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15 Best Places to Take Pictures in Houston

Uncover Houston's photographic highlights, from modern skyscrapers to vibrant neighborhoods, as we guide you to the city's most captivating spots.

If you’re planning a trip to the Lonestar state, you’re probably wondering about the best places to take pictures in Houston.

Houston, often dubbed the “Space City”, is an eclectic blend of modern skyscrapers, historic neighborhoods, and lush green parks.

This sprawling Texas metropolis, with its dynamic skyline and diverse cultural pockets, offers photographers a canvas of unparalleled variety.

I’ve visited Houston many times over the years, and this guide will be based on both popular and lesser-known spots I’ve discovered during my time in the city.

From the reflective waters of Discovery Green to the vibrant murals adorning the Heights, Houston beckons with a wealth of scenes waiting to be captured.

Whether you’re a local photographer seeking fresh perspectives or a visitor aiming to immortalize your journey, Houston provides a palette of colors, textures, and stories

Let’s get started.

The Well-Known (But Unmissable) Places to Take Pictures in Houston

1. The Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

A wooden bridge leading into a wooded area.

Easily one of the most scenic sights and picture-worthy places in Houston is The Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens.

Best Time to Visit

Most of the natural beauty will be best captured during the daytime.

Because Sunday has the shortest hours of operation, I prefer to go then!

Sunday is usually the least busy day of the week since the garden is closed on Monday.

I suggest going at 4 p.m. on Sundays, an hour before it closes.

Best View

The Woodland Ravines is my absolute favorite spot in Bayou Bend.

The majestic beauty of the surrounding woodlands cannot be underestimated as the perfect backdrop.

Pro Tips

Because this is an outdoor venue with slightly treacherous terrain, you’ll want to bring a durable camera with weather protection, such as The Canon EOS R5.

2. Memorial Park Conservancy

A wooden bridge over a pond in a grassy field.

Home to nearly 1,500 acres of lush greenery, the Memorial Park Conservancy is another can’t-miss spot for photos in Houston.

With origins dating back to 1924, this park is one of the largest urban parks in the country.

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Best Time to Visit

To avoid the crowd from group tours, you’ll want to visit right when the park first opens!

Because it opens at 6 a.m. daily, you’ll undoubtedly miss the rush of the day if you get there at the crack of dawn.

Another great time for picturesque photos is right around closing time, between 6 and 7 at night.

Best View

There’s no shortage of breathtaking views at this park!

My absolute favorite spot for the best views is the Houston Arboretum, located within the park.

Pro Tips

Make sure to allocate enough time to visit Memorial Park!

The Arboretum portion of the park is 155 acres on its own, and that doesn’t account for The Nature Center, granite running trail, or the sports field.

3. The Kemah Boardwalk

A ferris wheel at night at an amusement park.

Who doesn’t love a theme park?

The Kemah Boardwalk is not only wildly entertaining, but it’s also rich with opportunities for excellent photos.

And while it’s actually 20 miles from downtown Houston, the sights make it well worth the drive!

Best Time to Visit

While I tend to recommend daytime visits for capturing the best outdoor scenery, I’m going to change it up for this location!

The illuminated signs lining the boardwalk make the evening the best time to get the best pictures.

Because the boardwalk stays open until at least 8 p.m. most nights and as late as 11 p.m. on Saturday, nighttime photography will be a breeze.

Best View

You can get the best view of the boardwalk from a few places, but I personally love to capture the Century Wheel at night and the Carousel during the day.

You can also snag stunning shots from any of the waterfront restaurants!

Pro Tips

Bring multiple lenses so you can be prepared for all kinds of lighting and easily transition from day to night photography.

4. The NASA Johnson Space Center

A large rocket on display in front of a grassy field.

If you’re looking to add some vintage flair to your photos when taking pictures in Houston, definitely hit up The NASA Johnson Space Center.

