Known as “H-Town,” “Space City,” “Magnolia City,” and “The Big Heart,” Houston boasts a strong industrial backbone, the largest independent school district in Houston area, diverse ethnic cuisine from around the world, and events for all ages. Above all, there are many exciting things to do in Houston with kids, which makes it an excellent place for family-oriented people.
If you’re wondering how to have fun with your family in H-town, you have nothing to worry about, since this metro area features world-famous attractions such as Space Center, Museum of Natural Science, and Miller Outdoor Theater. Interactive exhibitions and interesting shows might be appealing to older and younger children alike, so these activities can provide a lot of joy to the whole family.
So, if you’re moving to Houston with family, you can rest assured that this vast urban area is a perfect place to start from scratch. Whether you’re relocating because of a new job or you want to buy a new, more spacious house, your kids will have enough space for a happy and healthy childhood. Let’s mention just a few reasons that support these claims. Some of the best restaurants in Houston are kid-friendly, there are sporting events all year round (Texans, Rockets, Dynamo, Astros, etc. ), free events at the library, Farmer’s markets, Houston Zoo, plenty of parks and green spaces, as well as a wide spectrum of educational possibilities.
Every long-distance relocation is stressful and tricky, especially if it includes kids. But, when moving to H-Town, there’s no need for concern. To give you peace of mind when the relocation day comes, let’s find out more about this fun and family-oriented place.
Reasons Why People Move to H-Town
According to some research, it is estimated that around 275 people relocate to Magnolia City daily. Why is this place so appealing not just for Americans, but for all others worldwide? What amenities can you expect after moving to The Big Heart?
Great job opportunities, vibrant art scene, mind-boggling nature, and top-notch restaurants are definitely things that set this place apart from many other cities in the US. But, compared to fellow Texas cities like San Antonio, Dallas, or Austin, H-Town attracts a lot of millennials, young professionals, and freshly married couples. That being said, living in Houston is desirable among people looking for a well-rounded place with good vibes.
We’ve narrowed down some of the top reasons why people relocate here, and we’re sure you’ll find pretty good some to put down roots:
- Cost of living in Houston is reasonable, and it’s a bit cheaper compared to other cities with equivalent offerings (Chicago or Austin)
- There are plenty of Houston neighborhoods and suburbs with excellent perks for families and affordable housing options (West University or Cypress, for example)
- With a growing economy, several industries provide excellent opportunities for a decent paying job (energy, aerospace and aviation, distribution, manufacturing, life sciences, and medical)
- It boasts a functional bus and light rail system that connects downtown and midtown
- There are many parks for jogging or walking (Memorial, Hermann, Rice University, Buffalo Bayou, TC Jester, Spotts)
- H-Town is home to the most extensive collection of pedestrian tunnels in the whole world (Underground Tunnel Tour)
- It boasts easy access to two international airports – Hobby and IAH
Although the Most Populous City in Texas, H-Town Resembles a Tight-Knit Community
If you’re moving to The Big Heart, don’t be surprised by many charities and nonprofit organizations situated there. It’s well-known that this giant metropolis with 2.5 million residents is a friendly, kind, and welcoming environment. After your long-distance relocation, a smart step might be to become an active part of your community. Here are several suggestions for achieving that goal:
- Houston Area Women’s Center
- Houston Food Bank
- United Way of Greater Houston
- SEARCH Homeless Services
- Ronald McDonald House
Houston Is Perfect for Parents Looking for a Romantic Child-Free Getaway
Sometimes, a fresh start can be an excellent chance to make your relationship stronger and more passionate. Especially if you have the possibility to spend some romantic moments alone, by fits and starts. Despite its size, H-Town offers romantics a beautiful set of intimate escapes for parents. Find out what romantic things you can do in this large metropolis when you put your kids to bed:
- Enjoy sunset at the iconic landmark – the James Turrell Twilight Epiphany Skyscape
- Watch indie movies at AMC Houston 8
- Ride bikes in tandem and enjoy sightseeing in plenty of parks, pathways, and bridges
- Don’t miss a couples’ spa treatment in Mokara Spa
- Visit Spindletop not only for its magnificent views but mouth-watering specialties
Is Houston a Family-Friendly City?
