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We found 20 Things to do during summer in Houston that’ll beat the heat and get you cool!

We found 20 Things to do during summer in Houston that’ll beat the heat and get you cool!

Aah, yes – summer. When most of the country flies to other cities like Miami or California, Houstonians on a budget don’t have much of a choice. You CAN go to one of Houston’s many lakes, but we’re willing to bet that you’ve done that, at least once.

So what CAN you do in the city during the season – excluding the cliché ones like “go to a pool” or “visit a waterpark”. It’s (insert the year you’re reading this)! No more clichés and do the same thing again and again – it’s time to reinvent summer!

That’s what this article is all about – we’re here to give you the deets on the best things to do in the city during the summer! We’ll also let you know of the things that you should keep in mind in these places along the way, too!

1. Gorge on Fresh Fruits at Urban Harvest Farmers Market

Address: 2752 Buffalo Speedway, Houston, TX 77027

Phone Number: 713-880-5540


Hours: Sunday – Friday: Closed

Saturday: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Urban Harvest Farmers Market is, on paper, a bit of a weird summer destination. They’re only open for 4 hours on one weekend – which is a bummer since most farmers markets are open on both weekends, minimum. But if you ask us? The wait is worth it! 

What gives Urban Harvest Farmers Market their uniqueness is their family-friendly approach to farmers markets. Not only can you buy your fresh fruits and veggies, but your kids can also sign up your kids there to teach them about the basics for farming!

Urban Harvest Farmers Market also exclusively sources their goodies from Houston farmers within 180 miles, so you can rest assured that everything there is as fresh as can be! We especially like them during the summer for their delicious peaches!

Pro Tips: 
Pets aren’t allowed at Urban Harvest Farmers Market, unless they’re service animals. If you are bringing a service animal with you, they should be in their vest or in their leash at the very least.

2. Chill in The Evenings at Waugh Drive Bat Colony

Credit: @introvertedglobetrotter on Instagram

Address: Buffalo Bayou Park, Waugh Dr, Houston, TX 77002

Phone Number: 13-752-0314


Hours: Open 24 hours

Perhaps one of Houston’s most unique sights yet, Buffalo Bayou Park’s Waugh Drive Bat Colony lets you watch almost 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats fly across the night sky! 

You can take some nice, Insta-worthy pictures of Houston’s sunset views at the bridge beforehand, but we suggest holding on until the show starts sometime around 7 PM. That’s when the bats start to fly out, which in itself is a sight to behold!

Waugh Drive Bat Colony also lets you take pictures completely free of charge as long as you’re in the bridge area, which is the cherry on top of an already beautiful cake. Just be careful not to use your flash since the bats are easily scared!

Pro Tips: 
The bridge can get slippery, especially when it rained the night before. We strongly suggest bringing some  extra-grippy shoes or slippers to make sure that you’re safe and sound!

3.  Skate at Aerodrome Ice Skating Complex

Address: 8220 Willow Pl Dr N, Houston, TX 77070

Phone Number: 281-847-5283


Hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Beating the heat doesn’t always have to include the beach or the lakes – you can also cool down in one of Houston’s many skating rinks! We recommend visiting the Aerodrome Ice Skating Complex!

Aerodrome Ice Skating Complex offers a lot of activities you can do. Apart from being a public skating rink, you can also sign up for skating class – both kids and adults alike!

Although there isn’t a wide selection of food options for you to choose from, they have staples like sodas and nachos. We think the corn dog here hits the spot after a skate in the summer for us!

Pro Tips: 
We recommend double-checking the skates before using them. Some can be a bit loose or have damage. It’s better to be safe than sorry – especially when it comes to ice skating!

4. Watch A Game at Minute Maid Park

Address: 501 Crawford St, Houston, TX 77002

Phone Number: 713-259-8000

Website .

Hours: Varies per game

Nothing brings a Houstonian more joy than seeing the Astros win another game on our home turf. And what better way to see that in Minute Maid Park! 

Now, you’ve probably gone to a game at Minute Maid Park once in your life – it’s big enough to seat 40,000 people! But if you haven’t, then we suggest trying it at least once, especially during a big game!

Pro Tips: 
Minute Maid Park prides themselves on having clean bathrooms, but it can get packed. We suggest toning down on the drinks so you don’t have to go often.