Rooted in President Kennedy’s goal of sending a man to the moon, the center was renamed in honor of President Johnson in 1973 and his dedication to NASA.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the Space Center is usually mid-morning, after the first wave of tourists has left, and before lunch when the next wave arrives!

The center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., so I suggest going around 11 a.m. when the light is good and the crowds are minimal.

Best View

There are tons of cool views from inside the center and all around outside.

In my opinion, the best view is right in front of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Booster Exhibit.

This will elevate your photos with stunning landscape shots of a legendary, reusable rocket.

Pro Tips

I highly recommend indulging in the NASA VIP Tour while you’re there, which will allow you to get an insider’s look at the facilities where astronauts train and work each day.

5. The Houston Zoo

A lion resting in a zoo enclosure.

If wildlife photography is your thing, you’ll love The Houston Zoo.

Featuring more than 6,000 animals and over 900 species, you’ll find no shortage of sights to enjoy and capture!

Best Time to Visit

The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so make sure you avoid going right when they open.

I recommend going around 2 p.m. when the younger children have reached their limit and have been taken home for nap time.

Best View

There are so many great views at The Houston Zoo, so I’ll name a few favorites!

Obviously, anywhere where you can enjoy animal encounters is a fantastic option for getting the best pictures in Houston.

Another favorite is the African Forest, which allows you to shoot subjects like rhinos, giraffes, and chimpanzees.

Finally, another stellar view can be found from the indoor aquarium, where you can play around with different angles and lighting.

Pro Tips

The aquarium is rich with vibrant colors and entertaining sea creatures, so make sure you bring your lens hood to account for reflections and refractions.

I also recommend using a macro lens so you can capture the colorful fish in their entirety when you’re mere inches away.

6. The Rothko Chapel

Two people standing in front of a large sculpture in a park.

Dating back to 1971 and home to an array of admirable artwork, The Rothko Chapel is another ideal spot for taking the best pictures in Houston.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit this chapel is right when they open at 10 a.m. on just about any weekday.

Because most kids are in school and most adults are working, you won’t deal with any crowds if you go at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday!

Best View

There are too many views to pick just one, but my favorite view is actually from the exterior!

The artistic statue and the pond shown in the photo above is hands down my favorite view.

Otherwise, I always enjoy the scenery surrounding the new murals on display.

Pro Tips

The Rothko Chapel hosts a diverse range of events that covers everything from meditation and concerts to poetry readings and art exhibits, so be sure to check out upcoming events prior to visiting to make sure you can capture your favorites!

Be aware that you need permission in advance to take photos, so reach out to the chapel early to start planning.

7. Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park

An aerial view of a fountain in the middle of a park.

Full of water features and one of Houston’s top attractions, Waterwall Park is another place you have to visit to take the best pictures in Houston.

Best Time to Visit

Located in Uptown Houston and dating back to 1985, this park is most worth the visit during daylight.

Open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the week, you can count on 10 a.m. being the best time to visit.

Because of its Uptown location, most of the nearby professionals are at work, and kids are in school, so you’ll enjoy free reign taking photos of this scenic multi-story sculptural fountain.

Best View

You’ll get the best view directly in front of the waterwall!

Pro Tips

I can’t stress the importance of footwear enough here.

Make sure you wear comfortable, non-slip shoes that can get wet.

8. The Downtown Aquarium

A man and a child looking at fish in an aquarium.

Home to 300 underwater species, the Downtown Aquarium is definitely one of the best places to take pictures in Houston.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit is right around 9 p.m. on a Saturday.

Because most people are out to eat or trying to catch a movie, this is prime time for getting the aquarium almost to yourself.

On Saturdays, the aquarium closes at 10, which gives you an hour to explore and take photos.

Best View

The underwater rig offers the best views of the aquarium.

Here, you’ll be able to spectate as divers and fish interact while also getting to just appreciate the redfish, snappers, and more.

Pro Tips

Take advantage of not having the outdoors and its weather as a factor.

This is your chance, especially for amateur photographers, to experiment with lighting techniques, shutter speed, and other camera settings.

