Houston Travel Guide for Families: Things to Do, Where to Go & What to Eat!

Heading to the most populous city in Texas? Space City, formally known as Houston, is the most populated city in its home state and the 4th most populous city in the US! So it’s bound to have some great family friendly things to do, right??? We did some digging and identified so many wonderful options for you and your little ones to enjoy in the city known as the world capital of space exploration. So, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1……blast off! And head to Houston for your next family vacation!

Space Center Houston is great for kids of all ages.

Space Center Houston
image courtesy of Space Center Houston

To kick off your Houston adventure, you might as well start with what the city is known for and go to Space Center Houston. The museum is the official visitor center and exhibit that’s part of the NASA Johnson Space Center. So, needless to say, this place is legit. The JCS is a training center for real life astronauts and the official Mission Control for space expeditions. Pretty cool, huh?! You and your kids can explore over 400 artifacts and exhibits in the museum, see real and replica spacecraft, and even have lunch with an astronaut!

Visit the Museum District of Houston.

mother and daughter walking in park
image courtesy of Sarah Korus

On day two of your trip, head to the Museum District. Sarah Korus, Houston mommy and YouTube blogger, @hausvonfloof, says: “One of my favorite kid-friendly activities in Houston is going to the Museum District. You have the Houston Zoo, the playgrounds at Hermann Park and The Cockrell Butterfly Exhibit at the Museum of Natural Science. They are all within walking distance of each other. We like to start at the Zoo and then take the little train over to the museum and then to the playgrounds! Hermann Park also has plenty of open grass to plop down a blanket and enjoy a picnic. It’s truly our favorite way to spend a weekend in one of the prettiest parts of town!” Sounds like a pretty perfect day to us!

Explore TotSpot & Kidtropolis at the Children’s Museum of Houston.

Children's Museum of Houston
image courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Houston

After your picnic lunch, head over to the Children’s Museum of Houston, which is also walking distance in the same district. The museum’s name says it all! You’ll find tons of exhibits that are super hands on and the kids will be exhausted after exploring all the museum has to offer. It’s likely they will sleep super well that night! For your little ones, make sure to go to TotSpot for kiddos 35 months and younger. And for the big kids, you’ll want to check out Kidtropolis, a metropolitan, make believe city!

There is so much to do and see at Discovery Green.

Houston skyline

Make sure to plan a day at Discovery Green near East Downtown. It’s a 12-acre park with TONS to offer. No matter what time of year you’re in Houston, you’ll be able to enjoy the park. There are restaurants, performance venues, splash pads, ice skating in the winter, playgrounds, gardens, a jogging trail. The list goes on and on!

Make time for Houston’s famous Water Wall.

After you spend the day at Discovery Green park, take a short 15 minute drive to the Water Wall, the most photographed site in Houston. We recommend going around sunset or dusk, the natural lighting and the lighting of the wall is gorgeous!

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Drive a short distance from Houston to experience more fun places.

aerial view of Houston, Texas

If you’re looking for places to explore just outside Houston, you should head to one of these three places for sure: Moody Gardens in Galveston, Kemah Boardwalk, or Old MacDonald’s Farm in Humble.

Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens has 9 attractions spread out over 242 acres, a full hotel and convention center. There’s tons of animal experiences, water fun and even a golf course for mom and dad! It’s about an hour away from Houston, so go for the day or spend the night. Either way, you’ll have a great time!

Kemah Boardwalk

Kemah Boardwalk is also about an hour away and is an old timey boardwalk perfect for all ages. It sits on Galveston/Trinity Bays and offers all the traditional rides and amusements of a boardwalk, plus dining, shopping and events! Most of the rides are more suitable for older kiddos, but they also offer a playground and “Dancing Water Fountain” that would be tons of fun for little ones too!

Old MacDonald’s Farm

If you have a toddler or preschooler, chances are you frequently sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” and make hilarious animals noises to appease said toddler or preschooler. Well, why not indulge their love of the song even more and take them to Old MacDonald’s Farm! Located about 30 minutes from Houston, the farm has been around since 1991 and offers 12 petting zoos, a train, swimming pool (for humans!), playgrounds and more! There are a few seasonal offerings too – like baby ducks and pumpkins!

Plan your trip around the Texas Renaissance Faire dates!

Image by isfara from Pixabay

Looking for an event to attend while you’re in Houston? If you’re there between October and December, then we recommend the Texas Renaissance Faire, which is about an hour away from Houston. The festival has all the traditional offerings of a “ren faire” plus lots of extras and special themes because it runs for nearly 3 months! We recommend visiting on a Sunday; kids 12 and under are free. You and your clan can make candles, try some armour on, and even do some blacksmithing! The faire also has lots of rides and kid specific activities in the New Market Village area. So, “fare thee well” and enjoy the festival!

Best food in Houston, Texas

We’ve saved the best for last. Let’s talk Houston food. A vacation isn’t complete without lots of eating! We’ve found a handful of awesome Houston eateries that are perfect for the entire family.

Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

Little Matt’s

First stop on your mini Houston food tour has to be Little Matt’s. It is the definition of “kid friendly”, complete with a mini arcade, soft serve ice cream, a candy bar, and even an Icee machine! Kids of all ages (this includes grown up kids!) will love the food too: burgers galore, salads, and tons more.

American Girl Bistro

If you’ve got an American Girl fan, then you’ve gotta head over to the American Girl store and eat at the bistro. You can book a special package, have afternoon tea or attend one of their scheduled events. No matter what, you’ll be “parent of the year.”

Red River Bar-B-Que and Grill

It wouldn’t be a Texas vacation without some barbecue. Make a pit stop at Red River Bar-B-Que and Grill (they have multiple locations) to get your barbecue fix and to entertain the kids. There’s a sandbox to keep them busy while you relax and indulge in some delicious food!

Jimmy Changas

We’ll wrap up our food tour with a visit to Jimmy Changas. They have 4 locations in the area so you’re bound to run into one during your Houston adventure and we guarantee a good time! The food is Tex Mex so go hungry because you’ll want to try everything. They are known for their “Jimmy Jungle” specifically for the “little monkeys” in your group. They’ll play for hours in between snacking and while you sip on one of their delicious adult beverages!

There is much more to do in Houston and we hope this guide is a great starting point for your Space City trip! Are you a Houston local or native? Add to the list! We love hearing what your favorite places are. Comment below!

No matter your agenda, a trip to Houston means tons of walking! Little legs can tire out fast. If you aren’t interested in lugging a bulky stroller through the airport, rent one instead. BabyQuip has multiple providers in Houston who will deliver a clean, safe and insured stroller right to your location!

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