Houston City Tours

This chart is for groups of 1 – 5 people.  More time must be allotted for larger groups getting on and off large vans and buses, walking around sites, taking photographs, and eating lunch.


General Tour Information

The Tours


For City of Houston Tour Rates and Information, click here. Note that you will require the free Adobe Reader in order to read these pricing documents. You can download the latest version of this software by clicking this link.


General Tour Information

Tours A, B, and C do not include a stop for lunch.

Tour A does not have a stop.

Tour B has one bathroom stop.

Tour A covers between 20 and 30 miles/32 and 48 kilometers.

Tours B through D cover between 30 and 40 miles/48 and 64 kilometers.

Tours E through H cover between 40 and 65 miles/64 and 105 kilometers.

Tours A and B normally do not have any stops as we are covering so much territory in a short time.  If you want us to stop, we can, but remember, we might have to delete some other sites to accommodate you.

Bathroom opportunities exist at the Visitors Center, lunch, and at each museum.

Tours D, E, F, G, and H stop for lunch at a restaurant or café for one hour.  Everyone pays for his/her own meal.  At the outset of the tour, tell the tour guide what type of food you would like to eat and at approximately what time so he or she can plan accordingly.

The most popular tours are C, D, and E.

Tours D, E, F, G, and H will have a number of stops for photo opportunities.

Tours F, G, and H will also have a snacks stop.  

You can drink in the vehicles, but please do not smoke or eat.

Scheduling and Deposit:  All tours are scheduled by appointment on a first come, first serve basis.  Most tours are SCHEDULED AT LEAST TWO WEEKS IN ADVANCE with a NON-REFUNDABLE deposit of roughly 50% paid to reserve the tour.  Nothing spells commitment like money.  The balance can be paid in US cash at the outset of the tour.  We have NEVER accepted credit cards.  We no longer accept bank transfers as banks have charged exorbitant multi-layered fees.  On late notice of less than two weeks, we will be glad to:

  1. Meet parties to receive the cash deposit at a Starbucks location within the I-610 Loop.
  2. Accept overnight checks when received at least 7 days before the tour.
  3. Receive wired money via Western Union.  This can be handled at customer service centers in most grocery stores.  The grocery store or other institution charges a small fee for this service.
  4. Receive wired money via MoneyGram.  This can be handled at most Walmarts.  Walmart charges a small fee for this service.

Before we enacted our current deposit policy, we found that over 50% of all people who called for a tour and did not pay a non-refundable deposit never showed up or called to cancel.

Call or write to us in advance to make arrangements.  The contact information can be found at the top of the page.  If one hesitates about making a decision, another party may take your preferred date and we might not be able to accommodate you.  If you call on the same day that you want a tour, allow a minimum of 1 hour for us to be able to send a tour guide and vehicle to downtown to meet you.  If you want to begin a tour at some other location, allow more time.

All city tours start and end at the Visitors Center (VC) in downtown Houston.  We also offer free pickup from and return to any sites within downtown.  Three highways surround downtown:  US 59, I-45, and I-10.  A surcharge exists for pickup and return outside of downtown dependent upon the distance.

Tourists will pay for any admission fees to museums, exhibitions, houses, tastings, et cetera that they select.

Days of operations and the status of whether the museum is free are given for those people who want a 7-hour or longer tour and want to have time to visit inside the museum.

If you like, inquire about scheduling a 10-hour or longer tour.  We do our best to accommodate you.

Top


City Tour A1 – 0.1 to 2.0 Hours – No Scheduled Stops

About one hour is spent in downtown and one hour outside of downtown. On this tour you will see:

