Houston, Texas Attractions, Events, and Safety
Houston, Texas is one of the most exciting cities for tourism. The atmosphere is calm, with an incredible art scene and lots of engineering and technology to accompany it. It is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the United States and offers some of the best food you can find anywhere in the world. The Houston Rodeo is internationally known, as are the dozens of other events held year-round.
To help you plan your trip, this travel guide contains pertinent information about weather in Houston, the best time to visit, things you should know, must see attractions and things to do, where to stay, places to avoid, safety tips, places to shop, and how to travel around the city.
Things to Know About Houston, Texas
Nicknamed “Space City,” about 22 million people visit Houston each year for both leisure and business purposes. Houston is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in the United States, representing minorities of every type.
Houston isn’t the best place to visit for outdoors and nature, but is great for city-side attractions, which make it popular for Spring Break. Music, particularly jazz, is popular and there are tons of live venues if that’s your thing. Houston also has tons of old plantation homes which are very pretty and worth a walk or bike ride to see if you can manage it.
The beaches in Houston are gross, with gray water and murky sand. You will not want to swim in the water. If you’re looking for some beach time, you’ll have to drive a couple hours into other cities.
Best Time to Visit Houston
If you want festivals and plenty of outdoor attractions, the best time to visit Houston is between February and April, or in the fall September through November. The weather is milder that time of year, and many of Houston’s biggest events run during that time. This is also the busy season, so expect higher prices and more crowds. Visitors say that you should spend at least three days to see the city. The cheapest time to visit Houston is late September.
Weather In Houston
Houston has a warm climate, with hot, oppressive summers, and wet winters. It is usually partly cloudy. The hottest months in Houston are July and August, with highs around 91F and lows around 76F. The coldest month is January, with highs around 60F and lows around 45F. It rains an average of 6 days each month. Houston is slightly cooler than Austin, with a little more rain.
Texas is one of the worst states for seasonal allergies. Allergy season lasts about 6-8 weeks through March and April.
Hurricanes can be a problem in Texas, and hurricane season runs June through November. Hurricane season and heavy rains tend to cause property damage and flooding, so check weather conditions before travel.
Houston also avenges 7-days of tornadoes each year, but they don’t usually do much damage and you shouldn’t worry about them affecting your trip.
8 Must See Attractions and Things to Do in Houston, Texas
Attractions are the heart of any trip to Houston and are what set it apart from other popular travel destinations. These attractions are popular for visitors of every age and are both safe and economic. Whether traveling alone, with a group, or with a spouse or sweetheart, there is something for everyone.
- Houston Museum of Natural Science
This adventurous museum is great for any age traveler as there are educational activities and scientific exhibits for all to enjoy. The Houston Museum of Natural Science has four floors to explore focusing on culture, space, history, general sciences, and wildlife.
- Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Performances, gallery tours, lectures, wellness programs and family activities are all fantastic ways to enjoy the Museum of fine arts in Houston. The art housed in this historic facility includes over 4,000 years of history that covers 6 continents. With a diverse collection and an aim to please the community, this museum is a great stop on any trip to Houston.
- Children’s Museum Houston
The Children’s Museum in Houston is one of the neatest attractions of the city. The museum’s target audience include infants to age 12, but parents enjoy the lively museum as well. With special attractions for toddlers and a multitude of activities for all ages, this is a perfect stop for any family. Note: you must have a child to go into this museum.
Consistently ranked in the top ten zoos in the country, the Houston Zoo is a stunning zoological park with over 6,000 animals to view. The admission fees are more than affordable, and the attractions seem endless. Splash around in the Katherine McGovern Water Play Park or have lunch with the giraffes at Twiga Cafe. Complete with restaurants and activities for the kids, this zoo is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon.
This institution is the leading learning center for science and space exploration. With so much to discover at this 250,000 square foot facility, tourists might want to visit over a couple of days. The exhibits range from historic rockets to the authentic Apollo Mission Control Center. Not to mention the various interactive exhibits set up for adults and kids alike.
The Galleria is more than your average shopping mall. With internationally renowned brands like Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Christian Louboutin lining the halls of this mall, there is a style for everyone. The eats are just as high-end at this mall with restaurants like Bazille at Nordstrom, The Cheesecake Factory, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House.
- Cockrell Butterfly Center
The Cockrell Butterfly Center offers more than just a live butterfly exhibit—which is absolutely stunning with a variety of species and a 50-foot indoor waterfall. This institution is paired with the Brown Hall of Entomology and the Pollinator Garden. Explore a multitude of insects, arthropods, and more.
- Rodeo Houston (Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo)
An annual event that usually takes place from late February to mid-March, RodeoHouston is exactly what you would dream of a southern good time. Rodeo Houston is a tournament-like competition which spans 20 days with a variety of events to compete in: bareback riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, and team roping just to name a few. Complete with all around rodeo events, music concerts, and good food, this is a great way to experience Texan culture on any tourists’ visit to Houston.
Where to Stay in Houston
There are tons of great neighborhoods in Houston and safety isn’t the only thing you’ll want to look at. Certain neighborhoods are more tourist friendly with restaurants and things to do. All the areas we’ve listed are safe.
