Baytown is one of our favorite day trips from Houston.
The city is located just about half an hour away (thirty miles east) from downtown Houston and is a great place to visit on a weekend.
Baytown and the nearby areas have many cultural and historical attractions and are fun for all kinds of visitors.
The city’s location makes it especially popular with locals.
Baytown is located on the north side of Galveston Bay between Galveston and Houston.
Its proximity to La Port has also resulted in a tourism boom.
Baytown is located near both the San Jacinto River and the Buffalo Bayou in the Gulf Coast region.
Nature here is pretty spectacular and outdoor activities like kayaking, birding, and hiking are pretty popular.
Lynch’s Ferry Crossing has a big role in settling Baytown, TX.
The community was isolated and could be reached only by boat until the discovery of oil at Goose Creek Oil Field.
Soon after, the whole city experienced a boom and grew at a significant pace.
Fun fact: Baytown was originally called East Baytown!
Best Things to do in Baytown, Texas
There are many things to do in Baytown for both families and couples.
From shopping and a lively dining scene to cultural attractions, Baytown has it all.
There are special ongoing efforts to make the city’s art scene into a popular tourist attraction.
Here are some of our favorite things to do in Baytown, Texas.
Take Instagram worthy photos at the Umbrella Alley
One of the highlights of a visit to Baytown is the beautiful Umbrella Alley.
What was once empty, deteriorating, and abandoned space has been transformed into a popular tourist attraction.
Here you will find thought-provoking and artistic murals on both sides of the wall.
Several themes are depicted in the murals and they are very beautiful to look at.
They also provide an exotic backdrop to Instagram photos.
Over 120 umbrellas hang from the top, creating a colorful vibrant canopy and resemble the many Umbrella Alleys of Europe.
Hundreds of visitors come to the Umbrella Alley every year to take stunning photographs.
Check out the Arts Culture and Entertainment District
The Old Goose Creek Arts and Entertainment District in Baytown is amazing to explore on foot.
Apart from the Umbrella Alley, you will find many fascinating murals, art installations, and galleries in the city.
You can see several of these while you explore the streets and alleys.
The Art League building is the epicenter of many of these artworks and also home to the largest mural in the city.
You can also see many mini mural traffic cabinets throughout the city.
The city also holds art festivals and art walks throughout the year.
Go hiking at the Baytown Nature Center
The Baytown Nature Center is one of the best places to visit in the area for nature lovers.
Here you will find many hiking and nature trails.
This is also a great place to visit for bird watching.
The birding trails have wildlife blinds where you can spot the birds.
There is also an onsite butterfly garden, bicycle trails, and places to launch kayaks.
Many of the trails in the park have amazing views of the San Jacinto monument.
Other things to do at the Baytown Nature Center include a children’s play area, picnic tables and pavilions, and great spots for fishing.
Visitors can also go crabbing here.
The center is a whole lot of family fun and the perfect way to spend a day in Baytown.
Take a class at the Art League of Baytown
The article of Baytown is home to a beautiful art gallery in downtown Baytown.
Here you can see the artwork of all types for sale by local artists.
You can purchase handcrafted gifts and cool artwork.
They also have several classes and workshops where visitors can participate in and learn new arts.
You can learn an interesting mix of visual arts including painting, jewelry making, photography workshops, and paper mache.
Watch a play in the city
The Lee College Performing Arts Center and the Baytown Little Theatre are two prominent theatres in Baytown.
The Lee College Performing Arts Center in Baytown has a variety of musical concerts, symphonies, and plays throughout the year.
This is a great place to go for culture enthusiasts in Baytown.
The center always has something going on and the venue itself is quite beautiful.
Baytown Little Theater also puts on excellent productions that are great to watch.
Their summer musicals are especially great to see.
See the Portrait of a Warrior Memorial Art Gallery
This art gallery in Baytown honors fallen Lone Star State soldiers that served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
On a visit, you can see portraits of these soldiers as well as learn more about the stories.