  1. Downtown
  2. Skyscrapers
    1. J. P. Morgan Chase Tower – 75 stories – 1982.
    2. Wells Fargo Plaza – 71 stories – 1983.
    3. Bank of America Center – 56 stories – 1983.
    4. Heritage Plaza – 53 stories – 1987.
    5. Enterprise Plaza – 55 stories – 1980.
    6. Centerpoint Energy Plaza – 47 stories – 1974.
    7. 1600 Smith Street (formerly the Continental Airlines Building) – 53 stories – 1984.
    8. Fulbright Tower – 52 stories – 1982.
    9. One Shell Plaza – 50 stories – 1971.
    10. 1400 Smith Street (formerly the Enron North or 1 Building and Four Allen Center) – 50 stories – 1983.
    11. Three Allen Center – 50 stories – 1980.
    12. AIG American General Center (America Tower) – 42 stories – 1983.
    13. Pennzoil Place – 36 stories – 1975.
    14. More
  3. Theater District
    1. Jones Hall – the symphony – 1996.  This was the home to virtually all high culture until the 1980s.
    2. The Alley Theatre – live plays – found in 1948; built in 1968 and remodeled in 2015.
    3. The Houston Ballet Center for Dance – ballet – found in 1955; built in 2011.
    4. The Wortham Theater Center – opera and large ballet performances – 1987.
    5. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts – Broadway style musicals – 2002.
    6. Bayou Place’s live theater and movie theater – built as The Albert Thomas Convention Center in the late 1960s.
  4. Parks and Plazas
    1. Discovery Green Park - 2008
    2. Root Memorial Square Park – 1923 and renovated in 2005.
    3. Jones Plaza – 1966.
    4. Fish Plaza – 1987.
    5. Sesquicentennial Park – 1989 and 1998.
    6. Tranquility Park – 1979.
    7. Sam Houston Park – 1899.
    8. Hermann Park – 1914.
    9. John P. McGovern Centennial Gardens – 2014.
    10. Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion – 2014.
    11. Japanese Gardens – 1992.
  5. Statues
    1. Virtuoso – David Adickes – 1983.
    2. In Minds – Tony Cragg – 2003.
    3. General Sam Houston – Enrico Filiberto Cerrachio – 1924.
  6. Institutions of Higher Education
    1. University of Houston Downtown (UHD) – 1974.
    2. South Texas College of Law – 1923.
    3. Rice University (RU) – found as an institute in 1912 and became a university in 1960.
  7. Athletic Stadiums
    1. Toyota Center – basketball (Houston Rockets), concerts, and high school graduations – 2003.
    2. Minute Maid Park (Formerly The Ballpark at Union Station, Enron Field, and Astros Field) – 2000.
  8. Houses of Worship
    1. Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart – 1911 and 2008.
    2. First United Methodist Church – found in 1839; built in 1910.
    3. Antioch Missionary Baptist Church – found in 1866; built in 1875.
    4. First Church of Christ Science – built in the 1960s.
    5. Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral – found in 1839; built in 1893.
    6. Congregation Emanu El – found in 1944; built in 1949.
    7. St. Paul’s United Methodist Church – found in 1906; built in 1930.
  9. Different Neighborhoods and Cities
    1. First, Second, Third, and Fourth Wards – 1841 when the city government was formed.
    2. Freedman’s Town – 1865.
    3. Neartown – The Neartown Association was found in 1963.
    4. River Oaks – 1923; Houston annexed it, in 1927.
    5. West University Place – settled in 1917; incorporated in 1924.
    6. Southampton (Place) – 1920s.
    7. Shadyside (Walled) – 1920.
    8. Midtown – 1990s.
  10. Shopping
    1. Upper Kirby District – 1980s.
    2. Rice Village – 1930s.
  11. Museums
    1. Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) – found in 1900, the Caroline Wiess Law Building opened in 1924 and had additions in 1926, 1953, 1958, and 1974.  The Audrey Jones Beck Building opened in 2000.  The Nancy and Rich Kinder Building is scheduled to open by 2020.  Free on Thursday.  It is open on Sunday and Tuesday through Saturday.
    2. Contemporary Arts Museum – Houston (CAM) – 1972.  Free.  It is open on Sunday and Tuesday through Saturday.
    3. Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden – 1986.  Free.  It is open everyday.
    4. Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH) – 1996.  It is open everyday.
    5. Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research – the historic home was built in 1917; the main building opened in 1988.  Free.  It is open on Tuesday through Saturday.
    6. Asia Society Texas Center – 2012.  Free.  It is open on Sunday and Tuesday through Saturday.
    7. Children’s Museum of Houston – found in 1980; built in 1992.  It is open on Sunday and Tuesday through Saturday.
    8. John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science (The Health Museum) – found in 1969; built in 1996 and expanded in 2011.  It is open everyday.
    9. Houston Museum of Natural Science – found in 1909; built in 1969 and expanded in 1994 and 2012.  Free during the latter hours on Tuesday afternoon.  It is open everyday.
    10. More.
  12. Miscellaneous
    1. George R. Brown Convention Center – 1987 and expanded in 2003 and 2016.
    2. Rienzi Mansion – 1954.  It is open on Sunday and Wednesday through Saturday.
    3. Miller Outdoor Theatre (MOT) – 1923; rebuilt in 1968 and remodeled in 2008, 2009, and 2010.  Free.  It has performances from early spring through early to mid-November.
    4. Houston Zoo – 1922.  It is open everyday.

