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How many days do you need in Houston? A Traveler’s Guide

How many days do you need in Houston A Traveler’s Guide

Houston, the largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest in the United States, offers visitors an endless supply of fun! With so much to see and do, it can be challenging to determine how many days to spend in Houston to fully enjoy the city. 

Generally, if you want to enjoy what Houston has to offer, a 7-day trip is ideal. This will give you enough time to see all the major attractions and sites in the city for a well-rounded experience.

Wondering how to begin your visit to the city? Then check out our sample itinerary below!

Day 1 – Appreciating Art and History at the Museum District 

Day 1 - Appreciating Art and History at the Museum District
Image Source: The Museum of Fine Arts Houston Website 

Houston has a rich and diverse history, with many historical sites and museums that are a must-see for history enthusiasts. It’s also home to a vibrant art and culture scene with many museums, galleries, and cultural institutions you can check out!

Day 1: Morning

Start your day at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. This museum is one of the most popular in Houston and features a wide range of exhibits that cover everything from dinosaurs to space exploration. 

Texas Government Houston Website
Image Source: Texas Government Houston Website 

Don’t miss the Morian Hall of Paleontology, which features some of the most impressive dinosaur fossils in the world, or the Cockrell Butterfly Center, which houses hundreds of live butterflies in a rainforest habitat.

Located near the Museum District, Lucille’s offers a delightful Southern-inspired menu with a modern twist. Their farm-to-table approach ensures fresh and flavorful dishes, including favorites like fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and collard greens.

Day 1: Afternoon

Next, head to the Museum of Fine Arts. This is one of the largest art museums in the country and features an extensive collection of art from around the world. 

Tiny Boxwoods
Image Source: The New York Times 

The collection includes everything from ancient Greek and Roman art to contemporary works, and includes paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. Be sure to check out the European art galleries and its collection of non-Western art.

For dinner, try out one of our favorites in the area – Tiny Boxwoods. This charming restaurant nestled in the Museum District offers a beautiful outdoor dining experience. 

With its lush garden setting, you can enjoy a romantic evening while savoring delicious Mediterranean-inspired dishes and delectable desserts.

Day 1 : Evening 

Children’s Museum of Houston Website
Image Source: Children’s Museum of Houston Website

You can end your busy day exploring the exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Houston. This museum is a great place to take kids of all ages, as it features a variety of hands-on exhibits and activities that encourage learning and exploration. 

Kids can climb through a two-story treehouse, explore a kid-sized city, and learn about science and technology through interactive exhibits. 

Pro Tip: 

If you don’t have kids, then you can opt to visit the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum instead. 

This museum is dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers, a group of African American soldiers who served in the United States Army from 1866 to 1951.

Day 2 – Downtown Houston

Day 2 - Downtown Houston
Image Source: Architectural Digest Website

Downtown Houston is home to an extensive area of fun places you can visit to fully immerse yourself into the Houston culture and vibe. Check out these places in the area and see what the downtown offers. 

Day 2: Morning 

Begin your day with an exciting trip to the Houston Aquarium, an amazing attraction that showcases a diverse range of marine life and interactive exhibits. 

The Grove
Image Source: ABC13 Website

You can marvel at the underwater beauty in the shark tunnel, touch and feed the friendly stingrays at the touch tank, and explore the unique rainforest exhibit. This is your chance to get up close and personal with these terrifying predators safely. *

After a tiring day at the aquarium, you can head on over to Discovery Green for a filling meal at The Grove

This crowd favorite offers a modern and stylish setting with panoramic views of downtown Houston. Their menu features a variety of seasonal dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. 

You can sit back and enjoy a leisurely lunch while savoring their fresh salads, sandwiches, and flavorful entrees. 

Day 2: Afternoon

Discovery Green Website
Image Source: Discovery Green Website 

While you’re already at Discovery Green, why not enjoy an afternoon in the vibrant 12-acre park nestled in the heart of downtown Houston. 

Stroll through the park and admire the art installations, play in the splash pad, and let your furry friend enjoy the dog runs. Work up an appetite for a satisfying dinner at one of our favorite Mexican spots. 

You can visit Xochi for dinner after a tiring day at the park. This upscale Mexican restaurant from James-Beard award-winning chef, Hugo Ortega, serves up creative, elevated dishes made with regional Mexican ingredients and techniques.

Day 2: Evening

Space Center Houston Website
Image Source: Space Center Houston Website 

A perfect day to end the day is to go on a fascinating visit to the Space Center Houston, located approximately 30 minutes southeast of downtown Houston. 

