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How to Spend 48 Hours In Houston :: Easy Weekend Getaway from New Orleans
Getting away from New Orleans with kids is always nice, but sometimes there’s not a lot of time to plan a trip. I will admit that when people ask for recommendations of easy weekend trips from New Orleans, my mind usually goes to the obvious Florida beaches like Pensacola, one of the nearby campgrounds with fun pools or even Dauphin Island. However, we recently found ourselves in Texas for our daughter’s dance competition and decided to extend the trip to include a weekend in Houston. There are literally hundreds of fun things to do in Houston with kids, but here is how we spent our 48 hours in Houston.
How to get to Houston :: this is a toss up. My husband and son were able to snag affordable last minute flights on Southwest, and everything went smoothly at the airport. If the airport is cooperating and flights are running on time, flying to Houston from New Orleans is super easy. That said, the drive (if timed correctly to avoid Houston traffic) is manageable for a weekend. It is right around 5 hours with a stop and without traffic (without traffic being the critical piece). Both flying and driving can be a nightmare these days, so toss a coin and take your pick!
What to Do in Houston With Kids
Friday :: My daughters and I arrived mid-day, and we knew we wouldn’t be able to check into the hotel right away. I therefore made plans to take them to the Color Factory, which is an interactive and immersive museum centered on color. I do recommend purchasing and booking tickets online, as there are specific time slots for entry. My girls and I had a total ball on this adventure, and I really think that it is a must if you only have 48 hours in Houston with kids of any age. You receive a unique QR code card at the beginning, and this is what you scan at all of the stations to take pictures to document your journey. You can take as many pictures as you’d like, and my girls had a blast watching the countdowns and coming up with various poses. As an adult, I was genuinely surprised by how much fun I had as well. Each room is well thought out, unique and creative. There are also lots of mini surprises throughout as well. We spent roughly 90 minutes here, so Color Factory makes sense for any short weekend trip to Houston.
Friday late afternoon :: After we finished at Color Factory, we headed to our hotel to check in. For this specific trip, we really wanted a hotel with a great pool so that the kids (and adults) could enjoy downtime in the summer heat. We booked the Marriott Marquis in downtown Houston, which accomplished the goals of (a) offering a fantastic pool (b) being easily accessible from I-10 (c) being within walking distance of Minute Maid Park for an Astros game and (d) having lots of amenities on site. You could eat every meal at the hotel if you wanted, and right in the lobby are both a Starbucks AND a wine bar. On Friday afternoon we were able to spend about 2 hours by the pool before heading in to shower for dinner.
Friday dinner :: We decided to stay on property for dinner, as we really didn’t feel like driving anywhere and there was also an Astros game going on. We ate at Biggio’s on the first floor, which had great food and amazing big screen TVs for sports enthusiasts. The Astros were home on the weekend we visited, so the restaurant was lively with fans. Overall, the food was solid and reasonably priced, especially for a downtown urban area in a major city. Biggio’s was a fun atmosphere to enjoy during a live sporting event.
Friday after dinner :: on Fridays when the Astros are in town, there is an incredible fireworks show following the game. We timed dinner so that we could catch the fireworks, and they were truly spectacular. The kids loved being able to see these from our hotel!
Saturday morning :: After grabbing a simple breakfast via the lobby Starbucks, we decided to head back to the pool. If it had been raining, we likely would have used this time to visit Candytopia, which is an interactive experience centered on sweet treats and displays made of candy. The sun was shining, though, and we chose relaxation over an adventure. The kids stayed busy in the lazy river for several hours, and eventually we grabbed an easy (but very good) lunch poolside. Being that we only had 48 hours in Houston, we were really able to maximize our time enjoying the trip by staying at a hotel that offered everything on site.
Saturday afternoon :: We purchased tickets to the Astros game for Saturday afternoon, which we did easily the week of our trip online. The gates opened 2 hours ahead of game time, and our son, a baseball enthusiast, really wanted to maximize his time at the stadium. Therefore, we arrived well ahead of the game to check out the different exhibits, stores and just take in the sites. I think our kids had as much fun exploring the stadium as they did during the game itself. There were dozens of food options, as well as several bars; we really could have eaten lunch at the stadium as well (lesson learned for next time). Because it was so hot, the roof to the stadium was closed, so we were genuinely able to enjoy ourselves without sweating to death. Being within walking distance of the stadium was amazing, and it eliminated the hassle of parking and sitting in any traffic. If an Astros game is part of your plan, I think this is critical when you’re only working with 48 hours in Houston.
Saturday night :: After the game, we walked back to the hotel and even had time to swim a third time while mom and dad enjoyed a beverage. Eventually we decided we were hungry and couldn’t leave Houston without enjoying some great Mexican food. We took an Uber to El Tiempo, which is one of our favorite spots in Houston. El Tiempo is delicious, efficient and kid friendly. By this point we were also falling asleep in our queso, but it was well worth it!
Sunday morning :: Had we not been eager to return home from being gone for so long, we easily could have fit in a Sunday brunch or outing before hitting the road. Staying near I-10 really helped us get out of town quickly and efficiently on Sunday morning. If we had more energy at this point we would have fit something else in, but alas the laundry was calling.
So there you have it – that’s how we spent 48 hours in Houston with kids. It was a perfect mix of activity and downtime, and it was an easy getaway from New Orleans. What would you add to the itinerary? You know, for when we go to Houston again!
Other Kid-Friendly Activities and Hotels in Houston
Here are a list of places that people have suggested to consider as well. Feel free to add these to your itinerary or follow ours exactly!
Things to Do in Houston
- Houston Museum of Natural Science
- Children’s Museum Houston
- Ice skating at The Galleria
- Space Center of Houston
Where to Eat in Houston With Kids
- Torchy’s Tacos
- Barnaby’s Cafe
- Jax Grill
- Little Matt’s
- Mia’s Table
- Tiny’s Milk and Cookies
- Hungry’s Cafe
Where to Stay in Houston With Kids