About this time every summer, I’m thinking “I can’t believe summer is over! Why does it have to end?!”, and then I usually start pouting about it “being all over!”
But I’m here to tell you, after coming to this realization myself, it’s NOT!!!
SUMMER IS NOT OVER! Go! Now! It’s around this time when most families have taken their major vacays and are winding down, preparing for the school year to start back up. But that doesn’t mean that the kids have to sit around bored to tears while you pull out your hair. Or, more importantly, that you can’t squeeze in some last minute, face-to-face time with your kiddos. Or, if you’re the single/don’t have kids, yet/empty nester, that you can’t go have a new adventure!
I am finding more and more that there are so many adventures to be had in Houston, with and without kids, for free or fairly inexpensive. And most of these things, even if you could afford much more, will still sound extremely appealing!
So, here we go! 8 free or low-cost things to do IN Houston, so you won’t break the bank but can venture out and explore the city in a different way!
1.) Bingo in the Heights
Y’all, this is probably one of the best, most favorite, fun, different, bang-for your-buck things to do in Houston! AND it’s literally for anyone and everyone and all different combinations of people. Date night for the young and not-so-young, family outing, single group, double date…the list goes on. They have a snack bar with drinks, beer, snacks, hamburgers, and hotdogs. But you also can bring in your own food, have a DIY picnic with the fam, and you can bring in particular beverages (but see the website or call, because there are a few restrictions!) There is plenty of parking, but people will still end up parking on the streets because the place is a packed house during the summer while college students are still in town. So come EARLY and bring a game to get a good seat and parking spot. Bingo is held at Lodge 88 in the Heights, and is usually a packed event. **If you don’t get there and they are at capacity, they WILL lock you out! So, get there and make a night of it! Cards are only five bucks, blotters are one, eat before you go, at home or out, or order a pizza! The possibilities are endless!
2) Houston Zoo
Hey college students in Houston! The zoo will give you free entry if you just show them your college I.D. Families, there are all sorts of discounts, big and small, on the website, including military discounts and a discount for simply buying them before you go! Check it out here.
3) Miller Outdoor Theater
This is such a fun summer outing! I have great memories of hitting up the Miller Outdoor theater and getting caught in a rainstorm during a Motown tribute one year. The best thing to do is just roll with it, right?? Miller outdoor theater is great for a date-night or bringing out the kids to run around on the hill while enjoying a picnic and a play in the park. (I’m a huge fan of alliteration!) They have all sorts of performances, from live children’s shows to full professional plays. They also show movies on their big screen. Did I mention it’s FREE??!! Parking is also free! You can get your tickets at the box office only to reserve one of the covered seats. If you don’t make it in time to snag a seat or just want to, bring a blanket and maybe even dinner to picnic on the grassy hill. To plan you day or night at Miller, you can take a look at their calendar of events.
4) FREE entry into Houston Museums
We have some awesome museums in Houston covering a broad spectrum of topics! There are a handful to pick from that the kiddos are sure to get a kick out of, too. ALL FOR FREE if you can fit their free admission times into your schedule! There are also quite a few that always have free admission!
5) Sam Houston Boat Tour
How fun is this, y’all?! You can take the family on a 90 minute boat tour of the Port of Houston! The kids will have so much fun on the deck spotting the giant ships coming in and out of the port, while mom and dad sit in the air-conditioned cabin. This super fun, and quite different outing is also FREE, but you will have to reserve your tickets in advance because the boat only has a capacity of 100.
6) Houston Arboretum & Nature Center
The Arboretum sits right next to Memorial Park in Houston. It’s a great place to get away from the chaos of the big city for as long as you want. They have 5 miles of trails and wild life for you to enjoy including several different trails to choice from. You can also check the website to view a checklist of things to check out while on the trails so you can give yourself and your family a tour. You can even take the family pooch on the trail, as long as it’s on a leash! The kids can experience the Discovery Room at the Nature Center and ask any questions about what they saw or will see on their walk, see live creatures close up, and solve mysteries or explore!
7) Water Wall
Definitely notable among Houston’s favorite things to do/see is the Water Wall right by the Galleria off 610. Talk about Romantic! Take a picnic, take photos, and enjoy a day date!
8) Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market
Y’all, let me just tell you how huge of a Farmer’s Market fan I am! I canNOT get enough of them! I am currently staying in the middle of nowhere in the Smoky Mountains in Georgia and have already hit up two local, small town farmer’s markets. Don’t worry, more are on my list before I go back home in 3 weeks. It’s seriously a win, win, win situation! You get to get out of the house, with your fam, your friends, you boyfriend or husband, or (sometimes one of my personal faves) alone, and walk around seeing all the amazing products, produce, and more that the people of your city have to offer. Buying produce from the farmer’s market means you know exactly where you are getting your goods. From farm to table is for real, y’all! And it’s such a beneficial thing for everyone involved! You get great, fresh food, you also get to support local farmers! Bless!
There you have it! Those are just a few of my favorite things to do around Houston on the cheap, y’all! I know there are many more, though, so when you come across your favorites, let me know! Or if you hit up any of these places, or know of any tips, comment below to share. Houston is such a great city, and has so many things to offer its residents! I can’t wait to explore more of it.