9. The Houston Theater District

The exterior of a modern building at dusk.

If you’re looking to get some striking architecture or street photography, you’ll want to visit The Houston Theater District!

Home to nine theater venues all over downtown Houston, this arts district offers great opportunities for indoor and outdoor pictures.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit is at night, especially for architecture and street photos!

Each building illuminates and adds a special element to the skyline.

Because most of the theaters close at 5 p.m., I recommend visiting around 6 p.m. to capture passers-by and beautiful shots of the buildings.

Best View

The best view is undoubtedly the one you get approaching The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts on Bagby Street.

The stunning architecture showcasing 60-foot high glass walls and the neighboring bronze statues provide the perfect recipe for head-turning Insta photos.

Pro Tips

Wider and faster lenses are always great for catching quick walkers and the whole scene in front of you, so I recommend using a camera with a wide aperture and a fast shutter speed.

10. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

A man is bucking a horse in a rodeo.

Trips to Houston are typically best during the fall and spring when the temperatures are more mild.

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This timeframe also coincides with another top spot for taking photos in Houston because it’s the season for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo!

Best Time to Visit

You only have from the end of February to mid-March to attend the rodeo, so make sure you plan ahead!

During the week, rodeos start at 6:45 pm., so I recommend getting there right when they open.

Unfortunately, it’ll be crowded regardless since the event is only 20 days long, so just be prepared to spend more time finding picture-worthy spots within the rodeo.

Best View

Whether you prefer the livestock show, the horse show, or the calf scramble, you’ll enjoy excellent views of the exhibitors and their animals in action!

I also recommend attending the mutton bustin’ show, which allows young children equipped in safety gear to ride racing sheep, which will provide some humorous photo options.

Pro Tips

Make sure the camera you bring has next-level autofocusing capabilities since rodeo action is fast and furious.

My favorite cameras for quick action shots are the Nikon D6 and the Fujifilm X-T4.

The Lesser-Known Houston Photo Spots (5 Local Secrets)

If you’re able to plan your visit to Houston in advance and have more than a weekend on your hands, you’ll want to check out some of the city’s lesser-known gems!

Here are a few of my lesser-known Houston photo spots:

  1. Catalina Coffee: The exterior on its own is cool with brick, wooden elements, and a warm color palette, but the interior is quite nifty as well! Ceiling beams and brick walls add to the industrial, artsy vibe, which is perfect for architecture and street photos in Houston.
  2. Rainbow Lodge: Whether you’re dining al fresco or just grabbing a brew before taking photos, the Rainbow Lodge is worth a trip! With origins that trace back to the ’70s, you can feel the warmth of the wood and the groovy dim lighting that create the perfect setting for some artistic, romantic shots.
  3. The Biscuit Paint Wall: Located on Westheimer Road, this mural is the perfect backdrop for inspiring IG photos! While it’s widely known among Houston locals, it’s significantly less popular than the other downtown Houston murals and less tourist-heavy than the Houston Graffiti Building.
  4. The Beer Can House: This house is exactly what it sounds like and represents another hidden gem that could be considered the best place for taking pictures in Houston. While this house won’t be anywhere on the list of top Houston attractions, it’s a sight too cool to miss and too cool not to take photos of!
  5. The Cactus King: This nursery boasts the largest collection of for-sale cacti and succulents in the country, so it’s worth a visit! Here, you’ll be able to achieve unique street and landscape photos and maybe claim a few new houseplants.

FAQs about Taking Photos in Houston

Is it legal to take photos in Houston?

Yes. Houston is full of artists and photographers who practice various kinds of photography.

Are there places in Houston where photography could be a challenge?

Most museums require a permit or permission in advance prior to photos, so be sure to check every establishment’s rules.

What’s the biggest tourist attraction in Houston?

The Space Center is a big one, and because of that, you can expect to get some cool pictures. However, you should also be prepared for tourists and review the earlier part of this article with the least crowded timeframes.

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