When summer is in full swing in Houston (or even late spring and early fall), it’s easy to see why locals and visitors alike make a dash for indoor activities. The “feels like” temperature can reach triple digits, and the humidity adds an extra layer of sweaty discomfort. Luckily, it’s easy to escape the Houston heat (and maybe even cross off a couple of bucket list items) – here’s how.

1. Spend Some Time in Space

For anyone who’s ever heard (or said), “Houston, we have a problem …” the most important, must-see destination is Space Center Houston. As the city’s number-one attraction for international visitors, it’s the official visitor center of NASA Johnson Space Center. It has a multitude of regular and special exhibits on the history and future of space exploration, and is also a certified autism center, which means everything is accessible for people of all ages with sensory and cognitive challenges. Take a tram tour and visit mission control or view space suits from throughout the decades and relive moments from Apollo 13.

Walk through the Skylab Trainer, the actual trainer that was used to prepare astronauts for America’s first space station. Photo courtesy of Space Center Houston.

2. Sashe, Shante

Can there be such a thing as too much shopping? Not for the 30 million people who visit The Galleria each year. And it isn’t just a mall – it’s 2.4 million square feet of shopping. Want to ice skate in the middle of summer? There’s a full-size ice rink in addition to a state-of-the-art children’s play area, two swimming pools, and 400 stores and restaurants. There are also 13,000 parking spaces across six garages, but for those not in the mood to park, the Galleria also has six valet stations.

Courtesy of business.simon.com

3. Cool Off with a Few Pitches

2017 was a banner year for the Houston Astros. After a nail-biting World Series battle, they won their first championship in the franchise’s history in Game 7 of the series – and five of the team’s players went on to be chosen for the AL All-Star squad. The Astros’ home games are held at Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston. Not only is the field easy to get to from anywhere in the area, but the retractable roof can be closed on hot days, creating an indoor space that makes the game comfortable even on sweltering summer days.

4. Wander Through Scientific History

The Houston Museum of Natural Science has two locations to beat the heat. The main location anchors the Museum District and Hermann Park in the Inner Loop, while the Sugar Land location is just southwest of downtown. There are 16 permanent exhibitions ranging from paleontology to ancient Egyptian civilization, and even a Fabergé collection within the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals. Both locations have special exhibitions and activities throughout the summer months, so visitors of all ages can enjoy a day of indoor fun.

The 'Death by Natural Causes' exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science

5. Marvel at a Little Eye Candy

Also located in the Museum District, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is undergoing a campus redevelopment project through 2020. The two main campus buildings are still open, and there’s an opportunity to see two new buildings under construction. More than 65,000 works of art from around the world are housed in the MFAH collection, representing periods from ancient civilization to the present. The Museum also hosts special exhibitions, programs, and films, so it’s easy to spend an entire day (or two) exploring the collection.

Houston Museum of Fine Arts

6. Get Up in the Air

Finally, how about some indoor skydiving? Strap on a helmet, pull on that jumpsuit and experience the weightlessness of flying (while staying safely inside a wind tunnel, of course). iFLY has locations in Memorial City and The Woodlands, and each session lasts around two hours, including instruction time. While it’s not an entire day of indoor activity, it is definitely one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

iFly Houston

Beating the heat in Houston is easy with Hilton’s Explore Like a Local package, which provides special offers with these, and other, local-approved indoor activities.

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