Whether you like Texas or not, or you rather prefer Austin, Dallas, or San Antonio, one fact cannot be denied. Space City outranks its Texas counterparts when it comes to the cost of living, a thriving startup and an excellent dining scene, and a unique lifestyle, which is a blend of Southern Texas traditions and a more modern way of living.
Simply put, H-Town is a place that can seduce you with its friendliness, cozy environment, and a growing economy that has a significant impact on the quality of life. The only drawback might be unpredictable weather.
In the big picture, it is beautiful, but if you don’t like frequent rain showers, Magnolia City might be ill-suited for you. Summers are hot and humid, with mosquitos and other insects, as well as a hurricane season. But, lots of green areas are significant compensation for these shortcomings and are enticing spots for people all over the world.
These things are of the crucial importance for adults, but let’s see why H-Town is irreplaceable when it comes to raising your kids:
- You can choose from a wide variety of schooling options – from dual-language immersion programs, public schools, high-end private schools, and art programs
- The Discovery Green is Downtown’s favorite park with plenty of fun things to do with your youngsters
- Thanks to Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake astronauts train here, and kids have the opportunity to learn all about galaxies
- Houston neighborhoods are tight-knit communities where your kiddos can grow in a friendly environment
- You and your family can get easy access to some of the best healthcare facilities in the world – Texas Medical Center is the world’s largest hub of medical care and research institutions
What Are the Best Areas to Raise Kids?
If you’re in search of excellent public schools, parks, shopping centers, and medical institutions, search no more – H-Town has it all. The best Houston suburbs have many advantages for families based on factors including employment, commute times, top-rated educational institutions, etc. So, before you hire professional Houston movers and book the final relocation date, do some research about family-friendly suburbs and find a place that meets your needs. Here is our list of suggestions:
- The Woodlands
- Sugar Land
- Clear Lake City
- Missouri City
When Having a Short Commute Time Between Your Home and Downtown, Your Child Won’t Miss a Thing
If you choose the right suburb, you can be peaceful when it comes to commute issues. Picking the one which is most easily accessible to Houston’s urban core will make your life easier. And yet, if it is charming and appealing as League City, crammed with waterfront views, being its resident can make your day thanks to a 30-minute drive to Downtown.
Humble might be the right choice for those looking for fantastic schools and proximity to the urban core. It’s among the most conveniently located Houston’s suburbs – it enjoys a 20-minute connection to Downtown, which means you’ll get to your kid’s school faster, or manage to arrive at the beginning of the movie or play on time.
What Is There to Do in Downtown Houston for Kids?
Being in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a metropolis might sound scary. But, not in H-Town and not with children. The Downtown is packed with incredible things to do as a family with your youngsters – from the local eateries to the award-winning museum district. Strolling around Discovery Green and eating tasty sandwiches with your offspring can be an excellent way to spend several hours together and have fun.
One of the Best Things about Downtown Aren’t Business Issues, but Walkability and Accessibility via Rail
Although walking in H-Town is not always easy due to congested streets and traffic jams, several areas around the Big Heart are outstanding examples of the most pedestrian-friendly locations. Wandering with your children and enjoying the laid-back atmosphere might be an excellent way to spend the afternoon together, on your feet. Some of the areas you shouldn’t miss are:
- West Gray Street
- Kirby between Westheimer and Alabama
- Menil Campus
- Museum District
- Rice Village
- City Center
- Downtown Main Street
Those with an adventurous spirit might wish to explore the urban area by light rail. Houston’s Metrorail consists of three lines – The Red (North), Green (East End), Purple (Southeast). You and your kiddos can opt for Red Line, which major stops include interesting places for little ones, such as Downtown, Midtown, the Museum District, Hermann Park, Zoo, and NRG Park.
