Free and Frugal in Houston: Part II

If you have some extra time before or after our conference — or perhaps a few hours between sessions — Houston offers an incredible number of fun activities. Many are very easy on your budget, and there are free events every day.

  • The Health Museum, Hermann Drive, provides interactive health education (test your knowledge!) and free general admission Thursday, 2-5 p.m. Some exhibits have a fee.
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Bissonnet Street, vaunts 65,000 works of art from antiquity to the present and offers free admission all day Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Twilight Epiphany Skyspace, Rice University, Main Street, is a free 40-minute light show at sunrise and sunset, six days a week. Reservations are required. Benches on two levels seat about 120 visitors.
  • Buffalo Bayou, downtown, is a 52-mile waterway in a parklike setting, with walking and biking trails and two pedestrian bridges.
  • Waugh Drive Bridge, above Buffalo Bayou. If you’re feeling brave, visit this bridge at dusk when 250,000 bats fly out of their colony.
  • Urban Harvest Farmers Market, Eastside Drive. If you plan to stay in the area for a few days after NTI, be sure to visit the largest weekly farmer’s market in Houston, Saturday, 8 a.m.-noon.

Less frugal, but two more fun activities:

  • Space Center Houston, NASA Parkway, is an eight-story complex with a shuttle replica you can enter and the largest collection of space artifacts in the Southwest U.S. During NTI, weekday hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; weekends 10 a.m.-7 p.m. the weekend before NTI; 9 a.m.-7 p.m., the weekend after. Adult admission is $29.95.
  • Pasadena Strawberry Festival, May 19-21. If you’re arriving before NTI, this festival, which includes food, arts, music and a mud volleyball contest, is about a 20-minute drive from Houston. General admission is $15 daily or $30 for a three-day pass.