The Best Parks of #Houston

Don’t have a lot of money but you want to get out of the house? See nature? Have fun? Go on a walk? Have a picnic? Let’s check out the best parks in Houston. This city is known as the world capital of space exploration, however, there are also some gems of nature in this city and you’ll be happy to visit them all.

Buffalo Bayou Park

This sprawling 160-acre park has something for everyone in Houston, whether local or tourist. From biking trails to running trails, playgrounds and play areas, art sculptures, canoe and kayak rentals, a two-acre dog park, a skatepark, and 18 amazing acres of prairies and wildflowers perfect for that picnic with the family. You might also enjoy The Dunlavy, the park’s resident restaurant. Whatever you’d like to do you can do at the Buffalo Bayou Park. Built along the main waterway in Houston, you’ll love the view as well. If you find yourself in town, definitely make a point to visit this park.

Smither Park

This park serves as an artistic venue for all your outdoor leisure time. On display in Smither Park is pieces fashioned by over 300 different artists, many of which are local to the area. There is an amphitheater to enjoy, as well as a meditation area, a covered pavilion, a memory wall, sculptures, and many recycled materials such as bottle caps to broken ceramic, to seashells to tiles, all designed into colorful and whimsical mosaics. If you’re artsy and looking for something a little different than your run-of-the-mill city park, come and enjoy Smither Park on your stay in Houston.

Memorial Park

This park covers a massive 1466 acres, and over 75 percent of this park is unmanicured. Step into the wilds while on your nature walk in Memorial Park and you’ll be sure to enjoy the local wildlife to your heart’s content. However, there is also many various activities to enjoy at the park as well, such as tennis, golf, softball, soccer, flag football, a public pool, croquet, and many more. For biking or hiking, over 30 miles of forest trails are available to explore, making Memorial Park one of the best parks for recreation in Houston. Come take a hike and have a picnic here. You’re guaranteed to have a fantastic day.

George Bush Park

George Bush Park is a colossal 7800 acres of land and boasts over 11 miles of various biking and hiking trails throughout its expanse. If you love park amenities, look no further than George Bush Park. Here, you’ll enjoy playgrounds, three picnic pavilions, various Little League baseball fields, an outdoor shooting range, a flying field for model airplanes, and a dog park all within one park. Benches dot the landscape throughout the park and you’ll be glad they do so you can rest and take in all the scenery. If you want to get away while in Houston, there is no better place than George Bush Park. Come and enjoy yourself here today!

Looking for Houston Airport Parking?

5 Great Places to Have a Picnic in Houston, TX (HOU)

When the weather cooperates, we all love to get outside and explore the world around us. There is nothing more refreshing and soothing to the soul than a picnic in the sun, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Every city in the United States has incredible locations for picnicking. Below are 5 Great Places to Picnic in Houston.

Buffalo Bayou Park

Take a break outside and follow the winding trails along Buffalo Bayou. This waterway is the center feature of the park and, coupled with the dramatic views of downtown Houston in the distance, makes for an extremely photogenic park. Spread a blanket on the grass near Jackson Hill Bridge or Rosemont Pedestrian Bridge for views of both the bayou and the Houston Skyline.

Hermann Park

Hermann Park is a large, beloved park in Houston and is home to the Houston Zoo. The park can be rather busy as a result, but is extremely special and well-designed, so worth the risk of some larger crowds. I recommend stopping at McGovern Island in the middle of the park, taking a blanket and picnic basket to the top of Miller Hill, or claiming a bench under the Pergola Walk. Wherever you choose to stop for a picnic in Hermann Park will feel like a photogenic oasis from the city.

Menil Park

A small, urban park south of downtown Houston. Large oak trees make for excellent shade on a hot day, and are perfect for tree climbing adventures. The park is primarily made of a large, open grassy area, leaving space for outdoor lawn games while you picnic.

Memorial Park

One of the largest parks in Houston, Memorial Park is more than 1,500 acres of wooded trails and recreation facilities. Low wooden bridges take you over the lush, natural foliage of the park. For peaceful water views, visit the Eastern Glades where pavilions are available for picnicking and docks with benches take you out over the water. Memorial Park is also an excellent place to see local wildlife and go on long hikes. Whether you’re hiking and eating on the trail or looking for a relaxing picnic in nature, this park is perfect for you. It is also home to the Houston Arboretum.

Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park

One of the most unique, untraditional parks in Houston. This park features a huge expanse of grassy space, with a 64-foot tall fountain as its dramatic focal point. This fountain circulates 11,000 gallons of water every minute and is a marvelous, relaxing sight to see while enjoying a picnic.

