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Houston is a sprawling city filled with spaghetti bowls of intertwined highways, traffic, and concrete. But if you look closely, hidden under the trees and spread throughout the city are unique neighborhoods, lush parks, and cultural museums.
I was born and raised just outside of Houston and grew up loving this underappreciated city. The people are friendly, the food is delicious and, best of all, it’s affordable.
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway in Texas, Houston’s diversity and culture are perfect. Here are some of the best romantic things to do in Houston for couples.
Take a Cooking Class
The talented chefs at Well Done Cooking in The Heights host special romantic date night classes for couples looking to up their game in the kitchen.
What’s more romantic than learning to make fresh pasta or the perfect souffle, then recreating that dish together for years to come?
They have a wide selection of beer and wine but you can also BYOB if you have something special to share.
Go Ice Skating
While you may doubt that a shopping mall can be beautiful, the Houston Galleria truly is. And the best part? It is home to an ice-skating rink that is open year-round.
Escape the muggy Texas heat together in the summer or hold hands and skate around one of Houston’s most beautiful Christmas trees over the holidays.
Admission is $14 and skate rentals are $5. Lockers are available to store your things for just a dollar.
After skating, escape the chaos of the mall with drinks off the specialty cocktail menu in luxurious 51fifteen.
Have a Spa Day
Pampering yourself in a spa is definitely one of the best things to do in Houston for couples. The spa in the Four Seasons downtown is a classic, popular spa in town.
Milk & Honey from Austin has also opened a location in Houston with their all natural and organic spa treatments.
But for ultimate spoiling, go to Trellis Spa on Post Oak. This Mediterranean-style spa is located in the Houstonian Hotel and covers more than 17,000 square feet. Their curated spa menu is the perfect Houston date night treat.
Bike & Brunch on the Bayou
For the adventurous, outdoorsy couple I recommend renting a tandem bike and hitting the trails along Buffalo Bayou.
There are 20 miles of hike and bike trails lining both banks of the bayou. It’s a green oasis, perfect for escaping into nature without actually leaving the city. In fact, you’ll have great views of the downtown skyline from the trail.
Pack a romantic picnic to enjoy in the 160 acres of water and green space that make up this enormous park.
Or for a more proper brunch, dine under chandeliers at the Dunlavey in the heart of the park. Towering live oaks shade the balconies and offer a shady green view from the second story tables. You won’t even remember you’re in the city!
Have a pint at Saint Arnold’s
Beer loving couples must pay homage to Texas’ oldest craft brewery, Saint Arnold.
Along with their year-round selection they also feature special seasonal brews, limited-edition beers, and cider. Go hungry to enjoy the restaurant with a large, leafy outdoor patio to enjoy a beautiful afternoon date in Houston.
For a more romantic beer-themed date, keep an eye out for special events as they also offer guided 5-course cheese and beer tastings together with The Houston Dairy Maids.
Go to the Beach
Walking down the beach is the epitome of a romantic date and 32 miles of white sandy beach await you just an hour south of downtown in Galveston.
Historic downtown is also picturesque and the pristine beaches of Galveston Island State Park are one of the most beautiful things to do in Texas.
The Kemah Boardwalk is another option for a romantic night out on Houston’s coast with restaurants, an aquarium, and a lively nightlife.
Go for a walk with the gators
For a unique outdoorsy Houston date go on one of the best day trips from Houston to Brazos Bend State Park.
The park is only a 45-minute drive from downtown Houston and is perfect for adventurous couples. 37 miles of flat trails weave through the wetlands and forests.
Watch your step as you walk, this park is home to alligators! And while the alligators are the main attraction, Brazos Bend State Park is home to a diverse array of ecosystems, wildlife, and plants.
Pack a picnic to make a full day of it as there are no restaurants in the park.
Have a glass of wine in Houston’s Oldest Building
La Carafe Wine Bar downtown is located in Houston’s oldest commercial building, and it looks it (in all the right ways). The building dates back to 1847 and I swear it’s leaning slightly to one side.
They have excellent wines by the glass and bottle and the dimmed lights and melting candles create an atmosphere that is cozy and inviting.
Order a glass or two of French rose, put a quarter in the juke box, and cozy up in a corner with your date.
Ghost hunters should be on full alert as this bar is rumored to be haunted (and of course it is, it’s the oldest building in town!).
