Winter Activities in Houston, TX
When the weather starts to cool down, go inside and enjoy one of Houston's many amazing museums. If you love art, you must visit the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. One of the largest art museums in the country, it features nearly 60,000 works of art in more than 300,000 square feet of space. Located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston is comprised of two gallery buildings, as well as a library, cafe, movie theater, sculpture garden, house museums, art schools, gift shops and more. The museum is closed on Mondays, but opens at 10:00 a.m. every other day of the week -- except Sundays when it opens at 12:15 p.m. If you want to miss the crowds, go on Thurday evening when the museum is open to 9:00 p.m. Though the museum has its own four-story parking lot, you have to pay for it. So to save a few bucks, free parking is available at two outdoor lots north of the Law Building along Main Street -- one at Bissonnet, one at Oakdale.
Support local farmers by shopping at Rice University Farmers Market. In the wintertime, this fabulous market features a variety of vegetables including eggplant, radishes, tomatoes, squash and much more. In addition to fruits and veggies, you can find pure honey, handmade cheese, fair trade coffee and tea, homemade bread and even organic baby food. What you'll really love is the selection of meat, poultry and seafood. The seafood is freshly caught from the Gulf and the meat is humanely raised and hormone-free. What's cool about this farmers market is that you don't have to get up early. It's open from 3:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday. The market is located at Rice University in the South Stadium Lot. Local food is healthier for you, tastes better, leaves a smaller carbon footprint and supports local families.
In early March take your whole family the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. RodeoHouston is the largest rodeo in the world. The indoor rodeo events include bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling and a lot more. But it's not just the rodeo that attracts millions of visitors each year. Star-studded concerts feature country, rock, Tejano and other music. Your family will also enjoy the more than 350 booths selling everything from custom saddles to homemade fudge. Kids love the carnival, pony rides, petting zoo and dedicated children's zone. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is very beneficial to the community. It's a charity event contributing to scholarships, research, endowments and other educational and youth programs. Arrive early or late to beat the crowds, as most people get there in the mid-afternoon.
For outdoor ice skating, head to The Ice at Discovery Green. With the downtown Houston skyline as the backdrop, it's a beautiful place to skate. Recycled water from Kinder Lake is frozen to 22 degrees and powered by renewable energy. The Ice offers open skating as well as special events. This skating rank is fantastic for little kids. They have a special pint-sized rink just for children under four years old and you can rent double-runner clamp-on skates which are perfect for toddlers. Don't miss out on their snack shop where you can find amazing organic hot cocoa, Belgian waffles and other winter treats.
About 300,000 bats inhabit the Waugh Drive Bridge over Buffalo Bayou between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive. Though some say the best time to see the bats in the fall, you can also view the bats at Waugh Bridge in the winter months as well. Arrive about 15-30 minutes before sunset time. The bats emergence is spectacular and can be unpredictable with several hundred to several thousand per minute emerging in an amazing cloud of bats. The bats exit the bridge on the east side, often flying along the bayou toward downtown Houston. You can view the bats from the Observation Deck at Waugh Drive and Allen Parkway, as well as from various other locations including the northeast bayou bank, the sidewalk on the east side of the bridge, and near Gus M. Wortham Memorial Fountain. You can find parking along Allen Parkway or at Spotts Park. The bats generally come out when it's 50 degrees or warmer at sunset time. So if it's especially cold, come back another night.