Looking for Houston Airport Parking?

5 Great Places to Have a Picnic in Houston, TX (IAH)

When the weather cooperates, we all love to get outside and explore the world around us. There is nothing more refreshing and soothing to the soul than a picnic in the sun, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Every city in the United States has incredible locations for picnicking. Below are 5 Great Places to Picnic in Houston.

Levy Park

A classic, beloved park in South Houston. If you’re looking to enjoy a picnic under the sun or take the kids out for a day of fun, then Levy Park is the place to go. You can sit on the lawn, on picnic tables in the shade, or benches near the playground. They even have board games at the park that you can borrow as well as other outdoor activities. This park makes the Top 5 list, because there is a seemingly endless number of things to enjoy while you picnic here. 

Eleanor Tinsley Park

Located on Buffalo Bayou, this park is made of rolling green hills that beg for picnic blankets to be spread out. If you’re picnicking with children, visit the Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area and Picnic Pavilion. Or walk along the park paths until you come to the perfect open field with just the right amount of shade. Another special thing you are sure to find in Eleanor Tinsley Park is clear views of the Houston Skyline.

Market Square Park

Market Square Park has been a staple Houston city park since 1836. It is frequently referred to as the bustling center of Houston’s Historic District and hosts outdoor movies, markets, and is the place for Blanket Bingo. The park is bustling and picnicking here feels like tapping into the unique pulse of Houston itself. There are plenty of tables with umbrellas as well as walkways, gardens, and artwork. 

Terry Hershey Park

Charming wooden bridges can be found throughout the trails in this park that lives on 500 acres near the Buffalo Bayou. Wildflowers, towering trees, and lush foliage cover this entire park. Picnicking here is never the same because there is so much to explore. You can stop along the bayou, in an open field of flowers, or next to the playground. The park is just outside Houston and feels like a true escape from the city into nature. 

Hermann Park

Hermann Park is a large, beloved park in Houston and is home to the Houston Zoo. The park can be rather busy as a result, but is extremely special and well-designed, so worth the risk of some larger crowds. I recommend stopping at McGovern Island in the middle of the park, taking a blanket and picnic basket to the top of Miller Hill, or claiming a bench under the Pergola Walk. Wherever you choose to stop for a picnic in Hermann Park will feel like a photogenic oasis from the city.

Looking for Houston Airport Parking?

Fun Summer Things To Do In Houston, TX

Summer is finally here!  The kids are out of school, and backyard barbecues are taking place all over the nation.  After the year we had in 2020, and most people having chosen not to take a vacation, you can almost rest assured that families will be out in full force this year.

With this in mind, we thought we would offer a few great vacation ideas to help you plan, as well as some places that would be great for just a few days away.  We all need time to recharge and some well-deserved play in the sunshine.

Here are some of the best places to check out this summer!

Space Center Houston

1601 NASA Pkwy, Houston, TX 77058

Space Center Houston is a science museum that serves as the official visitor center of NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. It earned a place as a Smithsonian Affiliate museum in 2014. The organization is owned by NASA and operated under a contract by the nonprofit Manned Spaceflight Education Foundation, a 501 organization. The Johnson Space Center is the home of Mission Control and astronaut training. The center opened in 1992, replacing the former Visitor Center in Johnson Space Center Building 2. the 250,000 square feet museum displays 400 space artifacts, permanent and traveling exhibits, and theaters with a focus on the history of the human spaceflight program. The center also hosts STEM programs for all ages

The Menil Collection

1533 Sul Ross St, Houston, TX 77006

The Menil Collection refers either to a museum that houses the private art collection of founders John de Menil and Dominique de Menil, or to the collection itself of approximately 17,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, and rare books. The museum’s holdings are diverse, including early to mid-twentieth century works of Yves Tanguy, René Magritte, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, among others. The museum also maintains an extensive collection of pop art and contemporary art from Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg, Vija Celmins, and Cy Twombly, Jr., among others. Also included in the museum’s permanent collection are antiquities and works of Byzantine, Medieval and tribal art.

Discovery Green

1500 McKinney, Houston, TX 77010

Discovery Green is an 11.78-acre public urban park in Downtown Houston, Texas. The park is adjacent to the George R. Brown Convention Center and Avenida Houston entertainment district. Discovery Green features a lake, bandstands and venues for public performances, two dog runs, a playground, and multiple recreational lawns. In the early 2000s, a public-private partnership between the City of Houston and a group of local philanthropic organizations, including the Kinder Foundation, was formed to construct a new public green space in Downtown. The design of the park, led by landscape architecture firm Hargreaves Associates, began in 2005.

