Now that Fall is here, it's the perfect season to enjoy the outdoor weather in Houston! A cheap and easy way to explore the outdoors is to take a walk at one of the many parks in downtown. I have been inspired by the changing seasons to create another #Pose4Htown series about the "Top Five Parks in Houston." So whether you are a tourist enjoying Houston for the first time or a local who wants to learn more about the beautiful parks in the city, I hope you enjoy my favorites! Let's begin:
1. Hermann Park
Location: 1700 Hermann Dr, Houston, TX 77004
Details: If you have been reading my blog for a while now, then this park would be no surprise. Hermann Park is one of the most visited parks in Houston. The 445 acres of land are filled with activity- anything from fitness group events to artists painting the sunset off the lake. Since it's open all year long, millions of people have visited this park to enjoy the scenic views of the city. Some of the most popular sights of the park are the Sam Houston statue, the Japanese Garden, the Mecom Fountain, and the Miller Outdoor Theatre. With the beautiful views and boundless events held at Hermann Park, it's easy to see how it's considered the Central Park of Houston, TX. You can read more about Hermann Park here.
Tips: I recommend visiting Hermann Park during the week days in the morning time since there is less people walking around the park. Also, parking space in the park is limited, so if you ever wanted to attend an event I highly suggest arriving earlier to have enough time finding parking. You can also easily access the park using the metro train system for $1.25 along the red line, and the park is closely located to the Medical Center, Rice University, Museum District, and the Houston Zoo. The park has a variety of attractions that it's a great spot for experimenting with photography, especially landscape. Like most public parks, just be careful during the nighttime to avoid encounters with theft.
2. Sesquicentennial Park
Location: 500 Preston, Houston, TX 77002
Details: Sesquicentennial Park is a true gem in Houston for it's unique features of hills, waterways, bike trails, and skyline views. The park was primarily created to celebrate the 150th birthday of Houston, but it is popular today for showcasing the President George H.W. Bush Monument and James A. Baker III Monument. Along the walkways, the park includes photos that share the history of Houston. Located by the Wortham Center, it's an exquisite park to walk around before or after shows to enjoy the city. The park is also known for being the most romantic place for a stroll with the beautifully lit waterfalls and enchanting gazebo. Sesquicentennial Park certainly has made it's name known in Houston for being one-of-a-kind. Learn more about it here.
Tips: The easiest way to visit Sesquicentennial Park is to park along the parking meters across the Wortham Center. You would need to take the stairs or ramp downwards in order to enter inside the park. If you follow the waterways, you would find yourself walking underneath bridges that eventually lead to other popular sightseeing places in downtown. Because the park is centrally located underneath bridges, just be careful with robbery at night, and try to be cautious of bikers along the bike trails. I recommend this place for engagement/wedding photos because of the romantic scenic spots throughout the park.
3. Discovery Green Park
Location: 1500 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77010
Details: This 12 acre park is in the heart of downtown Houston. This small, contemporary park is a beautiful escape from the skyscraper buildings and noisy traffic of the urban streets as you indulge in the views of a gorgeous lake, water park, dog park, and butterfly garden. You can expect to see joggers in the morning, businessmen eating lunch around noontime, and families enjoying the park in the evenings. More so than most parks, it is consistently crowded because it is surrounded by stadiums, corporate offices, hotels, and centers. This park also hosts many free concerts and festivals throughout the year. Despite the small size, anybody can enjoy Discovery Green. Also the park is privately owned, so be careful of littering or messing things up. Check out more about this park here.
Tips: Discovery Green is open all year long, and it's definitely a hot spot to visit during the holidays. The park is known for it's art installations and winter events, which means it can be more crowded during the winter months. I suggest visiting the park in the mornings during the weekdays to avoid stress in parking. The park is accessible along the red line if you take the metro train for $1.25, and there is also an underground parking for Discovery Green as well. Parking fees can range from $5-12, and the prices range depending on whether there is a concert or sport game being held downtown. For photography, it's a great spot for senior and family photos.
4. Buffalo Bayou Park
Location: 1800-3600 Allen Parkway Houston, TX 77019
Details: Buffalo Bayou Park is seen in most Houston tourist brochures because it truly captures the most beautiful views of Houston. The park is in the border of downtown, which makes it great for people to capture a quiet vibe of the city. Buffalo Bayou is 160 acres long and run along the best spots for biking, jogging, and photography. For events, it's popularly known for hosting the biggest July 4th Freedom over Texas festival in Houston. What's really unique about this park is that it also has a skateboard rink and a skylawn pavilion that shows the best skyline of Houston. If you walk through all the walk paths, it stretches along the Medical Center, Hobby Center, River Oaks Center, and many more downtown centers. You can learn more about this park here.
Tips: I enjoy visiting this park most during the afternoon since the park has tons of great shade to explore around. Just be sure you visit during the week days in order to get easy free parking. Because the park is long, I suggest wearing comfortable footwear (or a change in shoes) so you can fully explore the park and find great photography shots. A personal favorite photography spot for me is the bridge right across the hobby center. I really like the angle of the city skyline and the beautiful plants and trees around the area. Because of the shaded areas in the park, I wouldn't recommend visiting during late night hours.
5. McGovern Centennial Gardens
Location: 1500 Hermann Drive Houston, TX 77004
Details: Okay, so I might be cheating a little bit when I mention the McGovern Centennial Gardens since it's a new installment of Hermann Park, but this place is way too good to not mention! Because it is open during different hours from Hermann Park, I think it deserves to have a separate spot. This gorgeous garden park is a dream come true to anyone who loves plants and flowers! The mini park has a rose garden, a water fountain, a Japanese temple, and an enormous array of beautiful walkways adorned in flowers. Since it recently opened, it has grown to be a popular spot for tourists visiting Houston. You can check more about this park here.
Tips: I would follow the same tips for visiting Hermann Park in order to enter inside the McGovern Centennial Gardens. One tip I can share is that if you park near the right side of the park that is facing the Sam Houston monument, then you can be able to easily walk closer to the gardens. Because it's closed earlier than the rest of Hermann Park, I would suggest visiting right when the park opens so you can have a great view of the greenery and plants. Trust me, you'll want to have an isolated experience when visiting this beautiful place.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite Houston parks! Do you have a favorite park in your hometown? Leave me a comment about it below! Also, don't forget to tag me on Instagram and hashtag #Pose4Htown if you decide to take photos on any of the parks I recommended! Until next time -Ressa