is the fourth largest in the United States, and each neighborhood within Houston has its own distinctive flavor. Houston has a reputation for great weather, delicious food, and plentiful shopping. There are world-class attractions for kids and adults alike, including museums, gardens, parks, and historical sites. We’re getting you started with our list of 13 things to do with kids in Houston, along with must-stay hotels and places to eat.
- If you’re looking for the best times to travel to Houston, consider going between February and April or between September and November. During these times of the year, the weather is at its most beautiful. Bonus: Your family can enjoy a wide variety of festivals when you visit.
- Houston has two different airports: George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the smaller William P. Hobby Airport. Once you arrive at either airport, you’ll find plenty of transportation options including rental cars and the Supershuttle, which will take you right to your hotel.
- Once you’re in town, there are a couple of ways to get around the city. The METRORail is a light rail system that connects various points of interest. Or you can opt for a rental car, as the city is quite large and not easily accessible on foot.
- Consider grabbing the Houston CityPass to get around the city and to save money on the city’s most popular attractions.
What to Pack
- Make sure that whatever clothes you pack are appropriate for both heat and humidity if you’re traveling in the warmer months. Go for materials like cotton and linen to avoid being hot and sticky.
- Beat the heat by packing reusable water bottles, small travel fans, or cooling towels.
- Although Houston is a big city best explored on wheels or by rail, you’ll still be doing plenty of walking, so comfy shoes are a must.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen and a good mosquito repellent, when humid weather brings harsh rays and plenty of bugs.
- Choose a compact travel stroller to help shuttle kids from place to place or as the perfect spot for an on-the-go nap.
3 Kid-Friendly Hotels
- Embassy Suites – This hotel chain has multiple locations all around the city. Known for being family-friendly, there’s plenty of room for kids and parents to stretch out and get comfortable. Your hotel stay comes with a free full breakfast each morning plus happy-hour snacks in the afternoon.
- Marriott Marquis Houston – This hotel is made for water lovers. It features a lazy river built in the shape of Texas! The pool area also offers yard games and cabanas with fire pits. You’re close to everything Houston has to offer, and six different onsite restaurants will suit any budget.
- The Lancaster Hotel – Located in the heart of Houston’s theater district, this hotel offers many surprising family perks. You’ll not only get free breakfast, free in-room snacks and beverages, and complimentary car service downtown, but you can also choose between a variety of guest rooms.
5 Kid-Approved Places to Shop & Eat
- Jus’ Mac – This family-friendly eatery offers the ultimate comfort food – mac and cheese! And we’re talking about gourmet flavors, including cheeseburger, BBQ brisket, or buffalo chicken. Choose from three locations located around Houston.
- The Chocolate Bar – Chocolate lovers, unite! This store is full of sugary treats including uniquely shaped chocolate bars, incredible chocolate cake, and ice cream that’s made on site. It’s a great place to stop when you need a little afternoon pick-me-up.
- Killen’s Barbecue – This restaurant is a favorite for delicious barbecue and smoked brisket, huge meat platters, and tasty sides and desserts. You can even order meat by the pound! Be sure to try their mac and cheese, baked beans, homemade sausage, seasonal cobbler, and buttermilk pie.
- Little Matt’s – This buzzy spot offers big fun for kids. With tasty kids meals, ice cream, and cold icees, they are sure to find something they like. They’ll be entertained with books, arcade games, a photo booth, and shelves lined with tablets.
- Urban Harvest Farmers Market – Open year-round, rain or shine, this bustling market offers local fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, and vendor booths every Saturday. It’s a great spot to grab breakfast or a quick meal from one of the food trucks.
13 Things To Do with Kids in Houston
- Minute Maid Park – Home to the Houston Astros Major League Baseball team, visitors have the opportunity to take a tour and explore this famous stadium. Explore historic Union Station, check out a vintage locomotive, visit the press box, or hang out in the dugout or bullpen. Check out their website to find out if any ball games are happening during your visit!
- Discovery Green – This 12-acre urban park is located smack dab in the middle of downtown, with a playground, splash pad, and even model boats. Warmer months mean movies on the lawn, concerts, and outdoor yoga classes. During the winter months, the whole family can go ice skating.
- Space Center Houston – Space lovers big and small will love exploring a wide variety of exhibits as well as a life-size replica of the Space Shuttle Independence. You can also choose from two must-do tram tours, Astronaut Training or Houston Mission Control.
- Kemah Boardwalk – Located about 20 minutes south of downtown, you can spend the better part of the day at this spot reminiscent of an old-time Atlantic Coast boardwalk. Play boardwalk games, ride a roller coaster, or get a view of the entire park from the top of the Ferris Wheel.
- Downtown Aquarium – Immersive yourselves in a world under the sea while you explore a variety of aquatic ecosystems. Kids will love the shark tank, touch pools, and the stingray tank, where they can feed and touch the stingrays. You can also head outside to take a ride on the Shark Train or have an underwater adventure at their on-site restaurant.
- Houston Museum of Fine Arts – This museum is particularly impressive, with many different cultural displays and artifacts. There’s also plenty of European art from artists like Monet, VanGogh, and Picasso. Get there early for the best experience and fewer crowds. And don’t miss the Light Tunnel that connects the two halves of the museum.
- Houston Museum of Natural Science – Kids and grown-ups of all ages will enjoy exploring the exhibits at this natural history museum. Dinosaur lovers will get a thrill from the Hall of Paleontology with more than 450 different fossils and replicas. Take time to visit the planetarium, the hall of gems and minerals, and the butterfly exhibit.
- 1940 Air Terminal Museum – If you’re traveling in or out of the William P. Hobby Airport, or you just have some airplane lovers in your family, this museum is a fun place to explore. Housed in a gorgeous art-deco building are several galleries with exhibits, vintage memorabilia, models, photos, and a theater. Check out their website for special events like Open Ramp Day and 3rd Saturdays.
- Battleship Texas State Historic Site – You kids will have a blast exploring a 100-year-old battleship. Learn all about how the crew of the USS Texas lived, and take advantage of some incredible photo ops. You won’t want to miss the chance to raise and aim the ship’s guns! Weekday mornings are your best time to miss the crowds.
- Children’s Museum of Houston – This museum offers a wealth of hands-on activities and is great for children of all ages. Climb the multi-storied Power Play, head to FlowWorks to make water flow, or create things with LEGOs. By far, the most popular attraction is Kidtropolis, where kids can perform jobs, earn and deposit money, and then have fun spending it!
- McGovern Centennial Gardens – Located in Hermann Park, this spot has a must-see collection of manicured gardens and landscapes. It features a leafy woodland garden, rose garden, arid dryland garden, and even an interactive family garden. Kids can get out some extra energy running across the spacious central lawn.
- Houston Zoo – This zoo is spread across 55 acres, houses more than 6,000 different animals, and over 600 species. Located within Hermann Park, the zoo offers events and educational programs throughout the year. Visit a replica of an authentic African village, come face to face with some of the biggest carnivores, or hang out at the Wortham World of Primates.
- Rooftop Cinema Club – This is the perfect spot for a relaxing evening activity. Take in a movie on a rooftop while you lounge on comfortable deck chairs, wrapped up in a cozy blanket. They offer a wide variety of movies from cult classics to new films. Check out their website to find out what’s playing during your visit.
This city is truly electric. With tons of amazing attractions and activities, a trip to Houston with your kids is always a great choice.