Looking for Houston Airport Parking?

Fun Summer Things To Do In Houston, TX

Summer is finally here!  The kids are out of school, and backyard barbecues are taking place all over the nation.  After the year we had in 2020, and most people having chosen not to take a vacation, you can almost rest assured that families will be out in full force this year.

With this in mind, we thought we would offer a few great vacation ideas to help you plan, as well as some places that would be great for just a few days away.  We all need time to recharge and some well-deserved play in the sunshine.

Here are some of the best places to check out this summer!

Space Center Houston

1601 NASA Pkwy, Houston, TX 77058

Space Center Houston is a science museum that serves as the official visitor center of NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. It earned a place as a Smithsonian Affiliate museum in 2014. The organization is owned by NASA and operated under a contract by the nonprofit Manned Spaceflight Education Foundation, a 501 organization. The Johnson Space Center is the home of Mission Control and astronaut training. The center opened in 1992, replacing the former Visitor Center in Johnson Space Center Building 2. the 250,000 square feet museum displays 400 space artifacts, permanent and traveling exhibits, and theaters with a focus on the history of the human spaceflight program. The center also hosts STEM programs for all ages

The Menil Collection

1533 Sul Ross St, Houston, TX 77006

The Menil Collection refers either to a museum that houses the private art collection of founders John de Menil and Dominique de Menil or to the collection itself of approximately 17,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, and rare books. The museum’s holdings are diverse, including early to mid-twentieth century works of Yves Tanguy, René Magritte, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, among others. The museum also maintains an extensive collection of pop art and contemporary art from Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg, Vija Celmins, and Cy Twombly, Jr., among others. Also included in the museum’s permanent collection are antiquities and works of Byzantine, Medieval and tribal art.

Discovery Green

1500 McKinney, Houston, TX 77010

Discovery Green is an 11.78-acre public urban park in Downtown Houston, Texas. The park is adjacent to the George R. Brown Convention Center and Avenida Houston entertainment district. Discovery Green features a lake, bandstands, and venues for public performances, two dog runs, a playground, and multiple recreational lawns. In the early 2000s, a public-private partnership between the City of Houston and a group of local philanthropic organizations, including the Kinder Foundation, was formed with the goal of constructing a new public green space in Downtown. The design of the park, led by landscape architecture firm Hargreaves Associates, began in 2005.

Looking for Houston Airport Parking?

Things to Do for the Fourth of July in Houston

Everyone’s favorite summer holiday is quickly approaching! Nothing says July 4th like BBQs, pool days, parades, and of course – fireworks! While last year most firework shows and celebrations had to be called off due to the pandemic, this year, some celebrations are able to return. Read on to see what’s happening around Houston this Independence Day and gather up some ideas for your Fourth of July weekend.

Picnic in the Park

A laid-back day barbequing with family and friends is one of the best ways to spend the Fourth of July, and if you’re looking for a public park with grills to host a BBQ, check out Memorial Park. As one of the largest urban parks in the whole United States, Memorial Park has plenty of places to throw down some picnic blankets. There are also lots of picnic areas (the park has a whole Picnic Loop) that can be reserved, just know that due to COVID-19, to make a reservation, your group must be 10 people or fewer. There will be plenty for the whole family to enjoy if you want to spend the whole day in the park, including:

·   Lots of large grassy areas for tossing a frisbee, flying a kite, playing catch, or kicking around a soccer ball

·   Hiking and nature trails

·   Playgrounds

·   Volleyball, croquet, and tennis courts

·   Bike trails

The Taste of Texas

Foodies rejoice because there is going to be a huge food festival in Houston on July 4th! The Taste of Texas Food Festival will be taking place from 12 to 6 pm at The Zone and online presale tickets are only $5 (tickets are $25 at the door). The festival will feature food trucks representing all the best foods in Houston. There will also be a kid zone (including face painting and a bounce house), vendors, arts & crafts, and a live DJ. Come dressed in patriotic colors!

Haak Vineyards & Winery

Feel like getting out of the city for a bit? The lovely Haak Vineyards & Winery is just an hour north of Houston and makes a great escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown. They offer tours of the grounds and tastings of many Texas-made wines. There’s also a gift shop where you can grab a few bottles to take home. On July 4th, Pee Wee Bowen will be performing “music for all occasions ‘with class’” from 7 to 10 pm at the winery so you can enjoy music while you sip.