Top


City Tour A2 – 0.1 to 2.0 Hours – No Scheduled Stops

This 2-hour tour includes a little of downtown, but it spends most of its time southwest, west, and northwest of downtown and outside the I-610 Loop. It drives by:

  1. Lakewood Church – found in 1959, built in 1974 as an athletic stadium, converted in 2005.
  2. Museums
    1. Houston Police Department Museum – 2010.  Free.  It is open Monday through Friday.
    2. Houston Fire Museum of Houston – built as a fire station in 1899; opened as a museum in 1980.  It is open Tuesday through Saturday.
  3. Skyscrapers
    1. Williams Tower – 64 stories – 1983.
    2. San Felipe Plaza – 46 stories – 1984.
    3. Marathon Oil Tower – 41 stories – 1983.
    4. Four Leaf Towers One – 40 stories – 1982.
    5. Four Leaf Towers Two – 40 stories – 1982.
    6. Post Oak Central – 24 stories – 1975, 1979, and 1982.
    7. Hilton Post Oak – 14 floors – 1982.
  4. Shopping
    1. The Galleria – 1970 and expanded in 1976, 1986, and 2003.
    2. Highland Village – 1950s.
    3. Uptown Plaza – 1980s.
  5. Offbeat Structures and Sites
    1. Beer Can House – 1968 to 1987.
    2. Gargoyle/Frog House, Frank Zeni’s Tempietto – 1990.
    3. Art Car Studio of Mark Bradford.
    4. Our Lady of Guadalupe in Orange Crush and beer cans – 1990s.
    5. Cow statue on top of a house.
    6. Two story busts of presidents – 1990s.
  6. Different Neighborhoods
    1. Vietnam Town – 1975.
    2. Afton Oaks – 1960s.
    3. The Galleria Area – 1970s.
    4. Camp Logan District – 1920s.
    5. Rice Military District – 1920s.
    6. West End – 1890s.
    7. Historic Sixth Ward – 1870s.
  7. Parks
    1. The Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park – 1985.
    2. Memorial Park – 1924. 
  8. Cemeteries
    1. Glenwood Cemetery – 1872.
    2. Washington Cemetery (formerly the Deutsche Gesellschaft von Houston) – 1875.
    3. Olivewood Cemetery – 1875.  (Time permitting.)
  1. Miscellaneous
    1. Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA) – found in 1977, moved into the old 1912 Dow Elementary School in 1993.
    2. Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens – 1928.  It is open on Sunday and Tuesday through Saturday.
    3. Lots of bars and restaurants.
    4. Murals.

Top


City Tour B – 2.1 to 3.0 Hours – One Bathroom Stop

This tour has almost everything that City Tours A1 and A2 have with the following differences:


Missing all from City Tour A2:

  1. Houston Police Department Museum.
  2. Fire Museum.
  3. Vietnam Town.
  4. Highland Village.
  5. Afton Oaks.
  6. BBVA Compass Stadium.
  7. Camp Logan District.
  8. Old Chinatown.
Added:
  1. Texas Medical Center (TMC) – established in 1945.
    1. Ben Taub General Hospital – 1963.
    2. Memorial Hermann Hospital – 1925.
    3. Kindred Hospital.
    4. Prairie View A & M College of Nursing – established in 1918, moved to its present site in 1983.
    5. Methodist Hospital – 1919.
    6. Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) – 1954.
    7. Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) – 1900.
    8. St. Luke’s Hospital – 1954.
    9. Texas Heart Institute.
    10. Shriners Hospitals for Children – 1952.
    11. Texas Woman’s University (TWU) Institute of Health Sciences.
    12. University of Texas Health Science Center – 1972.
    13. University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center – 1941.
    14. Woman’s Hospital of Texas – 1976.
    15. University General Hospital – 2005.
    16. Cambridge Hospital – 2012.
    17. More.
  2. Athletic Stadiums of the Past and Present
    1. Astrodome – formerly baseball, American football, boxing, and collegiate sports – 1965.
    2. NRG Stadium – American football (the Texans). Formerly named Reliant Stadium – 2002.
  3. Bellaire – 1907.
  4. Houston Community College West Loop Center – found in 1971, this campus opened in the 1990s.