Now that we provided you with some basic information about what living in H-Town is like for families, let’s move on to our list of the top kid-friendly sites and activities in Texas’ largest city.
#1 The Perfect Place to Play Outside in Downtown – Discovery Green
Which kid doesn’t like splash pads, playgrounds, and plenty of green spaces to wander around? Discovery Green is a perfect spot both for children and their parents – especially on weekends when you can spend a sunny afternoon picnicking on the lawn. The good thing is there are many other families with their little ones, so your kiddos will have many friends to play football or be active on the playground.
#2 Museum of Natural Science Is one of the Most Visited Museums in the US
For young and curious people, there is no better way to spend a day than visiting the Museum of Natural Science, which will offer many projects, exhibitions, and programs related to different science fields (astronomy, paleontology, chemistry, gems, and minerals, etc.). In the museum, toddlers can enjoy a variety of educational programs and films in 3D and 4K technology, thanks to the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre.
#3 One of the Favorite Attractions Among Americans – Space Center Houston
Is your kid attracted to the fascinating world of space? If so, you should take him on a journey through Space Center to inspire him to embrace science in a fun way. The center presents several hundreds of exhibits, artifacts, and items from space that will delight not only your child but you as well.
#4 Sheldon Lake State Park Is a Popular Outdoor Recreation Spot
Outdoor activities are always the best choice when it comes to children’s entertainment. Bring them to Sheldon Lake located northeast of The Big Heart, where they can take part in lots of different activities. This spot is ideal for kayaking, boating, fishing, and wildlife observation. Your little ones will be occupied with the environmental learning center that offers wildlife and nature-related lessons. Visit John Jacob Observation Tower, which gives visitors the possibility to enjoy panoramic views on the surrounding nature.
#5 Weekends Are Perfect for Houston Zoo
Visit Hermann Park in the urban core and take a stroll through its 55-acre zoo. Besides watching plenty of animal species, you can participate in the many workshops, events, and educational programs. The zoo also organizes plenty of permanent exhibits, including African villages and forests with most unique and bizarre animals, such as jaguars, mandrills, and tamarins.
#6 You Shouldn’t Miss the Children’s Museum
This museum has been a staple as one of the city’s best kid-friendly attractions since 1980 and takes pride in a wide array of activities to encourage learning in a fun and innovative way. If your child is 12 or older, there are plenty of fun things to do inside the Children’s Museum. Some of the most popular exhibits are:
- John P. McGovern Kids Hall – it’s a perfect choice if you love to explore, learn, read, create, and imagine. The Junktion Train tables offer new activities every week for you and your family. Also, you can take part in face painting or play fun math games.
- Kidtropolis – in this city for kids, your youngsters can choose where to work, live, and shop. It encourages them to take the adults’ roles and learn some models of living which resemble real life.
- Matter Factory – this is a perfect site for students to learn more about the Periodic Table of Elements and the chemistry of the world that surrounds us.
- FlowWorks – this interactive exhibit will show you all about the water – its flow, pressure, and power. The most exciting part is the possibility (and a must if you want to know how this works) to control and change the flow.
- Heart and Seoul: Growing up in Korea – this exhibit allows offspring to learn many interesting facts and stories about South Korea, in the words of Korean children.
#7 Revival Market Offers Fun Time for the Whole Family
Sometimes, fun for the whole family is everything you need to let off some steam and boost your energy. Revival Market is a modern marketplace that offers fresh foods, products, and a variety of local, handmade seasonally inspired foodstuffs. It’s a paradise for the eyes, and an excellent opportunity to stroll with your offspring through the fascinating well-designed market where he can learn a lot of different food products. Head here for all-day brunch and after that, pick up some local, organic goods to go.