In this unique space center, you can learn all about the remarkable history of space exploration and discover firsthand the wonders of the universe. There are actual spacecraft and artifacts from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. 

You can get up close and look at all the space gear, rocket parts, and scientific equipment that have made it into space and back. You’ll also gain insights into NASA’s current missions and future plans.

Make sure to hop on the tram tour, which takes you behind the scenes of NASA’s Johnson Space Center and gives you a peek into the daily workings of space exploration.

Pro Tip: 

If you’re looking for a nightcap in Downtown Houston, High & Dry Rum Bar on Main Street, offers a cozy and intimate atmosphere where you can unwind with a wide selection of rum-based cocktails.

Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge, tucked away on Congress Street, also has great craft cocktails and a speakeasy ambiance with a creative menu of handcrafted drinks!

Day 3 – Buffalo Bayou Park 

Day 3 - Buffalo Bayou Park
Image Source: ABC 13 Website 

The Buffalo Bayou Park is a vibrant oasis nestled in the heart of Houston. From the moment you step foot here, you’ll be caught up in the sights and fun activities you can try at the park while enjoying the quiet and serenity that surrounds the area. 

Day 3: Morning 

You can begin your day with an invigorating walk or bike ride through Buffalo Bayou Park. This urban oasis spans 160 acres and boasts picturesque trails that meander along the Buffalo Bayou. 

Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Image Source: Buffalo Bayou Partnership 

You can rent bikes, kayaks, or paddleboards from the rental stand located in the park.

Next, head to the Lost Lake Visitor Center to learn about the park’s rich history and ecology like wildlife, plants, and natural resources of the park.

Located within the park, The Kitchen at The Dunlavy offers a picturesque setting for a delightful lunch. This charming restaurant overlooks Lost Lake and features a menu with fresh and seasonal ingredients. 

Try out their salads, sandwiches, and flavorful dishes while basking in the natural beauty of the park. Don’t forget to snap a photo of the Instagram worth food in front of the beautiful view. 

Day 3: Late Afternoon 

Bat Conservation International Website
Image Source: Bat Conservation International Website 

While in the park, make sure you witness the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony (bat watching in Houston), which is one of the largest urban bat colonies in the United States. 

Every evening at dusk, thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from under the bridge to begin their nightly hunt for insects. You can watch the bats from the park’s observation deck or opt for a bat-watching boat tour.

Day 3: Evening

Buffalo Bayou Partnership Website
Image Source: Buffalo Bayou Partnership Website 

You can end your day with a serene picnic in the park. There are numerous picnic spots throughout the park and a variety of food trucks and cafes available. Bring a blanket and revel in the breathtaking sunset over the Buffalo Bayou.

Pro Tip

If you prefer a more formal dinner set-up, as the sun begins to set over Buffalo Bayou Park, head to The Grove Houston for a memorable dining experience. 

This upscale restaurant offers a refined menu with a focus on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Their dishes range from seafood and steaks to creative vegetarian options. 

Day 4 – Exploring the Houston Zoo and Hermann Park 

Day 4 - Exploring the Houston Zoo and Hermann Park
Image Source: Houston Zoo Website 

Houston is a great place to enjoy both the wonders of wildlife and the tranquility of nature. You can have a blast exploring the many animals and just beyond the zoo’s borders lies Hermann Park, a huge tribute the city has built in honor of nature.

Day 4: Morning 

Houston Zoo Website
Image Source: Houston Zoo Website

The Houston Zoo is one of the city’s most popular attractions, and for good reason. The zoo is home to over 6,000 animals representing more than 900 species. 

Some of the zoo’s most popular exhibits include the Kipp Aquarium, the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat, and the African Forest. You can also take a ride on the Wildlife Carousel or catch a show at the Kipp Aquarium’s 4-D Theater.

Situated just a short distance from the zoo and our next destination, The Raven Grill offers a casual dining experience with a diverse menu. 

From burgers and sandwiches to salads and seafood, there’s something to satisfy every palate. The cozy interior and outdoor patio make it a great spot for a relaxed lunch.

Day 4: Afternoon

Hermann Park Conservancy Website
Image Source: Hermann Park Conservancy Website

After exploring the zoo, you can head on over to the nearby Hermann Park (hermann park). The park covers 445 acres and offers a variety of attractions and activities. 

Hermann Park Conservancy
Image Source: Hermann Park Conservancy Website

Take a leisurely stroll through the McGovern Centennial Gardens, which includes a butterfly garden. You can also visit the Japanese Garden and see the traditional Japanese tea house and koi pond.

