Skip to main content

Houston a Destination City for Leisure Activities

Published Apr 10, 2024 by Hailea Schultz

Houston

Renowned worldwide as a mecca for performing and visual arts, complemented by its vast array of parks and green spaces, and award-winning culinary scene, Houston continues to attract people from across the globe for its abundance of leisure activities.  

Early projections from Houston First Corporation reveal that the Bayou City welcomed over 51 million visitors last year, earning the title of Most Popular City in Texas for Overseas Tourists, according to Trips to Discover. Additionally, Houston was named one of the top American cities with the most fun things to do by CommercialCafe

Arts & Entertainment

At the heart of Houston's allure lies its world-class museums, such as the Menil Collection and The Museum of Fine Arts, which serve as gateways to explore art, history and science. The Orange Show and Smither Park, constructed from recycled materials, stand as mosaic wonderlands, a testament to the city’s folk art. Moreover, recent additions to Houston's art scene, such as Meow Wolf and the Museum of Illusions, introduce immersive installations and exhibits that create unique attractions in the Bayou City. 

Adding a flare to the arts, Houston's entertainment district provides exclusive access to some of the world’s best musical, dance and theatrical talent, featuring prestigious organizations and theaters such as the Houston Ballet and Symphony alongside the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts and the Wortham Theater Center. Meanwhile, venues like the House of Blues and the White Oak Music Hall provide electrifying concert experiences, showcasing both established acts and emerging talents. 

Parks & Outdoors

With nearly 400 parks and more than 200 green spaces, including the beloved Buffalo Bayou and Memorial Park, Houston also offers plenty of outdoor activities within the city. Hidden in-between downtown skyscrapers lies Discovery Green, a 12-acre urban park, which offers free yoga classes and movie screenings alongside the skating rink and green spaces. Nestled within the iconic Houston Zoo lies Hermann Park, which features a Japanese garden, golf course and modern play areas, making it one of the best city parks in the nation. 

Among the city’s top attractions are its amusement parks, including Downtown Aquarium, Space Center Houston, Galveston’s Pleasure Pier, Kemah Boardwalk and the Houston Funplex. Great Wolf Lodge, a massive resort and indoor water park, is also expected to open this year.   

Sports

Houston is also a sports city, boasting many major-league teams and venues, including the 2017 and 2022 MLB World Series Champions – the Houston Astros, who call Minute Maid Park home. Among its crown jewels are also the Houston Texans, Rockets and the Dynamos, which occupy NRG Stadium, the Toyota Center, and Shell Energy Stadium. These state-of-the-art facilities will host a series of major sporting events in the upcoming years, including the 2024 College Football Playoff National Championship, 2026 FIFA World Cup, and the 2025, 2027, and 2031 AAU Junior Olympic Games. 

Festivals & Events

The city also hosts several exciting events annually, including the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, recognized as the world’s largest and best fair and rodeo by the Academy of Country Music. In the 2024 season, the Houston Rodeo experienced record-breaking attendance, welcoming more than 2.5 million guests over the 23-day event. Other H-Town known events include the Houston Art Car Parade, the Bayou City Art Festival, Hermann Park’s Kite Festival, the Texas Renaissance Festival and the Chevron Houston Marathon, showcasing a dynamic variety of events with everyone in mind.  