The artwork is very beautiful and visiting the gallery is an emotional but rewarding experience.
Update: The gallery is currently closed, we have heard about a new location for it but have been unable to find it. Let us know if you know more about it.
Take a stroll through Town Square at Christmas
Baytown is especially charming in the holiday season.
The Town Square is home to an enormous Christmas tree.
An outdoor ice skating rink is also located here and is a great place to enjoy with your loved ones.
There are many other holiday-themed events in Baytown.
The city hosts one of Houston area’s largest Christmas parades with floats, marching bands, dancers, and food trucks.
The Art Center has a Christmas gift gallery. Holiday-themed plays are performed in Baytown theaters.
See the exhibits at Baytown Historical Museum
The Baytown Historical Museum is housed inside the former Goose Creek post office building.
The building was built in the 1930s and is a historic landmark.
The museum is free to visit.
Here you can see exhibits narrating the story of the many inhabitants of the city.
Visitors can see artifacts belonging to the Karankawa Indians, who were the earliest to settle in the area as well as photographs and exhibits to the discovery of the oil era.
Read more about Baytown’s history at the Texas State Historical Association website here.
See the gators at Eddie V. Gray Wetlands Center
Located on the banks of Goose Creek in Baytown you will find Eddie V. Gray Wetlands Center.
This is an excellent place to take the kids for a hands-on educational experience.
Two of the most popular exhibits are Gator World and the Butterfly Garden.
At Gator World, you can see juvenile alligators. The mural here is also fantastic.
In the butterfly garden, You can encounter different species of live butterflies as well as a beehive.
The entry here is free.
They also have snake exhibits and other local animals and the center is an excellent place to learn about nature and wildlife.
Spend time at the city’s parks
Baytown has many parks and green areas for nature lovers.
One of the largest is the 13-acre Bicentennial Park.
The Veteran’s Memorial Plaza and the Fireman’s Memorial Statue are also located at Bicentennial Park.
Goose Creek Stream Greenbelt is another great park. It has a wildlife blind, a children’s play area, and several picnic tables.
Jenkins Park has baseball fields, a dog park, play areas, basketball courts, walking trails, picnic tables, and even a skate park.
David G. Burnet Park is located near the Lynchburg Ferry North Landing.
Named after the first president of the Republic of Texas, the park has historical markers and several interpretive plaques narrating the history of the area.
Go wine tasting at Yepez Vineyard
For wine lovers, Yepez Vineyard in Baytown is a must-visit.
At this hidden gem in Beach City, you can see the vineyards and go wine tasting in the Adobe style winery and tasting room.
The vineyard is perfect for family picnics.
It is also a great place for a romantic date night in Baytown.
They also hold many special events with live music throughout the year.
Watch a drag race at the Houston Raceway Park
Houston Raceway Park, formerly known as Royal Purple Raceway, is located in Baytown.
This car racing track is an excellent place to go watch drag races.
You can see a lot of nice cars and enjoy the vibe.
Thousands of people attend the car races here and the race park also holds car shows.
The venue has a lot of food and beverage vendors at the time of events and is a great place to spend a day with the family.
They also hold other events like music festivals and lights festivals throughout the year.
Check out Baytown’s Living History Museum
Another often overlooked attraction in Baytown.
The Republic of Texas Plaza is a living history museum in Baytown.
Located at 5117 North Main Street, this 5-acre site has many interpretive exhibits that narrate the rich history of Baytown.
The main attraction is an 1894 one-room schoolroom and the Brown-McKay house built-in 1910.
At the museum, visitors can learn about early Baytown settlers and life in Baytown in the early 20th century.
Look around the stunning Trophy Barber Shop
So what’s a barbershop doing in this list of best things to do in Baytown?
As it turns out this is no ordinary barbershop. Located in the city’s historic district on Texas Avenue, the shop is home to several mounted animals.
They were all hunted by the original owner, Jimmy Carpenter.
