Even though Houston is considered a concrete jungle, it boasts a multitude of different parks. It has long been understood that urban greenspaces have a number of proven benefits to the people that have access to them, as well as to the ecological health of the city itself. In regards to communities, parks offer a great place to relax and socialize in a public space. Even just a small amount of time in the outdoors relieves stress and can boost your mood. Kids get a big place to play and explore, while parents can exercise and interact.
Many of the parks located in Houston are simultaneously conservancies, meaning that the state is willing to protect the native plants and animals that live there. No matter where you live in Houston, there’s usually some type of park nearby, but if you’re new to the city or just looking for somewhere new to study, it may be easier to choose from some of the more tried-and-true options.
Emancipation Park 3018 Emancipation Avenue
An invaluable piece of Houston history and community, Emancipation Park was recently renovated and rededicated by Mayor Sylvester Turner in June. The park was originally established to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States and used for Juneteenth celebrations, and was declared a historic landmark in 2007. The recent renovations meant to modernize the location include a new recreation center, swimming pool, spray ground, playground and walking trail.
Discovery Green 1500 McKinney Street
Discovery Green is another relatively new urban park, having opened in 2008. The greenspace is located just outside of the George R. Brown convention center, making it a popular spot for anyone who travels downtown. The park hosts a variety of events consistently throughout the year, and also features some neat modern sculptures to check out. You can also look up their website to sign up for exercise classes and space rental opportunities.
Buffalo Bayou Park Allen Parkway & Memorial Drive
Buffalo Bayou is actually a river that moves through a large part of Houston, as well as other parks. If you’re looking for some fun in the sun, then The Water Works are a great option at this location. It also contains a dog park and a fantastic view of the Houston skyline. It’s also one of the newest parks in the city, having just opened recently in 2015.
Market Square Park 301 Milam Street
Market Square Park is one of the most historic parks in Houston, having been established in the mid-1800s. It was originally an open-air produce market and is surrounded by various historical architecture. Much of Houston’s early business district was built up around the park, so it remains a significant piece of Houston’s origins. Today, it’s best known for the near-by dining locations, entertainment venues and nightclubs.
Memorial Park 6501 Memorial Drive
Memorial Park is a massive Houston staple that has been dubbed the largest urban park in Texas, and that’s not an exaggeration. It’s most well-known for its jogging trail, but alsofeatures tennis courts, a golf course, softball field, swimming pool and amenities for basically any other kind of sport that you could possibly think of.
Hermann Park 6201 Hermann Park Drive
The largest public park near the University of Houston, Hermann Park is in an excellent location that makes it easy to access. Sporting gardens, a golf course and the Miller Outdoor Theater, it also provides a variety of entertainment no matter your interests. Be wary of the Houston Zoo train coming through, but also note that the Houston Zoo is directly located within the park itself.