Discover more about living in Houston

Related News

Living In Houston

Growth in Spring Branch Driving New Developments, Businesses to the Area

5/9/24
Once characterized by its rural charm and agricultural heritage, Spring Branch, nestled within the heart of Houston, has undergone a significant transformation, evolving into a bustling community.  Over the past decade, Spring Branch has seen a notable surge in population, rising from 107,271 to 120,667 residents, according to the Spring Branch Management District (SBMD). Situated at the crossroads of Houston's major arteries - Interstate 10, Beltway 8, Highway 290 and the 610 Loop - Spring Branch provides accessibility to some of the city’s busiest areas. The area is also strategically positioned near the Energy Corridor, Downtown and Memorial. This substantial growth, coupled with seamless urban connectivity, has positioned it as an attractive destination for new developments and businesses.   Click to expand Witte Road Redevelopment Project Last year, the Witte Road Redevelopment project was completed, converting a former 1.53-acre warehouse on Witte and Westview roads into a neighborhood hotspot for dining and retail. The development features two flagship Underbelly Hospitality concepts, Wild Oats and Underbelly Burger, alongside The Decoy, an expansive outdoor bar with sand volleyball courts.  Houston-based Newfound Partners, a new commercial real estate firm, also recently redeveloped a 28,500-square-foot industrial building at 1106 Witte Road into an innovative, single-level office development. The building now serves as Newfound’s headquarters and is also home to Cannon Field, Leggett Ventures, On Point Custom Homes and more.   Click to expand MarqE Entertainment Center Meanwhile, Spring Branch’s culinary scene is booming with new businesses. Notably, Christine Ha, winner of MasterChef season three, unveiled Stuffed Belly, a novel drive-thru sandwich concept, last year. Aviator Pizza & Drafthouse and SeaSide Poke were unveiled this year as the latest additions to Spring Branch's MarqE Entertainment Center. Additionally, beloved Heights hand-rolled sushi eatery Hando and a new cafe venture by the owners of Urban Eats, dubbed Salt & Sugar, are expanding into the area.   Click to expand Spring Branch Trail Amid ongoing growth and development, Spring Branch remains committed to elevating its quality of life through the enhancement of parks, green spaces and trails. SBMD recently announced that construction is set to commence this summer on a 1-mile concrete stretch that will connect two existing hike-and-bike trails – Emnora and Spring Branch.   Slated for completion in 2025, this project marks the third phase of SBMD's comprehensive strategy to link the Addicks Reservoir near Beltway 8 with the White Oak Bayou Greenway. The initial phase, finalized in 2020, introduced the 2.4-mile Spring Branch Trail, with the second phase set to expand upon this trail once nearby utility tower work concludes.  Click to expand Haden Park Rendering Additionally, SBMD is working to revitalize Haden Park, which spans 13-acres at the northeast corner of Long Point and Witte Road. According to SBMB’s 2024 Master Plan, the project, slated to begin construction in 2025, will add an event lawn, dog park, splash pad, tree house, pickleball courts, playgrounds and public art installations, alongside other improvements to existing infrastructure.  Discover Houston’s neighborhoods and communities.  
Read More
Economic Development

Greater Houston Partnership Recognized Among Site Selection Magazine’s Top Groups

5/3/24
The Greater Houston Partnership has been awarded Site Selection Magazine’s Mac Conway Award for Excellence in Economic Development for its outstanding regional economic development performance in 2023. Widely considered to be the gold standard recognition for regions from the industry’s top trade publication, the award is based on the following criteria:  Total projects Total investment associated with those corporate facility projects Total jobs associated with those corporate facility projects Per capita calculations of those same three metrics  "Receiving the Mac Conway Award for Excellence in Economic Development is not just a recognition of our region’s achievements; it's a testament to our commitment to creating opportunity in Houston,” said Steve Kean, President and CEO at the Partnership. “It’s a team effort here in Houston, and we are delighted to work with our partner economic development groups across the region to tell the world about Houston and attract new jobs and investment to our community.”  This is the Partnership’s first win since 2021 and 15th time winning the award. The Partnership previously received honorable mentions in 2007, 2016 and 2017, bringing the Partnership’s total number of appearances in Site Selection’s top group rankings to 18 since its inception in 1989.  “I am very proud of our organization's recognition of the prestigious Mac Conway Award for Excellence,” said Craig Rhodes, Senior Vice President of Economic Development at the Partnership. “It's a testament to the collaborative efforts with our partners across the 12-county region, and it motivates our team to continue our mission of driving inclusive prosperity and creating meaningful opportunities for all."  Following major economic development wins in 2023, the greater Houston region has gotten off to a strong start in the first quarter of 2024, with 139 new business announcements identified.  A total of 40 businesses established new facilities in the Houston area while 97 projects were an expansion of existing Houston-area facilities. Manufacturing accounted for 32 percent of the announcements, with professional, scientific and technical services ranking second (17 percent).  Learn more about why companies choose Houston.
Read More

Related Events

Executive Partners