Houston's Landmarks Tour, Houston (Self Guided)

Houston is the fourth largest city in the USA. A buzzing commercial and cultural center, Houston proudly boasts of many great museums, architectural masterpieces, and other landmarks. Take this walking tour to explore some of the most interesting landmarks in Houston.
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Houston's Landmarks Tour Map

Guide Name: Houston's Landmarks Tour
Guide Location: USA » Houston (See other walking tours in Houston)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 km
Author: doris
First Presbyterian Church of Houston

1) First Presbyterian Church of Houston

The First Presbyterian Church is a very famous house of worship in Houston. It is perhaps best known by the fact that Sam Houston used to attend services here. It was started in 1845. Back then, it was just a small pine church that used whale oil lamps for lighting. A more formal structure was built in 1896. The church was badly damaged by fire in 1932, but was completely renovated in short order. The church has a colonial look, but has a Byzantine style dome and a beautiful bell tower.

In modern times, the church has over 4700 members. It is located in the Museum District of town. Besides being a house of worship, it also houses a school for children ages 2 through the 8th grade of education. The congregation has also historically been very active in other local charities in the area. Dr. Allen Hutcheson of this church was also one of the first medical missionaries to China. So, there is a rich history of service here.
Museum of Fine Arts

2) Museum of Fine Arts (must see)

The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the hallmark institutions of the so-called Museum District in Houston. It is also one of the physically largest museums of its kind in the U.S. The museum was started in 1900, so it is also one of Houston's oldest museums.

The complex itself consists of two gallery style buildings, a garden that features sculpture, a visitor’s center, and two museums located inside houses. You can also see movies here, visit their library, and have a great meal at the cafe.

The artwork displayed here ranges in age from the present to 6,000 years ago. The permanent collection has over 63,000 pieces of art and covers over 300,000 sq feet. There are works here from six continents, so you can get a little of everything. 1.25 million people visit the museum each year. To see the entire collection, though, you would have to visit seven different facilities across the city. This is a definite must-visit, and the task of visiting here could well keep you busy all day.

Why You Should Visit:
Big museum constantly hosting worldwide exhibitions, in addition to the permanent collections from ancient art & medieval Cabinet of Curiosities.
It helps that you can also go see films and live musical orchestras, plus the MFA café is such a nice place to have a coffee and lunch.
The gift shop is not to be missed with all kinds of wonderful, unique artifacts, jewelry, books, children's toys and so much more.

Visit on a Thursday – free admission!
Make sure you leave enough time to see the whole thing if you go.
Especially helpful are the audio devices to tour the exhibit at your own pace.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Wed: 10am-5pm; Thu: 10am-9pm; Fri, Sat: 10am-7pm; Sun: 12:15pm-7pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Holocaust Museum Houston

3) Holocaust Museum Houston (must see)

The Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH) is located in the Museum District of Houston. It is certainly one of the more interesting places to visit, as one might not expect to find a world class museum of this kind in Houston. It is the 4th largest museum about the Holocaust in the United States. People visit here from all over the world. The museum was opened in 1996, so it is a relatively new addition to the area. The mission of the location is to remind the general public about the dangers of political thinking that can lead to such tragic ends. In addition, the museum is very dedicated to providing educational programming to students and the general public.

There are permanent as well as temporary exhibitions at the HMH. An important part of the permanent exhibition, called "Bearing Witness: A community remembers," is the testimony of Houston-area survivors. In addition to the permanent exhibition, there is the Education Center, the Morgan Family Center, the Lack Family Memorial Room and the Eric Alexander Garden of Hope. The Education Center houses the museum’s library. The Morgan Family Center includes the administrative offices, two other exhibit galleries for changing exhibitions, the HMH classrooms, and the theater. The Lack Family Memorial Room is a quiet place for relaxation and meditation and the Eric Alexander Garden of Hope is dedicated to the one and a half million children who were killed in the Holocaust.

