Summertime Activities Within a 15-Minute Drive

Downtown Houston daytime

Summer is finally here! But with high gas prices and unpredictable airline service, travel these days can be a bit complicated. However, there’s a ton you can do within a 15-minute drive of the Heights! If you’re interested in having fun close to home this summer, keep these ideas in mind.  

Houston Zoo

Head to Hermann Park to check out this massive 55-acre zoo. With over 6,000 animals that stem from over 600 species, the Houston Zoo is sure to feature your favorite wild and domesticated creatures. You’ll learn about some new ones too! This summer, several animals including a giraffe, lemurs, an orangutan, duikers, and a jaguar will be added to the zoo’s collection.

This spot receives 2.1 million visitors every year, making it the second most frequented zoo in the U.S. Guests can plan animal encounters, purchase art produced by animals, ride the famous wildlife carousel, attend exhibits and presentations, and so much more. For a truly unique experience, consider volunteering this summer!

Turtle Racing at Little Woodrow’s

Source: Instagram @littlewoodrowsmidtown

Maybe you love animals but prefer them in smaller doses. That’s fine! At Little Woodrow’s on Brazos Street, you can grab a beer, claim your spot around a ring, and bet on some cute racing turtles. This only takes place on Thursdays during the summer, so check it out while you can!

Miller Outdoor Theatre

You don’t need to sit inside a theatre to take in a show. Spread out a comfy blanket and rest on the lawn at Miller Outdoor Theatre to enjoy plays, orchestras, symphonies, and theatrical dance performances. Like the Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theatre is situated inside Hermann Park. Purchase tickets ahead of time to attend a show of your choosing – the theatre features exciting entertainment almost every day!

Minute Maid Park

Minute Maid Park opened in Downtown in the year 2000 as the official ballpark of the Houston Astros. The stadium’s retractable roof lets in plenty of fresh air, which can be much-needed when seats get packed. Watch a game with an old-fashioned hot dog in one hand and a beer in the other, or buy tickets to listen to some live music later this summer.

Theater District

Rather than individually cover every entertainment option available in the Theatre District, we put together this quick list of places to check out:

  • The Hobby Center
  • The Wortham Theatre Center
  • Alley Theatre
  • Jones Hall
  • Revention Music Center
  • Bayou Place
  • AMC Houston 8
  • 713 Music Hall
  • Downtown Aquarium

As you can see, there are options here that appeal to theatre lovers, museum fans, animal enthusiasts, shopaholics, and more. No matter what kind of mood you’re in, there’s something fun for you in the Theatre District!


Source: Instagram @cidercade_houston

What could be better than mixing some hard cider and arcade games? Located on Canal Street, Cidercade boasts over 275 arcade games that guests can play an unlimited number of times for just a $10 admission fee. In total, Cidercade offers 48 taps of hard ciders, hard kombuchas, hard seltzers, and hard smoothies. If soda is more your style, you can purchase a cup for unlimited refills. The establishment doesn’t sell food, so you might want to hit up your favorite local restaurant before visiting.

Keep in mind that during the day, Cidercade is family-friendly, but it becomes 21+ after 8 PM. The arcade-bar is also cashless, so remember to take your credit or debit card with you.

Waugh Drive Bridge Bats

Summer evenings on the Waugh Drive Bridge in Montrose are special for a very particular reason – bats! If you like to wonder at the beauty and adaptability of wildlife, you’ll love having the opportunity to check this out. After the bridge was constructed, it became home to thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats. Today, more than 250,000 bats call the bridge home. Around sunset, the little guys fly out from the structure’s crevices and put on a show for visitors standing on the viewing platform or alongside the bayou. Spooky? Kind of. But also pretty awesome!

The Menil Collection

Art enthusiasts will love this vast international collection of more than 17,000 pieces of sculptures, prints, drawings, paintings, photographs, and rare books put together by John de Menil and Domenique de Menil. Visitors will learn about various art forms and will be offered a rare glimpse into the historical perspectives of ancient and modern figures. Many works at the Menil Collection are thousands of years old, a fact that spurs conversations about history, artistic mediums, and the power of art as an enduring form of communication.    

Buffalo Bayou Park

With a total area of 160 acres, Buffalo Bayou Park is a great place to go to run, bike, and catch up with friends over a brisk walk. The park also hosts great events including yoga, meditation, educational wildlife sessions, boat tours, and more. The park is designed to keep visitors active and aware of all the natural beauty located right here in Houston.

Also located in Buffalo Bayou Park are the Waugh Drive Bridge bat colony and Johnny Steele Dog Park. After a day of play in the hot Texas heat, your pup will appreciate Kinder Pond and the park’s refreshing sprinkler areas. It’s also equipped with fountains to keep your dog hydrated!

Go Mural Hopping

Scope out murals large and small across the Heights and all throughout Houston using the Houston Mural Map. The website makes it easy for visitors to track nearby murals so that they can stop by for a quick peek no matter what they’re doing. Develop your own mural tour, or simply check the map as you make your way to and from activities located around the city. Houston is home to some wildly talented artists who might surprise you with their creativity! With hundreds of murals located throughout Houston, it’s impossible to see them all. Some murals also change out from time to time!  Technology like this can help you figure out what murals to hit and which ones to skip.

Whether you’re exploring the city this summer or venturing outside of Houston’s city limits, have a blast, and keep safe!