#8 Story Time at the Rienzi Is Appealing to Younger and Older Children Alike
As an extension of the Museum of Fine Arts, the Rienzi is a venue where the magic happens. If your kiddos adore stories, this is a place to satisfy their needs and wishes. Storytime takes place every day during March and on certain weekdays during the summer days. This event is recommended for youngsters aged three and up, and reading poetry in the garden followed by a picnic is something you simply have to provide for your child.
#9 Immerse Yourself Into the Magical World of Disney on Ice
The holiday season is not complete without Disney’s characters, and Disney on Ice is a must-see show during the most magical time of the year. It features Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and other children’s favorite characters skating on ice and trying to reenact scenes from the movie. Boys and girls have a chance to become a part of fairytales – they can sing, become pirates, princesses, or just watch and walk around from one stage to another. Since this event only happens once a year, don’t miss it by any chance.
#10 Your Toddler Will Enjoy Nibbling Lee’s Fried Chicken & Donuts
Is someone hungry? After an active day, your stomach will be craving for a decent meal. And at Lee’s, you can’t go wrong. Your child will be speechless after a sweet and savory mix of doughnuts and fried chicken. There are so many flavors that you and your kid might have a problem deciding which doughnut to pick – Mexican chocolate icing, birthday cake icing with sprinkles, apple fritter filled with jam, and much more.
7 Things to Do in Houston with Kids for Free
#1 Explore Hermann Park and Miller Outdoor Theater
In addition to Zoo, this spot is the heart of H-Town, crammed with playgrounds, splash pads, family gardens, and free shows at the Miller Outdoor Theater.
#2 Spend Quality Time in Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, Hidden Gems of the Concrete Jungle
Spending a pleasant day in a forest, meadow, and wetland all in one area, is an excellent way to entertain your child. It features several kid-friendly programs that include night hikes, discovery room, and interactive exhibits. And everything is free!
#3 Visit Shri Swaminarayan Mandir - a Magnificent Free Attraction
This architectural structure is the first of its kind in North America. With 34,000 stone pieces from Turkey and Italy, sculpted in India, and created in H-Town, this masterpiece is open to the public every day. If your child is art-lover or likes sculpting, having an opportunity to enjoy some of the most skillful carvings might leave him speechless.
#4 Explore Buffalo Bayou Park - a Haven for Children
Reminiscent of NYC’s Central Park, this is one of the largest green spaces in the Big Heart where you can have a good time playing volleyball, jogging, skating, and do so many more things for free.
#5 Enjoy Water Wall Park - Wonderland for Kids and Adults
This public park with a human-made waterfall structure is a beautiful place to take pictures, walk around or hang out with friends and family. Kids just love this place and enjoy laying in the grass and playing with other children.
#6 Visit Evelyn's Park and Become a Part of the "Alice in Wonderland" World
This park is crammed with sculptures dedicated to Lewis Carroll’s story, and youngsters can literally join the Mad Hatter’s tea party and take part in a treasure hunt for 150 tidbits from the book.
#7 Visit the Largest Skatepark in the Country
This is a popular event venue and attracts expert skaters and novices from the area and world. It offers the multi-level features for skaters, but some additional amenities such as walking trails, public art, 80” outdoor television, shaded structures with seating, and water misters. Kids with an adventurous spirit and a desire for excitement will have a great time watching the acrobatic and daredevil moves of the skaters.
H-Town Is a City With no Limits
Whether you’re moving to the Big Heart because of a new job or larger house, be sure you’ve made the right decision. This place welcomes everyone, no matter the age, nationality, or gender. It’s especially appealing to millennials and younger individuals, but families prefer H-Town due to its fantastic scenery, affordable housing, and great things to do in Houston with kids. In a few words, it’s a place that is easy to call home. After settling down, you’ll understand better why so many people choose it over Austin or San Antonio, and why it’s called a City with no Limits.