Free Weekend Fun in Houston TX
There are busy cities, and then there’s Houston. Houston, America’s fourth largest city, has an almost endless list of things to do. Explore 300 miles of walking and biking trails, let the flavors of foods from all over the world dance off your tongue, and immerse yourself in the cultures of H-melting Town’s pot. Catch a game from one of Houston’s five professional sports teams, see a show in the world-renowned Theater District, and visit all of the Houston Museum District’s attractions. Houston is the ultimate “choose your own adventure” destination, with pleasant year-round weather and an ideal spot at the Texas Gulf Coast and the Piney Woods crossroads.
The Menil Collection
1533 Sul Ross St., Houston, TX 77006
Named after founders John and Dominique de Menil, the French-American art collectors and philanthropists, the Menil Collection stands on 30 acres of green, peaceful land in the heart of Houston’s Museum District. Designed by Renzo Piano, the facility encompasses five buildings: two main buildings house special exhibitions and the permanent collection, and two are dedicated to single artists (Cy Twombly and Dan Flavin). The Menil and its grounds provide a sanctuary to visitors from daily life, as they’re welcome to “pause, reflect, and reinvigorate.” Part of the vision of this art museum is to inspire visitors to feel the spirituality and humanistic features that emanate from the art pieces. Admission is always free. – menil.org
Lee and Joe Jamail Skate Park
103 Sabine St., Houston, TX 77007
Have you got teens? Finding cool places for them to enjoy life can be a challenge. Visitors of all ages will enjoy a trip to the Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark, designed by the premiere skatepark firm Grindline and the region’s first world-class, in-ground skatepark. One of the giant skate cradles in the U.S., the $2.7 million skate park has areas for all levels, from seasoned pros to beginners. Whether you want to experience the thrill from the sidelines or give this daring sport a try with one of the free classes, the Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark provides hours of free entertainment. (Helmets required.) – houstontx.gov/parks/parksites/leejoepark.html
Project Row Houses
2521 Holman Street, Houston, TX 77004
Project Row Houses began in 1993 when seven visionary African-American artists saw potential in some derelict shotgun-style houses at the corner of Holman and Live Oak in Houston’s historic Third Ward. Today, PRH encompasses five city blocks and houses 39 structures that serve as a home base for various initiatives that enrich the community, including art programs and neighborhood development. Through mentorship and art installations, the arts community encourages an atmosphere that fosters artistic growth and supports and honors culture. Various exhibits and programs run year-round. Admission is free. – projectrowhouses.org
The James Turell “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace
(Located adjacent to the Shepherd School of Music on the Rice University campus near entrances #8 and #18, near WestLot 2 parking.)
Constructed of grass, concrete, stone, and composite steel, the Skyspace structure is equipped with an LED light sequence that projects onto the ceiling and through an aperture in the 72-foot square knife-edge roof just before sunrise and sunset. Created by American artist James Turell, the piece can accommodate 120 people, and the light sequences were designed to offer students of Rice University a pensive escape through a public display of art in everyday life. The Skyspace structure is open to the public throughout the day. Light sequences occur daily at sunrise and sunset (see website for times and more details). Admission is free, with optional reservations for timed shows each day.
Sam Houston Boat Tour
7300 Clinton Dr., Houston, Texas 77020
The Sam Houston has offered public tours of the Port of Houston since 1958. The 95-ft. vessel holds up to 100 passengers and offers 90-minute round-trip education tours along the fascinating Houston Ship Channel. Tours are offered Tuesday through Saturday, starting at 10 am, with a varying schedule. The times are free, but you should make reservations online. Bring your friends and family to explore a large part of Houston in under two hours! (Closed Monday and Sunday.) – porthouston.com/sam-Houston-boat-tour
Celebrate chalk art
The streets of downtown will come alive this weekend at Via Colori, a fundraiser for The Center for Hearing and Speech. More than 200 artists will create chalk masterpieces right on the street. Live music, food booths, and a kids’ zone to boot! Located at 1100 Bagby from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday.
Watch an outdoor flick.
Catch another free movie at Discovery Green Saturday as part of the Gexa Energy Broadway film Series. Watch “Shall We Dance?” at 7:30 p.m. to kick off the upcoming Burn the Floor Broadway show at Hobby Center December 14-19. Discovery Green is located downtown at 1500 McKinney.
Glisten at CityCenter
Enjoy the holiday celebration at CityCentre called Glisten, featuring Ruggles’ hot chocolate bar, music, an ice sculpture performance, and Sweet’s Cupcakes. At 8 p.m., snowflakes light up the plaza! Glisten is from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Complimentary champagne, light bites, live music, and cocktails will be served at Hotel Sorella’s lobby lounge for adults located at 800 Town and Country Blvd.
Engage with local artists.
Visit more than 180 Houston artists in Artcrawl Houston Saturday from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. as they open their artist spaces to the public. They are located in the Artist Warehouse District of downtown Houston. Artcrawl is an annual tradition on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Check out the Artcrawl map of participating artists.
Sample some chili
The annual Houston Championship Chili Cookoff is Saturday at Trader’s Village. This open-air market is free, but parking is $3. This cookoff is associated with the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo! Trader’s Village is located at 7979 Eldridge near Hwy. 290.
