Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in The Woodlands, TX

  • Published 2022/11/12

The Woodlands is a well-planned community in Texas, and it’s a perfect place for a weekend getaway.

You’ll be able to explore its many public artworks, enjoy live music shows, and take in breathtaking natural scenery.

Go out to the mall with your friends or dine in its amazing restaurants.

Have an outdoor adventure in one of the many parks located here.

Lake Woodlands, spanning 200 acres, offers beautiful spots for dining as well as thrilling activities on its waters.

If you want to have a great time without breaking the bank, check out the free things to do in The Woodlands, Texas, below.

Enjoy the Festivities along The Woodlands Waterway

Daytime view of The Woodlands Waterway

Barre Kelley /

The Woodlands Waterway, spanning for 1.8 miles, is a scenic water feature of The Woodlands.

It connects to Lake Woodlands, and tons of attractions can be found along its path.

Pay a visit to the Waterway Square and catch one of the many events, like live music concerts, held here.

The Fountains at Waterway Square also has a distinct feature—it has light shows and plays different songs.

Swan-shaped boats at The Woodlands Waterway

Mario A Perez Santos /

There are about 48 unique songs played throughout the year, with 10 played each month.

It only plays at certain times of the day, though, so make sure you check that before you go.

Along The Woodlands Waterway, you’ll also find people dining, enjoying the nightlife, observing the artworks, and more.

Water fountains at The Woodlands Waterway square


Look around for the Public Artworks Found All throughout the Area

You’ll find a plethora of artworks, about 88 pieces in total, spread across The Woodlands, as it boasts one of the largest collections of public art in Texas.

Spot the mosaic art hidden in plain sight, made by the nationally recognized artist, Dixie Friend Gay.

There’s one that looks just like a leather purse, one that features 500,000 colorful byzantine glass pieces, and more.

There are also 20 art benches here, so you might be able to see one or two on your way to your destination too.

For your convenience, there are seven public art loops that you can follow, where you’ll be able to see 16 pieces of public art.

You can walk, go running, or even bike to get some exercise while you explore.

Try Out the Outdoor Activities at Northshore Park

Bring the whole family to Northshore Park, where you can take advantage of the many outdoor facilities.

Have a workout in at the outdoor fitness areas or play a round of volleyball with your friends.

Take your kids to the play area, where they can have lots of fun under the sun.

Bring a boat and go fishing with your buddies.

After a day of activities, you can prepare savory eats at the barbecue pits and enjoy them at the picnic areas.

There are also drinking fountains stationed in the area so you can refresh yourself while you exercise.

Check Out the Local Produce and Crafts at The Woodlands Farmer’s Market

If you’re the type who likes to look around for local finds, you’ll want to visit The Woodlands Farmer’s Market, located in Grogan’s Mill.

Make a day of it by riding a bike in the area or picking out fresh fruits.

They also play live music, so you can fully appreciate the ambiance.

They sell giftable items too, like soaps and artworks.

It’s a dog-friendly place, so you can play with your furry friends here.

If you ever get hungry, there’s snacks and refreshments available as well.

Take Your Kids to the George and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Library

Spend a day with the kids in the George and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Library, located in the western part of The Woodlands.

There’s a children’s area packed with family-friendly activities.

The kids can play with the toys, learn and improve their skills, and socialize with other kids.

They can also read educational books and check out the multimedia materials.

You can also attend the parent-child workshops if you want to learn more and bond with your children.

While the children play and learn, you can browse the library’s collection of books and read one that you like in its quiet atmosphere.

Visit the Veterans’ Memorial Monument and More at the Town Green Park

The Town Green Park can be found along The Woodlands Waterway and spans four acres.

Visit the Veterans’ Memorial Monument, which is dedicated to active duty personnel and veterans.

You’ll find the Way Home sculpture here too, which pays homage to two valiant The Woodlands residents.

You can also observe other sculptures here in the sculpture garden.

Its great lawn is sometimes used for events and is about as large as two football fields.

Take the kids to see the children’s literary labyrinth, with life-sized Aesop’s fables books, and the children’s amphitheater, where they can watch kid-friendly shows.

For natural scenery, pay a visit to the perennial garden.

Go Window-Shopping at The Woodlands Mall

Interior of The Woodlands Mall

Barre Kelley /

Check out the wide selection of stores at The Woodlands Mall.

It’s a large luxury mall featuring lots of popular brands, so you can dress yourself from head-to-toe.

Grab a bite in one of its amazing restaurants when you get hungry.

Exterior of The Woodlands Mall

Barre Kelley /

If you have kids, you can take them for a ride in the indoor carousel.

It’s located in the Town Center, so you’ll have no problem looking for this gem.

Shops inside The Woodlands Mall

Barre Kelley /

Get a Ride on The Woodlands Town Center Trolley and Take In the Sights

If you’re looking for a more convenient way to get around the city, hop on The Woodlands Town Center Trolley.

It stretches for 4.1 miles, providing a link between The Woodlands Mall, Market Street, The Woodlands Waterway, and Hughes Landing and offering pleasant views of the establishments along the way.

There’s more than enough trolleys in operation, and you can expect the wait time to be around 10 minutes.

