Soak up the best of Texas’s largest city by carving out time in your itinerary to explore Downtown Houston. Featuring some of the city’s biggest tourist attractions, Houston’s Central Business District is a popular spot with travelers of all ages.
From the beautiful and tranquil Discovery Green to the vibrant nightlife of the House of Blues Houston, Downtown Houston offers plenty of variety, whether you’re visiting with family, friends, or for work. Stay, play, and explore—it’s all possible here!
Not sure where to start your adventure? Plan your visit with this complete guide to what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay in Downtown Houston.
Why Treksplorer? Founded in 2011 by Ryan O’Rourke, Treksplorer provides travel recommendations and advice to millions of readers every year. Our content is rooted in our writers’ firsthand experiences, in-depth research, and/or collaborations with other experts and locals. Read more about our editorial policy.
What to see & do in Downtown Houston
Want to get out and about and enjoy the Texas sunshine? Round up your family or friends and wander over to Discovery Green. Spanning 11.78 acres of parkland in Downtown Houston, this green space is popular with tourists and locals alike and is a pleasant spot to while away the hours.
Discovery Green isn’t just a beautifully maintained city park; it’s also a popular public art exhibition space. The art installations here often change, giving local artists the opportunity to share their work against a gorgeous, natural backdrop.
Whether you want to explore the artwork, go for a run on the trails, enjoy one of the many live music performances, or relax on the shores of the one-acre lake, Discovery Green is a Downtown Houston must-see.
Minute Maid Park
Indulge in America’s favorite pastime on your Houston trip at one of the most popular ballparks in the country: Minute Maid Park. Formerly known as The Ballpark at Union Station, Enron Field, and Astros Field, the stadium is home to the beloved Houston Astros of the MLB.
Slide into Minute Maid Park to catch a baseball game, enjoy a giant hot dog, or stock up on Astros merchandise. With a fully retractable roof, Minute Maid Park always ensures games will go ahead, rain or shine! Cheer on the Astros alongside the hometown crowds as the players swing for the fences.
Booking tickets for a Houston Astros game is a perfect Downtown Houston excursion, whether you’re visiting with family, friends, or on your own. Soak up that hometown atmosphere!
Market Square Park
Beloved by the masses, Market Square Park is more than just a green space. With dog runs, events, and a ton of local art, this community space is the hub of activity in the heart of Downtown Houston that’ll instantly welcome you.
Although there’s plenty to enjoy here during the day, Market Square Park is best visited in the evening. The park is surrounded by eateries and bars, giving it a distinctive urban buzz at night.
Market Square Park even has its own restaurant, Niko Niko’s, a local Greek restaurant that’s developed an almost cult-like status. As the park is open until 11 pm, you can enjoy a post-dinner stroll and grab some delicious Greek food on your way back to the hotel.
Wortham Theater Center
Need an injection of culture into your Houston city break? Carve out some time to visit the Wortham Theater Center. Home to both the Houston Ballet and the Houston Grand Opera, this theater always has amazing performances to be witnessed.
Located on Texas Avenue, the Wortham Theater Center is one of downtown’s most striking buildings. It was designed by Eugene Aubry of Morris Architects and cost over $66 million to build and furnish. The result? A remarkable building that’s visually stunning both inside and out.
The Wortham Theater Center complex features several different theaters and performing spaces. It hosts a wide variety of shows, ranging from stand-up comics to dance troupes to full orchestral performances.
The Hobby Center for Performing Arts
Looking to catch a musical or performance while in Houston? With two full-sized theatre spaces and one of the most grandiose lobbies you’ll ever see, The Hobby Center for Performing Arts is a spectacular spot for an evening out in Downtown Houston.
With traveling productions of Broadway and West End shows like Six gracing the stage, you can catch a top-rated show in the center of Houston. Aside from the opulence of the French-inspired, three-story lobby, The Hobby Center for Performing Arts also offers one of the most outstanding views of the city, thanks to its 60-foot glass windows.
Whether you visit for a show or to enjoy the architecture and views, the Hobby Center is a must-visit spot to add to your Downtown Houston itinerary.
House of Blues Houston
Tasty food, excellent music, and a legendary venue all rolled into one is what awaits at the House of Blues Houston. Part of the iconic House of Blues chain, this famed venue dishes it all out with a unique Southern twist. Grab your dancing shoes and visit for an unforgettable night out!
Serving up classic Southern dishes like Po’ boys and jambalaya, the House of Blues Houston offers the complete package for a night out on the town. Grab a bite to eat, and order a drink (or three) before dancing the night away to some amazing live music. (After all, that’s what this majestic venue is best known for!)
With billing ranging from well-known names like King Princess, The 502s, and Easy Life to local acts looking to get a big break or stand-up comics like Nigel Ng, every visit to the House of Blues Houston is unique and well worth the trip.
Sam Houston Park
If you love history, architecture, and nature, there’s one spot in Downtown Houston that’s going to tick all your boxes. With structures and buildings dating back to the 1800s, Sam Houston Park was Houston’s first public park and is popular with visitors of all ages.
