Top 10 Parks Around Houston
In the sprawling metropolis that is Houston, Texas, it can be difficult to get away from the traffic and noise. In order to destress and reconnect with nature, finding a good park to walk, run, or sit on a bench and enjoy is crucial. Having lived in The Med Center, Galleria, and Heights, I quickly learned about the best parks in and around the city. If you’re looking for a spot for some peace and tranquility, be sure to check out one of these Top 10 Houston Parks. (In no particular order)
1. Herman Park
With ample space and a variety of different attractions this park always has something new to see. Depending on what you want your park experience to be you can rent bikes and ride around the outer loop. Visit the Centennial Gardens and climb to the top of the mound. Or go feed the ducks on the lake by the zoo.
2. Brays Bayou Park
Though this park is located right next to Herman Park and even has bridges that attach the two, it has a dramatically different feel from its more structured neighbor. One section in particular, about a quarter mile to the right of the main parking area, takes you into an area which quickly transports you out of the city. The forested grove feels more akin to something out of a Tolkien novel.
3. Evelyn’s Park Conservancy
This little gem was one of my favorite places to people watch or set up my computer and work. There is an adorable little restaurant on the grounds called Betsy’s at Evelyn’s Park which has delicious coffee, food, and drinks. Events happen frequently on the lawn space at this park and there is an area with Alice in Wonderland statues and quotes which is fun to walk around.
4. Menil Park
Photo Menil Collection
Though tiny, this park was a go-to while I lived in Houston. It was always enjoyable to walk through the Menil Collection or sit in the Rothko Chapel before going out to the green space and laying on the grass. The area is perfect for a picnic blanket and to admire a sunset while listening to the hum of conversation floating through the air.
5. Buffalo Bayou Park
Sandwiched between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive this park is a great spot to visit on a hot summer day as a breeze from the Bayou tends to make it cooler than other areas. Though not a park, a must visit while you’re there is the Buffalo Park Cistern. Reserve tickets online so you get a spot, and marvel at the incredible Romanesque architecture while learning about the fascinating history of this cistern that supplied the city with water starting in 1926.
6. West 11th Street Park
This gorgeous little park in the heights is full of a surprising number of wooded trails. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a place to walk, run, or explore. Educational markers give information on native plants, and birds and small wildlife are incredibly active within these tranquil woods.
7. Memorial Park
Memorial Park (Memorial Park Conservancy)
It’s difficult to talk about Houston parks and leave this popular spot off of the list. With its famous dirt running/walking loop and a vast outlet of mountain biking and hiking trails this is an area many enjoy. The Picnic Loop Trail has some great running areas if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path.
8. Levy Park
Photo Urban Land Institute and Levy Park
Filled with all sorts of whimsical playground equipment and climbing areas, this park would be a hit if you have any kiddos. My fiancé and I enjoyed strolling in the park and playing ping-pong at the free tables.
9. Terry Hershey Park
If you’re looking for a spot for either a long run or bike ride, this loop is a great place to check out. With more than 500 acres it makes for a huge area of outdoor exploration. There are also plenty of benches, playground equipment, and restrooms along the route if you’re planning for a day out with your family.
10. Houston Arboretum & Nature Center
A park perfect for nature lovers. The many paved, dirt, and wooded paths provide an up close look at native Texas Wildlife. There is no running or biking in the park, so this is a spot to come to if you’re looking for a leisurely stroll on pristine grounds.