Downtown is the overall best area to stay for everything. It’s close to the most popular attractions, restaurants, bars, clubs, and hotels. For first-time visitors, business travel, solo travelers, family travelers, or couples, Downtown is the place to stay. Downtown is the best area for those without a car.
Montrose is one of the best areas to stay for Nightlife, food, and live music. There are many bars and clubs in this area and is popular for solo travelers. Montrose has tons of street are and graffiti and is the most LGBTQIA+ friendly area in Houston. Montrose is also great for seeing small art galleries.
Formerly home to Old Chinatown, East Downtown (EaDo) is a popular area to stay for events as it is home to the PNC Stadium and George R. Brown Convention Center. EaDo is the go-to for concerts and events.
The Heights in Houston is a historic looking area with picturesque houses. This area is great for those who enjoy local art and is great for bars. The Heights has tons of local shops, cafes, and old-style architecture.
Galleria is the “pretty” part of Houston and is the best area to stay if you enjoy shopping, a romantic atmosphere, and proximity to the beach. Galleria features tons of things to do and features beautiful buildings and high-end hotels. This is the best area for couples.
The Museum District is the best spot to go if you plan on experiencing Houston’s history and culture. Staying here puts you close to the many museums and is a popular spot for concerts. Residents claim this as the best part of Houston and has tons of stuff to do.
Texas Medical Center Area
The Texas Medical Center is one of the safer areas of Houston and is also one of the cheapest places to stay. This area is everything surrounding the Texas Medical Center and is used mostly by out-of-state patients. The area is safe to walk around, but if you set anything down it will absolutely go missing. The area is not very touristy but is close to the Museum District.
Safest Parts of Houston, Texas
Other safe areas of Houston to stay at include Clear Lake City, Midtown, Westchase, University Place, Great Uptown, Neartown-Montrose, Eldridge-West Oaks, Sugar Land, Friendswood, League City, Fulshear, Spring Branch, Seabrook, Missouri City, King Wood, Santa Fe, and Greater Heights.
Is Houston Safe to Visit?
Houston is considered to have one of the highest crime rates in America as the chances of being a victim of a violent crime or property crime is one in eighteen. Overall, however, Houston is generally considered a safe city with medium risk to tourists. Most of the crime occurs in specific lower-class neighborhoods which are far from tourist attractions. Stay within the 610 loop and you’ll be free from most danger. Downtown is considered safe and walkable.
Places to Avoid in Houston
Sunnyside, MacGregor, Sharpstown, Greenspoint, and Far North are considered the most dangerous places in Houston. Whether traveling alone or with a group or family, avoid these areas. They are risky to walk around during the day or at night as crime is common. Other risky areas are Southeast, North Houston, Northwest, Westchase, Bellaire, and Medical. Bellair is ranked as the safest and the most dangerous area because it’s big enough to encompass both. The “rich” areas are safe, but even a block away becomes high risk.
Safety Tips for Visiting Houston
General caution is advised when traveling anywhere, but Houston has some special things you should be aware of. Solo female travelers are at higher risk, as are those with children. Staying close to tourist attractions and not going to sketchy places will make your trip safe and enjoyable. For more tips see recommendations from Houston’s Police department here.
- Tourist landmarks can be prime grounds for pickpockets.
- When visiting Houston, you’ll want to be especially careful about staying near tourist areas and not walking alone.
- Don’t go exploring the city and don’t walk around at night.
- Always lock your doors.
- Stay in well-lit areas.
- Don’t carry too much money.
- Walk alert and confident.
- Road rage is a problem in Houston. Don’t engage.
Best Places to Shop in Houston
Houston is one of the best cities to visit if you want an awesome shopping experience. There are stores for everyone but are particularly geared towards couples and female shoppers. We’ve put together this list of the most popular shopping areas which are also safe and trendy. These shopping centers are within a few blocks of other major attractions and are worth the visit.
- The Galleria
- River Oaks Shopping Center
- Highland Village
- Uptown Park
- Bayou Place
- The Shops at Houston Center
- Town & Country Village
- Space Montrose
- Vintage Park
- Memorial City Mall
- Willowbrook Mall
Getting Around Houston, Texas
Houston has plenty of public transportation options which will save you on gas and time in traffic. For downtown transit, the Metro Light Rail is the best way to go but the stretch is limited. Taxi cabs are abundant in Houston and are cheap. Buses are a great option and routes are native in Google and Apple Maps. Rideshare options like Lyft and Uber are also popular.
For the best nightlife experience, we recommend taking the Wave. The wave is safe and reliable. The wave is a Jitney service that travels to the most popular attractions, restaurants, shops, nightlife, and museums in Houston. The Wave operates in the evenings until late at night.
If you plan on staying in the most popular parts of Houston, you will not need to rent a car. If you plan on visiting attractions outside the downtown area or have small children, then a car is the better way to go. Rush hour is bad in Houston, with highways packing up between 7 to 9 am, and 4 to 7 pm.