In our Must Do Things Around Greater Houston series, we take a look at Houston’s vast array of communities, neighborhoods and destinations to bring you five fun, tasty, surprising and enticing reasons you should give each one a visit.
Pasadena lies about 20 miles from Downtown Houston, bordered by the Houston Ship Channel to the north and Galveston Bay to the southeast.
Once damaged by the same 1900 hurricane that hit Galveston, the city saw a revival after strawberry plants were donated by the Red Cross, and later, expanded further thanks to the Texas Oil Boom.
Though it’s still heavily tied to the oil and gas industry, the area is also home to fun festivals, a nature center and more.
5 Must Do Things in Pasadena
Take a canoe tour of the Armand Bayou Nature Center
With 2,500 acres of natural wetlands, forest, prairie, and marsh, the colossal Armand Bayou Nature Center is also home to over 370 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
Explore its hiking trails, go birding, visit a historic farm, take a pontoon boat cruise, or paddle your way through nature on a guided canoe tour.
Admission is $6; $4 for ages 4 to 12, and 60+ (as well as college students, teachers, active duty military, and first responders); free for ages 3 and under.
Open Wednesdays to Saturday 9am to 5pm; Sunday noon to 5pm.
Celebrate the strawberry at Pasadena’s signature festivals
Named after Pasadena’s history as the “Strawberry Capital of the South,” the yearly Pasadena Strawberry Festival is typically held on the third weekend in May.
Check it out for multiple days of family-friendly fun and entertainment, complete with a carnival, bbq cook-off, helicopter rides, mud volleyball, all kinds of vendors, puppet shows, pig races, pony rides, live musical entertainment, a petting zoo, and fun contests such as the adult strawberry eating contest.
The festival is also home to the World’s Largest Strawberry Shortcake, coming in at 2,073 square feet of cake.
The Pasadena Livestock Show & Rodeo also rolls into town every fall, offering events from livestock shows and calf scrambles to rodeo performances and bbq cook-offs.
Fill up on fajitas & ‘ritas at the Don’Key
Open since 1984, local Tex-Mex institution The Don’Key is known for “Don’Key Ritas” that’ll “kick your ass.”
Pair the boozy numbers with chorizo-loaded queso flameado, sloppy enchiladas, colossal chimichangas, and sizzling fajitas served with all the proper fixin’s.
Don’t forget to tack on homemade flan or sweet, fried sopapillas for dessert; and check out weekday happy hour for deals on margaritas and beer.
Take a dip in the summer months
When it’s time to cool off in Pasadena, don’t overlook the inland fun to be had at Strawberry Water Park, which features a public swimming pool, twisting water slides, water sports and a recreation area.
And, with proximity to the Clear Lake waterfront (where you can make a splash renting kayaks, jet skis and boats) and the sands of El Jardin Beach, a visit to Pasadena should most definitely include a day by the water.
Dive into the history & heritage of Pasadena
Pasadena is home to both the Pasadena Heritage Park and Museum and the Bay Area Museum.
At the heritage park and museum, discover Pasadena’s roots as an agricultural outpost and birthplace of “Free Texas,” with tours of the historic Pomeroy House and Strawberry House. You’ll also find Pasadena’s only mobile water-drilling rig, designed and patented by the Pomeroys in the 1900s. Get directions to the Pasadena Heritage Park and Museum.
Over at the Bay Area Museum, you’ll find treasures from Clear Lake, Seabrook, and the surrounding area—from NASA memorabilia to custom-painted displays. Get directions to the Bay Area Museum.
Find More Things to Do in Houston All Year Long
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