5. Shop at The Galleria

Address: 5085 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77056

Phone Number: 713-622-0663


Hours: Monday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Sunday: 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM

The Galleria is a staple in the Houston shopping scene – and if you’ve ever been there , you’ll know just what we‘re talking about! It has quality stores, a clean environment, and stellar air conditioning to keep you cool in the summer!

Quite simply, the Galleria has everything for everyone. They have shops like Gucci and Versace and more budget-friendly ones like H&M and Hot Topic.

There are also plenty of free things you can do there like window shopping and visiting the play area with your kids, which is always greatly appreciated by bored Houstonians!

Pro Tips: 
If you’re bringing toddlers with you, be aware that some areas of The Galleria aren’t stroller-friendly. 

6. Vibe With the Fishes at Downtown Aquarium

Address: 410 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002

Phone Number: 713-223-3474


Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM

Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Getting wet is a huge part of the Houstonian’s summer experience – but what if you want to be surrounded by water but don’t want to get wet? If that’s the case, then we recommend visiting Houston’s most famous tourist spots – Downtown Aquarium!

Downtown Aquarium’s exhibits are sure to cool you down during the summer, especially  the Underwater Rig, which is breathtaking. And if you want to see what Steve Irwin last saw before his untimely death, then Stingray Reef should be on your list.

You get all that for $30 for both adults and kids, which makes for a nice, family-friendly summertime activity. That, and their in-house restaurant The Dive Lounge, offers some rare delicacies like Alligator Eggs for you to try out!

Pro Tips: 
Downtown Aquarium’s other displays can be a bit claustrophobic, which can be uncomfortable for some. 

7. See Movies at the Rooftop Cinema Club

Address: BLVD Place, 1700 Post Oak Blvd 5th Level, Houston, TX 77056

Email: [email protected]


Hours: Varies per showing

Rooftop Cinema Club’s premise is unique for cinemas, and it’s a recipe for a great summer evening!

Aside from their location on the rooftop, what makes this cinema different is the fact that they show a variety of movies at any given time. For instance, they’re currently showing hits like Forrest Gump along with more underrated gems like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!

They also have a nice selection of drinks to help you cool down even more! The Cutwater Paloma is great and has the right amount of kick, but if you’re looking for something more subtle, then the Truly Seltzers is the one to try!

Pro Tips: 
If you want to make your summer night even more special, we suggest visiting Rooftop Cinema Club on the 4th of July! Trust us – the evening fireworks will make your movie night feel like you’re actually IN a movie!

8. Dine at Brenner’s on the Bayou

Address: 1 Birdsall St, Houston, TX 77007

Phone Number: 713-868-4444


Hours: Monday – Wednesday: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Thursday: 5:00 PM – 9:30 PM

Friday – Saturday: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Sunday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Dining by the water isn’t exactly a new thing in Houston. But if you want to dine by Houston’s Buffalo Bayou, we recommend Brenner’s on the Bayou for a summertime date night!

This place goes above and beyond to provide a classy experience to their diners, especially if you dine on their patio. The view of the bayou pairs well when you’re feasting on their wonderful steaks.

Speaking of steaks, that’s Brenner’s on the Bayou’s bread and butter! Their USDA Prime steaks are good picks, but their American Wagyu Beef options, particularly the filet mignon, taste exceptional – especially when you order it medium rare!

Pro Tips: 
Brenner’s on the Bayoui has $10 valet parking if you want to feel extra special. But take note, the valet only accepts cash.

9. “Top Gun” It at Third Coast Volleyball Club

Address: 5652 Forney Dr, Houston, TX 77036

Phone Number: 713-974-6837


Hours: Monday – Thursday: 4:30 PM – 11:00 PM

Friday: 4:30 PM – 12:00 AM

Saturday: Closed

Sunday: 10:30 AM – 10:00 PM

If you’ve ever wanted to feel like Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer in that one infamous scene in “Top Gun”, then we recommend Third Coast Volleyball Club for a premiere beach volleyball experience! 

Third Coast Volleyball Club also goes the extra mile in providing a beach-like experience! The sand is the obvious giveaway, but they also have tiki bars and palm trees to finish the aesthetic!

It will cost $8 per player and $3 per spectator, which is reasonable since their courts all run on the open-play method. This means that the winners can play longer and the loser has to move on, incentivizing you to lean into the Tom Cruise-Val Kilmer fantasy!

