Free Fun in Houston

There are two definite positives to the Great Recession: suddenly, it's okay to be thrifty and we've actually gotten pretty good at tracking down free fun in Houston. As it turns out, there is no shortage of things to do with little to no dinero and these kinds of fun activities happen to be magnets for friendly new people and the communities that evolve out of them. (Photo: Flickr/baldheretic)

Updated: July 01, 2010

Free Fun in Houston

Miller Outdoor Theater

100 Concert Dr, Houston, TX 77030

The park is rife with free picnic and play opportunities and the Miller amphitheater stage has had internationally acclaimed artists from the Royal Drummers of Burundi and the Golden Acrobats to locally venerated artists such as the Dominic Walsh Dance Group, Houston Opera and Houston Symphony.

Menil Collection

1515 Sul Ross St, Houston, TX 77006

Certainly no list of free fun in Houston would be complete without this world class museum. It is the carrot we dangle in front of out-of-towners to prove our art cred and the sprawling grounds make for excellent picnic terrain. Don't forget the associated Dan Flavin installation, Byzantine Fresco and Rothko Chapel.

Discovery Green Park

1500 McKinney Dr, Houston, TX 77002

Thanks in large part to former Mayor Bill White's vision, Houston now has a public park that is a destination in its own right (and right off the light rail, to boot). With free movie screenings, yoga, live music and bike maintenance workshops, you could easily find yourself having fun here every day of the week.

Central Market

3815 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77027

While the products in store are certainly not free, you can saddle up for the weekend samples with a group of friends.

Domy Books

1709 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098

This hip book and collectibles store in Montrose happens to screen a free movie on its lush patio almost every day of the week, with flicks that range from cult classics to obscure foreign flicks. Splurge on a beer or latte from neighboring Brasil.


4060 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77027

Want to sharpen your culinary skills? Head on over to Williams-Sonoma on Sunday morning to catch their technique class. While there isn't any participation involved, there is usually food sampling.

Tranquillity Park

400 Rusk (Rusk at Bagby), Houston, TX 77002

Casual and serious cyclists alike come together on the last Friday of every month for Critical Mass, an extended ride around the city with an undetermined route. All bikes are welcome and the average ride lasts about two to three hours, depending on the destination.

Brazos Bookstore

2421 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005

Somehow we're lucky enough that this Rice Village bookstore hosts free readings several time a month, with authors as distinguished as Justin Cronin, Steve Almond and Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing.

Cactus Music

2110 Portsmouth St, Houston, TX 77098

Working that hard-won indie cred, Cactus hosts regular in-store performances from local and visiting musicians. Oh, and did we mention the free St. Arnold's beer?

Houston Wine Merchant

2646 S Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77098

Who knew that free fun in Houston could mean free booze? Educate your palate at these Friday and Saturday free wine tastings. The types of wine change each time and could be ones to pair with BBQ or others that are more fit for fine dining.

Museum of Fine Arts Houston

1001 Bissonnet Street, Houston, TX 77005

Admission is free every Thursday evening and the first Sunday of every month at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.