HOUSTON If you're visiting Houston on a budget, the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau has put together a list of 33 attractions for $2 or less.
Freebies include the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, open daily, and the Sam Houston Boat Tour, free 90-minute round-trip cruises along the Houston Ship Channel. The Miller Outdoor Theatre hosts free productions March to October, with the Houston Shakespeare Festival's "Julius Caesar" scheduled for Aug. 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9; an Aug. 19 screening of the classic William Powell and Myrna Loy comedy "The Thin Man," and a concert of music from the big band era, Aug. 22.
The Water Wall, at 2800 Post Oak Blvd., a 64-foot U-shaped fountain, is Houston's most photographed site, on three acres shaded by 180 oak trees where you can picnic, stroll or play Frisbee. The Buffalo Bayou, at 1113 Vine St., is a waterway with bridges, parks, walkways, night-lighting, views of the city skyline, and trails for canoeing, kayaking, hiking and biking, www.buffalobayou.org.
Parking costs $2 at Traders Village at 7979 N. Eldridge Rd., but you'll likely be tempted to spend more in this enormous flea market covering 105 acres with hundreds of merchants.
The Houston visitors Web site also highlights a few offbeat museums, such as The ArtCar Museum, at 140 Heights Blvd., nicknamed the "Garage Mahal." It features "artfully constructed cars, low riders and mobile contraptions," and is open Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., free admission, www.artcarmuseum.com.
The Beer Can House, located at 222 Malone, is a house decorated with 50,000 beer cans, preserved as a folk art gallery and workshop, www.orangeshow.org/beercan.html. You can see it from the street any time for free; admission to the grounds is $2 (admission to the interior of the house is $5), Saturday and Sunday, noon-5 p.m.
The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, 1834 Southmore St., bills itself as the "largest repository of African-American military history in the world," www.buffalosoldiermuseum.com. It is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m., admission $2.
You can access the full list by going to www.visithoustontexas.com and clicking on "Plan A Visit" on the top left, then scrolling down to the "Two Dollars or Less" feature.