The 8 Best Houston Sights & Landmarks
San Antonio is the home of the Alamo, and Austin has the State Capitol, but Houston — the first capital of Texas — is also full of history. Here are some sights worth seeing.
1. Sam Houston Monument
In Hermann Park, you’ll find a statue of General Sam Houston riding on horseback. The bronze figure was designed by Enrico Cerracio and erected in 1916. It points east toward the direction of San Jacinto Battlefield, where Houston’s outnumbered army defeated the forces of General Santa Ana, ending the war and securing Texas’ independence from Mexico.
2. The San Jacinto Museum and Monument
This historic battleground now lies in the La Porte area of Harris County. The museum at the base of the monument is home to one of the largest collections of Texas art and artifacts. The monument, standing 15 feet taller than the Washington Monument in D.C., is the tallest war memorial in the world and offers an outstanding view of Houston.
3. Battleship Texas
From the top of the monument, you can also clearly see Battleship Texas. Formerly known as the U.S.S. Texas, it the last of the battleships to participate in World War I and II. Commissioned in March 1914, it was the most powerful weapon in the world and participated in several significant naval battles. Now, the Texas is designation as a National Historic Landmark and a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark.
4. Space Center Houston
Space Center Houston, Houston’s first Smithsonian Affiliate, features more than 400 space artifacts, including flown spacecraft and moon rocks, in an eight-story complex. Independence Plaza features the only shuttle replica mounted on a shuttle carrier aircraft open to the public.
5. Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
The original family mansion and surrounding 14 acres of gardens of Miss Ima Hogg, a well-known Houston philanthropist, now houses the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s early American decorative arts and painting collection. It’s considered one of the premier collections in the country, dating from 1620 to 1876, installed throughout 28 period room settings.
6. Atropos Key
Sculpted by artist Hannah Stewart, the Atropos Key has sat on top of the hill on Hermann Park since 1972. As one of the three Goddesses of Fate in Greek mythology, Atropos was responsible for the destiny of humans. The bronze sculpture is prominently positioned at the top of the seating area at Miller Outdoor Theatre.
7. The Houston Police Officers’ Memorial
Located at 1400 Memorial Drive, this piece of public art is guard by an officer 24 hours a day. It was erected by Jesús Bautista Moroles in in 1991 to recognize the sacrifices made by city police officers and to honor those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
8. Gus Wortham Fountain
Also known as the dandelion fountain, this piece of public art off Allen Parkway was created by local architect and long-time Rice University professor William Cannady in 1978. It is instantly recognizable to Houstonians and a favorite spot for dog walkers.