Top


City Tour C – 3.1 to 4.0 Hours – 3 or 4 Stops

This has everything that City Tour B including more stops for photos and bathrooms, plus:

  1. Monday through Friday – a 3-block walk in the underground tunnels of Houston where over 5,000 people work in over 500 businesses including 10 food courts. This will also include a visit to a 59th and 58th floor observation deck inside the Wells Fargo Plaza.
  2. Sunday and Saturday – We will include driving by and seeing twice as many museums as well as famous chapels, a home, and a university. This tour goes through the Montrose neighborhood that was established in 1911.
    1. Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) – 2000s.
    2. Buffalo Soldier’s National Museum (BSNM) – found in 2000; moved into its current facility in 2012.  It is open on Monday through Saturday.
    3. Dan Flavin Installation – 1996.  Free.  It is open on Sunday and Wednesday through Saturday.
    4. Menil Collection – 1987.  Free.  It is open on Sunday and Wednesday through Saturday.
    5. Cy Twombly Gallery – 1995.  Free.  It is open on Sunday and Wednesday through Saturday.
    6. Rothko Chapel – 1971.  Free.  It is open everyday.
    7. Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk sculpture – 1967.  Free.  It is open everyday.
    8. Watercolor Art Society-Houston – found in 1975; the current building was completed in 2006.  Free.  It is open on Tuesday through Saturday.
    9. Houston Center for Photography – found in 1981; its current facility opened in 2006.  Free.  It is open on Sunday and Wednesday through Saturday.
    10. Neon Gallery – established in 1983.  Free.  It is open Monday through Saturday.
    11. Chapel of Saint Basil – 1997.  Free.
    12. University of St. Thomas (UST) – 1947.
    13. Childhood home of Howard Hughes – early 1900s.
    14. Lawndale Art Center – found in 1979; moved into the current 1930s art deco building in 1992.  Free.  It is open on Monday through Saturday.
    15. Houston Center for Contemporary Crafts (HCCC) – 2001.  Free.  It is open on Sunday and Tuesday through Saturday.
    16. The main campus of Houston Community College – built in 1913 as South End Junior High School that opened in 1914.
    17. The Midtown Art Center – 1982.
    Station Museum of Contemporary Art – established circa 2003.  Free.  It is open on Sunday and Wednesday through Saturday.

If clients do not want to walk in the tunnels or go to the observation deck, we can substitute the additional museums, chapels, home, and university any day of the week.

Top


City Tour D – 4.1 to 5.0 Hours – 4 or 5 Stops

This tour is the same as City Tour C, but it also includes allowing time for a lunch stop. Each person pays for his/her lunch. Just tell the tour guide what type of food you want to eat and he/she will accommodate you. It also provides more time for stopping to take photographs.

Top


City Tour E – 5.1 to 6.0 Hours – 5 or 6 Stops

This tour will either:

  1. Have the additional museums from the weekends on Tour C and/or
  2. Include the Heights:
    1. Washington Heights
    2. Houston Heights – settled in 1891, incorporated in 1896; Houston annexed it in 1919.
    3. Independence Heights – incorporated in 1915; Houston annexed it in 1929.
    4. Stone Heights
    5. Woodland Heights – established in 1907.

This tour will have more stops to shop.

Houston Heights and Woodland Heights have pretty wide parkland medians with large oak trees and mostly locally owned businesses.

The Houston Heights has the best collection of Victorian homes in Houston and lots of antique and resale shops, and a great spice shop.  This was the first suburb of Houston.

Independence Heights has dozens of churches and burglar barred homes and former businesses.  It has a number of barber, beauty, and nail shops.  It was the first African American municipality in Texas.