Miller Outdoor Theater Website
Image Source: Miller Outdoor Theater Website

Another must-visit attraction in Hermann Park is the Miller Outdoor Theater. The theater hosts a variety of free concerts, plays, and dance performances throughout the year, and is a popular spot for picnics and outdoor gatherings.

Hermann Park
Image Source: Hermann Park Conservancy Website

If you’re looking for a fun activity on the water, head to the pedal boats at McGovern Lake. For those who prefer to keep their feet on solid ground, rent a bike for a leisurely ride along the forests. If you’re with kids, check out the Hermann Park Miniature Train. 

Day 4: Evening

After a busy day, you can slow down and end your day with a sunset picnic. Bring a blanket and some snacks and watch the sun set over the city skyline. 

The park offers several scenic spots for picnics like the Miller Outdoor Theatre lawn and the Jones Reflection Pool.

Pro Tip: 

For an upscale dining experience, Brennan’s of Houston is a fantastic choice. Located in the Midtown area, this iconic restaurant specializes in contemporary Creole cuisine.  Indulge in dishes like turtle soup, Gulf seafood, and their famous Bananas Foster!

Day 5 – Wander Around the Heights, Houston

Day 5 - Wander Around the Heights, Houston
Image Source: Houston Properties Website 

You can embark on a day of exploration and immersion in the vibrant neighborhood of The Heights in Houston. You can immerse yourself in the allure of this historic district as you stroll along its streets, shop, and immerse yourself in its unique culture and vibe.

Day 5: Morning 

Houston Heights Association Website
Image Source: Houston Heights Association Website 

Take a walk around the Heights Houston and admire the beautiful Victorian-era homes. Many of the homes have been lovingly restored and offer a glimpse into Houston’s rich history. 

You can also check out the Heights Boulevard Art Project, a public art installation featuring sculptures and murals along the boulevard. After, you can check the Houston Heights Fire Station Museum, and see the collection of historic fire fighting equipment.

For lunch, the Eighteen Twenty Lounge in The Heights combines a coffee shop, lounge, and restaurant all in one. Indulge in their menu of innovative sandwiches, salads, and small plates, paired with specialty coffee or craft cocktails. 

The chic and relaxed ambiance makes it a perfect lunchtime destination.

Day 5: Afternoon

Heights Mercantile Website
Image Source: Heights Mercantile Website

Next, you can head to the Heights Mercantile, a mixed-use development that features a variety of boutiques, cafes, and a fitness studio. You can find everything from designer clothing and accessories to artisanal food products and home decor.

19th Street Shopping District Website
Image Source: 19th Street Shopping District Website 

You can spend the afternoon exploring the 19th Street Shopping District, a charming shopping district in The Heights. The district features a variety of independent shops and boutiques selling everything from vintage clothing to handmade jewelry.

Mellow down after a day of shopping at the Onion Creek. Known for its relaxed atmosphere and outdoor patio, Onion Creek is a popular gathering spot in The Heights. 

This neighborhood hangout offers a diverse menu with options ranging from comforting burgers and sandwiches to Tex-Mex favorites. You can enjoy your meal while sipping on a refreshing craft beer or specialty cocktail.

Day 5: Evening

White Oak Music Hall Website
Image Source: White Oak Music Hall Website 

In the evening, head to the White Oak Music Hall, a popular music venue in The Heights. The venue features a range of live music performances, from local acts to national touring bands. You can also enjoy stunning views of the Houston skyline here.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company and Karbach Brewing Company
Image Source: ABC13 Website 

Cap off your day by visiting one of The Heights’ many craft breweries like Saint Arnold Brewing Company and Karbach Brewing Company. You can sample a variety of locally brewed beers and enjoy a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere.

Pro Tip: 

Craft breweries often offer flight tastings, allowing you to sample a selection of their beers in smaller portions. This gives you the opportunity to explore different styles and flavors without committing to a full pint. 

Take your time to savor each sample, noting the unique characteristics of each beer. 

Day 6 – A Day Trip to Galveston

Day 6 - A Day Trip to Galveston
Image Source: Galveston Website 

No trip to Houston is complete without exploring the coastal charm of Galveston on a day trip filled with history, seaside fun, and delicious seafood. Explore the historic streets, famous pier amusement park, and the views of the sea.

