If you have 3 days in Houston, you can check out the city’s best attractions, explore its top restaurants, and even add some time to shop to your itinerary.
As a big metropolis and one of the biggest cities in Texas, Houston is ever-changing. Therefore, there is always something new to see or do. However, there are a few classic things that you should plan on visiting while here.
If you have from Friday to Sunday or a long weekend, you have the perfect amount of time to see the best of Houston.
This post has a 3-day itinerary to Houston, so you can enjoy a few days away from the office, travel on a long weekend, or experience the best of the city.
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Tips for Visiting Houston
To explore the best of Houston, you should purchase the Houston CityPass. By purchasing the pass for US$ 64, you can save up to 47% on some of Houston’s top attractions.
When you purchase the Houston CityPass, you can visit 5 of the top places to visit in Houston, including the Space Center Houston, Downtown Aquarium, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston Zoo OR Museum of Fine Arts, and Houston Kemah Boardwalk OR Children’s Museum Houston.
The Best Hotels in Houston
- Marriot Marquis Houston– A great option of a hotel in Downtown Houston and a perfect place to stay near Minute Made Park, the Convention Center, and the Theater District – a few main places to visit in the city. This well-located hotel also has the world’s largest Texas-shaped rooftop lazy river.
- The Post Oak Hotel– This hotel is in the Galleria area, where you’ll have access to a wide offer of malls and some of the best restaurants in Houston.
- Hotel Zaza Museum District– A perfect hotel if you’re planning on exploring the museums of Houston and walking around Herman Park, one of the best parks in the city.
- Hilton Nasa Clear Lake– This hotel is located only 5 minutes away from the Space Center Houston, giving you the flexibility to explore the nearby attraction without the need for a long commute.
- La Colombe d’Or– A boutique hotel set in a 1920s mansion, located in the trendy Montrose neighborhood, close to many cafés and shops. You’ll also be relatively close to Downtown and the Museum District, and the top attractions of Houston.
Getting around Houston
The best way to get around Houston is with a car. If you’re not from the area, you can rent a car at the airport and use it to explore the city. For a big city, parking is relatively easy, making a car a convenient way to get around.
I personally use and recommend RentalCars for my trips as it allows me to choose the best price amongst the top car rental companies.
If you don’t want to drive, you can also use the ride-sharing services available in the city, like Uber, Lyft, and the local Alto.
And if you prefer to use the public transportation system, you can rely on METRO; though it isn’t available throughout the entire city, it’s a good way to explore the main tourist path – Downtown, Museum District, and other areas.
Houston Itinerary Day 1 – Downtown
On the first day of your itinerary, it’s time to see the best of Downtown Houston. Start by going for a stroll at Discovery Green, a lovely park near George R. Brown Convention Center that is one of the best parks in the city.
After a walk around Discovery Green, head over to Downtown Aquarium, one of Houston’s top things to do. Spend some time checking out the 200 species and special exhibits. You can also go up 100 feet at the Diving Bell Ferris Wheel to look over Downtown.
Another highlight of Downtown is POST Houston, a newish cultural development with more than 20 food stalls and a communal seating dining style. Have a quick bite to eat at one of the vendors, and then go up to the outdoor terrace for stunning views of Downtown Houston.
In the afternoon, make your way to Buffalo Bayou Park for some time outdoors, soak in the green area, and have a picture-perfect perspective of Downtown’s skyline. Sunset is a great time to be at the park, and you can also see the bats flying away as a large group from Waugh Drive Bridge.
For dinner, visit the famous Xochi, a Mexican restaurant with Oaxacan dishes that is one of the best restaurants in Downtown Houston (at Marriot Marquis). Or, if you prefer something more low-key, head over to Frank’s Pizza for delicious New York-style pizzas, where you can buy them as a whole pie or by the slice.
HOUSTON ITINERARY – DAY 1 SUMMARY
- Discovery Green
- Downtown Aquarium
- POST Houston for lunch
- Buffalo Bayou Park
- Dinner at Xochi or Frank’s Pizza
Houston Itinerary Day 2 – Museum District and Galleria
For the second day of your itinerary, get ready to see some of Houston’s hot spots and try the famous Texas BBQ.
Start your day by heading over to the Museum District. There are many attractions here, but the Museum of Natural Science and the Houston Zoo are the top ones. Both places are excellent for family fun, and they are both included on the Houston CityPass.
The Museum of Natural Science has amazing permanent exhibits. The highlights are the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, packed with stunning gemstones; the Cabinet of Curiosities, where you see and touch the objects displayed; and the Morian Hall of Paleontology, with many dinosaur fossils that are especially attractive for kids.
And the zoo is another unique place to go in Houston with kids. They have many animals (including flamingos!), a wildlife carousel, and the Animal Encounters program where the little ones can meet some animals.
When it’s lunchtime, go to either Truth BBQ, Pit Room, or Pinkerton’s for a classic Texas BBQ in a friendly, informal setting. Be prepared to wait a little bit in line to order their delicious brisket, sausage, and pulled pork.
In the afternoon, go to the Galleria area and spend some time at the Galleria Mall, the largest in Texas, to shop in its department stores and designer boutiques. Or pay a visit to the River Oaks District for your dose of high-end designer goods – think Hermès, Dior, and Cartier. You can also go to Highland Village for stores like Anthropologie, J. Crew, and Sephora.
At night, finish the second day of your Houston itinerary with a dinner at Hugo’s – a restaurant for a tasty Mexican dinner. Everything on the menu is delicious, the margaritas are superb, and you can even try eating grasshopper!
HOUSTON ITINERARY – DAY 2 SUMMARY
- Museum of Natural Science or Houston Zoo
- Texas BBQ for lunch
- Afternoon at Galleria
- Dinner at Hugo’s
Houston Itinerary Day 3 – Space Center
Now for your third and last day in Houston, your itinerary will start with a brunch. Choose between the best brunches in Houston, such as Tiny’s Boxwoods, Hungry’s, Bosscat Kitchen & Libations, and Snooze.
After brunch, it’s time to visit Houston’s top attraction – the Space Center. Plan on spending some time here immersing yourself into the universe of space exploration and NASA’s world. And don’t forget to add some time to see the exterior area where the Independence Plaza and Space Shuttle Independence are. You can purchase tickets to the Space Center Houston online or use your Houston CityPass.
You might also like to read: Space Center Houston: What to know before you go
Following the Houston Space Center, finish your day at Saint Arnold Brewery, the top brewery to visit in the city. They have a beer garden and an indoor area with chapels painted by local artists.
At night, finish your 3-day itinerary by treating yourself to a special dinner in Houston. For Japanese food, the go-to are Kata Robata, Uchi, and Uptown Sushi. If you’re craving Italian, you can’t go wrong with Coppa Osteria, Lulu’s, or Giacomo’s Cibo e Vino (a neighborhood favorite). Perry’s, B&B Butchers, and Taste of Texas are excellent choices if you’re more of a steak person. Other superb alternatives are Le Colonial, Traveler’s Table, Flora, Marmo, and Brasserie 19.
HOUSTON ITINERARY – DAY 3 SUMMARY
- Space Center
- St Arnold Brewery
- Special Dinner
What is Houston known for?
The most famous attraction in Houston is the Space Center. However, the city is also renowned for its diversity, which is reflected in its many restaurants. So, Houston is also known for its energetic culinary scene.
Is Houston worth visiting?
Definitely! Houston is perfect for a long weekend getaway, and with 3 days in the city, you can see its top attractions, shop, and enjoy the wonderful dining life.
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