You can get a free guided tour on Saturdays and Sundays at 12:30pm and 2:30pm.
Other options include free audio tours you can use through your cellphone (available in English, Spanish and French).
The permanent exhibit can be very graphic and is not recommended for children under 10.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm; Sat: 10am-5pm; Sun: 12-5pm
Free admission on Sundays
Sight description based on wikipedia
Children's Museum of Houston

4) Children's Museum of Houston (must see)

The Children’s Museum is located in the Museum District and is a very popular site among visitors to town. With 750,000 visitors a year, it is the largest museum and best-attended facility of its kind in the US. It has 14 galleries of exhibits, all of which are designed to be hands-on for kids up to twelve years of age. The subjects covered are science, technology, history, the arts, and even geography. There is a little something here for everybody.

The location was founded in 1884. In 2007, a new wing was added, as well as technology that makes it possible for displays to be presented bilingually. There is now also private classroom space and laboratories for nonprofit organizations and schools to use. The people of Houston pulled together and donated over $35 million to make it happen. There is also a great gift shop here, as well as educational toys and snacks for sale.

Go on a weekday if you can. Weekends are a little nuts and it's hard to get around through all of the activities because of all the people. Avoid the school groups in the morning, too.
Although you can buy food, it would be good to bring some since you might end up spending a long time here.
Also, during a hot day, bring extra clothes for your kids as the museum has a water playground.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat: 10am-6pm; Thu: 10am-8pm; Sun: 12-6pm
Free admission (both kids & adults) every Thursday evenings from 5-8pm
Houston Museum of Natural Science

5) Houston Museum of Natural Science (must see)

The Houston Museum of Natural Science is one of the busiest sciences museums in the US. The attendance totals over two million visitors each year, putting it up there with places like the New York Museum of Science and Natural History, or the Smithsonian. It is located in the Museum District of town, very near Hermann Park.

The complex has four floors of permanent exhibits. In addition, there are some multiple specialty locations to visit. One of the most popular is the Wortham IMAX theater, where science gets brought to life in a very special way. You may also want to visit the Butterfly Center, George Observatory, or the Baker Planetarium. This is a whole day kind of place to visit.

There are also many temporary exhibits that come in and out of the Center, most of which are world-class in nature.

Why You Should Visit:
To explore the far reaches of outer space, roam with the dinosaurs, wander through Africa's Serengeti, and marvel at the world's rarest and most beautiful gems & minerals.
The layout is superb and the curators have an incredible eye for the unique. Very educational and plenty of interactive things to play with (on the bottom floor).

Prices are reasonable – if you want a real treat, however, try visiting on Thursday afternoons. From 2–5pm during the school year and 3–6pm during the summer, the location is free of charge.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Miller Outdoor Theatre

6) Miller Outdoor Theatre (must see)

The Miller Outdoor Theatre is located in the Hermann Park Historic District. It is an outdoor performance complex and one of the most popular in all of Houston. It has been a popular part of the downtown area for around 90 years now. It sits on a little over seven acres of ground. The location is home to musical performances, as well as dance and theater performances.

The complex seats over 1700 people. It also has 20 spots up front for handicap chairs. Admission to the outdoor theater cannot be beaten. It is free to all ages. The performances go from March through October of each year.

The theater is managed by the Society for the Performing Arts of Houston. It is a nonprofit organization that represents vocal, dance, and stage performers. The A.D. Players – a part-time acting troupe – also use the theater.

Why You Should Visit:
Houston's best-kept secret for experiencing world-class free entertainment!
And of course, you have the lovely Hermann Park to explore before or after the show.

You can get tickets for the seats early the same day (A/C is nice and cold).
If you're sitting on the grass hill, bring your blankets, food, boxed wine (no glass)!
Get there early to get a good seat and enjoy the scenery.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 11am-11pm
Hermann Park

7) Hermann Park (must see)

If you only get time to visit one place in Houston, you may want to make that Hermann Park. It is the premier location in town. Located on 490 acres of ground just south of the downtown area, it houses an award-winning zoo, a Science Museum, gardens, and lots of family attractions. You can find everything from Japanese Gardens to Mini Trains for the kids to ride. There is something here for everybody.

