With Houston often seeing nearly 45 inches of rain in a year, it’s important to have a plan for the days too dreary to venture outside without getting soggy. Thankfully, the Bayou City has no shortage of rainy-day activities. Here are five fun things to do in and around Houston when the storm clouds roll in.
Go to a Museum
Or two, or three. Houston has an entire district of them — with 19 in total.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is the one you’re likely to spend the most time at, with an expansive area of exhibits broad in variety. Tickets are between $15 and $25 each, and most of the exhibits are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you happen to be there on a Thursday, entrance is free from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Children’s Museum of Houston is a good option if you have little ones with rainy-day cabin fever. A note on this one, though — one large exhibit of this museum is outdoors, so you won’t get quite the same bang for your buck (tickets are $12) if you go on a rainy day. But with all there is to see and do inside, it's good for hours of entertainment.
A less hectic option is the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Tickets range from $7.50 to $15, but there are myriad ways to get in for free, such as going on Thursdays, being 12 or younger, or being 18 or younger with a Texas library card during the weekends. The MFAH displays its exhibits on a large campus with two gallery buildings, a garden, visitor’s center, and gift shop, and art schools.
See a Movie
Houston is home to many movie theaters, but there are a few that have a unique flair.
The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is one. While founded in Austin, the Houston area now has multiple locations. All offer a full food and drinks menu that you can order from while watching the movie, and all frown on cell phone usage during screenings — so much so that management won’t hesitate to kick out repeat phone usage offenders. Locations include Sugar Land and Mason Park.
Another Houston-area theater that is out of the ordinary for movie screenings is the Showboat Drive-in. Located in Hockley, this one is a bit of a hike out from the center of town and is a nice option on a cool rainy day. The theater has been open since 2006 and is owned by a family who also owned a Showboat Drive-in restaurant in Houston in the 1950s. Tickets for a double-feature are $8 for adults and $6 for kids 3 to 12 years old. During the summer, movies play most nights. In other times of the year, movies play on the weekends only.
If the rain has you restless, there are plenty of large indoor spaces to shop or wander around in Houston. In the Downtown district, there is a system of underground tunnels with restaurants and shops (only open during business hours).
Another centrally located option is the Galleria, a mall massive enough that the entire area of town is named after it. It boasts 400 stores in a space of 2.4 million square feet — that’s more than 40 football fields.
Head to NASA
They don't call Houston "Space City" for nothing. Located southeast of town on the way to Galveston is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. The International Space Station operations are controlled from this facility, as has every U.S. space mission since 1965. Both indoor exhibits and a free tram tour to other buildings on the premises (which is sometimes canceled if the weather is too poor) are available. Tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for kids 4 to 11 years old.
This one is a throwback, because what listicle is without a good throwback? Bowling can easily kill two or three hours, and most alleys serve food — though some are better than others. A few spots offer other activities as well, like Bowlero in the Woodlands, which doubles as an arcade, pool hall, and bar. Bowlmor, along I-10 West inside the Sam Houston Beltway, and Lucky Strike downtown have similar vibes. For a more family-friendly location, check out Emerald Bowl near Sugar Land or Tomball Bowl on the northwest side of town.