Exploring Houston, TX on a Budget

     Ian and I absolutely love museums! When he asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday this year, I excitedly shouted something like, “MUSEUMS IN HOUSTON!” We’ve been on a bit of a tight budget since our move to Texas, so we sat down and looked into ways to tour Houston as inexpensively as possible.

Exploring Houston, TX on a Budget

Exploring Houston Texas on a budget

One of the first things we looked into was CityPass Houston. CityPass is awesome! I used it once back in Chicago and got to save a ton of money and skip the lines at a few attractions, including the Skydeck at Willis Tower! When we arrived, the line to get up to the Skydeck was literally WRAPPED AROUND THE BLOCK! With the City Pass, we went through a different door and right up the elevator. The view was INCREDIBLE.


Skipped the long line that extended around the block to the Skydeck at Willis Tower with my Chicago CityPass!

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The Houston City Pass is $59 for adults and $49 for children 3-11. This includes admission to:

  • Space Center Houston
  • Downtown Aquarium
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science
  • Houston Zoo OR Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
  • Kemah Boardwalk OR Children’s Museum of Houston

Your pass is valid 9 days after you first use it. So if you plan to be in Houston for a few days taking in the sights, it’s SO worth it!

Check out the Houston City Pass here!

Ian and I only had one afternoon (and a two-hour drive each way), so we didn’t think we had time to do it all. But if we ever get a few days in the city, you better believe we’re hitting up every single one of those destinations.

Next, we went to Groupon and found a 2-for-1 entrance into the Houston Museum of Natural Science. BINGO! (Double Bingo, you can get 6% cash back on your Groupon purchases through Ebates. Click this link, sign up for Ebates, and when you spend $25 anywhere they link to, you get an extra 10 bucks! I’ve already gotten $33 back just from shopping where I normally would online.)

Check your local Groupon section to see what cool things there are to do in your own city!


Museums of Houston, TX

One of my favorite things to do is take funny pictures with statues. I don’t know why….but every time I see one, I have to pose with it. Here are a few from the last ten years:

Museums never fail to make this dream of mine come true. Ian and I are always cracking each other up as we take fun pictures throughout the exhibits.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science had a really neat gemstone exhibit that had you walking through a pitch black room, the only light coming from the spotlights shining down on the colorful stones. It was absolutely stunning, but a little disorienting for someone like me who has some issues with light and depth perception (the second it’s dusk out, my vision is kaput- I can’t even drive at night anymore).

They also had a really neat exhibit called Message in a Bottle where they showcased a bunch of bottles and the letters they contained that were pulled from the Mississippi River and other US rivers. I even found one that came from the area I grew up in! Who hasn’t tossed a message in a bottle into the water and wondered where it wound up? Though, it also talked about the amount of trash pulled out of the rivers over a certain period of time…and the numbers of things they found were staggering. This exhibit is no longer there, but they do currently have Death by Natural Causes and The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes.

Another interesting section was their Cabinet of Curiosities. A lot of artifacts from all over the world and tons of taxidermy (which normally really bothers me outside of an educational museum). But it was fascinating. There were lots of draws and cabinets to play around with that were filled with some of the neatest things. This place would be so much fun if you’re traveling with children (or if you’re an adult who has the imagination of a child…muhahah).

One of our favorite exhibits (and where we spent the most time) was the Hall of Ancient Egypt. Ian and I are both fascinated by Ancient Egyptian culture. There were a ton of things to see and read about, including a few mummies.

After walking around the museum for a few hours, we had a great lunch around the corner at Bodega’s Taco Shop. OMG, it was delicious. Their fish tacos were divine! Casual, bar atmosphere. We highly recommend!

After lunch (and finding out that the Fine Art Museum isn’t open on Mondays), we took a long walk around Hermann Park and the Japanese Gardens within. It was such a beautiful day and the city of Houston is simply gorgeous.

The museum district was easy to navigate with everything being within a comfortable walking distance. While there was a bit of traffic coming in and leaving the city on a Monday, it was nothing compared to what we’re used to around Philly. Just take it slow and you’ll be just fine.


I know we can’t wait to go back. Oh, and don’t forget your City Pass!

Until next time,

Be kind and live purposely.

Bowtie and the Bandit


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