Located on Bagby Street, Sam Houston Park is close to the Houston City Hall and other major municipal buildings, putting it in the heart of the action. Make like the locals and take a wander around the park on your lunch break, enjoying a bite to eat on one of the many benches. If you need more exertion, grab your sneakers and enjoy the park at a jogger’s pace.
Alternatively, book yourself onto one of the park’s guided tours. Learn all about the illustrious history of this park, its historic structures, and the figures that made this Houston landmark what it is today.
Looking to catch a major performance or cheer on the Houston Rockets while you’re in town? Add the mighty Toyota Center to your Downtown Houston itinerary. Seating over 18,000, the stadium dishes out an electric atmosphere that has to be seen to be believed.
If you’re not into basketball or are visiting Houston in the off-season, there’s still plenty to enjoy at the Toyota Center. With headliners like Lizzo, Post Malone, and BLACKPINK performing here, the events calendar is always stacked with world-class talent. If you’re looking to catch a Rockets game, try and get your ticket as far in advance as possible—they play in front of sellout crowds most of the time!
To see what’s on while you’re in Houston, check the Toyota Center events calendar online here. Scream for the home team, dance until you drop, or sing along at the top of your lungs at this staple of the Houston entertainment scene.
Where to eat & drink
As you’d expect, Downtown Houston is home to some of the top-rated places to eat & drink in the city. From cozy cafés to upscale restaurants to trendy cocktail bars, you’ll find it all in & around Houston’s Central Business District.
Craving some much-needed java in the morning? Sleepily stumble over to Minuti Coffee. There are a few locations throughout Houston, all serving up excellent Italian brews with flakey, delicious pastries.
Minuti Coffee delivers the boost your morning needs, especially if you’re recovering from a night out. Sit in and soak up the carefully curated vibe, or grab your coffee and breakfast to go and enjoy them in one of Downtown Houston’s many parks.
Seeking something a tad spicer? La Calle on Franklin Street serves up authentic, Mexico City-style tacos and street food. For the ultimate in hangover food, they even offer breakfast tacos. (Sounds like the cure to all life’s problems, right?) If you’re heading here in the evening, La Calle also serves up beers to wash down those delicious tacos.
Located within the Houston Aquarium, one of the top tourist attractions in Houston, The Aquarium Restaurant is an experience in itself. Dine alongside giant aquarium tanks filled with some of the aquarium’s most beloved residents. (It does make ordering the seafood dishes a little uncomfortable, though!)
Treat yourself on your Houston trip by booking a table at the upscale Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse on Texas Avenue. With an award-winning menu, live music on the weekends, and a wine list as long as your arm, this hotspot guarantees a good night. (Be sure to book your table in advance: This luxury steakhouse is a super popular spot!)
Eat and drink, surrounded by historic architecture, at Hearsay Market Square. Located inside an 1880s brick building, this trendy pub serves up New American fare alongside classic brunch dishes and intriguing cocktails.
For a cozy space to relax, have a drink, and reflect on the day, head to Dean’s Downtown on Main Street. Enjoy classic cocktails, craft beer, and a laid-back lounge atmosphere. Specializing in old-fashioned cocktails over flashy new-age ones, Dean’s lets you travel back in time with every sip.
After a long day exploring Houston, quench your thirst at the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium. With over 200 beers to choose from, hailing from all over the world, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another tavern with greater choice.
Need something a little stronger? Imbibe some local Texas firewater at The Moonshiners Southern Table + Bar. Surrounded by the rustic decor and with plenty of Southern-style plates to sop up the whiskey and moonshine, you’ll find plenty to love at this popular Downtown Houston bar. (Just don’t plan anything too early in the morning!)
Where to stay
Downtown is one of the best areas to stay in Houston, so it’s hardly surprising that the neighborhood is home to some of the top-rated hotels in the city. Most of the hotels here span the mid-range and luxury ends of the market. Expect to pay higher prices to stay in this central area.
Looking for a spacious and stylish place to stay in Downtown Houston? Book yourself a room at the Cambria Hotel Houston Downtown Convention Center. With modern design touches that make the place feel more upscale and added bonuses like free bike hire, this hotel is the perfect choice for the modern urban traveler.
Get luxury vacation accommodations without the five-star price tag at The Westin Houston Downtown. From the wood-paneled lounge and bar area to the huge bathrooms with dual his & hers sinks, the finishing touches at this hotel make all the difference.
Dig into Houston accommodation at its finest at the Hotel ICON, Autograph Collection. With ornate columns that seem to touch the sky, chandeliers dripping crystals from the restaurant ceiling, and cozy lounge spaces complete with a fireplace, this luxury hotel will check all the boxes.
If you’re looking for accommodations that feel more like a tastefully decorated upscale townhouse than a hotel, check yourself into The Lancaster Hotel. A combination of clean, crisp design with personalized accents makes the rooms feel like the ultimate luxury urban apartment.