Explore Your City Like a Tourist

No PTO? No problem. Your next greatest adventure can be in your hometown.

Suzanne Stavinoha

October 2023

How many times have you faced this dilemma: It’s been a long, hard week of work, but it’s coming to an end and the weekend is in sight. You and your crew don’t have any solid plans, but you’d like to avoid resorting to the same-old-same-old. How do you come up with something new?

Think like a tourist! For example, Houston is a city with an estimated 22 million visitors annually. What do those people do?

Luckily, Houston has about a thousand answers to that question. Your task is to narrow the list down to the half-dozen or so that sound fun to you. Then round up your friends and head out! We did the work of narrowing down this list to the highlights so all you have to do is have fun.

Let’s start in the heart of downtown with a bite to eat. Since not everyone will agree on what those eats should be, best to look for variety. Jones on Main is home to Finn Hall, an eclectic food court with eleven different restaurant concepts to choose from, including burgers, BBQ, and tacos as well as pizza pies and vegan smoothies.

With appetites satiated, it’s time to walk off some of those calories. It so happens you’re just a stairwell away from one of Houston’s most distinctive attractions: The Tunnels. Built underground to give downtown denizens an air-conditioned way to get around, this six-mile labyrinth of shops and eateries links 95 city blocks. There’s a two-hour Tunnel Tour that lets you experience the cool convenience of it all.

Another great downtown venue to explore is GreenStreet, a unique mash-up of entertainment, food, offices, and green space. There’s billiards and bowling, a hotel, and blues music and margaritas, all arranged around landscaped courtyards. Just a short walk away is another “green” attraction, Discovery Green. This urban park features free fitness classes and concerts, plus a plethora of various events year-round.

Just east of downtown, you’ll find the hip haven of EaDo (EAst DOwntown) and 8th Wonder Brewery with its giant statue of The Beatles and a life-size, Instagram-worthy “We (heart) Houston” sign. Only a few blocks north of there is Minute Maid Park, home of the World Champion Houston Astros. Tourists and locals alike take the Ballpark Tour for a behind-the-bases look.

A little further on is East River, an innovative new development going up on the banks of Buffalo Bayou. Open now is Riverhouse Houston restaurant and East River 9, a nine-hole golf course in the center of the city complete with pickleball courts. Just outside of downtown, this destination offers a breath of fresh air and the best view of the Houston skyline.

Live like a local and explore like a tourist with these tips and tricks:

Explore #HoustonDestinations or #ThingstodoinHouston on TikTok.

Google “Visiting (your city name)” or “hidden gems of (your city name).”

Check out the Happenings pages at your favorite destinations.