For an even easier time, you can download the Ride Systems App for more information.

Furthermore, the trolleys are available seven days a week, albeit with different schedules, so you won’t have to worry much about transportation during your trip here.

Take note, however, that it doesn’t operate during Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Engage in Outdoor Activities with the Whole Family in Alden Bridge

Created in 1994, Alden Bridge is a village in The Woodlands offering various recreational facilities.

A great spot for sports games with your friends, Alden Bridge Park offers tennis courts, volleyball courts, soccer fields, and more.

Chill out at the pavilions and picnic tables while eating a snack.

You can also head to the barbecue pits for a good grill.

Moreover, you can have a match at the turf fields, ball fields, and soccer fields at Alden Bridge Sports Park too.

Take a dip in the Alden Bridge Pool if you want to cool down after a workout.

If you want to check out the things on offer, visit the Alden Bridge Village Center and the Windvale Village Center, the two shopping areas here.

From here, you’ll also have access to Research Forest and the University Center.

Have a Family Sports Day at Bear Branch Park

With basketball courts, tennis courts, and volleyball courts, you’ll have tons to try at Bear Branch Park, which can be found in Research Forest.

Bring your dog here to play in the dog-friendly area.

Take the kids to the play area for a fun time.

There are drinking fountains around here too if you ever need a quick sip.

The area is still undergoing improvements, so be sure to check it out when you go.

Dive into Your Artistic Side at Glade Gallery

An establishment dedicated to the arts, centrally located Glade Gallery aims to further the progression of contemporary art in the community.

Take the time to appreciate the various exhibits on display, with a well-curated selection of paintings and sculptures.

Its permanent exhibit, The Ackes Collection by David Ackes, is a portrayal of the artist’s life, influence, and legacy.

There are also temporary rotating exhibits here, so you can find something new every time.

For the aspiring artist, check out its art program, during which you will be able to try out new art experiences and learn about art history.

It also offers an immersive experience, The Enchanted Forest, which is a multisensory installation about friendship and nature.

Check the calendar for the events held here, from intimate concerts to dinner theatre events.

Appreciate Local Artworks in The Woodlands Art Gallery and Studios

Feast your eyes on tons of artworks in The Woodlands Art Gallery and Studios while enjoying a cozy atmosphere.

It features wide variety of artworks.

Ponder on fine art by regional artists or observe the details in the vintage posters.

Some of the artworks are consigned by local artists too.

You can also check out the artworks by the resident artist or their featured artists.

There’s a plush sofa in the lounging area and plenty of tables with seating, perfect for discussing art with your peers.

In addition to these, you can even purchase used books here.

Other Things to Do Nearby

If you’re willing to explore a few miles outside of The Woodlands, there are tons of locations where you can have a great time too.

Go on a Hike along the Nature Trails at the Spring Creek Greenway

The waters of Spring Creek Greenway

Stedil, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The George Mitchel Nature Preserve is a 1,800-acre area full of outdoor activities.

You can enter it by going to the Flintridge Drive Trailhead.

You’ll have access to the Spring Creek Greenway, a forest located next to the preserve and 18 minutes away from The Woodlands.

Here is where you’ll find the Spring Creek Nature Trail, spanning 14 miles of wetlands, ponds, and trees.

It takes about 8 hours to go around the trail, so make sure to bring your snacks and water.

Keep an eye out for unique, colorful birds, as this place is also frequented by birdwatchers.

Stop for pictures as you cross the many bridges here.

For a scenic ride, you can use your bike here too.

Ride a Canoe at the Pundt Park

Explore Pundt Park’s 380-acre recreational area, which is only a 260-minute drive away from The Woodlands.

You can launch your canoe and jump in one of the two lakes here for a peaceful ride.

If you know how to ride a horse, you can follow the equestrian trail too.

There are multiuse trails as well, perfect for a scenic stroll.

You can leave your bikes at the bicycle racks when you want to rest after your trip.

Bite down on a snack with the whole family at the picnic area before or after you go around the area.

The pavilions provide a cozy, sheltered area, perfect for relaxation.

Immerse Yourself in Spring’s History in Old Town Spring

Hamburger shop at Old Town Spring

GJGK Photography /

A historic area, Old Town Spring is where Spring was birthed.

It started out as a small railroad hub in the 1900s.

Now, it features more than 100 local shops and restaurants.

Buildings at Old Town Spring

Renelibrary, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you don’t want to buy anything, you can simply enjoy the ambiance and appreciate the vintage buildings and furniture.

If you want to have a cultural experience, you can explore the artworks in the galleries and learn about the town’s history in the museums.

Take a look at the furniture, collectibles, clothes, and more.

Shops at Old Town Spring

Renelibrary, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

With one of the largest public artwork collections in Texas, The Woodlands will certainly be an ideal destination for art lovers.

Moreover, it’s filled with vast parks and golf courses, perfect for the adventure-seeking tourist.

If water activities and scenic locations are what you’re looking for, head out to Lake Woodlands or stroll along The Woodlands Waterway and you’re surely in for a treat.

There are tons of great places to go here without spending a penny, and you can check them out in the free things to do in The Woodlands, Texas, listed above.

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