Houston’s summers are notoriously hot, but fortunately, for residents and visitors, there are plenty of options for keeping cool and having fun inside when the sun’s rays get a little too intense.
Houston has a number of outstanding museums, and some don’t even cost a dime, like the Menil Collection, one of the city’s top free attractions. This local treasure attracts visitors from around the world with more than 16,000 works that date from the Paleolithic era to the present, including surrealist works by Max Ernst and Salvador Dali as well as paintings by Picasso and works by Andy Warhol. The Art Car Museum, or “Garage Mahal,” as locals call it, is free and features some of the most unique and creatively constructed art cars you’ll ever see such as the antennae and wing-cloaked Roachster and the Honda motorcycle that was transformed into a fiery red rolling stiletto art car.
The Houston Fine Arts Museum is free on Thursdays, but well-worth paying admission if you happen to go on another day. It houses the largest art collection in the southwest throughout a complex of two gallery buildings, a sculpture garden, movie theater, gift shop and café, two art schools, two house museums and more. It features traveling and permanent exhibits, including an extensive Picasso and Renoir collection.
There are several indoor ice skating rinks in the area, including the Galleria rink in Houston’s popular mall. Less than a half hour’s drive in Friendswood, Space City Ice Station even offers a full bar for those who just want to relax in cooler conditions, sip a drink, and maybe even pretend its winter.
Indoor go-karts, laser tag and more
Driving go-karts in the intense heat of the sun doesn’t sound like much fun, but at Track 21 you can race around in more comfortable, cool conditions. It also features a laser tag facility and the region’s only black light indoor putt-putt course. Adults can take a break from the all the action by trying their luck on the poker, blackjack or craps table at Monaco Casino inside a track side room.
On a weekday during the summer, you’ll find most Houstonites who live or work near Houston’s downtown area are down underground in the Tunnels which connect many of the buildings in the area. Here you can go speed walking, dine at numerous eateries, and shop in air-conditioned comfort.
The Space Center
The Space Center not only gets you out of the heat, there are a ton of interesting things to do there. Get a close up look at space and watch impressive launch visuals on a five-story high theater screen, join a tram tour of NASA facilities, view spacesuits in the Astronaut Gallery, see all types of spacecraft, rockets and modules at the Starship Gallery, or let the little ones play in the space-themed playground.
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