Browse holiday art
The Winter Holiday Art Market (WHAM), sponsored by Spacetaker, returns for a fifth year. Enjoy food, art, entertainment, and the new IKEA Lounge. Local artists will be selling jewelry, clothing, paintings, and more! Hours are 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday. They are located at the Winter Street Studios at 2101 Winter Street.
Kick-off Winter in The Woodlands
It’s double the fun Saturday as The Woodlands kicks off its holiday season. The 28th annual Lighting of the Doves is a festival from 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Town Green Park. Enjoy a snow play area, interactive booths, ice carvers, face painting, fireworks, and more. At the same time, enjoy the “street fair” atmosphere of iWOW (International Winter on the Waterway), featuring international food, arts and crafts, performances, and music. It is located on The Woodlands Waterway and Town Green Park banks.
Be thankful at family museum day.
Bayou Bend’s monthly family day Sunday features a Thanksgiving theme. Celebrate the traditions and customs of America’s Thanksgiving past. Families can create a Thanksgiving centerpiece, play early American games, and add their wishes to a Thanksgiving collage. Free admission for the family day from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Bayou Bend is located at 1 Westcott Street.
Watch movies under the moon.
Enjoy Disney’s Ratatouille under the stars at downtown Discovery Green. The movie kicks off Friday at 8 pm. Discovery Green is located at 1500 McKinney. Help H-E-B collect canned goods for the Houston Food Bank by bringing your donations to the event. Lawn chairs, picnics, and blankets are welcome. Or Saturday, head to Sugar Land Town Square for its outdoor movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic, at 8 pm.
Craft a fossil
Kids will enjoy making their fossils at Lakeshore Learning’s weekly craft event. Stop by between 11 am – 3 pm for this fun freebie. Don’t miss the special 20% off one-item coupon online here.
Celebrate culture at the Hispanic parade.
The annual Fiestas Patrias downtown parade begins at 10:00 am Saturday near Minute Maid Park at Texas and Hamilton, proceeding west. The celebration culminates with the crowning of Miss Fiestas Patrias.
Bike to farmers markets — Enjoy the great outdoors biking to local farmers’ markets. This Saturday, the Bayou City Outdoors runs its Farmers Market Bike Tours for free to the public. Visit three to five local farmers markets in an 8-12 mile ride. The ride is free, but not the market goodies are not. The ride begins at 8 am at Onion Creek in the Heights.
Learn about fall lawn care.
Despite the Texas heat, it’s time to start thinking about fall lawn care. Cornelius Nursery is hosting a free Fall Lawn Care clinic Saturday at 10:15 a.m. Cornelius is located at 1200 North Dairy Ashford and 2233 South Voss.
Visit 17 museums for free.
Houston’s 15th annual Museum District Day is a fabulous way to visit the 17 participating museums in the museum district. Free performances, demonstrations, and hands-on activities will go on all day at the various museums from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Check out the museum day schedule online here. Find the list of participating museums here, minus The Houston Zoo.
Relax to the rhythm
The 14th annual Kemah Jazz Festival returns all weekend as a fun, free event. Enjoy a weekend of music on the Boardwalk in Kemah with the region’s best jazz artists from noon to about 9 pm each day. Check out the music schedule online. It is located in Kemah at 215 Kipp Ave.
Enjoy live music at Waterway Square.
The Live at Night Waterway Music Series picks up again on Saturdays this fall in The Woodlands. This weekend’s performers feature Tim Nichols and Southern Slang from 6 – 9 pm.
Catch a weekend of contemporary dance.
The annual Weekend of Texas Contemporary Dance is a must-see for dance lovers. Featuring Texas’ top-performing dance companies, the performance is a mixture of athleticism, technology, and imagination rolled into one. The event is at 8 pm at Miller Outdoor Theatre. The dance theme continues with a Saturday matinee at 11 am for Dance Around the World, comparing two different dance styles. Free reserved seat tickets are available on the day of the performance from 10:30 am – 1 pm. photo: Frank White.
Watch a movie under the moon.
Enjoy the 1940s Disney classic Fantasia on the big outdoor screen at Discovery Green. The show is Saturday at 7:30 pm. This is part of a monthly IKEA Houston Screen on the Green series.
Visit a national park.
The U.S. National Park Service designates Free National Park weekends for all its 394 national parks throughout the year. The next one is Saturday for Public Lands Day. Texas is home to several national parks, preserves, and historical sites that will offer free admission: Big Bend National Park, Fort Davis National Historic Site, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and Padre Island National Seashore. Find the listing online.
Listen to the Latin beat.
Don’t miss the first La Voz de Houston Concert series kicking off Sunday at 5 pm. The outdoor event at Discovery Green features a family-oriented line-up of artists such as Roberto Pulido and Los Pistoleros de Tejas. Discovery Green is located downtown at 1500 McKinney.
Enjoy the cultural diversity of India at Incredible India, featuring more than 100 drummers, singers, and dancers. This event will be held at Miller Outdoor Theatre at 8 pm Sunday. Free reserved seat tickets are available at the box office on performance day from 10:30 am – 1 pm.