Day 6: Morning 

Galveston Website
Image Source: Galveston Website 

Start your day by taking a stroll through the historic downtown area of Galveston. The Strand Historic District features beautiful 19th-century architecture and is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and galleries. 

Image Source: Galveston Website 

You can stop by the Galveston Island Railroad Museum then take a ride on the Harborside Express, which runs along the historic harbor while taking in the sites and sounds of the train.

The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier on Seawall Boulevard houses the iconic Ferris wheel, which offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. If you aren’t afraid of heights, take a ride in the Ferris wheel for an unobstructed view of the ocean and lights.

U.S. News Travel Website
Image Source: U.S. News Travel Website 

After spending some time on the pier, head to Seawall Beach which is a popular spot for sunbathing and swimming, while Stewart Beach offers a range of water sports and activities, including paddleboarding and kayaking.

Galveston's Website
Image Source: Galveston Website 

For lunch, head to Gaido’s Seafood Restaurant, a Galveston institution that has been serving up fresh seafood since 1911. The restaurant features a variety of dishes, from classic fried shrimp and oysters to more adventurous options like crawfish étouffée.

Moody Mansion Website
Image Source: Moody Mansion Website 

Day 6: Afternoon

In the afternoon, take a tour of the Moody Mansion, a stunning historic home that dates back to 1895. The mansion has been restored to its original grandeur and features 28 rooms filled with beautiful antiques and artwork.

For dinner, The Spot located on Seawall Boulevard, offers a casual and vibrant atmosphere with a diverse menu. Enjoy a variety of dishes ranging from juicy burgers and seafood platters to fresh salads and Tex-Mex options. 

Don’t miss their outdoor deck for stunning Gulf views.

Pro Tip:

For a more refined dining experience, Saltwater Grill is a great choice. This upscale seafood restaurant offers an extensive menu with options like grilled Gulf snapper, lobster tail, and crab cakes. 

They also have a well-curated wine list to complement your meal.

Day 6: Evening

Seagull II
Image Source: Galveston Wesbite 

A sunset cruise aboard the Seagull II, a historic replica tall ship is the perfect way to end your day trip to Galveston. The two-hour cruise includes live music and light refreshments.

Day 7 – Exploring Rice Village and Montrose

Day 7 - Exploring Rice Village and Montrose
Image Source: The Business Journal Website

For your last day in Houston, venture into the vibrant neighborhoods of Rice Village and Montrose. This day will be packed with architecture, arts, and even some to self-reflect and meditate about your trip (or maybe even plan your next one!) 

Day 7: Morning

Rice Village Website
Image Source: Rice Village Website 

Begin your day by discovering the charming Rice Village neighborhood. Take a leisurely stroll down Rice Boulevard and explore the many shops and boutiques, including the trendy women’s clothing store Cakewalk Style.

An excellent lunch spot near Rice Village is Hungry’s. Located along Rice Boulevard, Hungry’s is a popular neighborhood eatery known for its diverse menu and relaxed ambiance. 

They offer a range of options including salads, sandwiches, wraps, and burgers, with both vegetarian and meat options available. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic club sandwich, a flavorful salad, or their famous spinach and artichoke dip, they got it! 

Day 7: Afternoon

Encyclopedia Britannica
Image Source: Encyclopedia Britannica 

Next, head to the Rice University campus and enjoy the stunning tree-lined pathways and grand architectural structures. The campus also houses a range of captivating public art installations.

The Menil Collection Website
Image Source: The Menil Collection Website

After visiting Rice Village, head to Montrose and explore the Menil Collection which holds works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Jackson Pollock. The museum also displays an impressive collection of African, Oceanic, and Native American art.

You can end the afternoon by taking a relaxing walk through Montrose, known for its eclectic mix of shops, cafes, and restaurants. 

From vintage clothing stores to contemporary art galleries, you’ll find something for everyone, including some of Houston’s finest coffee shops.

Day 7: Evening

A fantastic dinner spot in Montrose is Uchi. Located on Westheimer Road, Uchi is an upscale Japanese restaurant known for its exceptional sushi and innovative culinary creations. 

The menu features a wide variety of fresh and high-quality seafood, along with expertly crafted dishes that blend traditional Japanese flavors with contemporary techniques. 

It has everything from beautifully presented sashimi and nigiri to inventive rolls and hot dishes like Wagyu beef.

Rothko Chapel
Image Source: The Menil Collection Website 

Finally, visit the Rothko Chapel for a tranquil end to the day. This non-denominational chapel offers a peaceful, meditative environment designed to inspire spiritual reflection and peace. 

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