Attend the Houston Symphony
For a cultured Houston romantic night out, put on your finest threads and attend the Grammy award-winning Houston Symphony at the Jesse H. Jones for the Performing Arts downtown.
They were founded in 1913 and are one of the oldest musical institutions in the United States.
Check the schedule (https://houstonsymphony.org/) to plan your night, they play around 300 shows per year ranging from classical to pop and even family specials.
In the warm summer months, they take the show outside with special events at the Miller Outdoor Theater.
Stroll Through the Japanese Gardens
While huge Hermann Park is perfect for a picnic and day date overall, a stroll through the Japanese Garden would be the best place to base yourself for a romantic afternoon.
This classic Japanese Garden features a traditional teahouse that was constructed in Japan before being broken down and put back together in the Houston garden piece by piece, without a single nail.
Walk through the gardens and appreciate its harmony with nature as the original designers intended. In 2006 American varietals had been planted, changing the intention of the gardens. The original designer’s successor, Terunobu Nakai, restored the garden to the original Japanese aesthetic and tended to it until his death.
The 5.5 acres that comprise these gardens are the result of decades of dedication and work. After your walk through the impeccably maintained gardens, enjoy a picnic in Hermann Park or explore the rest of the Museum District.
Swim in the Epitome of Texas Pools
The most iconic pool and one of the coolest things to do in Houston is the Texas shaped lazy river at the Marriott Marquis. And lucky for us, they sell day passes for the perfect romantic afternoon in Houston.
Starting at $40 you can purchase a day pass to take advantage of both the heated lazy river and the heated infinity pool.
You can splurge even further for a daybed, cabana and even a pass to the spa. Towels are provided and there’s food and beverage available poolside.
Tip: While the lazy river is the star of the show, don’t miss the rooftop infinity pool! The view is the best in town (including a view of the Texas shaped lazy river below)!
The Museum of Fine Arts
Get cultured with a romantic date to Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts. This is one of the largest museums in the United States, which should surprise no one as everything truly is bigger in Texas.
The museum features over 70,000 works from 6 continents. There is a lot to see and do here so I recommend attending one of the gallery tours that are free with entrance.
Afterward, explore more of the museum district like the butterfly house in the Museum of Natural Science, The Contemporary Arts Museum, or with a stroll through the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden.
Where to Stay for a Romantic Weekend in Houston
Accommodation can make or break the romance on a couple’s weekend getaway. You’re going to want to stay somewhere with ambience and amenities that will enhance your stay and help you create memories that will last a lifetime.
Here are some of the most romantic places to stay in Houston.
Hotel Zaza, in the heart of the museum district, is the best of the best for romantic hotels in Houston.
The location is perfect, walking distance from Hermann Park, gardens, and the Fine Arts Museum. Or if you’d rather not venture far, the pool in the inner courtyard is ideal for couples to unwind together.
For the best experience indulge in one of the themed suites. You can have fun in the Texas or Nasa themed rooms or kick the romance up a notch in the Bohemia or Erotica suites, where red velvet is in no short supply.
Hotel ICON is part of Marriott’s luxurious Autograph Collection. The ICON is housed in a 1911 bank and has maintained many of the original details. The rooms are beautifully decorated with all things Texas. Think rich leather and deep blues.
The restaurant serves locally Texas sourced ingredients and the lobby bar mixes creative cocktails. The downtown location is walking distance from some of the city’s best bars and restaurants, like the Okra Charity Saloon.
Rather than splurge on a day pass to enjoy the Marquis’ pool and spa, rent a room and make an entire romantic weekend out of it!
Spend your afternoons floating around the lazy river with a cocktail in hand and head up to the rooftop deck for one of the best sunset views in town.
Airbnb in The Heights
Airbnb is an excellent option if you’d like more privacy than a hotel allows. I recommend renting a bungalow in the Heights to discover a more local side of the city.
Homes in The Heights are classic 1930’s Houston bungalows and the historic downtown feels much more like a small town than a neighborhood in a large city. And that’s because it is! The Heights was a small town that was swallowed up by sprawling Houston.
There are cute boutiques, cafes, and restaurants and an Airbnb here would be a unique place to stay for a weekend in Houston.
About the author: Erin Mushaway is the Texan traveler and writer behind the successful Argentina travel blog, solsalute.com. She has spent her entire adult life living abroad in Spain, the Caribbean, and finally Argentina, where she’s spent over ten years building a life. Through her blog, she offers practical guides to Buenos Aires, Texas, and everywhere in between.
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