Pro Tips: 
We suggest keeping your friendly hat on if you plan to play a game at Third Coast Volleyball Club! Yes, winning is fun – but making new friends is an entirely new kind of fun that you’ll cherish for a lifetime!

10. Enjoy Ice Creams at Hank’s Ice Cream

Credit: @ketoyourheart on Instagram

Address: South Main Street, 9291 S Main St, Houston, TX 77025

Phone Number: 713-665-5103

Hours: Monday – Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday – Sunday: 2:00 PM 6:00 PM

Ice cream is synonymous with the summer season. If you want to cool down with some homemade, delicious ice cream, then we recommend Hank’s Ice Cream! 

Hank’s Ice Cream’s reputation is thanks to the Grammy award winner and Houstonian – Beyonce. They even have her signature on their walls, along with femme fatale and H-town icon Megan Thee Stallion among many stars!

Another reason why Hank’s Ice Cream has maintained their business for more than 40 years is because they make every single one of their ice creams by hand. This gives them a sweeter flavor even in the most cliché flavors like chocolate!

Pro Tips: 
Since Hank’s Ice Cream makes their ice creams by hand, their flavor selections regularly change. We suggest going there with an open mind – it’s always nice to expose yourself to new flavors, after all!

11. Visit the Houston Zoo

Address: Hermann Park, 6200 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030

Phone Number: 713-533-6500


Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

If your idea of the perfect summer afternoon is lazing around with the animals, then we recommend visiting The Houston Zoo! We like that the animals all seem happy, and you can even get some nice pictures with them for the road, too!

Houston Zoo also provides a tour schedule, removing the need for planned itineraries! As of the time of writing, they start their tour with the birds and end with the sea lions, which is like a journey around the world in Houston!

Pro Tips: 
Houston Zoo’s summer queues can be particularly long, especially since vacationing children are also looking forward to visiting. We suggest exercising some extra patience – you’ll get your turn eventually!

12. Explore Different Cuisine at Izakaya Wa

Address: River Oaks Shopping Center, 2015 W Gray St ste j, Houston, TX 77019

Phone Number: 832-548-1889


Hours: Monday: Closed

Tuesday – Saturday: 11:30 AM – 2:00 PM, 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM

Sunday: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM

If you’ve always wanted to travel to Japan for the summer without spending a lot of money, then we got you! River Oaks Shopping Center’s Izakaya Wa has all the authentic Japanese food, all within the confines of Houston – a win-win!

Izakaya Wa also offers patio seating, which helps boost the mood even further. And before you complain that it’s too hot to eat outside in the summer, they have options like Hisashi Chuya that can help you cool down in the heat!

Pro Tips: 
We suggest being extra mindful if you plan to visit Izakaya Wa. The serene atmosphere is due to the Japanese tradition of being quiet and polite, and you should follow that custom, too!

13. Learn History at the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern

Address: The Water Works in Buffalo Bayou Park, 105-B Sabine St, Houston, TX 77007

Phone Number: 713-752-0314


Hours: Monday – Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday – Sunday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

There are many places to learn Houston’s history, but the most immersive one would be Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern! It’s a unique experience and definitely a must-see for both locals and tourists alike!

Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern was a water reservoir until a crack formed in its walls in 2007. Currently, it’s a testament to Houston’s history and is also a nice way to spend a tranquil summer evening – or go full ham and train your singing in their echo chamber!

Pro Tips: 
Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern offers tours that last half an hour each! We strongly suggest getting the afternoon ones – specifically the ones between 2:30 to 3 PM! It’s a lot cooler during those hours, plus the lighting will be on point!

Credit: @houstonpubliclibrary on Instagram

Address: 500 Dallas St. Houston, TX 77002

Phone Number: 832-393-1313


Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Saturday – Sunday: Closed

If you’d rather spend your summer indoors in a quiet place surrounded by books, Houston’s BOOKLINK at One Allen Center is a must!

What makes BOOKLINK at One Allen Center special is their all-inclusive lessons that you can attend! From language learning lessons to STEM-focused learning, they can teach it to you – for free, mind you!

Pro Tips: 
We suggest dropping by BOOKLINK at One Allen Center earlier – ideally between 10 to 11 AM – if you want to catch their summer classes! They can get crowded during the summer season!