Enjoy a Pool Day

Cooling off in the pool is the perfect way to spend a sweltering Fourth of July, and Houston has plenty of public pools where you can do just that! 10 city pools will be opening up at the start of the season, with the goal of opening all of them by July 6th as long as COVID stays under control. Pool hours are normally 1 pm to 8 pm every day except Monday. On Independence Day, the pools will close a few hours earlier at 5 pm.

Looking for Houston Airport Parking?

Things to Do for the Fourth of July in Houston

Everyone’s favorite summer holiday is quickly approaching! Nothing says July 4th like BBQs, pool days, parades, and of course – fireworks! While last year most firework shows and celebrations had to be called off due to the pandemic, this year, some celebrations are able to return. Read on to see what’s happening around Houston this Independence Day and gather up some ideas for your Fourth of July weekend.

Houston Caribbean Festival

After being postponed last year, the Houston Caribbean Festival is back on July 4th! There will be a Parade of the Bands at 2 pm which is free to watch – so bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket. The parade will feature bright costumes, stilt-walkers, floats, steel drums, and more. The festival will be celebrating Caribbean culture – including food – so come hungry (no outside food or drink, please). There will be a kid zone for little ones.

Baytown

Just 30 minutes away from Houston across the bay, the neighboring city of Baytown is hosting a 2-day birthday party for the United States of America over 4th of July Weekend. The festival is completely free and includes live music (there will be five different bands playing shows on the stage), food, shopping at various vendors, and of course, fireworks! The firework show will be accompanied by patriotic tunes spun by a DJ.

Summer Jam HTX

If you’ve been missing music festivals over the 14 months, you’re going to want to grab tickets to Summer Jam HTX before they sell out! This music festival takes place from July 3rd at 4 pm through July 4th at midnight and will feature a variety of both local and national artists, like Big Freedia, various DJs, and more. It will conclude with a huge firework show! Tickets range in price depending on if you want to purchase general admission of one of the VIP access levels.

Galveston

Cooling off at the beach is the perfect way to spend a sweltering Fourth of July, and luckily, Houston’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico makes that easy to do! For a fun day in a beach town, take a one-hour road trip over to Galveston. This barrier island has sandy beaches, like Stewart Beach and East Beach, that are great for swimming, playing some beach volleyball, and lounging in the sun (perhaps even with a cold beer, since alcohol is permitted at East Beach). There’s also enough to do here to make a full weekend of it. Some highlights include:

·   Galveston Island State Park: perfect for the outdoorsy set, the park offers opportunities for fishing, kayaking, birdwatching, and hiking.

·   Moody Gardens: bring the kids to this unique zoo with animals living in giant terrarium-like glass pyramids!

·   Historic Pleasure Pier: This amusement park is situated on a pier jutting out into the water! The whole family will enjoy rides, carnival games, shops, and dining.

Looking for Houston Airport Parking?

Arboretums and Botanical Gardens to Visit in Houston

When considering a vacation, or even just a day out with the family, why not consider visiting a local arboretum or botanical garden?  You can enjoy a delightful getaway with a visit to one of these beautiful gateways to all that nature has to offer.

Arboretums and botanical gardens work to promote common respect and educate with a drive towards an appreciation of the world of gardening and the insects that work to pollinate our plants and flowers. 

These nature monuments are just waiting to be discovered and welcomes all visitors for a day of tranquility, enjoying their peaceful beauty.  Make sure to check out one of the arboretums or botanical gardens listed below.

Houston Arboretum

4501 Woodway Dr, Houston, TX 77024

This 155-acre non-profit urban nature sanctuary provides education about the natural environment to people of all ages.  It plays a vital role in protecting native plants and animals in the heart of the city where development threatens their survival.

Houston Botanic Garden

1 Botanic Lane, Houston, TX 77017

Life grows here—connecting people with plants.  At the Houston Botanic Gardens, visitors commune with nature, and each other, while engaging all of their senses in a serene oasis just minutes from the city’s center.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

8525 Garland Road, Dallas, TX 75218

The Dallas Arboretum is proud to offer the public an array of popular annual events, educational programs for children and adults, and an emphasis on family-oriented activities. Ground-breaking horticultural research conducted in our Trial Gardens continues to contribute to an important body of knowledge, both regionally and nationally.  The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden were founded upon the dreams of a few visionaries with a passion for preserving both history and nature. Though the gardens themselves are comparatively young, the work that went into creating the current gardens began long ago.

Fort Worth Botanic Gardens

3220 Botanic Garden Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107

Lush 110-acre garden & event venue with famed Japanese landscape, nature classes & May herb fest.  The garden was established in 1934 and is the oldest major botanic garden in Texas; it is located in the heart of the cultural district. Its most popular areas are The Fuller, Rose, and Japanese Gardens.

