Catch great live performances for free at the Capital One Bank Thursday Concerts. Held at Discovery Green park in downtown Houston, this concert series occurs each year from mid-May through June. Patrons arrive early to snag a spot on the lawn with their lawn chairs and blankets, and some even pack a picnic to enjoy before the show starts. Past performers have included Beatles tribute bands, John Egan, Raul Malo and Carolyn Wonderland.
Affectionately called the Garage Mahal by many, the Houston ArtCar Museum extends free admission to those interested in previewing stunning art cars as well as works by some of the best, underrepresented contemporary artists. From a mural covered Cadillac to a wire-constructed Volkswagen Bug, the creativity housed in this museum astounds car and art lovers alike. ArtCar also arranges new exhibits every few months, displaying paintings, photographs, sculptures, found art and more.
Explore one of the busiest ports in the world at no cost. The Sam Houston Boat Tour is a 90-minute journey through the international cargo port along the Houston Ship Channel. Visitors can stay cool in the air-conditioned seating area or enjoy the view from the sundeck. The boat even offers free drinks to patrons during the excursion. With the exception of Mondays, tours are provided at least once a day. Call to reserve spots!
Experience Houston like a local when you sign up for a free tour of the city through Houston Greeters. These seasoned natives volunteer their time and knowledge to visitors in hopes of making them fall in love with the Bayou City. Travelers simply contact the network of greeters prior to their trip and choose which activities, attractions or areas of the city they would like to explore. The volunteers take care of the rest.
Each weekend from March through October, the Miller Outdoor Theatre hosts delightful, free performances, including ethnic music pieces, children's plays, famous musicals, Shakespearean dramas and presentations by the Houston Symphony. Visitors bring blankets, chairs and something to snack on and arrive about an hour before the production begins to secure a great seat. While all shows are free, guests can sometimes acquire tickets through the box office for seats in the covered area.
Positioned on the inside of the 610 Loop, this free monthly arts festival presents local, national and international artists. Attendees can peruse dozens of tents displaying fine art pieces, including hand-forged jewelry, beautiful original photographs, handmade designer soaps, stunning paintings, specially crafted glass pieces, functional ceramics and sculptures. The market often offers live music, as well, and tasty cuisine and refreshments from popular food trucks are usually nearby.
Retreat to a veritable sanctuary for nature lovers at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. It's hard to believe that entrance to this oasis is free, what with its more than five miles of trails and 155 acres of flourishing greenery and blossoms. Start the day with a nice, long walk along the Outer Loop, and then visit the Discovery Room to learn more about the plants and wildlife encountered during your trek.
Play and relax at the free, 12-acre Discovery Green park. Bring the kids and let them explore the neat, shaded playground or splash around at the Gateway Fountain. Almost two acres of the area are dedicated to lawn space for pick-up sports, and Kinder Lake boasts the beloved Model Boat Basin. In addition to all of these activities, visitors also enjoy complimentary exercise classes, outdoor movies, concerts and more.
Making great art accessible to all, the Menil Collection exhibits a captivating array of ancient and modern art that's free for public viewing. The museum's unique white steel exterior is a stunning work of art in itself, but inside, guests tour diverse galleries filled with everything from Byzantine-era pieces to creations by renowned modern artists such as Max Ernst and Andy Warhol. The Menil also presents new, rotating exhibitions throughout the year.