Houston is a mecca for outdoorsy opportunities, spaces to explore, and hidden gems waiting to be discovered. One thing about this city is, you’ll never have trouble finding great parks in Houston to have some sun and fun!
We’ve got a park for everything, from bat watching to gardens, historical architecture, and beautiful skyline views. We’ve put together a list of the best parks in Houston that’s worth the visit!
Hermann Park is one of Houston’s largest and, in our opinion, most beautiful parks. It’s also home to the Houston Zoo, so you can explore the park trails, take a ride on the train, golf and see some cute animals all in one day.
For us, our favorite thing to do is explore the Japanese Zen Garden and rent a pedal boat on the lake. Be sure to check out the Miller Outdoor Theatre, their shows are always free and fun for the whole family.
Hermann Park | 6AM-11PM
Japanese Garden | 9AM-5PM
McGovern Centennial Gardens | 9AM-5PM
Railroad | 10AM-5PM
Pedal Boats | 10AM-4PM (Closed Thursdays)
Buffalo Bayou Park is simply beautiful! The skyline views of the city are breathtaking and it’s the perfect place for picnics and photo ops. You can sweat it out on the five-mile hike and bike trail, play volleyball, take a boat tour, or enjoy the day at the dog park with your furry friend.
If you haven’t already, we recommend checking out the Waugh Bat Bridge Colony at dusk (it’s so cool) and exploring the many amazing art pieces throughout the park.
Buffalo Bayou Park | 6AM–11PM
Other areas | dawn to dusk
Johnny Steele Dog Park | 7AM-8PM
The Kitchen at Dunlavy | 7AM-2PM
Tucked on the edge of the larger Buffalo Bayou Park, Eleanor Tinsley is the place to be on a nice day. Remember we mentioned having a picnic? This area of the park is literally, picture-perfect.
Our advice, wait until sunset because there’s no shade to keep you cool. And you don’t need us to remind you of how hot Houston summers are. There’s also a sand volleyball court you can enjoy with friends.
Be sure to keep an eye on their events calendar, too—this place is popular for hosting lots of fun festivals every year.
Eleanor Tinsley Park | Open 24 hours
Located in the heart of Downtown Houston, Discovery Green is a small green oasis surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the city. We love this park because there are tons of great restaurants, bars, and food trucks nearby.
It’s also our go-to park for free community events like outdoor yoga, concerts, festivals, and art shows!
Discovery Green | 6AM-11PM
Welcome to the old-school park of Houston. Dubbed “the largest park in Texas.” Memorial Park includes Texas’ top-rated municipal 18-hole golf course, as well as facilities for tennis, softball, swimming, track, croquet, volleyball, in-line skating, cycling, and a popular three-mile running course.
In addition to the many trails, the park is host to several softball/baseball fields, as well as a soccer/football field. The park is also host to Houston’s annual Bayou City Art Festival. Planning a picnic? Head to Picnic Lane (yep, that’s really the name!) where you’ll find the best tables in the city situated in the shade of the woods.
Memorial Park | 6AM-11PM
Memorial Park Golf Course and Driving Range | 6:30AM-9PM (Tuesdays | 3PM-9PM)
Spotts Park is located west of Downtown near Buffalo Bayou between Waugh and Memorial, the 16-acre space delights Downtown visitors with its skyline views, winding paths, steep hills, basketball and sand volleyball courts, playground for kids, as well as plenty of open lands to hang out.
It has bike share racks and connects to the larger Buffalo Bayou Park. So you can rent a bike and hit some of the nearby trails.
A newly renovated park in Upper Kirby, Levy Park Conservancy boasts a performance pavilion, dog park, and, of course, a sprawling lawn which is great for a lazy Sunday afternoon. And like a lot of other Houston parks, it has tons of free events for the community, like adult hip-hop classes, outdoor yoga, and movie screenings.
Levy Park | Open 24 hours
Some places are just meant to be experienced, and this is one of them! The Waterwall Park, located near the Galleria, is known for its 64-foot-tall gushing—you guessed it—waterfall.
And although the park itself is pretty small, the fountain is impressive and definitely worth capturing. After you’ve snapped some pics, head a few blocks down the street and enjoy some great restaurants near Galleria!
Waterwall Park | 8AM-10PM
A vibrant new cultural asset at the corner of two of Houston’s most vibrant neighborhoods, Third Ward and East End, Smither Park is a work of art. The park was created with the help of an entire community.
From dinner plates to street signs and fishing lures, artists and individuals contribute and participate in creating new pieces in the park’s working space. A swing set, amphitheater, memory wall, and more offer guests a place to relax and enjoy the intricate details of each design.
Smither Park | 7AM-7PM
We know there are so many parks in Houston, it’s impossible to list them all. If we didn’t mention your favorite, leave us a comment on our latest Instagram post and let us know.
Don’t forget to save or bookmark this guide! Reference back when you’re ready for the fun festivities to begin!
Hi, I'm Megan a Houston native and recent college graduate. I love music, coffee, brunch, and social media. I have a dog and a cat and love trying new bars and restaurants around Houston. I like writing about restaurants, coffee shops, bars, Houston events, festivals, lifestyle, and more!