For many years now, the city has been working on making this the best park of its kind in the nation. Over 3,000,000 people visit the park every year. It was started in 1914 when George Hermann (the namesake for the park) donated the first 284 acres. The rest of the acreage was purchased a year later by the city, at the urging of then-Mayor Ben Campbell.

Why You Should Visit:
One of Houston's great assets and there is usually a free concert or play to enjoy during spring & summer.

Make sure to contact Houston Ghost Tours for a nighttime park tour!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 6am-11pm
Houston Zoo

8) Houston Zoo (must see)

The Houston Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in town. It gets over two million visitors each year. The zoo sits on 55 acres of ground and has over 4,000 live animals on display. It is part of the Museum District at Hermann Park.

Inside the zoo, you can see exhibits of all kinds. The most current project is the African Forest Addition to the property. The new addition cost over $100 million and opened in late 2010. There is also a wonderful Children’s Zoo here, the Kipp Aquarium, and the Natural Encounters Building. The elephant display and reptile house are among the best in the nation.

Why You Should Visit:
With all the new renovations to the elephant exhibit and the previous renovation to the gorilla exhibit, things here have only gotten better.
This is an AZA-accredited zoo, which means it takes extraordinary care to provide healthy and happy living conditions for its animals.
Good for a slow walk under the big trees & covered pathways; there are also AC view enclosures to get away from the hot weather.

If you plan on going, make sure you are there early.
You can bring a backpack, as food and (non-alcoholic) drinks are allowed.
Stop by the kiosk by the entrance to see the schedule for the day so you can plan on watching feedings, listening to keeper chats and participate in other special activities.
Giraffe feeding happens twice a day, starting at 11am & 2pm, and even if you buy just one ticket, the entire family can go up on the platform to be almost eye level with the giraffes and take photos.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu: 9am-4pm / 5-10pm; Fri-Sun: 9am-4pm / 5-11pm
Free admission first Tuesday of the month (excluding the summer), and you can even reserve your free tickets online.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Houston, Texas

Create Your Own Walk in Houston

Create Your Own Walk in Houston

Creating your own self-guided walk in Houston is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Museums Walk in Houston

Museums Walk in Houston

The fourth largest city in the USA, Houston offers a large number of museums devoted to a variety of scientific, historical, and cultural subjects. Take this walking tour to discover some of the most famous museums in Houston.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 km
Downtown Orientation Walk

Downtown Orientation Walk

While Houston, Texas is a massive metropolis, its Downtown is relatively compact yet bustling business, culture and entertainment hub, with a vibrant theater scene. Alongside several theaters, Downtown Houston hosts a number of museums, parks and historic buildings, alongside many other attractions. To explore some of them, follow this orientation walk.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 km
Religious Walking Tour of Houston

Religious Walking Tour of Houston

Houston, founded in 1837, has grown into one of the biggest cities in the USA. This city features a large number of churches that are of great historical and/or architectural interest to visitors. Take this walking tour to discover some of the most acclaimed religious buildings in Houston.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 km
Art Walking Tour in Houston

Art Walking Tour in Houston

Among the wide variety of tourist attractions Houston has to offer, several art museums and galleries deserve special attention. These galleries will thrill all art lovers. Take this walking tour to discover some of the most spectacular museums and galleries in Houston.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 km
Downtown Nightlife Tour

Downtown Nightlife Tour

Houston is a vibrant modern American city and, as such, it offers a wide variety of opportunities for a night on the town. The city offers more than twenty bars and clubs, catering to the many different lifestyles and subcultures. Take this walking tour to experience the divers nightlife of Houston.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.1 km
Live Music Clubs Tour of Houston

Live Music Clubs Tour of Houston

Houston is a great city in which to enjoy all kinds of clubs, featuring live music in many different styles, for all ages and tastes. Take this walking tour for a unique nightlife experience.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.8 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Houston for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Houston has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Houston, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.