The walls of the barbershop are adorned with a massive 12-foot long polar bear, hundreds of deer antlers, moose, goat, sheep, bison, and more.
So go in there, get a haircut, and take a picture with a polar bear!
The store is definitely a Baytown icon and one of the hidden gems in the area.
Spend a day at Pirates Bay Water Park
Pirates Bay Waterpark is an amazing place to visit with the kids.
We love visiting here to beat the heat, especially if we are visiting Baytown on a hot summer day.
The seasonal water park has slides, wave pools, and a lazy river.
There are separate kiddie pools for babies and toddlers.
You can get a season pass if you plan to go more than once in the summer.
Admire the striking Fred Hartman Bridge
The striking Fred Hartman Bridge spans the Houston Ship Channel and connects Baytown with the San Jacinto Battleground in La Porte.
The cable-stayed bridge is 2.6 mi long and is the tallest bridge in Houston.
It is also the longest cable-stayed bridge in Texas.
It carries Highway 146 over the Houston Ship Channel.
The bridge is beautifully designed and looks amazing when it is lit up at night.
The Bridge is very photogenic and is also great to drive over.
Things to do near Baytown
Besides the attractions in downtown Baytown, there are many other things to do in the neighboring area.
The most popular activities are of course the attractions in neighboring La Porte.
Here are some of the best things to do near Baytown, Texas.
Ride the historic Lynchburg Ferry
While you are visiting Baytown, you must take a ride on the historic Lynchburg Ferry.
The ferry takes visitors from Baytown across the Houston Ship Channel to the San Jacinto Monument.
This is the oldest continuously operating very in Texas and has been instrumental in the Texas Independence struggle.
Sam Houston burned the ferry prior to the Battle of San Jacinto to stop the Mexican troops from retreating.
Ride across the ferry is free and one of the best things to do near Baytown.
We definitely recommend this area attraction for families as kids tend to enjoy the ride a lot.
See the San Jacinto Monument
San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Park is a must-visit attraction for all true Texans.
Located in the neighboring La Porte city, this is where the historic Battle of San Jacinto took place on April 21 1836.
This was the decisive battle in their Texas Revolution and led to the birth of the Republic of Texas.
On a visit, we love admiring the 567.31 feet tall monument.
It is beautiful and seems to reach the sky.
There is a 221-ton star at the top of the monument, the iconic Lone Star of Texas.
This is the tallest masonry column in the world.
Learn about the battle at the San Jacinto Museum of History
The museum located inside the monument is a favorite with our kids.
Visitors can see historic artifacts including guns, uniforms, photographs, and more at the museum.
You can also learn about the construction of the monument and purchase souvenirs in the gift shop.
Included in the museum price is a ride to the top of the San Jacinto Monument.
Our kids love visiting the top and seeing 360 views of the area.
From here you can see the busy Houston Ship Channel, Battleship Texas, Baytown, reflection pool at the foot of the monument, and even the Fred Hartman Bridge.
Visit the museum ship USS Texas
The Battleship Texas has been converted into a museum ship and is open to the public for an educational experience.
The Battleship Texas is docked near the San Jacinto Monument in the Houston Ship Channel.
A visit to the ship is a must for naval and maritime enthusiasts.
Visitors can tour the ship and see the sleeping quarters, gun turret, and other areas.
A couple of options for tours are available depending on your interests.
Update – Currently, the battleship Texas is being repaired and restored and is closed to visitors.
Road trip the Texas Independence Trail
The Texas Independence Trail passes through La Porte and the San Jacinto Battleground.
You can follow the trail through 28 counties in the southeast part of the state and explore historic attractions such as the Alamo, San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site, Washington County, and Ashton Villa in Galveston.
Besides these attractions, the city has a variety of restaurants with diverse cuisines and many shopping malls.
There are also many excellent hotels, motels, and bed & breakfasts located in Baytown that make for an excellent stay.
We hope you liked our post on Best Things to do in Baytown, Texas.