The Best Things to Do Indoors in Houston When It’s Too Hot and Humid
Don’t sweat the weather.
We love Houston, we really, really do. We love it for its unmatched food scene; its seemingly endless array of dives, patio bars, and breweries; and for the fact that you can actually legally acquire drive-thru margaritas to-go. It’s an awesome place to live, but admittedly, about half the year the weather is straight up awful. Some days it’s blisteringly hot and unbearably humid, others we’re faced with torrential downpours and dangerous floods, but if there’s one thing Houstonians know how to do, it’s to persevere through it all. Next time the weather is totally sucking the life out of you, don’t sweat it, we’ve got your rainy day plans standing by.
Go museum hopping
Have you not heard? Houston’s Museum District is world-class. And the best part is, a whole bunch of our museums are totally FREE, including the stunning Menil Collection and Rothko Chapel, wacky Art Car Museum, and innovative Contemporary Arts Museum. Those that have an admission cost are worth a looksie, too, with all kinds of wonders to explore at the epic Houston Museum of Natural Science, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and fun-for-the-whole-fam Children’s Museum of Houston.
Waste the day away at a dive bar
Name something more comforting than drinking cheap beer at a dive bar on a rainy day. Go ahead, we’ll wait. Okay, now that we’re all in agreement, grab some stale popcorn, because Houston’s dive bar scene is alive and well, albeit a bit dimly lit—which really does compliment those gray skies. Some of our all-time favorites include Poison Girl (whiskey! pinball!), Sunny’s (tropical decor! jello shots!), and Big Star Bar (jukebox! stray cats!). Y’all have fun now.
Drink some drinks and throw something at a target
Axes, darts, bowling balls. It doesn’t matter what object you’re (safely) aiming and hurling, throwing stuff can be a great way to unleash some crappy weather boredom and whatever inner angst you’ve been holding onto. Consider a visit to one of Houston’s many hatchet houses, including but not limited to Houston Axe Throwing, BATL, and Pitch 25 Beer Park; show off your skills at interactive dart spot Flight Club; or go boozing bowling at Bowl & Barrel and Pinstripes (which also has bocce).
Whether it’s too hot, too wet, or you just can’t gather the energy to make it to a Texans, Rockets, Astros, Dynamo, or Dash game, you can still watch your favorite hometown athletes tear $h!t up with a visit to one of Houston’s finest sports bars. Games are better with tasty wings and cheap beer, anyway.
Eat your way through Asiatown(s)
Chinatown/Katy Asia Town
No amount of rain can put a damper on your food tour through one of Houston’s two Asiatowns (that’s right, we have two–three if you count Old Chinatown). Cruise around Chinatown’s Bellaire Boulevard and you’ll find tons of comforting spots, including mom-and-pop Golden Dumpling House, late-night favorite Tan Tan, Taiwanese hot pot shop Shabu House, and Vietnamese crawfish king Crawfish & Noodles. Over in Katy Asian Town, there is everything from Malaysian street food and killer banh mi to Chinese BBQ.
Channel your inner kid at the arcade—with booze
Remember spending hours at the arcade as a kid? Now you can do it with booze. Over in the East End, Cidercade rocks 275+ games, a whopping 48 hard ciders, kombuchas, seltzers, wines on tap, and, perhaps most importantly, glorious, glorious air-conditioning. Admission runs $10 for the day or $15 for a monthly membership. You can also up your game at Palace Social, a reincarnation of the much-beloved Palace Bowling Lanes that mixes bowling, air hockey, video games, VR attractions, and sports simulator bays with pub grub (including a late-night menu) and beer, wine, and cocktails. If a dive bar with games is more your speed, hitting up EaDo’s perfectly nerdy Neil’s Bahr is a must.
Listen to live music in the air-conditioning
We love a good outdoor concert as much as the next guy, but Houston weather doesn’t always make the experience enjoyable. That’s where our excellent roster of air-conditioned, covered, and fully stocked concert venues comes into play. Favorites include 713 Music Hall, Anderson Fair, Continental Club, Bayou Music Center, House of Blues, Last Concert Cafe, McGonigel's Mucky Duck, Satellite Bar, Warehouse Live, and White Oak Music Hall (not the lawn).
While it may not be nice enough outside to hit 18 holes, you can still practice your swing at an interactive golf zone. Interactive golfing megaplex Topgolf’s all-weather facilities have covered bays, fans for summer, and heaters for winter; and there are swing suites at the Four Seasons’ swanky whiskey bar Bayou & Bottle and indoor golf course Loft18.
Get an indoor thrill
You can escape the heat and reality by racing against the clock at Houston escape rooms like Escape Hunt and Escape the Room; see how high you can fly at indoor skydiving zone iFly; test your speed at indoor go kart racing track K1; or hit up the Texas Rock Gym to work on that fear of heights.
Build your own smorgasbord at a food hall
Once a desolate landscape, Houston’s food hall scene has exploded in the last few years. Now you’ve got plenty of places to escape that H-town climate. Head to the shiny new Post Houston in downtown to find some of the coolest dining opportunities in the city, including Nordic-Gulf seafood establishment Golfstrømmen; West African foodhouse ChòpnBlọk; and East Side King, where you can and book a Resy for Omakase. Over by Market Square Park, Bravery Chef Hall houses some pretty serious chef talent, including Kokoro Chefs Patrick Pham and Daniel Lee and MasterChef winner Christine Ha of The Blind Goat; and downtown also rocks Understory, Finn Hall, and Underground Hall. Near Washington, Railway Heights Market is part food hall, part small business shop, where you can mix local art with eats from burger spot Peaky Grinders, samosa slinger Samosa Haus, and noodle shop Drunken Pho.
Pick a neighborhood to bar hop
Houston isn’t the most walkable city out there, but we do have a few miniature drinking zones where it's easy to bar crawl. Downtown superblock Main Street and its surrounding area is stacked with winners, including Angel Share, Little Dipper, Captain Foxheart’s, Dean's, Notsuoh, Boots ’n Shoots, Flying Saucer, and a whole bunch more. Just next door in the tiny hood of EaDo, there’s awesome spots like 8th Wonder Brewery & Distillery, chill neighborhood hangout Around the Corner, and cool cocktail bar Miss Carousel. Over in Midtown, the young professional set lets loose at Electric Feelgood, Pour Behavior, and Wonder Bar. And you can hop along lower Westheimer to find sanctuary at cult favorite watering holes like Anvil, Refuge, Catbirds, Boondocks, Present Company, and more.