Stone Heights has the largest farmers market in Texas and one of the best Mexican bakeries in Houston. 

Woodland Heights has the best collection of Craftsmen homes in Houston. 

Sometimes, we will stray into Garden Oaks to stop at the Flying Saucer Pie Company that was found in 1967.

Top


City Tour F – 6.1 to 7.0 Hours – 7 or 8 Stops
City Tour G – 7.1 to 8.0 Hours – 9 or 10 Stops City Tour H – 8.1 to 9.0 Hours – 11 or 12 Stops

You have numerous options that you can select and mix with each other and the other activities.

All of the 7, 8, and 9-hour tours will also stop also for bathroom break that will be an ice cream parlor, chocolate shop, or malt and milkshake store.

Option A: Have 1, 2, or 3 hours to shop at any of the malls and shopping centers that are identified in the earlier tours.

Option B: Have 1, 2, or 3 hours to visit any or all of the museums that are identified in the earlier tours.

Option C: Include 1, 2, or 3 hours in Southeast Houston to see:

  1. The University of Houston (UH) – 1927.
    1. Blaffer Art Museum – 1973.  Free.  It is open on Tuesday through Saturday.
    2. Moores Opera House – 1997.
  2. Texas Southern University (TSU) – 1947.
  3. Orange Show – 1979.
  4. Timbercrest – 1920s.
  5. Riverside Terrace – 1920s.  This was where Christians were willing to sell Jews property from the 1920s to the 1960s.  As a result of white flight, this became the wealthiest African American neighborhood in the US by the 1970s.
  6. MacGregor Park – circa 1926.
  7. 1940 Air Terminal Museum – 1940.  It was abandoned from 1978 to 2004.  It opened as a museum in 2004.  It is open Sunday and Tuesday through Saturday.

Option D: Include 1, 2, or 3 hours in Southwest Houston to see:

  1. Houston Baptist University (HBU) – 1960.
    1. Dunham Bible Museum – 1997.  Free.  It is open on Monday through Saturday.
    2. Museum of American Architecture and Decorative Arts.  It is open on Monday through Saturday.
    3. Museum of Southern History.  It is open on Monday through Saturday.
  2. The Printing Museum – found in 1979; opened in 1982.  The museum is open on Tuesday through Sunday.
  3. Telephone Museum – 1966.  This museum is generally only open by appointment.
  4. Meyerland – 1955.
  5. Sharpstown – 1955.
  6. Maplewood – 1950s.
  7. Marilyn Estates – 1957.
  8. Bellaire – 1907 (incorporated city).

Option E: Include 1, 2, or 3 hours in the Eado (East Downtown) and East End of Houston to see:

  1. BBVA Compass Stadium – soccer and TSU football – 2012.
  2. Old Chinatown – 1950s.
  3. 8th Wonder Brewery – 2013.
  4. Murals.
  5. Houston Ship Channel and Port of Houston – 1914.
  6. Eastwood – 1913.  This was the second master planned neighborhood in Houston.
  7. Idylwood – circa 1930s.
  8. Magnolia Park – settled in 1890; incorporated in 1913; annexed by Houston in 1926.
  9. Harrisburg – found circa 1823; annexed by Houston in 1926.  This was the capital of the Republic of Texas in 1836.
  10. Glendale Cemetery – 1826.  It is the oldest cemetery in Houston.
  11. Forest Park at Lawndale – one the prettiest cemeteries in Houston.  It includes 2 Tiffany stained-glass windows in a mausoleum, a 20-foot long by 10-foot high carving of “The Last Supper,” and an approximately 5-foot tall carving of the face of Jesus that appears to turn in all directions.
  12. Historic churches.

Option F: Miscellaneous Museums within the I-610 Loop

  1. Houston Maritime Museum – 2000.  It is open on Tuesday through Saturday.
  2. Heritage Society – 1954.  It is open on Tuesday through Saturday.
  3. Art Car Museum – 1998.  Free.  It is open on Sunday and Wednesday through Saturday.
  4. Michael DeBakey Library and Museum – 2010.  Free.  It is open on Monday through Friday.
  5. Wallace D. Wilson Museum that focuses on Denton Cooley – 2002.  Free.  It is open everyday.

Top