With 11,000+ restaurants, impressive museums (some of which are free), and beautiful public green spaces, Houston offers plenty of distractions for college students. Four state universities and a number of private schools ensure a thriving student population. We’ve compiled our go-to picks to help students escape the demands of city life and school and relax for a while.
Study break spots in Houston
Ample seating and board games for break time fun make this the perfect meeting spot for group studying or projects. Whether you go solo or meet up, you’ll love the selection of Taiwan-sourced beverages. Indulge your taste buds with a bubble tea smoothie or Belgian hot chocolate. Soothe your frazzled nerves with a matcha cream blend or caffeinate with a black tea.
Where: Multiple locations
Lose yourself in the light-dappled rooms and lush green spaces at this beautiful museum. Take a much-needed study break to gaze at modernist art by the likes of Magritte, Picasso, Matisse and too many other greats to mention. Dive into art’s long history with medieval, Byzantine and ancient pieces from the amazing permanent collection of John and Dominique de Menil, or check out current exhibitions. Admission is free.
Where: 1533 Sul Ross St
Latin-inspired cuisine, excellent coffee drinks and a cozy atmosphere make this cafe the perfect spot for a meal between study sessions. Free Wi-fi makes it easy to hit the books after a bite or catch up on social media. Vegetarian options abound—try the black bean burger or vegan Cobb salad.
Where: 2604 Dunlavy St
It’s hard to imagine a more relaxing way to spend part of a day than taking in the abundance of native Japanese plants at these serene botanical gardens. Let your thoughts wander against a backdrop of cherry trees, pagodas, and quaint bridges with waterfalls as the soundtrack.
Where: 1700 Hermann Dr
Speedy, reliable Wi-fi, powerful coffee drinks and tasty eats make this Montrose coffee house a hit with students. Cozy couches offer comfortable seating when the place fills up—a common occurrence due to the delightfully sweet cajeta latte, can’t-miss cold brew, goodies from Sinful Bakery and adult beverages at Happy Hour.
Where: 4504 Graustark St
This is one outdoor attraction where you won’t find the trails crowded with throngs of bikers and joggers. Instead, it’s a quiet place to get away from it all and enjoy the natural scenery. This dog-friendly destination is a great place to catch a glimpse of wildlife while walking the well-maintained miles of trails.
Where: 4501 Woodway Dr
Whether you’re a fan of painter Mark Rothko’s art or just want to retreat to a tranquil place, the dark atmosphere is perfect for reflection, meditation or prayer. Stop at the reflecting pool outside.
Where: 3900 Yupon St
Fantastic salsa, perfectly spiced menudo and the french fry-filled Don Juan Plate are a few of the reasons locals and out-of-towners flock here for late-night Mexican food. The atmosphere is welcoming and homey like an old-school taqueria. And if you’re of drinking age, you’ll appreciate the strong specialty margaritas with touches like mango puree.
Where: 813 Richmond Ave
Sure, you can get solid diner eats here. But the real reason to visit this Houston institution is right there in the name. Whether you choose Dutch apple a la mode, fluffy coconut, the signature Bayou Goo or some other delectable option, it’s impossible to go wrong. Round-the-clock hours and strong coffee make HOP a natural for students.
Where: Multiple locations
Good luck choosing among multiple varieties of macarons, tarts and other fancy baked goods—and don’t overlook the buttery kouign amans for which the bakery’s known. Savory options like the Croque-Madame, a flavorful ham and cheese baguette with egg and creamy bechamel sauce, are also available for your comfort-food pleasure. Try the lavender latte for a break from the usual coffee drinks.
Where: 1706 Westheimer Rd
Whether stuffing your face with pie at a diner or contemplating life against a solemn modernist art backdrop, find a chill destination that fits your personality. Houston offers opportunities ranging from sedate to full-on fun. Find your home-away-from-home for studying—and more importantly—taking study breaks.