15. Check out Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park

Credit: @steve.xplores on Instagram

Address: 2800 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX 77056

Phone Number: 713-850-8841


Hours: Monday – Sunday: 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Yes, water activities are tempting during Houston’s hot summers – but you can always make do with something already in the middle of the city! Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park is a man-made waterfall –  meaning you won’t need extra clothes afterward!

It’s a beautiful sight in itself and when you add the cool summer breeze into that, you’re in for a nice Insta pic!

Pro Tips: If the breeze isn’t cooperating for that Insta-worthy shot, no worries! Snap a pic of the nearby Williams Tower for some urban flair instead.

Not feeling the city vibe? No problemo! There are tons of majestic Texas Live Oak Trees around, just waiting to add a touch of nature to your feed!

16. Have Fun at Kemah Boardwalk

Address: 215 Kipp Ave, Kemah, TX 77565,

Phone Number: 281-535-8100


Hours: Monday – Wednesday: 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Thursday: 12:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Friday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Saturday – Sunday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM

For both the kids and kids-at-heart, Kemah Boardwalk is THE amusement park to visit during the summer! Not only are there refreshing rides for you to try out, but you’ll also be near the sea – and you just know that the sea breeze can be perfect on any summer day!

We recommend trying the thrilling Boardwalk Beast that goes up to 40 miles per hour, for a guaranteed exciting time together! But if you want something more chill, then head on over to the infamous Saltgrass Steakhouse and fill yourself up with meat.

Pro Tips: We suggest visiting Kemah Boardwalk during the mornings for a leisurely morning walk. It’s completely free to walk around so you can save money while enjoying the sights!

17. Watch Shows For Free at Miller Outdoor Theater

Address: Hermann Park, 6000 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030

Phone Number: 832-487-7102


Hours: Varies per show

Summer is the time to discover new things – and nothing can teach us more about ourselves than a free theater show! Luckily, that’s what Miller Outdoor Theater can do – and in spades, mind you! 

Miller Outdoor Theater starts their shows during the summer – which is, coincidentally, when most of their most iconic shows can be enjoyed! The entertainment usually starts in the afternoons, which makes it the ideal place for a nice picnic!

Pro Tips: 
If you’re really lucky, then there might even be fireworks there, making your afternoon picnic feel more special! It usually goes with The Symphony shows, and you can check out their website here to schedule your trip in advance!

18. Embrace the Beauty of Cockrell Butterfly Center 

Address: Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030

Phone Number: 713-639-4629


Hours: Monday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Wednesday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Friday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

For both adults and kids alike, Cockrell Butterfly Center is a treat for the eyes and the brain! After all, no other place in Houston lets you see at least 60 different kinds of butterflies AND a planetarium at the same time!

The butterfly garden’s three-story glass structure perfectly encapsulates every single one of their butterfly’s beauty, especially during the summertime!

Pro Tips: 
Photography is allowed within Cockrell Butterfly Center, but absolutely no flashes are allowed since it will disrupt the butterflies. The perfect lighting for the perfect Insta photo is there – we suggest exercising a bit more patience!

19. Ride a Texas-Shaped Lazy River at Marriott Marquis Houston

Address: 1777 Walker St, Houston, TX 77010

Phone Number: 713-654-1777


Hours: Open 24 hours

Yes, we know we mentioned earlier that there should be absolutely no clichéd things in this article – but Mariott Marquis Houston has a Texas-shaped lazy river, so we can’t help it!

We highly suggest staying for at least one night to experience this place in its full splendour. However, day passes are available for $75 per person, which can save you tons of money.

Pro Tips: 
Feel free to bring your kids with you in Mariott Marquis Houston’s lazy river! They can enter, just ensure that they have floaties to keep them safe!

20. Watch the Sunset at James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace

Credit: @riceuniversity on Instagram

Address: Rice University, Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion, Houston, TX 77005

Phone Number: 713-348-2787


Hours: Monday – Sunday: 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM

The iconic Twilight Epiphany by James Turell is a stunning building by itself – but it becomes 10 times more beautiful on summer evenings!

The light show that starts daily at 7 PM is incredibly pretty, and makes for a perfect way to wrap up your summer adventures. Make sure you get the angles right though, or you’ll miss it!

Pro Tips: 
We suggest dropping by James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace 30 minutes earlier! The evening light show is fast, and you’ll easily miss the beginning part if you’re not there on time!
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