20 Things To Do in Downtown Houston With Kids

John P. McGovern's state-of-the art playground is perfect for both younger and older children. Photo courtesy of Discovery Green.
John P. McGovern's state-of-the art playground is perfect for both younger and older children. Photo courtesy of Discovery Green.
11/3/23 - By Shary G-P

Finding things to do in downtown Houston with kids can seem daunting. After all, Houston is the fourth largest city in the country. That's why we've come up with a list of our favorite things to do with kids in downtown Houston—from the fun at Discovery Green to delicious local eateries. We think you'll love these activities, too!

Houston is a sprawling city, with fun kid activities in every corner. If you're interested in exploring more great neighborhoods, check out the neighborhood guides in our Visitors Guide, and our 100 Things To Do in Houston Before Kids Grow Up article.


Top Things To Do in Downtown Houston With Kids

1. Get Climbing at John P. McGovern Playground

The state-of-the art playground at Discovery Green is one of the best! With ample seating and even some trees for shade, your kids will enjoy a whole range of fun activities.

Related: Fun Destination Parks in Houston

2. Make-believe at Main Street

Children 5 and under will enjoy this indoor, FREE, make-believe street, open Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Related: Fun indoor play places in Houston

3. Ride the Metro Light Rail

Sometimes, the fun is in the journey! Kids love to ride on trains. Why not head to Houston's museums (or if your timing is right, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo)?

4. Explore the Downtown Tunnels

Walk underground and explore more than six miles of shopping and eating in this fully air-conditioned hidden gem. Perfect for a hot day! Avoid the lunchtime office crowds if you can.

Things to do in downtown Houston: Downtown Aquarium 
Exploring the exhibits at the Downtown Aquarium. Photo by Donnie Ray Jones, via Flickr

5. Stroke the Stingrays at the Downtown Aquarium

Houston's downtown aquarium not only has some brilliant tanks and a stingray experience, but you can ride the Diving Bell Ferris Wheel for a fabulous view of the downtown skyline. 

6. Stroll Around the Track at Settegast Park

This downtown park has a big playground, splash pad, and many fun play areas. Settegast is a great destination for kids of all ages—a track loops around the park, perfect for the stroller.

7. See a Home Run at Minute Maid Park

Who doesn't love baseball? Houstonians definitely do, and we are all big fans of our 2017/2022 World Series Champions, the Houston Astros. Some baseball games can be long and finish late at night, but there are several events that happen prior to the games that are geared towards kids, and also some summer games happen on Saturdays early afternoon. Be sure to check the Astro's schedule to catch an afternoon game.  

Things to do in downtown Houston: Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area 
Playing in the Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area. Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Bayou Facebook page.

8. Enjoy Nature and Views at Buffalo Bayou 

If you want take in picture-perfect city skyline views while your kids have fun, head over to the edge of downtown Houston and stroll down to the Barbara Fish Daniel Play Area. Let the kids play in the sand playground, go down the slide, and adventure out to the many other fun activities around there. 

9. Listen to Story Time at the Houston Central Library

This library is full of fun activities for the kids daily, including story time and other activities to get their curiosity going. 

10. Run around Sam Houston Park

Sam Houston Park is one of the most historic parks Downtown, close to City Hall and the Library. Enjoy the Victorian-style landscape and bridges while surrounded by modern buildings. 

11. Splash in the Fountains at Discovery Green

Kids love the fountains in this downtown park. Unlike many public fountains, kids are encouraged to treat these fountains as their own giant splash pad.

Related: Best Splash Pads, Splash Parks, and Water Playgrounds in Houston

Things to do in downtown Houston with kids 
The Hobby Center in downtown Houston often has kid-friendly shows. Photo courtesy of VStar Entertainment Group

12. See a Show at the Hobby Center

Look at the Hobby Center's event calendar to see a show at this fantastic venue. Kids' television spin-off live shows are usually hosted here.

13. Go Ice Skating Outdoors at Frostival

Discovery Green hosts Houston's only outdoor skating rink from November to mid-January. For more ice skating, check out our Best Indoor and Outdoor Skating Rinks article.

14. Taste Fresh Produce at Houston's City Hall Local Lunch Market

Park around the Hobby Center and walk over to City Hall Local Lunch Market for farm-fresh produce. This Wednesday farmer's market runs in the middle of the day, September-December, and features many vendors with fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, bread, coffee, and much more. 

15. Go Wild at a Rockets Game

Visit the Toyota Center in downtown Houston and cheer on our favorite basketball team. Basketball is fast-paced and exciting, so there's no chance to get bored!

Things to do in downtown Houston: Discovery Green 
Check out Discovery Green's kid activities in downtown Houston. Photo courtesy of Discovery Green.

16. Have fun at Toddler Tuesday

Discovery Green hosts a fabulous weekly session for the little ones, including crafts and story time.

Related: Downtown events for kids

Great Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Downtown Houston

17.  8th Wonder Brewery

Check out 8th Wonder Brewery (yes, with the kids) and if you have big soccer fans, try catching a Dynamo game a few blocks down at the BBVA Compass Bank Stadium. 

18. Benihana

Enjoy a fun cooking show and delicious food at their teppanyaki-style tables where they cook your meal right in front of you for the entire family to enjoy.   

Things to do in downtown Houston: kid-friendly activities 
Niko Niko's is one of the kid-friendly restaurants in downtown Houston. Photo courtesy of the Niko Niko's Facebook page.

19. Niko Niko's

The whole family will love a yummy Greek lunch outdoors in Market Square Park, where there is space for the kids to run around.

20. Phoenicia

Casual dining has never tasted so good, with a salad bar, sandwiches, and bakery among many other treats.


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