Looking for Houston Airport Parking?

Arboretums and Botanical Gardens to Visit in Houston

When considering a vacation, or even just a day out with the family, why not consider visiting a local arboretum or botanical garden?  You can enjoy a delightful getaway with a visit to one of these beautiful gateways to all that nature has to offer.

Arboretums and botanical gardens work to promote common respect and educate with a drive towards an appreciation of the world of gardening and the insects that work to pollinate our plants and flowers. 

These nature monuments are just waiting to be discovered and welcomes all visitors for a day of tranquility, enjoying their peaceful beauty.  Make sure to check out one of the arboretums or botanical gardens listed below.

Houston Arboretum

4501 Woodway Dr, Houston, TX 77024

This 155-acre non-profit urban nature sanctuary provides education about the natural environment to people of all ages.  It plays a vital role in protecting native plants and animals in the heart of the city where development threatens their survival.

Houston Botanic Garden

1 Botanic Lane, Houston, TX 77017

Life grows here—connecting people with plants.  At the Houston Botanic Gardens, visitors commune with nature, and each other, while engaging all of their senses in a serene oasis just minutes from the city’s center.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

8525 Garland Road, Dallas, TX 75218

The Dallas Arboretum is proud to offer the public an array of popular annual events, educational programs for children and adults, and an emphasis on family-oriented activities. Ground-breaking horticultural research conducted in our Trial Gardens continues to contribute to an important body of knowledge, both regionally and nationally.  The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden was founded upon the dreams of a few visionaries with a passion for preserving both history and nature. Though the gardens themselves are comparatively young, the work that went into creating the current gardens began long ago.

Fort Worth Botanic Gardens

3220 Botanic Garden Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107

Lush 110-acre garden & event venue with famed Japanese landscape, nature classes & May herb fest.  The garden was established in 1934 and is the oldest major botanic garden in Texas; it is located in the heart of the cultural district. Its most popular areas are The Fuller, Rose, and Japanese Gardens.

Looking for Houston Airport Parking?

Things to Do for Mother’s Day in Houston

Mother’s Day is coming up next month! The moms in our lives work so hard and give so much, so it’s important to take a day to make them feel special. Whether you’re celebrating your own mother, a step-mother, the mother of your children, or a friend who is a mom, here are some ideas of wonderful things to do with her.

Bosscat Kitchen & Libations

Since Mother’s Day always falls on a Sunday, it’s traditional for many people to take their mom out for brunch. This is always a winning idea, and in Houston, there’s no better place for brunch than Bosscat Kitchen & Libations. They have a great selection of decadent brunch choices and – as the name implies – a big variety of cocktails.

Discovery Green

May is the beginning of picnic season! The weather is warming up, trees and flowers are blooming, and outdoor celebrations are a safe option during COVID-19. A great place to take your mom for a picnic locally is Discovery Green, an urban park that’s conveniently located right downtown. If you don’t feel like prepping the lunch yourself, there are several great restaurants bordering the park offering takeout -including The Grove, which is in the park itself and offers a rustic menu perfect for picnicking.

High Tea

Do you and your mom like feeling fancy? There’s not much fancier than an afternoon tea. At McHugh Tea, you can enjoy a lovely spread as long as you book 24-hours in advance! The event includes your choice of three bottomless pots of tea from their selection of more than 60 organic flavors, three kinds of tea sandwiches, three different kinds of dessert, two flavors of scones, strawberry jam, clotted cream, and lemon curd. You can even upgrade to the Tipsy Tea, which includes all of the above, plus your choice of bottomless wine, mimosas, or champagne.

Paint & Sip

If you want something unique to do, head to Pinot’s Pallet, where you and your mom can create masterpieces while sipping wine! All you have to do is BYOB and the staff will take care of the rest, from the painting supplies (and drinking supplies) to walking you through the process with instructions. They have three class options for you on Mother’s Day: a vase of daisies from 11 am to 1 pm, an abstract floral from 3 pm to 5 pm, and a seascape from 7 pm to 9 pm. Feel free to bring a snack as well!

The Original Ninfa’s

If your mom is more of the traditional type, you might want to treat her to a night out at a famous restaurant. Consider The Original Ninfa’s, which was a James Beard semifinalist last year for Best Restaurant. The restaurant was started by Mama Ninfa, who took the restaurant world by storm by popularizing fajitas! Ninfa’s has now been in business for 50 years and is still serving up amazing fajitas and other Tex-Mex cuisine. 

Looking for Houston Airport Parking?