10 Essential Houston Summer Bucket List Experiences

Colby Smith Colby Smith

10 Essential Houston Summer Bucket List Experiences

Here is the recipe for the perfect Houston experience.

Without dealing in clichés and overused proverbials like ‘life is short’ and ‘carpe diem’, 2020 was undoubtedly a revelation for millions. It taught us about ourselves, our passions, our values, and the people and places we turn to in times of hardship. Most of all, it reminded us that we should never take our health and our freedom for granted. We spent enough time with our great city brought to its knees to realize that now we should enjoy it to its maximum. Luckily, here in Houston, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to unique and memorable experiences.

This is a bucket list of what to do in and around Houston. A things-to-do-before-you-die type of list aimed at Houstonians and tourists in equal measure. These are the best ways to experience Houston and the must-do activities around the city whether you’re a seasoned local or a thrill-seeking visitor. [Featured image: @mr_kwu]

1. Go For a Swim

Nothing compares to the blissful relaxation of floating in the heat of the Texas sun with a cold drink in hand. While lazy rivers are not so easy to come by in Houston, you can now swim over to the Marriot Marquis in Downtown, Houston, where visitors at the hotel can float the Texas border.

2. Go Starry Eyed at This Masterful Van Gogh Exhibit

You’ve never experienced Van Gogh like this before. Instead of standing and staring at one of the iconic artist’s beautiful framed paintings from afar, imagine being able to walk inside one — the vibrant colors swirling around you while you take in the stunning, post-impressionist works in an otherworldly way. Well, that’s exactly what you’ll be able to do at the brand new Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience coming to the Marq’E Entertainment Center in Houston this August!

3. Hit Some Of Houston’s Best Patios

Triple digit temperatures and humidity can’t stop Houstonians from enjoying the outdoors. One surefire way to capitalize on the weekend, weekday, weeknight – really just any time – is to have a couple drinks amongst friends in the open air of a patio. Get out and about this season at some of our favorite watering holes in town.

4. Experience a Stunning Candlelight Performance

Calm your mind and experience classical music in a new light with these sensational concerts in some of Houston’s most magical locations. This concert series known simply as “Candlelight” invites everyone to relive the greatest works of classical music, from Vivaldi to Mozart to Bach, in an intimate atmosphere.

And after having enormous success around the world—in cities like Paris, Barcelona, Dallas, Austin, and New York—the experience has finally made it in Houston! Buy tickets for Houston Candlelight concerts here.

5. Drink Endless Margaritas on Buffalo Bayou


What could be better than floating the Buffalo Bayou? Floating the Bayou with a buzz, of course. Cuchara is bringing back their Xochimilco boat tour: a booze cruise that serves ceviche, party favors, and all the margaritas you can drink.

6. Soar On Houston’s Highest Rooftops

Nothing quite says “living the highlife” like clinking glasses on a city rooftop. Touch the sky this season with a brunch, evening, or nightcap on the most jaw-dropping rooftops in Houston.

7. See all the Stars In Space City

Photo credit: @museum_mike_

The stars at night are about to get bigger and brighter with the opening of the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s George Observatory! Here, stargazers can see live feeds of brilliant constellations through their state-of-the-art telescopes, muse over the Milky Way with astronomical experts, and embark on a laser tour of the universe.

8. Let All the Butterflies in your Stomach Out

Enter a stunning, three-story glass structure built around a 50-foot waterfall. This simulated tropical rain forest is filled with exotic plants and thousands of live butterflies. As you walk through the three-story glass rain forest at your own pace, feast your eyes on a rainbow of color provided by the thousands of live, fluttering butterflies and exotic flowering plant species. Absorb all the beauty of the living rain forest, and then make your way to the Brown Hall of Entomology and witness astounding living insects, spectacular mounted specimens, larger-than-life models, and interactive games!

9. Visit Life on Mars

Other than maybe NASA, no institution takes their home in Space City more seriously than the HMNS. Over the years the museum has continued to exhibit out-of-this-world expositions that honor our intergalactic accomplishments. With the sensational landing of the Perseverance Rover – endearingly called “Percy” – on Mars, no exhibit in Houston is more apropos than the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Mars exhibited from now until October 7.

10. Catch a Live Show In The Heart of Houston

Discovery Green plans to put on a variety of other shows and events this summer that include showcasing Houston’s Grand Opera, Fitness in the Park, and an International Sports Film Festival. This includes their Friday Night Concerts, with shows on July 16 and August 27 with performances from Say Girl Say and Swimwear Department, respectively. For a full list of events and detailed schedule, visit their website here.

Things To Do