Welcome back to a third round of the #Pose4Htown series where I share the best photography spots around Houston! If there's anything I miss most when I return from a trip, it's the convenience of being near a beach! However, the water fountain areas in my home city really bring me back into vacation mode. So, it's only fair to share my top fountain picks in Houston. The list is not ranked in any way, but they are specifically chosen based on accessibility, location security, and the aesthetic/features of the water fountains. Here we go:
1. Williams Tower Water Wall
Location: 2800 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX 77056
Designer: John Burgee Architects with Philip Johnson
Details: Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes our water fountains! The Williams Tower Water Wall is one of the most popular spots in Houston. The water wall is so massive, it's over 60 feet tall and pours gallons of water every minute! What's interesting is that Houston considers it a water wall despite it's semicircle shape. It's named after Williams Companies, a local oil company in Houston that is located within walking distance from the fountain. The water wall was constructed during the 1980's for tourist attraction. Today, many tourists and locals take a visit to the Williams Tower Water Wall for photography, dates, and even standing by the water mist to cool off! I would consider the Williams Tower Water Wall a smaller, tamer version of Niagara Falls.
Tips: There is very limited parking along the sidewalks near the water wall, so I suggest parking at the Williams Tower visitor parking garage. It costs $3 to park for 30 minutes (plenty of time for picture taking). You can also park for free at the Galleria Mall and walk a few blocks to the Williams Tower Water Wall, too. However, if you choose that option be aware of traffic surrounding the mall and water fall as you walk. If you're bringing expensive camera equipment, just be aware that there is a lot of water mist as you enter inside the water wall! Overall, it's such a cool experience to visit in person- it's probably the closest thing to experiencing a waterfall in the city!
2. JP McGovern Commons Waterfall
Location: 6550 Bertner Ave Houston, TX 77030
Details: This waterfall is designed outside a commons building in the middle of the Houston Medical Center- how incredible is that? I discovered this beauty when I was grabbing dinner, and this waterfall sticks out among the hospitals surrounding the area. What I admire about this building is the quote engraved stating, "To serve and to heal through education, research, and humane care." Overall, the waterfall feature not only reflects the beauty of the quote, but brings a tranquil vibe for anyone who visits and works at the medical center.
Tips: The easiest and cheapest way to visit the waterfall is to take the metro train for $1.25, stop at Dryden/TMC station, and walk to JP McGoverns Commons. I wouldn't recommend parking in any of the hospital parking lots since security is tight and the parking fees are expensive. However, I did feel safe walking around the medical center because of the security. You can expect to see many medical professionals here around lunchtime, as well as medical students waiting for their bus rides. I did feel awkward taking photos since I received a lot of looks and stares from medical students, especially when some had to cross the fountains to enter inside! So, I recommend visiting during the morning time. Similar to the Williams Tower Water Wall, be cautious of the water when you use your camera gear. There will be a lot of splatters from the fountain!
3. Museum District Fountain
Location: 5800 Main St, Houston, TX 77005
Details: If you ever wished you were in Athens, this fountain is perfect for you! Although it's nothing compared to actually visiting Greece, the simplicity in design really makes this fountain a unique spot in Houston. There isn't a lot of information given online about the history of this fountain, but I could tell it was constructed decades ago from the cracks and coloration of the cement. If anything, the "age" of this fountain really brings character and charm to it. One of the best features about the Museum District Fountain are the columns and it's circle shape. Despite the small size of the actual fountain, the design and location make it a popular spot for weddings, senior photos, and engagement shoots.
Tips: The easiest way to get to the fountain is to park at Hermann Park Conservatory and walk to the Museum District fountain. The fountain is located between the Mecom fountains and the Museum of Natural Science. You can experiment with different angles from the steps, and the fountain backdrop is absolutely beautiful for close up shots! To avoid crowds getting in the way of your photos, I would suggest visiting the fountain during the weekdays- when most people are at work and school. The fountain is "kid friendly" based on the fountain size and lack of splatters from the water. Anyone can run around the area and not slip! However, the columns add shadows, so be aware of lighting when photographing.
4. Sesquicentennial Park Fountain
Location: 500 Preston, Houston, TX 77002
Details: Located in Sesquicentennial Park, this beautiful fountain can be found after crossing underneath the bridge by the Wortham Center. The design of this fountain is beautiful from the three levels of ripples flowing down the fountain. The design looks as if the water is "stepping" down stairs- very interesting! The fountain lights up during the evening, which creates a romantic and relaxing ambiance if you bring a date or loved one. At the second level, you can even walk across the fountain on the platform steps. Not only will you admire the beauty of the fountain spot, but you can also find the Houston Skyline along the trail.
Tips: If you visit Sesquicentennial Park after 6pm, the parking meters are free around the Wortham Center. After walking a few blocks, I was able to reach the park with no problem. It took a while for me to figure out which trail led to the fountain. I learned that if you are facing the same direction as the James Baker III statue, you'll take the left trail that crosses underneath the bridge to the Wortham Center. After crossing the underground trail below the bridge, the fountain is right in front of you. Just be careful if it gets dark since people have reported theft from the park. Security patrols frequently around the park with golf carts. What I do love about the fountain is the shade from the trees, so the lighting is excellent.
5. Water Columns at Gus and Lyndall Wortham Park
Location: Holcombe and Main, Houston, TX 77030
Designer: John Burgee Architects
Details: The pillar fountains are a popular attraction in Houston! It's interesting how John Burgee Architects designed the fountains. The columns are much taller than the ones from the Museum District fountain, but the best part is, the water is flowing from the columns in four different directions! If you walk past the pillars, it also leads into another fountain with a garden area. I was able to visit during the evening, and the fountains are romantically lit. The area is located in the outskirts of the medical center; it's a great spot to relax, meditate, and even read a good book.
Tips: The best way to visit the fountains is to park at the Pizza Hut across the street and walk across. Be aware that towing is enforced near Pizza Hut during the day, and if they suspect you, you will be towed. Another option is to ride the METRORail to the TMC/Dryden station and walk to the fountains, but be careful of the traffic. There isn't any parking lots specifically for park visitors, which is probably why there aren't many crowds visiting the fountains. It's located at the corner of a four-way intersection, so the fountain pillars serve more as an aesthetic feature you'll drive by versus a park you'll regularly jog every morning. However, the secluded area is really great for picture taking and the lighting is beautiful! Just be careful of taking photos with cars driving by in the backdrop. I recommend visiting the pillars during the evening- the fountain lighting is great for navigating around the park.
Thank you for reading! Keep up with more scenic spots in Houston on my Instagram, @ressamazing, and be sure to comment below on your thoughts about my top picks! As always, if you ever decide to take photos around the areas I suggest, use the hashtag #Pose4Htown. Until next time!- Ressa